Every time you come home to Israel, Israel will surprise you and present you with something new to experience. As one of the most diverse and vibrant nations in the world, there is always much to see and explore. If you are planning a visit to Israel and looking for something different and unique, check out these amazing opportunities to learn, eat and have fun!
The mystical city of Safed, the Holy City (also spelled Tzfat, Safad, Zefat, Sfat, Tsfas) is found in the northern part of Israel. And it is here that you will find the Safed Puzzle Room (The Puzzle Room). Located at 55 HaPalmach Street in the heart of the city, The Puzzle Room is the newest “don’t-miss” activity in Safed.
The Puzzle Room is a unique variation of an Escape Room, presenting visitors with an escape-room style activity but without being locked into the room. This one-of-a-kind escape room is 100 percent unique and all of the challenges are 100 percent original and designed by Michael Schachter and Ester Silber-Schachter, who in 2010 made aliyah with their four children. After getting settled in Israel, Ester and Michael decided to follow their dream of operating their own educational tourist attraction, and created the Safed Puzzle Room. Their oldest son, Eyal Schachter, was indispensable in setting up the technical aspects of the room.
Opened in 2018, the Safed Puzzle Room is a shomer Shabbat business and is sensitive to the needs of the community. “Although you do not need to have any religious background or any prior knowledge of Safed to have a great time, the Safed Puzzle Room is ‘kosher’ and ‘clean’ and is the perfect escape room for every group to enjoy, including religiously observant groups,” says Silber-Schachter.
The Safed Puzzle Room is one of the only escape rooms in the country that focuses on local history and Jewish culture, making it more than a standard escape room. Here you can unlock the hidden secrets of Safed, as you race against the clock to solve all the clues and complete your mission, getting to know the history and culture of Safed. Puzzles include logic puzzles, codes to decipher, locks to open and much more. Your phone won’t help you, so you are requested to put phones away for the duration of your game. While the challenges are primarily designed for teens and adults, children ages ten and up can take part in solving them. Younger children are invited to participate and coloring pages and puzzles suitable for younger children are provided for young guests.
“The Safed Puzzle Room is not a first-generation escape room, where guests have to find their way into a secret room or out of a locked room. Instead, we offer a later-generation escape room with a different atmosphere. None of our guests have to experience any concern about being locked in a room, and even people who are claustrophobic can come enjoy an escape room experience with us,” says Silber-Schachter. She continued, “This northern Holy City draws so many people to it. It beckoned us to spend time in the city, get to know its secrets and its beautiful and history-filled alleyways. After our exploration, we decided that we were ready to open a new gateway for other people to unlock the hidden secrets of Safed in a contemporary, engaging way.”
Suitable for all audiences, couples, adults and teens, it is the perfect group bonding activity for locals and visitors alike. The Puzzle Room hosts date nights, birthday celebrations, team building activities and group fun of any kind. The Safed Puzzle Room is one of the only escape rooms in Israel with the ability to adjust the game to the size of the group playing. A couple at the Puzzle Room will play a two person game. Larger groups will play a game that is suited to the number of people in the room. Groups of all sizes, from 2-40 participants can be accommodated.
“We particularly enjoy seeing people deepen their understanding of the city, watching the group dynamics develop as people work their way through the game and helping people access their inner curiosity,” says Michael Schachter.
Closed on Shabbat, The Safed Puzzle Room requires reservations. Contact the Safed Puzzle Room by phone or WhatsApp at 055-918-2207 or email [email protected] Online at safedpuzzleroom.com
If you are a foodie looking for a unique and unexpected culinary adventure, “Galileat, Culinary Adventures in the Galilee,” owned and operated by Paul Nirens, is happy to be able to take clients that keep kosher, to two hosts who have kosher kitchens attached to their homes. Galileat’s host in the Galilean Hills village of Hurfeish has a kosher kitchen under the supervision of Chuagi Harabanim and in Dalyat el Carmel, near Haifa, the host’s kitchen is supervised by the Tzohar organization. In both cases, the mashgichim are Orthodox and follow all the halachic regulations of Orthodox Judaism. With all of Galileat’s programs, you will be treated to warm Middle Eastern hospitality in the homes of their experienced hosts. The only difference will be that these two workshops or meals will take place in the kosher kitchen and not the family’s home kitchen.
Your culinary adventure will begin with tea and coffee and introductions to the host and continue with explanations about the village and its people. You will continue into the kitchen, where you will participate in approximately two hours of hands-on preparation of traditional dishes. The menu changes seasonally, in keeping with the cycle of life in the Galilee. Once you have finished preparing the delicacies, you will sit and enjoy the feast that you cooked yourself. The workshops and meals are definitely a culinary experience that every participant will enjoy, including families with children.
The menu might include:
- Stuffed zucchinis and vine leaves
- Freekeh (smoked green wheat)
- Local seasonal green or mnazaleh (chickpea and eggplant stew)
- Tabouli or local greens salad
- Sinyeh (meat kebabs cooked in tahini)
- Mana’ish (pita with zaatar)
The meals are kosher basari (meat). There is no possibility of kosher dairy. A vegetarian meal will be “b’chezkat basari.”
*Minimum 8 people
For more information: www.galileat.com, email: [email protected], cell phone: (972) 55.881-0727
Susan R. Eisenstein is a longtime Jewish educator, passionate about creating special, innovative activities for her students. She is also passionate about writing about Jewish topics and about Israel. She has two master’s degrees and a doctorate in education from Columbia University.