June 8, 2024
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Swords of Iron: City of Gold

How to have ‘Fun In Jerusalem’ during Yeshiva Week.

Red Bus Tour Company. (Credit: Red Bus Tour Company)

Each year families from all corners of the United States opt to spend their Yeshiva Week in Jerusalem.

A heartfelt thanks to the incoming tourists who have chosen to spend this Yeshiva Week with us during a war. This is the best way to support Israel: by volunteering and going out to have fun—which is its own form of victory over Hamas.

Fun In Jerusalem has remained committed to helping tourists find fun and memorable experiences for their families and this year we have a strong focus on promoting volunteer opportunities as well.

In response to the unique circumstances, we’ve curated an exciting list of winter activities available for tourists, along with some fantastic volunteer opportunities. Your decision to visit at this time not only contributes to the local tourism industry but also becomes an essential part of the collective effort to foster resilience and community support during these trying times.

 

Volunteer Tourism

How can you feel like you are part of the bigger picture and find ways to give back to support the war efforts? Many organizations in Israel have stepped up to provide needed support for soldiers, their families at home, terror victims, evacuees and farmers. Some organizations require a minimum commitment of time and others are happy for you to join them for the day. We recommend being in touch with the different organizations in advance as the needs change daily.

Leket ([email protected])—Leket has a variety of opportunities for tourists and locals to support the local farmers by volunteering to harvest or plant at local farms across the country. Some of the Leket programs also offer transportation from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.

Grilling for the IDF(www.grillingforisrael.com)—Be a part of planning a barbecue event for soldiers. Volunteers are asked to buy food, actually run the barbecues and serve the soldiers. Barbecues take place on the Gaza Border as well as up north. Volunteers are asked to take care of their own transportation.

The Michael Levin Base ([email protected])—Visit the Lone Soldier Center, which provides programs and services to lone soldiers and lone b’not sheirut. Contact them to find out how you can help.

Pina Chama ([email protected])—An incredible place in Gush Etzion where soldiers can come in and have a hot or cold drink, soups and snacks. Arrange to come and volunteer to help serve the food.

Ohr Meir & Bracha ([email protected])—Pack food on Thursdays for families of terror victims. This takes place in the Shmuel Hanavi neighborhood.

One Family ([email protected])—This is a wonderful organization that provides financial, emotional and legal support to terror victims and their families, and is also a loving home for over 3,500 families. Ask about their volunteering opportunities.

For more information about volunteering and supporting these worthy causes please visit www.funinjerusalem.com/things-to-do/at/volunteer/

Yvel Factory Tour “I Stand with Israel.”
(Credit: Yvel Factory Tour)

Unique Yeshiva Week Tours For the Whole Family

Take a private tour of the Israel Museum or the Bible Lands Museum with Nachliel Selavan, aka “The Museum Guy.” His unique and engaging style brings kids into the story to experience museums and Jewish history, connecting Torah, history, art, geography and archaeology on all his tours! [email protected]

A Red Bus City Tour is the perfect way to discover the gems that Jerusalem has to offer. Hop on and hop off the double-decker bus as you explore the most important sites in Jerusalem with self-guided tours in a variety of languages. A real fun favorite for kids. [email protected]

Have you heard about the latest innovations being used now by the IDF, allowing soldiers to keep Halacha 24/7 while fighting against Hamas? Be sure to visit the Zomet Institute in Gush Etzion to find out how rabbis and engineers solve techno-halachic problems. They have English tours where you’ll also learn about their amazing inventions for mobility, security and medical needs, allowing technology to be used on Shabbat and Yom Tov. [email protected]

This is the perfect time to visit the indoor Biblical Museum of Natural History, which combines a love for biblical history and nature by opening a window into animal life during Tanach times. They offer fascinating tours in English. It’s just outside Beit Shemesh. [email protected]

Looking for something a bit different? Take a behind the scenes factory tour of the Hollander Distillery, a unique family run distillery in Beit Meir and learn how the liquor, schnapps and brandy is made. Tastings are for adults only, but the tour is great for the whole family, and the views are spectacular. [email protected]

Yvel Factory Tour “I Stand with Israel.”
(Credit: Yvel Factory Tour)

Art Tours & Workshops in and Near Jerusalem During Yeshiva Week

Arts & Crafts workshops are a firm favorite for families with younger kids. All of the workshops we recommend are run by artists who have opened up their studios to tourists. Many of the workshops have an Israeli or Judaic theme, making them unique experiences.

For older kids, we recommend the Glass Blowing & Flame Working workshop with Yael, a Bezalel graduate. Each workshop is customized. Beginners are taught the art of flame working and more advanced students learn the technique of glass blowing. Her studio is in The Jerusalem House of Quality, just opposite the Mount Zion Hotel. [email protected]

Roochie Sinai, owner and artist at Rave Mosaics has a studio in the Artists Colony (Hutzot Hayotzer) where you can create your own unique piece of art from broken pieces of glass, transforming them into beautiful pieces of art. [email protected]

Chaya Esther Ort gives a unique ceramics workshop inspired by the Holy Land. She only uses clay hewn from the Land of Israel. Kiyor Ceramics is located just opposite the main entrance to Machane Yehuda Market. [email protected]

Hadara Ceramics is just wonderful for families with younger kids. You’ll love the time you spend at Hadara’s studio on Emek Refaim, getting creative and messy. She has loads of lace, stencils and stamps to make decorating your piece a real treat! [email protected]

Go behind the scenes at the Yvel Factory, watch the artists while they work and learn more about the Megemeria program and the Ethiopian immigrants who are learning the trade of jewelry making. Yvel’s story is inspiring and a perfect activity for teenagers and their parents, located in Beit Zayit just outside Jerusalem. See the newest line of jewelry dedicated to soldiers during this current war. It’s called “I Stand With Israel,” and all profits are being donated to families affected by the October 7 massacre. [email protected]

Take an incredible woodworking workshop and walk away with handmade pieces of Judaica at The Workshop Gush Etzion. Jeremy and Mandy Broder will teach you how to take wood in its raw form and create a finished piece, learning all aspects of the process along the way. Cutting, sanding, filing, gluing and varnishing by hand using custom woodworking machinery. They are located in Kibbutz Rosh Tzurim, in Gush Etzion. [email protected]

Moshe Braun, artist and sofer STaM, will introduce you to the fascinating world of Safrut (scribal arts). Take a hands-on private family tour of a Sofer STaM’s studio, with in-depth explanations and demonstrations on how Torah scrolls, tefillin, mezuzot and Megillot are created. You can book a tour of his studio in Ramat Beit Shemesh or Jerusalem. [email protected]

Come and visit Dana at the Creative Crafts Studio in Gush Etzion where you can choose from a variety of projects including mosaics, glass-fusing or candle-making. We recommend their Family Projects. Ask about the special option for evening workshops as well. [email protected]

During a Mezuzah workshop with Uri Kalfa, he’ll teach you about the mitzvah of mezuzah as you create your own unique mezuzah case carved out of olive wood. His studio is located in Maale Adumim. [email protected]

Nurture your creative side at a Resin Art Workshops at the Nicole Friedman Studio in Beit Shemesh. Come experience firsthand what the resin art hype is all about. With private and group workshops available, participants create color-bursting usable art. [email protected]

If, like mine, your family loves chocolate then treat yourselves to a fabulous chocolate workshop at Galita. It’s a chocolate-lovers paradise and a really fun (and tasty) family activity. All their chocolates are Mehadrin. Galita is located in Kibbutz Tzuba, in the Jerusalem Hills just after Ein Kerem. It is a beautiful 20-minute drive from the center of Jerusalem. [email protected]

Debbie Hirsch’s Laughter Workshops are a really fun activity. It’s ideal for family gatherings, looking for a positivity boost! Debbie tailors the content to your group, making it suitable for all. She will come to you, or you can even plan a session on Zoom. [email protected]

The Workshop, Gush Etzion. (Credit: Gush Etzion Workshop)

Challenge Yourselves to Some Local Yeshiva Week Adventure

At Caliber 3 you will have an “only in Israel” experience as you participate in awesome Commando Tourism packages in self-defense. Caliber 3 is the leading counterterror, defense and security training academy in Israel, based in Gush Etzion. [email protected]

Bring history to life as you run through the bunkers at Ammunition Hill and challenge your kids to boost their self confidence at the Jerusalem Ropes Course with Yaakov. [email protected]

If extreme sports and adventure are more your thing, compete against your family and friends at Jerusalem Xtreme Paintball, above Cinema City or in the new DCity Mall in Maale Adumim. [email protected]

Do you have plans to head down to the Dead Sea for the day? Dead Sea Bikes offers special self-guided or guided bike rides, trails and hikes in the Northern Dead Sea area. They have Riders—a totally new concept in bike riding. It’s like a Segway that hovers just above the ground. And a huge array of different bikes for families to enjoy. If you have younger children, ask about tandem and add-on options for babies, toddlers and preschoolers! [email protected]

Have a real “havaya Israeli” (Israeli experience) with Hidden Valley Jeep & Trekking Tours. They have a new beautiful tour this winter of the Jerusalem Mountains. Each certified tour guide has a personal touch so you can enjoy nature and learn the history of the Jerusalem Hills and the Judean Desert. [email protected]

Have you heard of Gelly Ball? It’s a friendlier version of paint ball, which is perfect for families with younger children. It’s taken Israel by storm thanks to Falcon Tactical Laser Tag Extreme. Ask about their water tag and laser tag, too! [email protected]

Looking for a fun activity in town? Visit the “HUB” for Bloc Climbing in Jerusalem. It’s the perfect place to learn to climb, boulder and improve your techniques. Make it a fun, challenging and active day while spending time together as a family. It’s located in the center of town. [email protected]

 

Are You a Foodie?

Devorah and David Katz would love to welcome you to their space, Meshek48 in Kibbutz Rosh Tzurim, where they offer a fabulous range of family-friendly food workshops. Think focaccias and pizzas! You can book a private family workshop, or join an existing one. [email protected]

Don’t forget to pamper yourself with a delicious meal at the Veranda Chef Restaurant at the David Citadel, which has just reopened with unparalleled views of the Old City. Make sure to reserve in advance. [email protected]

Looking for a different activity? Take a look at our FUN Favorites page to see all of our recommended family activities in Jerusalem or email us at [email protected].

 

Safety Precautions

Be aware of where the safe rooms are—mamad or miklat

If you are in a car when the siren goes off, pull over to the side and move away from your car.

We also recommend downloading the Home Front Command’s app to your phone during your visit.

www.funinjerusalem.com

[email protected]

By Joanna Shebson and Ronit Ansbacher

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