Author Archives: Elisa

Planning to take a Holy Land tour over Christmas? This year why not take our Bethlehem Christmas market tour on December 19. Experience Bethlehem like a local and enjoy the special Christmas festivities found in the city known worldwide as the birthplace of Jesus Christ. This year visit Bethlehem, peruse the city’s unique Christmas market, visit the Church of Nativity in all its holiday glory. Our expert guide will take you behind the scenes, through the market alleyways and into the city’s many important sites as well as into the home of a local Palestinian Christian family where you will break bread and enjoy a traditional home cooked lunch and warm hospitality.

Cost is $120 per person and space is limited so reserve today.

The Price (excluding tips) includes:
– Roundtrip bus transportation from and to Herzliya and Jerusalem
– Traditional Lunch and Hospitality
– Professional Tour Guide
– Visit Shepherd’s Fields
– Visit the Nativity Museum in Old City of Bethlehem
– Visit Church of Nativity, the Milk Grotto, the Cave of St. Jerome
– Free Time inside the Christmas Market at Manger Square

Space is limited so reserve today. All participants must be non-Israelis and must bring a valid international passport with them.

08:00 AM Departure from Herzliya
17:00 PM Return to Herzliya

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Categories: BEthlehem, Christmas, Culture, Food

Olive picking season is just days away and to celebrate the harvest we are planning two day tours to Battir, a UNESCO World Heritage Landscape situated adjacent to Bethlehem.

Tour dates – October 26 and November 2, 2014. Space is limited so sign up now. Registration closes on October 23, 2014

Highlights include:

• Meet with an expert on ancient landscape conservation who prepared the UNESCO application on Battir
• Explore the Old City of Battir including the Seven Widow’s Quarter , the main Water Spring ( Ein el Balad), and the Roman Aqueduct System
• See the irrigated terraces and enjoy a lovely walk through this extraordinary reserve
• Participate with a local family and join in olive picking
• Learn about the manufacturing and olive pressing process by visiting the local plant
• Enjoy a traditional Palestinian home-cooked lunch
• Opportunity to purchase locally produced Battir olive oil (payable in cash)

Cost of Tour: 385.- NIS per adult, 300.- NIS per child under 10 years (or $105 pp for adult – $75 per child under 8)

Participants must be foreign (non-Israeli) residents. Please bring your passports, good hiking shoes, hats, modest dress, sunscreen and your water bottles. Space is limited so reserve today.

07:00 AM Departure from Jerusalem
17:00 PM Return to Jerusalem

Required:
Water
Passport
comfortable walking shoes
Hat

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Categories: Tours

Every holiday has its star food. Whether its Easter with chocolate eggs, or potato latkes and donuts during Hanukah, or Ramadan’s delicious Qatayef pastry, there is always a special food that is synonymous with a holiday.

Making honey

Making honey

And honey claims lead billing during the Jewish high holidays.

A bowl of honey is a traditional ‘dip’ eaten throughout the Jewish holiday period  – eaten  in hope of a sweet new year. Dipping apples in the honey reminds us just how sweet life can and hopefully will be in the coming year. Abbie Rosner, author of “Breaking Bread in the Galilee, cites Nogah Reuveni, one of the pioneering scholars of the Holy Land’s biblical landscape, who observed that of all the seven species, one is not a plant or plant product. Most of us might think of honey as coming from a beehive, but actually, it can refer to any sweet syrup made from boiled-down fruit. Reuveni thought that honey made from dates, known as Silan, was the seventh specimen which would make it consistent with the other products on the list. Silan is a popular authentic type of syrup that is quite similar to honey, and considered the authentic sweet Holy Land syrup.

With the late summer harvest now in full swing (one can easily enjoy a day out picking apples, pomegranates, peaches, grapes and more), tasting honey is also a late summer ritual in this biblical landscape. The Israel Honey Board is now holding its annual Honey Festival (August 22 through September 27) and if you are on a tour to Israel or the Palestinian Territories you can easily participate in the many kid-friendly activities that are underway throughout the region.

Honey manufacturing visitor centers focusing are offering a variety of fascinating activities focusing on the world of bees and honey, meeting with beekeepers, honey tastings, and learning about the importance of bees pollinating flowers in order to make fruit and vegetable plant food. Bees are critically important to the world, not only for the honey they product but because of their participation in pollination.

Below you’ll find a listing of several honey making visitor centers offering festival-related activities and tastings. Call before you go to find out the hours of operation and the exact times and costs for any special activities that are going on during the festival.

Galilee and the North

Kibbutz Shamir – Apiary of the Galilee Kibbutz Shamir

Within this visitor center you can watch the activities of the bees and the queen bee through the glass. Visitors learn about the health qualities and enjoy tasting the finest products directly from the source. A nice film on the life of bees and how all the hive products are produced including honey, beeswax, propolis, pollen (pollen), and bee venom production process. In addition to the apiary the center also produces olives.

Phone: 04-6947826046947826

Manot

Venus Reuben beekeeping since 1984 celebrates 30 years of service. Today, 650 Honey Reuben and another 300 hives and queens increase the powder, making the Galilee Flowers Beehive particularly large breeding farm.

There is a visitor center which tells varied activities on the world of bees, honey and more. Beehives tour includes the movie “Sweet Honey Queen to” explain the world of bees, self harvesting experience, viewing glass hive bee activity, “beehive kids’ craft corner with corner with wax sculptures, costumes, reading and research. “The Time Tunnel” – represents a unique way to teach kids about bees and honey since then includes the stories of the Bible.

Phone: 0544967420

Pek’in – Orchard Hive Pekiin

Founded by Jamal price Peqi’in village in 1977. Hir invites families and children enjoy a unique combination of rural tourism in nature Druze variety of educational activities and knowledge of the world of the bee. Visitors will learn about the process of honey production, the sundials and the history of the village Peqi’in Druze community.

Beehives, Workshop candles by rolling slabs crude beeswax special thread, decorative candles with colored sequins and pins. In addition, basket weaving can join to fill bottles with colored sand, petting zoo and spend petting zoo, camel riding, BBQ picnic benches and more.

Phone: 052-2477897

Machman im Honey

Machmanim was established in 1980 as a small apiary Galilee. Beehives and bees are handled carefully, allowing them to collect high-quality honey which come from within the flower nectar found in nature. You can come and visit the beehives and hear the ‘Natural Therapy’ healing products bees, pollen, propolis, bee venom therapy, honeycomb, and more and enjoy activities such as creating beeswax candles decorated and other workshops.

Tour “Through the Bible to nature”, a biblical village eco tour that combines visiting beehives, activities and preparation respecting nature: whole wheat bread, natural honey preparation of milk, tahini and sesame, white, hyssop herb tea. Visitors tour the observatory Michmanim, Khan stone, magnificent views, tour and tasting beds perfume ancient cuisine flavors.

Phone: 04-9881337, 052-2476768, Website: www.michmanim.co.il

Moshav Shedmot Devora –Tabor bee

Renowned Beekeeper Boaz participated in the 2014 in the international competition in Canada earning third place in the world. During “Honey Festival”, visitors are invited to watch a movie about the competition, children will enjoy being made up as a bee and other including a tour of the site. guidance on how to prepare honey and the learning about the importance of nature. Bees visit the observatory and increase patrol in silk cocoons thousands (only in Israel). Children enjoy a variety of creative activities such as preparing a chocolate honey, candle wax, plaster decoration, sign and cape bee room, living area with the option of hand-feeding pygmy goats and a giant bee going around among the guests. Honey Festival will be possible during the trip by tractor and wagon (extra charge).

Phone: 04-6769598, 050-5637645 Website: www.dvorat-hatavor.co.il

Alon Hagalil – Alon Ophir Apiary

The visit to this center in the northern Galilee includes a movie on the world of bees. Watch the bees inside the beehive glass, how they make the honey, meet the beekeeper and learn about the various products of the hive. Preparation of candle wax, tastings and more.
Who want to be able to tour the winery and taste the next Yiftachel wines.

Phone: Zvika 052-2824644 Website: www.yfw.co.il

Emek Hefer Apiary

View a short film for the whole family to our wonderful world of bees, the structure of the hive, collecting nectar to make honey and the importance health person, workshops for children on the subject of bees, honey and blossom, and a lecture accompanied by slides for adults, meeting area with a beekeeper apiary Emek Hefer to open a hive and demonstrate his work.

Factory store tasting of a selection of honeys, pollen (pollen), royal jelly and more. A tour of the factory and packaging production lines is also available.

Phone: 04-6370105Web-site-hefer.com/ http://www.emek

Central Israel

Kfar Bilu A – Inter Bee Farm Village

Lin’s Farm is a family farm that has been more than thirty years the bees are part of the family. Dedication in taking care of bees and honey production respondents Love-natural, pure, delicious and nutritious. To foster economic approximately 1000 hives around the country, where the economy shop with a natural delicacies produced in Lynn bees and honey are based on quality raw materials.

Visitors learn about the similarities and differences between the bee family man, dressed in work clothes with the help of bee keepers and games, creative activities, watch video and learn about glass hive field work, the communication between the bees, the queen, active and males.

Phone: 0542207965Website:www.linfarm.co.il

Kfar Chabad – 0333339606367

South (depending on the security situation)

Kibbutz Yad Mordecai –House of Honey and the Bee – Sweet experience in Kibbutz Yad Mordechai

Yad Mordechai Apiary was established in 1936 and is now the largest apiary in Israel, numbering about 5,000 hives. Visit Honey and Bee House “is a showcase for the world of bees, hive and the routine work of beekeepers. Visit suitable for all the family and includes: Opening honeycomb behind a glass wall, meeting with beekeepers demonstrate their work, display a hive of glass illustrates everything that was happening in the hives, watching a movie depicting the honey production and operation of honey harvesting, baking honey cakes, tasting different kinds of honey, creating candles beeswax, explanations of the bees in the hive family structure, living in it, explanations of health products that are produced from the hive, royal jelly, propolis, pollen, and more. Instead shop for Honeycomb.

The activities are part of an integrated card activity tourist resorts Yad Mordechai (driving a tractor and wagon, “a grouping of time” type recovery tank battle site and watching the milking barn).

Reservations: 08-6720559, 052-3923104 Website: www.ym-tayarut.co.il
052223923104

Moshav Ein Yahav – Porat apiary honey from the Desert

When love bees and desert growing art she met a charming attraction Prairie “art and agriculture meet in the desert” – a world of bees, colony formation presentation in memory of holidays Porat, founder session and meeting with artwork of Chacha Porat, including the works of bronze, iron and wood.

Apiary Porath introduces the visitors to the wonderful world of the honey bee, and the most important animal in the most fascinating lives today, a creative and unusual way. Museum space, in the light of special lighting and desert never displayed apiary bee close-ups ever, thousands of bees flying metal museum space, hives containing bees transparent low-down busy work diary. In addition, there is a movie about a world of bees and shop to buy honey, olive oil and wine. In addition, there is a possibility the meeting and dinner in the dining room of the old eye and view the presentation about the establishment.

Phone: 052-3666032 or via the website: www.45c.co.il

For more information visit this website.
Additional information on the festival site Honey Council – www.honey.org.il

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Categories: events, Food

Sacred Music Festival to strike a chord of unity in Jerusalem

This September, the city of Jerusalem, through its Jerusalem Season of Culture, will issue a clear and pure call to the peoples of the world to ascend to Jerusalem and celebrate with sounds of unity and compassion. Beginning September 9 through September 12 Jerusalem will host a musical journey that spans continents, definitions and faiths. Over 150 artists, 60 of which will be coming from overseas, will take part in the festival’s performances and offer audiences an experience of healing, spirituality, hope and some heavenly music

Due to the hostilities in the south, Jerusalem cancelled and postponed dozens of cultural events that were to be part of the Jerusalem Season of Culture’s annual slate of special events. However, with the renewed quiet, the city of Jerusalem is proud to announce that the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival will take place as originally scheduled in collaboration with hundreds of leading artists from Israel and across the globe and the festival will begin on September 9 and is to span four days..

Performances will take place in unique and historical venues in Jerusalem including King Herod’s fortress – the Tower of David, situated just inside the Jaffa Gate, Zedekiah’s Cave, where the stones used to build Solomon’s Temple were quarried -just south of the Damascas Gate, and at the Music Center inside Mishkenot Shaanim. Performances will unfold under the night sky and are sure to off a multi-sensory and mesmerizing experience embracing all sacred traditions.

Whether you are visiting Jerusalem for the evening or on a  Holy Land tour, pilgrimage tour to Israel, or any other Christian or cultural tour, make sure to join the festivities while staying in Jerusalem.

Participating artists include: The Klezmatics with Joshua Nelson (USA), Agama Naná Vasconcelos (Brazil), Naná Vasconcelos (Zimbabwe), Orchestre Chabab Al Andalous (Morocco), Ehud Banai, Piris Eliyahu and many more.

Calendar of events for Jerusalem's sacred music Festival

Calendar of events for Jerusalem’s sacred music Festival

 

The schedule of events for the festival is as displayed below.

For tickets:

Please call 972-2-6535854, or email box@jsoc.org.il

For more information visit the Jerusalem Season of culture website.

 

 

 

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Categories: Culture, events

The route to finding those unique one-of-a-kind souvenirs is one of the most delightful pastimes of any Holy Land tour. Of course there are numerous  galleries to choose from and a dearth of souvenir shops eagerly willing to take your money. But what is most memorable is finding that special something just when you least expect it.

That’s exactly what happened on a recent trip to Mizpe Hayamin hotel, a charmingly rustic organic spa property nestled in the Galilean hills overlooking the Sea of Galilee, the Hula valley and Golan Heights that lay beyond to the east. Drawn there for some rest and relaxation (during the most recent spate of hostilities) we participated in the hotel’s daily organic farm tour led by a local agricultural expert and Galilee resident. It was during this two hour walking tour that we happened upon a small art gallery situated in an area that we never would have found had our guide not walked us through the small building behind the property en route to the fields. The gallery offers a unique array of handmade jewelry, ceramics and other items made strictly by renowned artists from all over the Galilee who the hotel owner has cleverly brought together under one roof. The back room featured a temporary exhibition by artist Aviva Sawicki, a local Galilean resident, who has specialized in recycled paper for the last 13 years.

Aviva Sawicki recycled dress design

Aviva Sawicki recycled dress design, photo courtesy Elisa Moed for Breakingbreadjourneys.com

In this new exhibition, however, Sawicki focuses her attention on recycling one of most detrimental of products in terms of its environmental destruction – plastic bags. She fuses together colored bags to create lovely, vibrant dresses in the hope that her creations will provide a greater awareness of environmental issues. By focusing on dresses – she effectively reminding us that we are a consuming society. According to her website, one of Sawicki major interests is to focus her work on materials used daily and to hopefully leave a tangible record of our world in the 21st century.”

Mizpe Hayamim was an incredibly relaxing hotel and I give it the highest recommendation for people seeking a quiet respite, unparalleled spa services, and excellent food- but discovering this charming art gallery was a huge and unexpected bonus.

To learn more about Anna visit her website.

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Categories: Art, Culture

Many visitors preparing for a Holy Land tour often ask the question, is it safe?

Tourism to Israel and the Palestinian Territories (excluding Gaza) has been setting records over the last several years – reaching an all time high of 3.55 million tourists in 2013. As far as year to date 2014, the Holy Land has experienced double digit increases in tourism. (though we anticipate a dramatic decrease as a result of the recent July disturbances that we are experiencing as of this writing). While these are alarming we know that similar military actions have occurred sporadically over the last five decades, and usually end quickly, and tourism, which almost always experiences a  decline during the period of conflict,  increases once again at the conclusion of these conflicts. Moreover, we also know from  experience that the tourists who are on the ground, (and at the present time there are approximately 100,000 tourists here) do continue with their tours, albeit with certain itinerary changes depending on the situation. That’s always been the case with Holy Land travel. With any given tour in Israel or in the Palestinian Territories, groups know that  itineraries could be revised or rerouted in order to assure a safe and memorable tour experience.

For the last few years tourism to both Israel and the Palestinian Territories has increased and a substantial number of new hotels have opened in order to meet new demand..Numerous cities including Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus, even Jenin are attracting new hotel development. And why? Because its been quite safe for tourists. There have been no recent reports of any serious incidents involving foreigners.

As experienced tour operators we are quite aware that the media coverage about the Middle East often portrays Israel and the Palestinian Territories in the West Bank as dangerous to visit. The U.S. State Department’s travel advisories and warnings always attract much attention and these warnings often serve to discourage people from traveling to Israel and/or to the Palestinian Authority areas. Those who’ve never traveled might actually think the region is under constant battle, and that it is dangerous for tourists. But actually, its one of the safest places for tourists to travel. Any traveler must be cautious  and keep an awareness of his surroundings.  Its important to remember that the news is consumed with attracting viewers and focusing on horrible tragedies and dangerous events around the world brings in ratings which brings in advertisers. Bombings and terrorist activities have occurred and continue to occur but the reality is, the country is quite safe for tourists. Both Israel and the Palestinian Territories (within the West Bank) are quite dependent on tourism and both the Israeli and Palestinian Tourism ministries would not encourage tourists to visit the region if they felt there would be any danger.

Some helpful tips regarding safe Holy Land travel:

Travel Warnings

While many governments issue travel warnings to the region in general these warnings are intended to advise tourists to keep abreast of their surroundings but these warnings rarely are intended to discourage travel to the region. Travelers always need to be mindful of their surroundings and the regions they are traveling to as rare attacks of terror can occur and the ongoing conflict with Hamas  in the Gaza Strip can result in missile fire (as currently is the case as of the writing of this piece on July 9, 2014. The U.S. State Department occasionally issues travel advisories, but threats are usually limited to certain areas.   Currently the US government warns its citizens to be vigilant while traveling in Jerusalem, the West Bank and in the southern part of Israel.  The most recent travel update can be read at this link. Most recently Israel’s Ministry of Tourism released information to tour operators that travel within a 40 kilometer radius of Gaza is restricted to essential vehicles (as of July 17, 2014).

Security in Israel

Israel is one of the safest countries in the world. While security is quite tight – the tourist generally does not ‘feel’ security forces except for at the airport arrival and departure as well as at border crossings. It is quite typical for guards to be stationed at the entrance of restaurants, shopping malls, entertainment venues and other large public spaces and you will be asked to open your bag. It is quite common to pass through metal detectors at every mall, government building or train station – similar to the experience of entering a court house in the United States.

Crossing to the Palestinian Territories including Bethlehem 

It is quite easy to travel to most parts of the Palestinian Territories in the West Bank. You do need to take your passport with you as you will need to present it when you re-enter Israeli-controlled territory. Access is direct and no prior authorization is required enabling hundreds of tourists to travel daily. While Jerusalem and many parts of Israel are relatively simple to navigate s an independent traveler – within the Palestinian Territories we highly recommend that people travel with either a private tour guide or as part of an organized group. While roads in Israel are clearly marked (and using WAZE is quite common) its not nearly as easy to navigate within the Palestinian Territories. Other very helpful travel apps for Holy Land travel can be found here.

If you are planning to rent a car be advised that most rental cars in Israel do not allow you to travel into the Palestinian territories. Its important that you rent a car from an agency, Such as Middle East Car Rental, which possesses insurance on their fleet both in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

West Bank

Travelers can rest assured that not only has Israel proven itself a safe place in the last decade, but safety in Palestinian areas has also increased greatly in the last few years. As reported in Travelujah’s article “West Bank Tourism Surge” , Palestinian cities are   patrolled by a highly trained police force and more tourists are venturing over the border as well. In fact, that West Bank region of the Palestinian Territories is experiencing growth within their hotel sector. Of course, visitors should always vigilant of their surroundings and refer to the US State Department Travel Advisory website prior to traveling into the West Bank. Note that current and most updated advisory allows travel to Bethlehem and Jericho as well as throughout Israel (excepting the regions that are within 40 km of proximity to Gaza).

Independent travelers planning to travel alone and not on authorized tourist buses or with a private tour guide in a registered tourist vehicle should become familiar with security procedures, roads and more prior to arrival. On occasion, demonstrations and violent incidents can occur,  particularly in areas close to refugee camps   or near many of the Jewish settlement communities and it is therefore important to always remain very cautious especially if traveling independently.   You should avoid all demonstrations or large gatherings, including student or other protests.

Medical Emergencies

Hospitals and clinics are conveniently located around the country and equipped to take care of foreigners in the event of an emergency. No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

On a more personal note, be assured that Breaking Bread Journeys and our related touring companies Travelujah and Samara Tourist  & Travel will not operate any tour unless we feel we can do so safely. All of our tours are designed so as to eliminate visits to sites on certain week days or holidays where crowds  (and/or tensions) can be high.    Considering our longstanding experience running Holy Land tours, and our location, on the ground in Jerusalem, we are flexible and quite able to reroute any program at any moment should the need arise. We check to ensure that the sites in our programs can be safely accessed  prior to departure and should we need to revise our schedule we can be immediately responsive. Your security is of utmost importance to us.

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Categories: Safety

Traveling abroad can be a bit stressful, especially when visiting a new place. Luckily with technology racing ahead, it’s never been easier to find local information with the simple swipe of a finger. Prepare for your Holy Land travel adventures by downloading our top 18 smartphone apps (in no particular order) to simplify your trip and make you look like a local!

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1.Moovit

Your guide to public transportation, this app contains local bus routes and train schedules. With availability in several countries, it is a travel must have for locals and tourists alike.

2. Instagram

What better way to capture your journey and share it with friends and family at home? Upload pictures and videos to your account and share across multiple social media platforms.

3. GetTaxi

Hail a cab to the airport or just out to dinner with this convenient app. Car service arrives in minutes and you can pay either with cash or credit card, so one less thing to worry about. Available in Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv.

4. TripAdvisor

Get tips from other travelers on the best spots in Israel, from hotels to restaurants to tourist attractions, you’ll never run out of things to do!

5. Waze

Crucial if you’re planning on renting a car during your trip to the Holy Land, Waze will help you navigate through Israel using the real-time advice of other drivers. Learn about traffic, adverse conditions, or simply receive alternate route suggestions.

6. XE Currency

Convert every world currency and calculate your travel expenses in advance using this free app.

7. Kayak

Thinking of booking a quick trip to Eilat or want to keep track of your return flight in real time? Kayak will aggregate hundreds of sites to help manage your travel logistics.

8. TravelSafe Pro

Built for Android, this app will give you life-saving information for your travels abroad. Easily access local numbers for police, fire, medical, or even your country’s embassy.

9. Telobike

Telobike is a great way to find the closest bike rental stations for your adventures around Tel Aviv on the city’s communal bike system.

10. Israel App Digital Guidebook

This digital travel guide focuses on the countless historical sites throughout Israel, and allows users to also get detailed cultural and social information as well.

11. Chronus Imaging

This app provides self-guided tours of the Holy Land complete with audio and video explanations of specific site heritage.

12. A Hebrew/English translator. There are so many options out there, it’s best to test a few and see which ones are the most comfortable for you.

13. i24News

Stay up-to-speed with the latest local and world news broadcast in English, French, and Arabic from studios at the port of Jaffa.

14. Skype

Stay in touch with friends and family back home with Skype’s easy communication interface. You can pre-pay for minutes. (FaceTime is another great –free- option if you’ll be within reach of WiFi.)

15. Packing Pro

If you’re prone to over- (or under-) packing, this app will help you stay organized using lists and reminders of your Holy Land travel must-haves.

16. Palestine and Palestinians – a new travel app (no reviews yet at the Apple store) but if its like the travel book of the same name – it should be good

17. Palestine Guide and Map – also unrated – ($7.99) though worth checking out on the Apple Store

18. Israel Travel Guide – Rated 3 stars ($.99)

It’s also a good idea to search for city-specific guides if you’re planning to spend an extended period in a certain place. Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Haifa, and Tel Aviv are just some of the cities that offer detailed information for your mobile device.
Also, for most travel destinations it can be crucial to have a reliable weather app in your device. Israel and the Palestinian Territories has relatively consistent regional weather, so if you check on the weather one day, it will most likely stay the same for the duration of your trip. Hope you enjoy sunshine!

Other honorable mentions:

WhatsApp – A messager that allows you to SMS friends worldwide at no additional cost.
Chabad’s Shabbat & Holiday Times – Determine what times businesses will close for the weekend based on your satellite location.

Even without a smartphone, your trip to Israel will be amazing. But doesn’t it feel wonderful to have all this information available at your fingertips?

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Come July, August and September the weather isn’t the only thing hot about Jerusalem. There are plenty of festivals and special events that are sizzling throughout the summer months. Breaking Bread Journeys has compiled a list of some of the most exciting activities that are coming up over the next two months. Mark your calendars now and start planning your long weekend in Jerusalem.

1. Israel Museum – Exhibition Big Bambu
When: June 6 – October 1, 2014
What: An incredible 16 meter high installation by two American artists and twin brothers, Doug and Mike Starn, featuring over 10,000 bamboo poles, 80 kilometers of rope. A specially selected team of rock climbers created this exiting exhibit which allows visitors to explore by climbing through a ‘bamboo forest’. Additional fee of 10NIS per adult and 5 NIS per child (in addition to museum entrance ticket).

Doug and Mike Starns bamboo installation at the Israel Museum

Doug adn Mike Starns bamboo installation at the Israel Museum

2. Israel Museum – Contact Point
When – July 10, 2014
What – Artists from different disciplines gather at the museum to create a special contact point between themselves and an artwork.

3. In House Festival
When: July 7 – 11, 2014
What: Several of Jerusalem’s intriguing artist homes will open their doors to the public and provides visitors with an opportunity to learn from the artists about the many stories behind these homes. Several unique productions will take place during the festival

4. Israel Camerata Jerusalem – The Tempest
When: July 8, 2014
What: Israel Camerata orchestra performance of The Tempest with Avner Biron conductor and Itamar Zorman violinist. Jerusalem Theater, Henry Crown Hall. 02-560-5755

5. 31st Annual Jerusalem Film Festival
When: July 10- 20
What: This 10 day Jerusalem festival some of the best Israeli and world cinema as well as panels, workshops and more.

6. Jerusalem Beer Festival
When: August 7 – 8, 2014
What: – If you like beer than this is the festival for you. In its 9th year, this two day festival takes place at Independence Park, in the center of Jerusalem, and showcases over 120 types of local beers.

7. Jerusalem Wine Festival – Israel Museum
When: August 11 – 14, 2014
What: A wine lovers dream – this exceptional festival features wines from over 60 large and small boutique wineries throughout the region and is complimented by live evening entertainment in the museum’s beautiful Rose Garden.

8. Jerusalem International Puppet Theatre
When: August 10 – 14, 2014
What: An exciting week of visual entertainment from exceptional artists. Geared for children and adults alike.

9. Jerusalem Arts & Crafts Festival (Hutzot Hayotzer)
When: August 11 – 23, 2014
What: This 12 day cultural festival (now in its 39th year) features over 200 artisans as well as open air concerts from some of Israel’s most celebrated entertainers. Fun for the entire family!

10. Between Fork and Knife Culinary Festival
When: August 20 – September 7, 2014
What: First time ever – two renowned local Jerusalem chefs, Kamel Hashlamon and Assaf Granit one Jewish, one Arab, both born in Jerusalem come together in a unique culinary dialogue experience every evening in a stunning, quirky building on Mount Zion, adjacent to the site of the last supper, King David’s tomb, the village of Silwan, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.

11. Formula 1 Race
When: August 28 – 29, 2014
What: An exciting two days watching race cars speed through the Holy City

12. Sacred Music Festival
When: September 9 – 12, 2014
What: An unprecedented program filled with dozens of artists and musicians from all over the world with rich performances that echo Jerusalem’s profound diversity. A unique experience to be found only in Jerusalem.

13. The Book of Books – at the Bible Lands Museum
When: Ongoing through October 25, 2014
What: A historic exhibition that traces over 2000 years of the Bible by displaying examples of the most extraordinary and important biblical texts ever seen, including texts from the Septuagint, the Cairo Geniza and the Gutenberg Bible.

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Categories: Culture, events

The 12 square meter kitchen might be cramped but there is nothing small about the taste of the artisenal breads created by Les Saidel in his tiny workspace in Karnei Shomron.

Meet Les Saidel, a South African immigrant who learned the art of baking from his mother at the age of 13. However, he wasn’t to find his true calling as a specialty bread baker until his mid 40’s, after he lost his job in the high tech industry when his employer went bankrupt. Left with no job and no real means of employment in high tech (four mouths to feed including one special needs child) – Les opted to go back to his roots – and become a professional baker.

Les Saidel in front of his home made brick oven

Les Saidel in front of his home made brick oven

He received a break baking degree from San Francisco Baking Institute and rather than purchasing a 40,000 Euros commercial oven which he could not afford, he spent $650 and purchased professional blueprints from Alan Scott, a professional brick oven designer based in Tanzania. Alan coached him through the entire building process – it took two months for Les to build his world class oven, that contains over six square meters of baking space.

The inside of the brick oven with 6 square meters of baking space

The inside of the brick oven with 6 square meters of baking space

Then he had to find the right starters. Through Ed Wood, a chemical engineer based in Saudi Arabia, he purchased sourdough starters from Austria, Saudia Arabia, San Francisco and other places. With great care Les feeds the starters daily and continues to grow his own cultures for his bread making.

The variety of sourdough starters

The variety of sourdough starters

The results speak for themselves.

The bakery is too small by local health standards to be licensed as an official bakery so Les runs professional bread making workshops for small groups out of his home and kitchen in the heart of the community of Karnei Shomron, a small settlement community 30 minutes from Tel Aviv.

During his workshop, Les explains that he didn’t move to the community for political statement at all but rather because he was seeking a rural atmosphere, good schools, warm community and access to the big city. Interesting story which Les is happily speaks about during his engaging workshop. They use to live in Beit Meir outside of Jerusalem, but wanted a more pastoral setting and quality of life.

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Alongside the colorful spices, handmade pistachio nougats and the seasons freshest vegetables, the smell of flavorful Turkish coffee permeates the alleyways of the ancient walled city of Akko. Known for its Crusader fortress, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, along with many other fascinating attractions, Akko has always been a favorite local tourist attraction but somehow most foreign tourists to Israel simply miss it for lack of time. Big mistake.

One of the six arches fronting the synagogue

One of the six arches fronting the synagogue

In our most recent Akko tour we spent an afternoon just outside the old city walls, at the Or Torah Tunisian Synagogue in Akko, known as the “Jariva” – a mosaic encrusted four story building featuring millions of floor to ceiling natural mosaics-each depict the story of the Jewish people, from the beginning of the biblical period through modern times including Israel, Zionism, the Israel Defense Forces (known as the IDF), and more. It is the only synagogue of its kind in the world. Built after the massive El – Ghriba Synagague in Djerba, the intricate and elaborate design represents one man’s vision, Zion Badash, an 80+ year old Holocaust survivor from Tunisia. Most people don’t even realize that many Tunisians were also rounded up and tranported to European concentration camps. Zion, now over 80, has dedicated his life’s work to the synagogue – he became involved with the shul in his 20’s when the state gave the building to the local Tunisian community and has overseen every inch of the ongoing development since then.

Mosaic and stained glass domed ceiling inside the synagogue

Mosaic and stained glass domed ceiling inside the synagogue

Communities from around the world have helped in funding the development, bit by bit and new mosaics, all of which are designed by Badash and then created at nearby Kibbutz Eilon, are continuously added. Our tour guide, Verkene, a local Akko resident, commented during our visit that there was a new mosaic on the floor that hadn’t been there the last time she visited a couple months back.

The structure includes 140 stained glass windows depicting many scenes from Jewish history and millions of natural mosaics covering almost every inch of the building’s floors, windows, steps, ceilings, hallways, stairwells, even inside the seven arks where the torahs are kept. However, there is one small section of a stain glass window mosaic on the first floor that is not unfinished. Our guide explained that this was on purpose, because Badash wanted to ensure that there would be imperfections because nothing created by man should be perfect.

On most days, Badash can be found on the main floor, chatting in Hebrew or French with visitors and telling his own personal story of survival.

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Breaking Bread Journeys
P.O.Box 14058
E. Jerusalem 91140
Phone: +1 (561) 910-0640
info@breakingbreadjourneys.com

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