In September 1892, the Jerusalem train station opened as the first and last stop of the Jerusalem-Jaffa line. It closed in 1998 and the station offices, ticket office and hall and its 3000-square-meter concourse sat deserted until “First Station” was renovated and restored this past year. The site opened in May and is a venue for seven eateries, a family bazaar, a design fair for 30 designers, a running shoes store, an activity center for children and a visitors store plus a myriad of activities running seven days a week.
A unique exhibition of .62 miles of train tracks with miniature trains, villages, towns, landscapes and train yards of Europe opened at the First Station, the recently renovated Jerusalem train area, early this August. This is the first time a miniature train exhibition has been held in Israel, and train enthusiasts of all ages will marvel at the way this has been created.
At the foot of the Sea of Galilee, 76 miles from Jerusalem, is the Yigal Allon Center (or the Man in the Galilee Museum), named for one ofboat the founders of Kibbbutz Ginosar,Yigal Allon. Allon went on to become Minister of Education and Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister.
Maalot is a small, quaint, European-style restaurant featuring tapas, which chef and co-owner, Gad Yaari, borrowed from the Spanish cuisine and combined with the traditional food of his grandparents who came from Greece, Bulgaria, Iran, Turkey, Iraq and Kurdistan.
Who would drive 105 miles for a beer? When you visit the visitors’ center in Katzrin, the capital of the Golan Heights, in the reception area is a large kosher dairy restaurant combined with a coffee shop and store selling organic dried fruits, olive oil, chocolates, natural cosmetics, wines from Golan wineries and Bazelet beer from the Golan Brewery.
Displayed on the wall on the right are Moroccan brass Chanukah oil lamps, replicas of those made in the 18 th and 19th centuries; modern brass Chanukiot; and many different kinds of hamsas, the five-fingered amulet used decoratively and in jewelry, said to ward off “the evil eye.”
Two very typical Israeli foods, particularly in Middle Eastern restaurants are shashlik and kebab. These words are often used interchangeably, although they mean something different. Shashlik or shishkebab dates back to ancient Persia but was popularized by Turks during the Ottoman Empire, particularly the Turkish soldiers camping out.
Forty minutes out of Jerusalem, 12 miles to the west, is Moshav Ramat Raziel. In 1971, Eli Ben Zaken and his wife came to Israel and bought a house and land on this moshav.
Go into any gift shop in Jerusalem, and the pomegranate design is there on hamsas, jewelry boxes, salt and pepper shakers, matchbox covers, key chains, evening bags, wall hangings, varied embroidered items, and a myriad of religious items. They are the distinguishable mark of the Israeli artist, Yair Emanuel.
Going to Jerusalem soon? Don’t miss “Ah, Jerusalem,” an original time-traveling musical for tourists.
Chickpeas are among the oldest cultivated plants and are native to northern Persia. They are a staple of peasant cooking, a source of cheap protein, and they’ve been included in the diets of Jews living along the Mediterranean coast and North Africa for centuries.
Cafes are very popular in Israel, practically on every corner, because Israel has a definite coffee culture.
A short ride outside of Jerusalem, in the suburb of Ramat Motza, is a large building with the word, Yvel. Yvel is Levy spelled backwards and the home of the international jewelry company founded by Orna and Isaac Levy.
After 15 years being closed, the Jerusalem Railway Station reopened May 14, 2013, before Shavuot, under the name, The First Station, for a full day of exciting, fun activities.
One of the nicest and most distinct Israeli traditions is food. Jews coming from the Middle East and Far East, from Europe, Australia, South Africa, North and South America—all adopted the local cooking habits to their dietary laws and passed them on to their children. The cooking style of the countries where they lived came as part of their baggage when they made their way to Israel, and they blended with those who had come before them.