the windmill never ground flour. It ground holy air.After an extensive renovation project funded by the Jerusalem Foundation, which involved flying in windmill experts from Europe, the windmill is again operational.
Through these stories, people will learn the history, learn about the Jewish traditions and hopefully also about themselves,says Maria Zavin, who oversees marketing for Yalla Basta. “It’s a way to see the city in a vivid way.”
We’ve always wanted to allow the traveler to experience the local life, not just the dry history,Zavin says.
There are so many stories to tell,Zavin says. Through these stories, the guides also hope that visitors--no matter their religion--will also look inside themselves as they learn about the spiritual journeys of both famous and ordinary; and ancient and contemporary locals.
I want to show people that the market is a fascinating place, a place you can experience gourmet food, but that it is still an authentic market, the place where people buy their daily fruits and vegetables and bread,explains Tali Friedman, the chef who opened the Atelier in back in 2009, before Israel’s food scene began to attract so much international attention. Friedman, who studied cooking Paris and Israel, grew up near the market, and says it has always influenced her cooking. Although over the years she worked in some of the city’s top restaurants, she was always trying to incorporate her grandmother’s style of cooking, based on fresh vegetables, meat and fish purchased in Mahane Yehuda.
I always kept coming back to the shuk,she says. That led to her begin offering food tours for tourists, and then to eventually open the Atelier.
Visitors can enjoy really fine food,”Friedman says. “But they also learn about the people of the market.The custom tours and workshops can be arranged for couples or small groups by contacting The Jerusalem Atelier.
It now ensures that we have more variety and a high quality of work,says Cecilia Lind, an artist who joined Altogether 8 three years ago and is now one of 15 artists in the new joint cooperative. “We are getting used to working together and rebranding ourselves.”
We are really a community, and support each other,says Lind, who lives in the Greek Colony, where she has an in-home studio.
Jerusalem definitely influences my work,says Simon, who was born in the coastal city of Ashkelon, but has lived and worked in an old stone house in Jerusalem’s Nachlaot neighborhood for more than three decades.
My idea was to take people on a walk through a gallery of art,said Renee Sivan, the museum’s archaeologist who curated the show. “Seeing these works of art lets people have a different appreciation and see the appreciation different people had for David.”
King David is not only a king, he’s a musician, a poet and also very very human,Sivan said.
His eyes were wide open, just looking the whole time,she said.
Most are in very old and ancient places.Like many newcomers to the city, Romano-- who has a university degree in art history and has worked in galleries in New York and Paris before moving to Jerusalem in 2015-- was surprised to find so many contemporary art galleries and artists working here. Jerusalem is home to Israel’s premier art school, Bezalel Academy; but until recently, most graduates headed for Tel Aviv, long the capital of Israel’s contemporary art scene, and still its commercial art center. Now, that is starting to change, and in recent years, more artists have set up shop in Jerusalem, working mainly in studios and galleries that are cooperative, non-profit, or funded by the municipality.
The galleries here are not focused on selling things, so it’s a very authentic and community-oriented vibe,Romano says. And it’s another way to learn about the city, even for those without any prior interest or knowledge of art, she says. This is why she started her blog and to give tours.
It’s about Jerusalem. The city’s symbol is the lion, which is powerful, grand and royal and Biblical. But the cats, who live all over the streets in Jerusalem, represent the everyday life here. The citizens are kind of like cats.After visiting Beita, while walking along Jaffa Road, Romano pointed out grafiti by the street artist Solomon Souza, whose colorful paintings cover much of the city’s Mahane Yehuda outdoor market. The tour also passed by an outdoor exhibition space called Black Box, which features rotating works displayed in large billboards near the Davidka light rail station.
There are a lot of hidden places like this around the city,Romano says. “And even though the focus is on contemporary art, you also can’t escape the history.”
I love taking care of couples, setting them up with some nice wine and food, then letting them have the space for a conversation together," Jam says.It makes me really happy, creating a space for them to have a nice experience together."
I’m old-school like that,he says. Red & White opens each evening at 6 p.m., and stays open until the last person leaves, he says. “One day it may be at 11, or it could be until 2 a.m.,” Jam says, adding that it’s a good idea for patrons to make a reservation.
But I will just have wine during Passover,he says, explaining that he will close his kosher kitchen during the holiday, when Jews refrain from eating any leavened grains. “I like to keep it simple.”
No matter how many people come, it's important for me to be open,Jam says.” If I just provide a space for one couple, or one person, that's enough."
This house is full of stories,she says. They are stories that she is eager to share with visitors. That’s why several years ago, she and about 15 other women founded Nifleot Ein Kerem, which organizes visits for both individuals and groups of tourists and business travelers to homes in Ein Kerem for meals, cooking lessons, musical performances and other cultural activities.
It brings out everything I had inside of me,she says. “I really enjoy talking about the old days.”
But once in a while I open my door.Prices for in-home tours vary from 30 shekels per person to more than 200 shekels per person, depending on the activity and number of people. For more information and to make a reservation, email Nashim.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02-6298154 or 054-2550505. Or contact the individual hostesses here
Else it probably would have been turned into luxury apartments or a boutique hotel,Schonfeld says. “It was really because of Ruth’s exhibit that this is what it is today.” While Wexler says “it’s a great thing,” that the two acres of land and its buildings have been turned into such a vibrant space, it is still important to her to educate people about its historical role in treating Hansen’s Disease, and in fighting the stigma that is still associated with leprosy. She now gives private tours of the property, including the few hospital rooms that have been preserved as a museum. One of the first things she emphasizes is that
this was never a closed institute. Patients could come and go, and people could come in and visit.Contrary to the cultural fears people have about it, going back to Biblical times, leprosy is only “mildly contagious,” Wexler explains. Only about 5% of the human population can actually catch it, as most immune systems fight it off, she says. And since the 1940s it has been treatable with antibiotics. “There are good cures and most patients can lead a normal life,” she says. But even though going back to the 1940s, some of the Hansen Hospital patients were medically-fit to go home, many stayed living here, as their families sometimes rejected them due to social stigma and fears of catching the disease, Wexler says. The black and white photos hanging in the museum reflect the community that developed in this pastoral place. Photos can be seen of the residential patients working in the gardens and learning how to sew.
Christians, Muslims and Jews, everybody lived together,Wexler says. This is the part of the hospital’s history that she really does not want to be forgotten, and this is why she gives tours. For people from outside Jerusalem who come here for the cultural events, “many don’t even realize what this place used to be,” she says. “And I feel that it is a very special human and cultural story, how for everybody who came in, this was a home for them.”
You can say it’s just about a color, but it really takes you so many places,says one of the exhibit’s curators, Oree Meiri, as she walked through the exhibit on a recent morning. “I learned so much in the process of organizing this exhibit that I can’t even begin to tell you.”
It was really a complex process to extract this dye, and it was a big deal that the color stayed, and didn’t fade or wash out,Meiri says, as she looks at a case full of ancient sea snail, or murex, shells found at archaeological sites. This so-called “tekhelet” was also the color that the ancient Israelites were instructed to use to dye the fringes that hung from their four-cornered garments.
Today blue is something we take for granted,Meiri says. “But the story of how it came to be this way is really amazing. It really is a deep color.”