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Showing posts from June, 2010

Daliat-el-Carmel - Druze village

The Druze are an Arabic-speaking people who do not practice Islam, but have a secretive religion that draws heavily on the Bible and venerates Yitro (the father-in-law of Moses). They are extremely loyal citizens of the State of Israel. Daliat-el-Carmel is a Druze village located in the Mount Carmel region somewhere between Zichron Yaakov and Haifa. The drive to the village is absolutely stunning as the road winds among the picturesque mountains. Daliat-el-Carmel is known for its bazaar in the old city. It may be that on weekends, the bazaar is more impressive, but on the recent weekday morning that I visited, I found the bazaar to consist of one street of run-down shops selling primarily cheap tchockes made abroad. The only find was one shop that sells items specially weaved by the Druze. I am fascinated by this group and would like to learn more about them first-hand but, unfortunately the experience was a disappointment as the bazaar and adjacent streets lacked charm, ambience…

Elton John - enjoyable

I, along with approximately 45,000 other people, went to the recent Elton John concert at the stadium in Ramat Gan. I enjoyed watching Elton John who at the age of 63 is still a very talented performer. But, this entry is more about the logistics of the performance - something that makes me tense before any big event here in Israel. I am pleased to report that the concert was well-organized; management of the crowd was excellent. Yes, we hit traffic on the way and yes, there is no parking at the stadium so street parking is the only option. In addition, there were lines at various points (and it was hot and sticky). But, overall, the evening was orderly and lacked in chaos, no doubt thanks to tremendous pre-concert planning and to the large numbers of staff located throughout the stadium. Israel has come a long way since the last time Elton John landed in Israel. Back in 1993, he was so mobbed by fans that he left the country before even performing (he was convinced to return t…

Ramat Hanadiv - a natural gem with a great cafe

Ramat Hanadiv, located between Zichron Yaakov and Binyamina, contains an underground crypt which is the final burial place of Baron Edmond de Rothschild, the well-known benefactor, and his wife. However, the majority of Ramat Hanadiv consists of carefully managed open space that contain gardens, a nature park and a visitors pavilion. The gardens are absolutely beautiful and meticulously maintained. There is a rose garden designed as a traditional European garden, a palm garden with a variety of palm trees brought from all over the world, a fragrance garden containing various fragrant plants and spices that is specifically aimed at the visually impaired, and a cascade garden. It is lovely to stroll among the gardens which are set in a hilltop with panoramic views. Make sure to see the short film (Hebrew with English subtitles) at the visitors pavilion to learn about the story of Ramat Hanadiv.We did not have the time or energy to go to the nature park where there are actual walking…

The architecture of Jaffa

Tel Aviv is known as the fun-loving party city of Israel but in fact, it is a city that is rich in history, albeit relatively modern history. Therefore, I happen to enjoy walking tours of Tel Aviv since that is a good way to learn about the history of the country.Paule Rakower (White City Tours) gives a tour of the architectural styles outside the old city of Jaffa from the Ottoman period, through the British mandate and concluding with modern day Israel. This is the second tour of Paule's that I have attended. Some people may find her style to be a bit dry but I find her to be a wealth of information. For approximately two hours, we walked right outside the walls of Old Jaffa and looked at various architectural styles. I am not an architectural buff but I found the information fascinating and Paule always adds in some interesting historical facts and stories. Also Jaffa is undergoing a lot of restoration and renovation and has a great vibe. Besides the flea market, there ar…

Nabucco on Masada - Magnificent

Sometimes a cultural experience here in Israel is so well-done and world class that it makes me happy that I live here. Last night's performance of Verdi's opera, Nabucco, conducted by Daniel Oren at Masada certainly did the trick. The experience is not for the faint of heart. The opera began at 10 PM and ended at approximately 1 AM. There were three ways of getting there and back: By bus, by buying a hotel package at one of the Dead Sea hotels or by driving. We opted for the bus option which meant that we left Tel Aviv at around 5 PM and did not return until 4 AM. And, being that Masada is located in the desert, it was quite a warm evening. Finally, the seating in a temporary open-air theater was not the most comfortable. Notwithstanding all the inconveniences, the event was extremely well-organized from start to finish with some very nice touches such as the distribution of fans, seat cushions and ices. The space outside the theater was set up with couches, tables a…