Accompanying partner tours

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Helen Cohn

Licensed tour guide, member of the steering committee for the “Love Our Tours” days of the Green Pilgrimage Jerusalem Symposium.

Specialist in wine tours, accredited by the Israel Ministry of Tourism.
Website: www.israeldaysout.com
Blog: http://israeldaysout.com/blog

I came to live in Israel over 25 years ago and am still enchanted by all there is to see and experience in this compact country which has more history, archeology and spirituality per centimeter than any other place I know.

Jews, Christians, Moslems, Druze and Bahai all have deep religious ties to the region. It has been home to kings, patriarchs and prophets from the Bible, the Romans, the Crusaders, the Mameluks, the Ottoman Turks and the British, to name but a few. Richard the Lion Heart, Napoleon and Saladin all fought to possess her.

I would be happy to introduce you to some of the delights of this wonderful country and give you a taste of the diversity it has to offer. Whether you want to amble through the streets and get acquainted with personalities of the past and present, hike through nature and fall in love with the fabulous scenery, experience the uniqueness of the desert, participate in an archeological dig, visit different ethnic communities, sky dive, rappel or view the country from above in a helicopter, I would be pleased to help you experience Israel just the way you want! Where else can you see archeological remains from 3000 years ago, go skiing, snorkeling and marvel at the nature of the
desert all within a six hour drive?

If food and wine are subjects that are close to your heart, I would be glad to arrange a tour to introduce you to some of the best of Israeli cuisine. With a population that is a pot pourri from countries all around the globe, the Israeli food scene is a vibrant fusion of different cooking styles and creativity. Today Israel boasts over 250 wineries and Israeli wines are scooping up the medals and prizes at international competitions. Olive oil, cheese and chocolate are all specialist industries which are thriving here too, with a plethora of boutique establishments just waiting to tickle your taste buds.

Details of tours for accompanying partners are listed below.

Day tours

For tour registration, please call:
Helen Cohn
Phone: 054 308 1150 in Israel
+972 54 308 1150 from outside Israel
Email: cohnfam@013.net

A minimum of ten participants need to register for a tour to take place.
All tours will depart from the YMCA.
All morning tours depart at 9.30
All afternoon tours EXCEPT FOR WEDNESDAY depart at 2.00

Introduction to Jewish Jerusalem

Sunday April 21st, Morning tour 150 NIS

Our tour will take us to the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, where we shall have an opportunity to visit some of the ancient and reconstructed synagogues that are characteristic of this area. In addition, we shall walk along the Roman Cardo, the main commercial street of the 6th century, view the four quarters from the rooftops and spend time at the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism.

We shall also explore the Southern Wall excavations, the largest archeological area within the Old City. This fascinating site will help us visualize what the city was like during the days of the temple as we view the ritual baths of the temple worshipers, the stores where they shopped and tread on the original steps that led into the temple itself. The remnants of Ummayad palaces dating from the Islamic conquests, together with Crusader buildings give you an idea how closely Jerusalem’s history is intertwined.

Modest dress required

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The City of David

Sunday April 21st, Afternoon tour 150 NIS

The City of David, located outside the present day Old City walls is where the history of Jerusalem began. Home of King David, we shall walk in the footsteps of kings and prophets, see where they lived and witness some of the most exciting archeological finds of the ancient world.
Whilst many of Jerusalem’s marvels are above ground, here we descend underground to the source of the Gihon spring, the major water source of Jerusalem for over 1000 years. If you like adventure you can walk through knee deep water in a 2700 year old water tunnel. There is a dry tunnel option.There are many steps on this tour. If you would like to walk through the wet tunnel bring shorts and water shoes. Please state which option you prefer on booking.

Introduction to Moslem and Christian Quarters

Monday April 22nd, Full day tour including transportation 300 NIS

We shall walk along the ramparts of the Old City Wall looking into the Christian Quarter. At the Damascus Gate, considered by many to be the most beautiful architecturally, we shall descend underground into the Roman gate beneath. From there we shall visit Solomon’s Quarry, an impressive underground cavern associated with kings and prophets and more recently the freemasons. We shall enter the busy Arab souk and head for Abu Shukri which is in the top league of hummus restaurants in Israel. There we shall have a simple, speedy but delicious lunch (included in price).Afterwards we shall ascend the Temple Mount or Haram el Sharif and learn about this special site, the heart of the holiest part of the city for Moslems and Jews. The silver domed El Aksa mosque and the golden topped Dome of the Rock dominate the area, though they are currently closed to non-Moslems. Nevertheless there is still much to see and the magnificent architecture of the Dome of the Rock is worth a close look.

We shall then make our way to the Via Dolorosa and walk through the Muslim and Christian quarters of today as we follow the traditional path Jesus took from the place of his condemnation to his crucifixion. Our journey along this route will allow time to visit the various Stations of the Cross ending up at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which is the main Christian site of pilgrimage in the city. On the way we may make some interesting detours to discover hidden gems within the Old City.

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Masada and the Dead Sea

Tuesday April 23rd, Full day tour including transportation 500 NIS

We shall travel out of the city via the Judean desert to Masada, the historic mountain top fortress renovated by King Herod and last home of the rebels of the Great Revolt. We shall tour the fortress and palace and learn the story of how the Jews defied the mighty Roman army at this spot and the controversial lessons that were learned. Feel the difference in altitude as we plummet from 800 metres above sea level to 400 metres below! After a simple lunch in a local self service restaurant (cost not included) we shall drive to the Dead Sea where you will have the opportunity to float in its buoyant waters, cover yourself in mineral rich mud and experience what it is like to be at the lowest point on earth. It is an experience not to be missed, so don’t forget your bathing costume and towel. Water shoes are also advisable.

Mahane Yehuda

Wednesday April 24th. Morning tour including transportation 150 NIS

Our morning tour takes you to Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem’s most colourful market. Filled with fresh produce from the country’s finest fruit and vegetable suppliers, and lively stall holders vying with each other for the most competitive price, this market is one you experience with all your senses. We shall learn about its origins, visit some of its stalls and have the chance to meet the locals and taste food you will not find in your supermarket at home. Hidden away between the indoor and outdoor stalls are some more unusual boutiques and specialist shops which add to the unique experience.
This is an ideal place to buy your spices and dried fruit and nuts, or you may just nibble as you are guided through.

Archeological Sifting

Wednesday April 24th. Afternoon Tour including transportation 150 NIS Departs 1.30

Our afternoon tour allows you to participate in an unforgettable archeological experience at Emek Zurim on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. There you will have the opportunity to sift through material that comes from the most contested religious site on earth. Back in 1999, the Waqf excavated beneath the Temple Mount to build a new mosque. The soil removed was deposited in the Kidron valley as spoil. However, archaeologists realised that within this spoil were any number of ancient artefacts that could be recovered by sifting the soil. You can join them and take part in uncovering long buried treasures.

Before you start there will be a short lecture about the site itself and the historic context of the material that you will be exploring. As you search and sift there will be archaeologists on hand to explain the significance of the artefacts that you uncover. You will be sure to find something of interest, whether animal bones from sacrifices, pottery, glass, or, if you are lucky, an ancient coin.

This is an opportunity to connect with Jerusalem’s past and literally touch its history with your fingertips.

Fun, Flavour and Food

Thursday April 25th. Full Day Tour including transportation and all food 600 NIS

This is your opportunity to sample different types of local food and discover some of the unique range of Israeli cuisine.Our tour takes us to the lowland area around Jerusalem where we shall visit an organic vegetable farm with over 75 different types of fruit and vegetables and where they make their own tehina (sesame paste) and halva (also made from sesame). After trying their wares your taste buds will clearly understand the meaning of the word “fresh”.

We shall continue to a family goat farm, located on a moshav (agricultural community) where you will be able to sample their cheeses and if you wish you may even milk one of their goats.

Our gastronomic tour will then take us to a local family descended from the ancient Jews of Babylon. They will welcome us into their home and prepare us a special meal of Kurdish delicacies. If we are lucky we shall persuade them to share with us some of the secrets of their culinary heritage.

To end the day we shall visit a local winery. There we shall have the opportunity not only to sample the wine, but to spend time in the vineyard and get to understand the complex process of winemaking starting from the moment the decision to plant the grapes is made.

Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial

Friday April 26th. Morning Tour including transportation 150 NIS

A visit to this museum, on the itinerary of every visiting foreign dignitary, is a must for those who wish to understand the national trauma which is an integral part of the Israeli psyche. Recently rebuilt in a striking example of modern architecture, the museum literally nestles into the hills of Jerusalem. Within its walls you will discover a multi dimensional approach to preserving testimony and memory. The complex also includes a memorial hall, the Avenue of the Righteous amongst the Nations, in recognition of those non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews, a children’s memorial and artwork commemorating events throughout the holocaust.The guided tour will take you through the Avenue of the Righteous Gentiles, Warsaw Ghetto Plaza, the Children’s Memorial, the synagogue and the Korczak statue. You will be escorted through the main museum without commentary, in order to allow you the time and space to experience the exhibit at your own pace. The guide will be available to answer questions. ap5