Ra’anana ( רַעֲנָנָה) is a city of immigrants.  They immigrated from Tel Aviv in 1922 with just nine people, four “Ahuzat members, three workers and two watchmen. The originial name was Ahuzat A – New York, because many people who came to live there were from New York. Today Ra’anana is a city (עיר)  with over 70,000 people.  Most of them are native Israelis with a large amount of English, French and Spanish speakers. Most of the residents live in Ra’anana, and work in Tel Aviv or Herzlya in the Hi-Tech sectors. Continue reading “Ra’anana”

Rosh Hanikra

Rosh Hanikra is a very beautiful place in Northern Israel. (צפון ישראל)  It lies on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.  (ים התיכון)  The most important attraction is the grottos, (ניקרה) caves that are even now still being carved out of the rock by the action of the waves.

Source: google.co.uk via Claire on Pinterest

Historically, Northern Israel was a passage way for people and armies, to make their way south to Egypt. Many peoples traveled through this country, amazed at the beauty of the coast. Ancient peoples such as the Sidionians and the Phoenicians lived in this area.

Present Day Rosh Hankira

The grottos themselves are a national park. You can hike there or take a cable car. The cable car is one of the steepest in the world, it has a gradient of 60 degrees. (מעלות) Then you get out of the cable car, and go on a short 200 meter walk. This takes you to the grottos. Be sure to wear waterproof (נגד מים) clothing as the sea spray can be very cold. In fact, if you visit in the winter on a windy day, the views will be even more spectacular! The grottos are lit even at night (לילה), so you can stay after dark and enjoy the view.

There is more to see at the Visitors’ Center. There is a sound and light show, where you can learn about the history (היסטוריה) of the site. The exhibit shows how the British quarried the rock to expand the train line, see the wildlife that inhabits the grottos and see how they were formed.

Enjoy your trip to Rosh Hanikra and be sure to take some pictures (תמנות).

Vocabulary of Rosh Hanikra

צפון ישראל
ים התיכון
נגד מים

Going up North

Northern Israel has lots of places to see! During August, which is the main vacation (חופש) time for Israelis, you can go up North to see all the sights. The weather is nice, just cooling down a bit and the roads are clear of everyday school traffic (תנועה). If you take Route 6, which is the new toll-road, you can get from Jerusalem to Haifa in about an hour and a half. If you take Route 2, you run into the business traffic through Tel Aviv, and Route 4 has traffic lights (רמזורים) when it goes through local towns such as Hadera and Raanna, so it will take you longer.

What to see up North!

There are many places to see in Northern Israel. One place to be sure to go to is the Golan Heights. ( רמת הגולן) This is the highest place in Israel. In the winter there is even snow on Mount Hermon! When the ski resort is open, it is announced on the National Israel Radio during the news!

Golan Heights Winery

Another place is the Golan Heights Winery. You can go on a tour of the winery see how they process the grapes. Tours are in many different languages and start throughout the day. It is best to call before to make sure though. At the end of the tour, there is a wine tasting session in which you get to taste all the different kinds of wine that are made in the Winery. Of course all the wines are Kosher for Passover (כשר לפסח)! There is a shop at the end of the tour where you can buy the wines that you just tasted!

Golan Olive Oil Mill

In Katzrin, you can also go on a tour of the Golan Olive Oil Mill, which is not too far from the winery. At the Olive Oil Mill, you can see both old and new ways of making olive oil.(שמן זית) there is a tour, of the oil making process and a shop where you can buy unusual products made from olives and olive oil.


A favorite vacation spot in the North is Tiberius, or Tiveria (טבריה) in Hebrew. This town is considered one of the oldest cities of Israel. Built along the shores of the Kinnert, (הכנרת) also called the Sea of Galilee, there are many things to do. The promenade, has many shops and restaurants overlooking the water. There are many hotels and spas, and boat trips on the lake. The beaches are beautiful and you can even put your deck chair (כסא נוח) in the warm water and relax in style! Tiberius is also the final resting place of Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon, The Rambam, a major pilgrim site.


No trip up North would be complete without going to Tsfat,(צפת) one of the Holy Cities of Israel. Every summer during August the Tsfat Klezmer Festival is held. This year it is a two day event starting on August 20th until August 22. Many performances are free, but the big ones you have to get tickets. You can hear Klezmer music, as well as other kinds of Jewish soul music.
Tsfat is also the final resting place of many famous Rabbis and many people go to Tsfat to pray at their gravesites.(קברים) These include Rabbi Yonaton Ben Uziel, Rabbi Yosef Caro, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, and Rabbi Chaim Vital.

Tsfat also has an artists’s colony which was established in the 1960’s. Even now you can visit the workshops (סדנאות) of many artists and buy beautiful art.


Haifa is Israel’s modern city on the coast of the Mediterranean. It is the largest city in Northern Israel. Haifa Bay is a business and commercial center. The Port (נמל) of Haifa is very important in Israel’s economy.(כלכלה) There is a huge shopping mall, the biggest in Northern Israel. One of the must see, tourist sites is the Bahai Gardens, located on the side of the mountain. Call to get the current visiting hours.

Take some learn Hebrew by Skype with an Israeli teacher and brush up your Hebrew before your trip!


רמת הגולן
כשר לפסח
שמן זית
כסא נוח

Renting an apartment in Israel

Congratulations on deciding to take the big step and live in Israel. Whether you have made Aliyah (עלייה), becoming a citizen of Israel, or are a university student ( אונברסיטת סטודנט ), now you have to find a place to live.
First decide which city and neighborhood (שכונה) you would like to live in. It is a good idea to go visiting friends in that neighborhood and stay overnight. Walk around on Shabbat, to see if you like the general feeling, and of course the climate (מזג אוויר). The climate in Beit Shemesh most of the year is very hot, whereas in Jerusalem, the weather varies quite a bit summer and winter.

Finding an apartment to rent in Israel

Finding an apartment (דירה) to rent (להשכרה) can be very time consuming. Most of the rental apartments in Israel are owned privately, not by large corporations. This means that the condition of apartments varies quite a bit. Most apartments do not have built-in closets (ארונות) like in other countries. If you rent an unfurnished apartment, then remember that you are getting an empty apartment. Buy closets and have them put together by a carpenter (נגר).
You can go to a real estate agent to find an apartment to rent. You will have to pay the equivalent (שווה) of a month’s rent to the Realtor (מתווך). This is good if you don’t speak Hebrew, and the Realtor is bilingual. Then he/she can do all the negotiating for you. Another way to find an apartment is to go to a website with apartment listings. There are a few in Hebrew and some in English. Go see the apartment. One big difference between Israel and the United States is how they number the floors of an apartment building. The ground floor (קרקע) is not included in the numbering. If the ad says 1st floor, then it is one floor up. This is not too bad, but if the ad is for a 4th floor apartment and no elevator (מעלית), then it means that you will have to walk up four flights of stairs!

When dealing with apartment owners, usually they will want first and last month’s rent, and a security check. Some will also want checks written out for the whole year in advance (מראש). You will have to read the rental contract, which is in Hebrew, so bring along a bilingual friend to translate for you. The apartment should have been painted, check that the water works, if there is a solar water heater ( דוד שמש), and if there is a water hookup for a clothes washer. You will also have to pay the yearly property tax (ארנונה) the amount depends upon how many square meters the apartment is. Ask also is there is a monthly charge (ועד בית) for cleaning the stairs and electricity for the elevator if there is one. You will also be responsible for changing the water and electricity service. Also there are a few ways to get Internet service, so shop around for the best deal for Internet, and home telephone service.

If all is to your satisfaction, then make another meeting with the apartment owner, and sign the contract (חוזה); get the key and move in! You are now a proud apartment renter!

Vocabulary about renting in Israel

אונברסיטת סטודנט
מזג אוויר
דוד שמש
ועד בית

Going to the Airport

You are going on vacation?(נופש) You have your plane tickets? (כרטסי טיסה) Your passport (דרכון) is up to date? Your suitcases(מזודות) are packed with your name, address, phone numbers, and I’d put your e-mail address on them as well, and everything is ready for your trip. Nowadays, you have to get to the airport (שדה התעופה) two hours early. I find that the best way to get to the airport is to go by airport taxi.(מונית) In Israel, it is called Nesher Taxi Company. You can take a regular taxi to the airport, but it is very expensive. The Nesher costs (עולה) about $15 or so. Reserving space in the taxi is easy, just call them the day before your flight (טיסה), and they tell you when you have to be waiting outside. If your flight is scheduled to leave at 6:00pm from Ben Gurion Airport (נמל התעופה בן גוריון), they will pick you up at 3:00pm in front of your Jerusalem home. If you live in Tel Aviv, it is much closer and they will pick you up at 3:30pm. It is usually a 40 minute drive from Jerusalem to the Ben Gurion Airport. You will be dropped off right in front of the International Terminal. (הטרימנל הבינלאומי)

Inside the Airport

When you go inside, you will have to wait in line, to show your passport and get your ticket validated. You need a printout of your E-ticket and your passport. A security agent (מאבטח) will come up to you while you are waiting in line to ask questions(שאלות) about who packed your suitcase, and whether you know about everything that is in the suitcases. The security agents are very polite (נימוס), and I have never had any trouble with this part of the check-in process.

When you get to the front of the line, the ticket agent checks your ticket and passport, weighs your luggage, puts the correct tags, for your flight on the suitcase, and sends them off to the baggage handlers. The ticket agents gives you a boarding pass.

Passport control

Once (פעם אחת) I went on a flight at the last minute to the United States. I didn’t know that my Israeli passport had expired! (עבר זמנו) Actually, there is an Israeli Passport office at the airport! I went there, and they are open 24 hours for cases like this! They issued me a temporary (זמני) Israeli Passport on a piece of A4 paper. I had to go into the gate (שער) within two hours or it would expire. I don’t recommend relying upon this method to travel, but it worked once!

The Gate

So now you go up to the gate. You might have more time to wait depending upon (תלוי על) how long it took to do the security measures. (אמצעי בטיחות) There are Duty Free shops and restaurants (מסעדות) if you get hungry or need a book to read on the flight.

On the Plane

I usually go right to the gate and sit down to wait (לחכות) there. I don’t want to be eating and have to get up in the middle of my meal to run (לרוץ) to the plane! When the flight is called, I show my boarding pass and get on the plane. Wow, I did it! I’m in my seat (מושב), and I’m off on my long awaited vacation! See you when I get back!

Vocabulary of the airport

כרטסי טיסה
שדה התעופה
נמל התעופה בן גוריון
הטרימנל הבינלאומי
פעם אחת
עבר זמנו
תלוי על
אמצעי בטיחות

Visiting Jerusalem

Your first visit (ביקור) to Jerusalem is something that you will remember for all your life. It is a city (עיר) of the old and new, the religious and the secular and a wonderful place to visit. There are many places to see, from the Old City (העיר העתיקה), to museums and cultural institutions.

My First Visit to Jerusalem

I remember my first visit to Jerusalem. We came on the bus through Shaar Hagai, The road through the mountain was breathtaking (עוצר נשימה). Even in the middle of the summer the trees were green, the road seemed to always to wind in an upward direction. Finally, we stopped at the Central Bus Station (התחנה המרכזית). To my complete surprise, my best friend Andrea was waiting for me when I got off! She grabbed me by the hand, we stopped at a Gali Store on Ben Yehuda Street (רחוב בן יהודה), bought Israeli sandals, then ran to the Kotel (הכותל)! It was a flash of sound and color as we entered the Shuk (השוק), and around the corner at the bottom, the full glory of the Kotel hit me in the face! This is the Holiest Place for Jews in the World! Then looking up, I saw the Dome of the Rock, the third Holiest place for the Muslims. Ont he way back, we saw the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, one of the most Holy places for Christians! No wonder Jerusalem is called the Holy City(עיר הקודש)!

A taste of long ago

Even today, you can get the taste of long ago. Going to Meah Shearm, you can see Haredim (חרדים), clothed in black as they did in the 17th Century. Over a few streets, down the hill you come to Ben Yehuda Street, which is a Pedestrian Mall. With its many restaurants, shops and money changers it is a favorite hang out for tourists and Jerusalem residents alike.

The 99 bus route

There is a special bus line, the 99 from Egged that will bring you on a tour of all the most important cultural(תרבותי) venues. It is a double decker bus, and be sure to sit on the top so that you can get the best view. You can buy a day pass and get on and off the route 99 bus as many times as you like.

the Israel Museum

The new Israel Museum (מוזיאון ישראל) which has recently been remodeled is a must for everyone to visit. All the exhibits have been updated and you can get a mobile tour phone for a fee that will give you all the details about all the exhibits. Outside, there is the Sculpture garden (גן הפסלים), and the model of Jerusalem during the Second Temple times. It was moved from the Holy Land Hotel and it fits perfectly next to the sunken round building that houses the Dead Sea Scrolls also know as the Scrolls from Kumran (מגילות קומרן).

the Biblical Zoo

Over behind the mall, is the The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem ( גן החיות התנכי) It is famous for its collection of animals that were living in Israel during Biblical times. The zoo features animal exhibits (תצוגת החיות) that are open, and a few like the Lemur, Australian Bat, and Kangaroos, allow visitors to enter the animals’ exhibit. The zoo keepers are in the exhibit to feed the animals and answer questions about the animals. One time the Lemurs got out of their enclosure and were seen at different areas of the park. We happened to be visiting the zoo on that day.

Many places to visit in Jerusalem!

Vocabulary about Jerusalem

העיר העתיקה
עוצר נשימה
התחנה המרכזית
רחוב בן יהודה
עיר הקודש
מוזיאון ישראל
גן הפסלים
מגילות קומרן
גן החיות התנכי
תצוגת החיות