Comments from Recent Visitors

"Madeleine gave us an objective view of the people and places we see on the news."

"She is no nonsense, easy to work with, and very flexible. I recommend her highly."

"Madeleine kept our children, 10, 13, 15 yrs interested and engaged (as only a former teacher can), and her depth of knowledge was welcome by the adults in the group."

"We were a diverse group - different ages, religions, athletic abilities - and Madeleine managed to accommodate us all."

"Madeleine gracefully navigated complex issues of faith and culture and we came away with a much better perspective of Jerusalem through 3,000 years of history"

"Madeleine has a talent for listening to what we're interested in and crafting an itinerary that when experienced, flows perfectly while she is open to being flexible and the serendipity of discovery"

"Madeleine was incredible - a huge wealth of information, extremely professional and a wonderful sense of humour"







Sunday, February 20, 2011

Flying with the Birds - the Agamon Hula Park

Israel is a major international bird migration area. Around 500 million birds migrate across this country twice a year using the Dead Sea Rift Valley as a navigation aid. Waterfowl, birds of prey and song birds from 390 different species make their way from Europe to Africa in the winter returning in the summer, stopping to refuel along the way at the Agamon Hula Park situated in the heart of the Hula Valley.

One of the main problems caused by the large volume of birds is damage to agricultural land. In order to overcome this the birds are fed corn to divert their attention from the local produce without causing harm to the birds themselves.

Last week I had the pleasure of viewing some of the 30,000 cranes who had dropped in for their seasonal visit which began last October. I joined a group of tour guides on a tractor-drawn hide which entered deep into the special bird area during feeding time. Oblivious to our presence, the birds swooped on the food and provided us with a breathtaking show.

The Agamon is open all the year round. Here one can see not only birds but also water buffalo, take part in a bird banding workshop and enjoy the unique flora and fauna of the area.  The 5 mile trail encircling the Agamon Hula can be experienced on foot, bike, multi-passenger vehicle or club cart. Fun for all ages!http://www.agamon-hula.co.il/

Friday, February 11, 2011

BLACKOUT - Dining in the Dark

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Last night I experienced my first meal served in total darkness at the Nalaga'at (do touch) Center in the Port of Old Jaffa. After overcoming my initial apprehension, I allowed myself to be guided into the dark restaurant by the blind wait staff. What an amazing time we had!  Without vision, my other senses were sharpened as we enjoyed a creative three-course meal.

Dining at BlackOut is one of the three outstanding experiences offered to the visitors of the “Nalaga’at” Center. The Center - the first of its kind in the world, seeks to promote interaction between deaf-blind, deaf, and blind individuals and people able to hear and see, regardless of cultural or social distinctions.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Through His Father's Eyes - Elia Photo, Jerusalem's Old City

A visit to Elia Photo on El Khanka Street is a must for anyone visiting Jerusalem.

Kevork Kahvedjian was raised in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City and inherited his father’s photography business. His father fled Armenia and was raised in an orphanage in Nazareth. After discovering a trove of his father’s negatives in an attic, he published “Through My Father’s Eyes” a unique collection of photographs showing everyday life in Jerusalem and throughout the Holy Land as captured by his father’s camera since 1924. Recently, the photographs were used to guide the restoration of the historic Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter, which was destroyed by the Jordanians. 

(Many thanks to my friend Aliza Orent of the JCC Austin, Texas for the photo)

A Gem in the Galilee

Read about my visit to Tzafra Porat, ceramic artist, from Kibbutz Kfar Giladi.





Follow me around Jerusalem!

Take a virtual tour with me around Jerusalem. My thanks to Harvey and Margie Wilensky for their report.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A place where time stands still – the Rockefeller Museum

Off the Beaten Track

On a free day last week, I took a couple of friends on a tour to the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem. Walking along the ramparts from Jaffa Gate to Damascus Gate, we continued down Sultan Suleiman St. to the museum about a 10 minute walk away.

The museum building is an architectural gem designed by Austen St. Barbe Harrison, Chief Architect during the British Mandate period (also famous for designing the Central Post Office on Jaffa Road and the Government House – currently the UN headquarters). He successfully blended east and west in a landmark building which is today run by the Israel Museum.

Displaying fascinating archaeological artifacts from around the country, and decorated with unique Armenian ceramics by David Ohannessian, the father of Armenian pottery in Jerusalem, the museum is well worth your attention!
27 Sultan Suleiman Street
Opening hours: Sun, Mon, Wed, Thurs 10 – 3 Saturday 10:00 – 2 p.m.
Parking on site available only on Saturday.
Free entrance