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Reservations for tours at sites in Jerusalem

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Reservations for tours at sites in Jerusalem

In researching our upcoming trip to Jerusalem, I've noted that some sites offer guided tours in English, but they have to be reserved in advance. So, in order to do that, it's gotten me thinking about how we might spend our days in Jerusalem, so we can book those tours in advance. Here are the tours that I've found that need to be reserved in advance:

Herzl Museum

Knesset

Western Wall Tunnel Tour

Archaeological Park & virtual reconstruction model

Are there others that I should be aware of?

In planning our days, I want to book these tours, but also allow plenty of time for walking around and soaking in "Jerusalem". There is also the Israel Music Festival - we'll want to take this in during the evenings. The schedule will be on line in April.

I'd appeciate any comments on the following very rough plan -

Thanks bunches,

Margie

1. Monday, June 9th, Shavuot

Shavuot sunrise- walking with thousands of people to the Western Wall. We are so excited to start our time in Jerusalem with this experience!

Since this is a holiday & also our first day in Jerusalem, any suggestions for the day?

I thought we could enjoy wandering around the Jewish Quarter. I've sent an email to the Tower of David Museum to see if it is open on a holiday.

Tuesday, June 10th

Yad Vashem English tour at 11:00. get there before to sign up.

Take the tour of the Herzl Museum – advance booking advised.

Israel Museum open from 4 p.m. – 9p.m. (we might catch this later in the week)

Wednesday, June 11th

Private guide in the Old City

Thursday, June 12th

Private guide in the Old City and another neighborhood

Friday, June 13th

Ticho House Friday morning concert at 11:00. A good place for lunch afterwards. Can also walk to the market at Mahane Yehuda afterwards.

At sundown, be at the Kotel

Shabbat: possibly attend Kehillat Shira Hadasha http://www.geocities.com/shira_hadasha/

Saturday, June 14th

Israel Museum. The Old City is open. Neighborhoods to walk in on Shabbat: someone on this forum suggested "Lots of people go to the Tayelet (Hass Promenade) and various parks on Saturdays. There are great parks in Jerusalem - great place to eat, play games, do people-watching... Yemin Moshe is also a nice place to walk."

Sunday, June 15th

Knesset, must book English tour in advance

Supreme Court tour in English at noon. Daily. Free but arrive by 11:45 for security checks.

Could combine with Israel Museum or Bible Lands.

Biblical Zoo

Monday, June 16th

These two tours must be reserved in advance:

Western Wall Tunnel Tour

Jerusalem Archaeological Park

Free afternoon concerts at the Jerusalem Theater – recorded live at 5 p.m. for the Voice of Music. Tickets distributed from 4 p.m. on a first come first served basis.

Tuesday, June 17th

Last day! Leave open for whatever

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1. Re: Reservations for tours at sites in Jerusalem

It sounds like a lovely visit. A couple of thoughts.

* I think you can see Yad Vashem best without a tour. You don't need one -- everything is very well signed. And Yad Vashem is not a place with relics to see -- it is a place to ponder and reflect and, frankly, let horror wash over you. I think a group might make it feel like a a "gawking" experience in which something is lost. I don't want someone interpreting it for me. But that's me.

* You could reduce your use of private guides in Jerusalem by a half-day or day by taking the Four Quarters walking tour offered by Zion Walking Tours just inside the Jaffa Gate. It's inexpensive, and you'll meet some other people in a small group. But your guide can certainly offer a similar experience if you prefer that.

Enjoy! Sounds like a great trip!

Douglas Duckett

Trying to make it home to blizzard-bound Cincinnati from Oklahoma City

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2. Re: Reservations for tours at sites in Jerusalem

I actually suggest using a guide for Yad vaShem. It's much easier that way to understand the concept of the museum and the efforts that went into it, and also notice a few items which might have gone amiss given the extent and the strength of the information contained there.

It's a lovely itinerary - you might wish to check the HolyPass - http://www.holypass.co.il/

And another side note - the market is much better on Friday morning than Friday afternoon, but if that's what you have, it's definitely better than nothing.

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3. Re: Reservations for tours at sites in Jerusalem

We visited the Herzl Museum. If I recall correctly, it consisted solely of a multi-media exhibit dramatizing Herzl's life and accomplishments. I'd say it's an easy way to learn a lot about Herzl in an hour, but if you are already familiar with the history, you would not learn anything new.

Our main purpose for a visit to Har Herzl was to pay our respects at various burial sites. We went there with a guide who added to what would have been in any case a moving experience.

She also showed us Yoni Netanyahu's gravesite and read from some letters he wrote as a teenager which were compiled into a book after his death. Very beautiful and touching. Next to his grave was that of IDF Chief of Staff David (Dado) Elazar whose death was also tragic, albeit in a completely different way.

There are elements to the military cemetery which are unique and illustrative of Israel's values... but I will leave them for others to discover on their own.

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4. Re: Reservations for tours at sites in Jerusalem

At one point while researching an upcoming visit, we were in touch with a member of Shira Hadasha who suggested we attend the weekly Shabbat hospitality dinner hosted by (rotating) members of the kehilla. It sounded lovely. (In the end, we weren't in Jerusalem for Shabbat.) You may want to think about doing that on Shabbat and it's likely they offer the same hospitality on holidays. She mentioned it did need to be arranged in advance and I see various contact names and emails listed on their website. I believe that have a significant Anglo membership so language definitely won't be a barrier.

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5. Re: Reservations for tours at sites in Jerusalem

Just a few comments to a lovely plan.

1. The biblical zoo is just a zoo, nothing biblical in it. If you love zoos - ok, otherwise skip it.

2. Saturday June 14th - you might add Ein Kerem (there are nice places to eat there too). There are several interesting churches, some of them offer concerts. If you are interested probably our TA friends from Jerusalem can add info.

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6. Re: Reservations for tours at sites in Jerusalem

Ah, Ein Kerem IS lovely, and in early November 2006, I had the pleasure of exploring it with our friend Anon. If you have time, that would be worth a visit.

Douglas Duckett

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7. Re: Reservations for tours at sites in Jerusalem

Here is a "what if" question, regarding Beit Guvrin -do we take it in after Tel Aviv or on a day trip from Jerusalem! Or...do we save it for another trip?

Here are the alternatives:

1.What if when we rent our car when leaving Tel Aviv, we drive to Beit Guvrin for a dig experience and then drive up north, and depending upon how we feel either visit Aqueduct Beach or go directly to/enjoy town of Zichron where we'll be staying the next night. The next day, we could go to Caesarea, and on with the rest of the journey.

Alternatively,

2.What if we were to take one day from our time in Jerusalem (at the end of our trip) to rent a car and do the dig at Beit Guvrin and see Latrun?

Would Sunday on the above itinerary be the day for that? We possibly could do the Knesset and Supreme Court on our last day, Tuesday.

3. Or...do we save Beit Guvrin for another trip?

The more I read about the things to see and do, I get overwhelmed with the possibilities!

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8. Re: Reservations for tours at sites in Jerusalem

Hi,

I have a few comments:

Shavuot is a two day holiday in Israel. No shops, malls etc. will be open in Jerusalem unless you visit the Arab shuk in the Old City. There are restaurants open in the new city as well but they aren't kosher.

Do the Western Wall Tunnel tour when you go to the Old City. I don't think you'll need two full days in the Old City with a guide along with the first day's visit; one long day is quite sufficient. You also may want to tour the spring in Ir David - it's an underground tunnel with water - it's really interesting and will be refreshing on a hot day. Bring a flashlight. One day in the Old City will leave you with time to do a dig or other things.

I advise you do Beit Guvrin and Latrun on the same day as they aren't that far away from each other. Latrun has an English tour.

As for the zoo, it's really a beautiful zoo - there are many animals and the landscaping is just gorgeous. But there isn't a lot of shade and there is a lot of walking involved. I advise that you do this either early morning or late afternoon when it is cooler. If you want to see the whole zoo it will take a few hours.

Israel museum is right adjacent to the Bible Lands museum and both are within walking distance of the Knesset as is the Supreme Court building. You may want to do these three on the same day.

Going to Machane Yehuda on a Friday afternoon in June should still be interesting and not so crowded. Just don't go too late as it will close for Shabbat.

One last thing. June is incredibly busy with tourist this year. Hotel rooms and guides are scarce. If you haven't done so, book both immediately without hesitation.

Enjoy your visit. Don't forget to bring a hat and drink lots of water - it's easy to get dehydrated due to the hot, dry weather.

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9. Re: Reservations for tours at sites in Jerusalem

Hi Journeyer, my only comment is that you have listed the Israel Musuem 3 times, and I'm hoping that that is just because you have 3 different options of when to go there. Since the museum is mainly closed for renovations, there really isn't more than an hour or two to do there. While you're there, don't miss the Shrine of the Book (with the Dead Sea Scrolls), and the model of the Temple right next to it,

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10. Re: Reservations for tours at sites in Jerusalem

Debi, my friend, do you ever sleep? :-)

Douglas Duckett