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Rosh Hashanah and Restaurants

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Halifax, Canada
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Rosh Hashanah and Restaurants

My wife and I will be in Jerusalem the last half of September and Rosh Hashanah is during that time (and before anyone asks, no we can't change the dates.) From what I've read on TripAdvisor and elsewhere I understand that almost everything including restaurants will be closed from the eve of the 24th through Shabbat on the 27th.

Our accommodation will be in city center near Davidka Square and is bed and breakfast. Does anyone know of any restaurants in the area that might be open during that time? Would a McDonalds restaurant be open? Not our first choice but fine if nothing else. We're not Jewish so don't care if kosher or not - just a place to find an evening meal. I know there are some of those in the area. My wife spent time last October in city center so is familiar with the area (Jaffa Road, King George Street, Ben Yehuda, etc.) There is some kitchen facilities available in our accommodation so if necessary we might have to get some food at the market before Rosh Hashanah eve to last a couple of days but had hoped to not have to do that.

One further question ... our calendar indicates this is Rosh Hashanah but also calls it Feast of Trumpets which Google tells me is a Christian term. Does anyone know if there are any events or celebrations happening in Jerusalem, Christian or otherwise, during this time? I wasn't able to find anything on the Internet.

Rod

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1. Re: Rosh Hashanah and Restaurants

In Jerusalem it will be a bit difficult to find resaurants open on Rosh Hashana in the area uou are in (even McDonalds). However everything is business as usual in the Arab section in East Jerusalem and Armenian places in the Old City. There are some places which may be opwn in the First Station area but not sure if open on the holiday(they are open on Shabbat).

Note that the holiday with Shabbat is three full days of such closures so plan accordingly. Perhaps be elsewhere in the country for these days.

Chana

Israel

Gippsland, Australia
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2. Re: Rosh Hashanah and Restaurants

We stayed in the same area you will be staying this year during Easter/Passover. We saw no restaurants open in the area on the major Jewish holidays. The old city of Jerusalem has an incredible mix of places to eat - from cheap falafel to a nice sit-down meal. If you aim to be in that area you are sure to find something in the Arab areas that are open. We had a lovely dinner one night - I have never had roast beef with eastern spices on before, but it was very nice. :)

Jerusalem
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3. Re: Rosh Hashanah and Restaurants

Any restaurant open on Shabbat will be open on Rosh Hashanah, as a rule. Restaurants will be particularly busy so reservations are vital if you want to choose your restaurant and time.

As Chana says, however, three days of 90% shutdown in Jewish Jerusalem isn't really ideal for most non-Orthodox visitors, so you might want to use this time to go somewhere else in Israel. If not you will still have a great time, enjoy the cleaner and quieter atmosphere, and enjoy meals at many restaurants that will be open (including quite a few within a 10-15 minute walk from where you're staying).

Edited: 25 May 2014, 05:23
Israel
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4. Re: Rosh Hashanah and Restaurants

<<our calendar indicates this is Rosh Hashanah but also calls it Feast of Trumpets which Google tells me is a Christian term. Does anyone know if there are any events or celebrations happening in Jerusalem, Christian or otherwise, during this time? I wasn't able to find anything on the Internet.>>

No, there is nothing. "Feast of Trumpets" is a rather inept translation, referring to the shofar (ram's horn) blown ceremonially as part of the synagogue service on Rosh Hashana. There are no events or celebrations apart from long - very long - services, in Hebrew.

…about.com/od/holidays/a/whatisashofar.htm

Rosh Hashana is a time of religious introspection, not of public celebrations. There are no street festivals or anything of that kind.

israel
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5. Re: Rosh Hashanah and Restaurants

The main problem is on eve of Rosh Hashana, Sep 24th. No restaurants what-so-ever in the Jewish parts of the city. The days after are like Shabat and all non-kosher restaurants will be open and crowded. You can go to the Old City for dinner or buy some food at the market. It is only one night. What have you planned to do during the days?

Halifax, Canada
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6. Re: Rosh Hashanah and Restaurants

Thanks, everyone. We're now thinking probably best plan is to stock up some basic food to carry through those couple of days. We will be in Jerusalem only so no plans to go anywhere else on this trip. We've seen many of the other places before on two tours. This trip is just spending some time in Jerusalem by ourselves and visit some places we didn't see on the tours or revisit some at a relaxed pace. So on the quiet days we'll probably just walk around and explore the streets, visit some of the old city, etc.

On my wife's last trip she said the McDonalds near her hotel on King George was open on Shabbat. Seems to be some contradiction between Heather ["no restaurants open in the area"] and PRSV ["many restaurants that will be open (including quite a few within a 10-15 minute walk")] and shoshi ["the days after are like Shabat and all non-kosher restaurants will be open and crowded"] - does that mean that some non-kosher will be open on the 25th-26th? Sorry if I seem to be a bit confused on the answers.

Since we will be going to the old city, wondering about whether restaurants in Muristan Square would be open on Rosh Hashanah, being that it is in the Christian quarter. Familiar with that area from our tours. Heather, by the "Arab areas" do you mean the Muslim quarter or does this include the Christian quarter also?

I'm sure this will be a wonderful trip. Just looking to sort out a few logistical plans in advance.

(Off subject a bit, on our first tour in 2008, the "free day" was our last day of the tour in Tel Aviv and many of our group planned to go shopping. Our tour leaders had forgotten that day was Shavuot! For us, it became a day to relax and we had a nice conversation with a local lady we met on the beachfront who told us interesting stories of her military service during the war of independence. She did say we would return again. Little did she know how often - this will be my 3rd visit, my wife's 5th.)

Rod

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7. Re: Rosh Hashanah and Restaurants

Yes, the places in the Christian Quarter, including Muristan should be open on Rosh HaShana - there will be plenty of places to eat. The most difficult evening in question would be the eve of the holiday when very many people have family meals.

Tel Aviv, Israel
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8. Re: Rosh Hashanah and Restaurants

The eve of Rosh Hashana and the eve of Passover are such hugely important holiday home celebrations in the Jewish tradition that even many (or most) NON-KOSHER restaurants in the Jewish sector that are normally open on the Sabbath Eve will be closed on those two evenings of the year. Your only problem in Jewish Jerusalem will be on the EVE of Rosh Hashana. During the following two days of the holiday you can expect that NON-KOSHER restaurants in Jewish West Jerusalem will be open, but reservations MUST be made many days in advance.

In the Arab areas of the Old City of Jerusalem and East Jerusalem none of the above will apply. ALL will be open with business as usual in restaurants in those areas. Rosh Hashana is NOT observed anywhere in the Old City of Jerusalem, with the exception of the Jewish Quarter.

Hope I've clarified this issue for you.

Jerusalem
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9. Re: Rosh Hashanah and Restaurants

Hi Rod,

Yes, you did get some differing angles, but like the blind people trying to describe the elephant I think we are all trying to describe the same beast, just from our different viewpoints.

The only real difference is that Shoshi believes that all "Jewish" restaurants (even if non-kosher) are closed on the first evening of Rosh Hashanah. Even if she's still right, that still leaves plenty of restaurants in Easy Jerusalem. My pet favorite is Versavee just inside Jaffa Gate. They have a website so you can check them out (http://www.versavee.com/). But there are many others.

I thought restaurants are open on that evening, but I confess I can't actually vouch for it 100% as I'm always with family that evening.

However Shoshi, I and everyone else are all in agreement that non-kosher "Jewish" restaurants, and of course all Arab, Armenian, etc. restaurants will be open all the rest of the time.

Now in terms of non-kosher, and leaving aside McDonalds if you don't mind, that gives you such options as:

DOWNTOWN (WEST) JERUSALEM (within 15 minutes walk for you)

Aroma Cafe on Hillel St. - nice salads and fancy sandwiches.

Mona 12 Shmuel Hanagid St. - chic and stylish salads, steak, seafood

Spaggetim - 35 Hillel St. pasta

Mandarin - 2 Shlomzion Hamalka St. - veteran Chinese, very good

EAST JERUSALEM (short taxi ride)

Borderline and Askadinya - two chic cafe-restaurants on Shimon Hatzaddik St. (on the borderline between Jewish west and Arab east, hence the names). Both great with an international crowd.

FIRST STATION AND SURROUNDING AREA (Bethlehem Rd and surroundings - short taxi ride)

Adom at First Station - flagship non-kosher meat restaurant

Landver Cafe at First Station

Lavan at the Cinematheque on Hebron Road (great)

Colony Food Bar (7 Bethlehem Road in Colony compound, 3 minutes from First Station) - great!

EIN KEREM (longer taxi ride but very rustic and scenic)

Brasserie - 15 Hama'ayan St.

Karma 74 Ein Kerem Rd.

Pundak Ein Kerem - 9 Hama'ayan St.

These are just examples, in each of these three areas there are a couple more.

No need to eat in your room, unless you want to. No need to go to McDonald's, unless you want to. Also a scattering of grocery stores / minimarkets are open around the city center and you can always pick up a drink and a nibble.

Halifax, Canada
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10. Re: Rosh Hashanah and Restaurants

Thanks, Oreets and Dave. Very clear now.

A combination of picking up something in advance and eating in the Old City and it'll all work out well.

Rod