I have visited Ben Yehuda street every day on each of my past nine trips to Jerusalem. Often more than once a day. Without any traffic, other than the occasional delivery van or Megan David Adom motorcycle, it is made for foot traffic.
Anchored at one end by Zion Square and the new light rail on Jaffa road while at the other end by King George Street.
It is an invigorating blend of eateries and shops. Some have changed over the years. Others are old friends. I have got to know some of the merchants and have wonderful 'finds' on my walls at home. Everyone likes to talk and is genuinely interested in where you are from and what your thoughts are.
I buy my postcards there and get my milk and tea bags at the convenience store near the King George end.
During the Festival of the Trees and also during Purim Ben Yehuda is alive with musicians, impromptu 'shows', educational displays and firefighter demonstrations. The police train their canine units here and the Megan David Adom usually has a blood donor van parked on Zion square.
Chabbad maintains a stand demonstrating laying Teffilin and shabbat candle lighting.
On cool evenings in the summer months it is a joy to sit on a bench for a couple of hours and chat with other visitors or locals. A few merchants and antique dealers who have become friends will come out and chat between customers.
In the afternoons it is sometimes full of exuberant birthright youth who are obviously happy to be in Israel. Beni Akiva kids frequently sell cookies or crafts and are thrilled when a foreigner willing supports them. The plant store's displays are a favourite of mine.
I go up and down it on my way to and from services at The Great Synagogue on Shabbat eves. Even deserted Ben Yehuda has a 'presence'. Make sure to glance up at the early Israeli architecture. Then look them up in your tour book. Some are famous.
Shammai street, running parallel to it, leads to other hidden gems and the two venues compliment each other nicely.
Make it a fixture of your trip and its impressions will linger with you forever.
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