My name is Moshe Malka. I’m an official licenssed tour guide in Israel and I invite you to visit Israel, the Holy Land, with me.
Every visitor is different and we all have a different way of experiencing things. My tours are all tailored specifically to fully meet your needs and wishes, and so you’ll have the opportunity to experience this unique country first hand just the way you want to experience it: in a small group in a ‘private car tour’ (with my fully a/c 6 seater car VW van) or in a big bus with a big group of people. Any way you choose, together we will build your trip and make it a once in a lifetime experience.
See you in Israel!
Come, learn some more about me and my company:
Israel With Moshe was established in 1992 by Moshe Malka, a tourist guide, licensed with the Ministry of Tourism. We have spent more than a decade organizing missions and leading tour groups and individuals throughout Israel. We provide a complete experience and tailor made trips to Israel, Jordan and Egypt, offered in English and many other languages. All our tours use very comfortable vehicles, licenssed to drive tourists, starting with busses and experienced drivers and down to our new VW multivan
Comprehensive planning will make your trip to the Holy Land a special event. We will assist with flight arrangements, travel insurance, accommodations, ‘follow-the-bible’ tours of the Holy Land, Bar and Bat Mitzvah trips, leisure trips, trips to nearby countries, or any other requests to make your travels special.
Culinary tourism is a relatively new industry in Israel, yet its popularity is growing. As food enthusiasts pursue unique and memorable food and wine experiences, Israel is emerging as a choice destination combining ethnic and modern cuisine and reflecting a vibrant cultural diversity.
Whether you are an experienced chef, a budding gourmand or simply enjoy food and wine, nothing can bring you closer to the essence of Israel than our fantastic hands-on cooking vacations. Our culinary tours take you beyond the usual tourist experience to the real Israel where food expresses the depth and diversity of the land itself. Explore a wide range of cuisines as you tour Israel and learn how to create delicious, authentic Israeli dishes yourself.
About Israel With Moshe Culinary Tours
We love food and cooking! Our culinary tours reveal the heart and soul of Israel though its kitchen doors as together we explore the lifestyles, customs, family traditions, history and politics of the land and its people. Our week-long cooking vacations start in magical Jerusalem, move on to green Galilee and finish in vibrant Tel Aviv. We offer this unique tour for small groups of 4 to 12 participants. The tours occur once a month, from Sunday to Sunday, and include food market excursions, cooking workshops, casual and fine dining, and visits to wine, olive oil and cheese makers.
Our program includes:
- 8 days/ 7 nights hotel accommodations, based on double occupancy
- 3 hands-on cooking classes with leading chefs, tailored to participants’
interest and ability, followed by a meal of the dishes prepared in class.
- 4 dinners and one lunch in Israel’s best restaurants
- Visits to selected produce markets
- Wine tasting tours in the Galilee region or the Golan Heights
- Excursions to olive oil and cheese makers
- Tours of Jerusalem’s Old City and other historic sites
- Customized tours are available upon request.
Tours range from approximately $2900 to $3500 based on number of participants and double occupancy. The rates do not include airfare and travel insurance, which may be purchased separately or through our agency.
Join us for a wonderful week of food, fun and discovery in Israel! Look at the detailed itinerary here
Israel is the center of three major religions, the cross point of cultures and habits, the place where the ancient history, tradition and archaeology all come together, creating a melting pot of humanity. Predominantly Jewish, the population of Israel can trace their roots to the Eastern and Western Europe, the Americas, North Africa, India and the Mediterranean. Thrown together, the Jews and the Arabs (Moslem and Christian alike), Bedouins and the Druze represent a unique variety of ethnicities and traditions, making Israel an inspiring and exiting destination for the people eager to experience the multicultural nature of the land and the people.
The diversity, and consequently the eating habits, attract individuals, food savvy enough to try something not ordinary, relax in a warm, friendly and easygoing atmosphere of their hosts, and explore the historic sites, going back thousands of years.
Since the declaration of the State Israel in 1948, the ancient dietary law, Kashrut, has been imposed in public supermarkets, bakeries, and majority of the hotels, to emphasize the Jewish identity of the country and to facilitate the observant citizens and guests alike. You will learn about these laws and experience them in your cooking session. This intense diversity, as well as the controversy, attracts the very curious culinary professionals, who wish to understand the experiment and creativity, with the ever-present Mediterranean flavor, thrown for good measure.
Wine is another matter. Growing and enjoying wine has been essential for the Jews since the biblical times. Modern grape planting started only in the late 19th century by the East European Jews and by the baron de Rothschild. The international recognition of the country’s superb wine came much later. Like Australia and South Africa, Israel is taking its place among the best in the winemaking industry. Several wineries have won their prestigious international awards and have become well known and thought after in the world.
There is another, very small and exclusive industry – goat cheese producing-well on the rise, and marked as excellent by some cheese producers in Europe. And of course, the olive oil, widely used in the Mediterranean cooking as such, and among the population of Israel in particular.
Our tour will give you only the taste of what can be found and experienced in Israel. We hope to make your trip an unforgettable one.
A week of an unforgettable and tasty experience awaits you.
Day 1, Sunday
Arrival at Ben Gurion airport. Meeting and assistance through customs by our representative and transfer to your hotel in Jerusalem. After checking in and refreshing up, join us for a cocktail followed by dinner and wine to start out culinary experience and introduce you to the herbs and spaces of Israel.
Overnight: Hotel in Jerusalem
Day 2, Monday
After a full Israeli style breakfast, at your hotel, meet Chef Moshe Basson, famous for his specifically “Jerusalemite” food (kosher). Accompany him to Machaneh Yehudah market, for a brief explanation of the produce displayed there. Under the Chef’s guidance and instructions, cook your own lunch and enjoy it, accompanied by an excellent Israeli wine. After lunch drive to Mt. Olives for a breathtaking panoramic view of the City of Jerusalem. Enter the Old City through the Lion’s Gate, walk along the Via Dolorosa with its 14 Stations of the Cross and arrive at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the holiest shrine in the Christendom. Return to your hotel for a short break and in the evening drive to the home of Hila Solomon, an establishment called Spoon, for the exquisite dinner served in the dining room of the house built over 120 years ago. It is only by private booking and is quite unique. After dinner return to your hotel for overnight.
Overnight: Hotel in Jerusalem
Day 3, Tuesday
After breakfast, enter the Old City again, this time from the Zion gate and into the Jewish Quarter. Walk through the Cardo, the old Roman road of Jerusalem, leading into the Wailing Wall, the holiest place for the Jewish people. After a visit to the wall, continue to Ben Yehuda Street, the main artery of Jerusalem shops with the souvenirs you can take with you home and nice trendy coffee shops. This area was built by Teddy Kolek, the late legendary Mayor of Jerusalem, as a tiny replica of his native Vienna. Continue to the Zeltzer goat farm in Sataf. There are over 200 goats in the farm, supervised by a few employees, servicing them and the goat cheese production. The outstanding cheese has received many international awards, some in Italy. Our light lunch will be the cheese tasting with the fresh farm bread. On to the Judean Hills to visit Domain du Castel, one of the most picturesque Israeli wineries; several of its wines, considered to be the finest in Israel. On to kibbutz Harel for a visit to Clos de Gat, one of the finest new estate wineries. There, surrounded by vineyards, stands the building where the assassinated Israeli Prime Minister itzhak Rabin, commanded the Harel Brigade in 1948. Return to the hotel for a short break, and leave again to Arcadia, one of the finest restaurants in Jerusalem where the Iraqi-born chef Kedem, who studied in France and the US, will host a very imaginative, contemporary dinner, prepared with local vegetables and herb, grown not farther than 10 – 15km from Jerusalem. After dinner return to your hotel for overnight.
Overnight: Hotel in Jerusalem
Day 4, Wednesday
After breakfast, depart to Tel Aviv to the Carmel market. The Chef and owner of Carmela bistro, one of the most picturesque places in the country situated in the midst of the Carmel market, will take you on a tour of the market and serve brunch. After the market tour and brunch, drive along the shores of the Mediterranean towards the Tishbi Winery, a short distance away from Binyamina. Tishbi is a family of the vineyard growers since 1880, who decided to built their own winery in 1985. Taste the excellent wine and the local cheese there. Do not miss visiting the Alambic Still producing high quality brandy, the only one of its kind in Israel. Continue to Tiberias and arrive to your hotel for overnight. Free evening in Tiberias to experience the street food and enjoy street life by the lake.
Overnight: Hotel in Tiberias
Day 5, Thursday
Start our day in the Galilee with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Continue towards the Golan Heights area. Visit Chateau Golan winery, one of the unique boutique wineries in the area. Continue on to Rosh Pina in the Upper Galilee. Arrive at Muskat restaurant at Mizpe Hayamim, Israel’s famous resort, well known for its locally grown and served organic vegetable, herbs and fruit. A small dairy on the premises is known for the very good cheese. Lunch at Muskat, hosted by chef Haim Tibi. After lunch depart to your Tel Aviv hotel. Dinner at the Deda, an unpretentious little restaurant featuring the the most incredible Georgian food with its Chef Timur.
Overnight: Hotel in Tel Aviv
Day 6, Friday
After breakfast drive along the coast to the old city if Jaffa. This was the most famous port of Israel for thousands of years and the export port for the well known Jaffa Oranges. Continue walking the streets of Tel Aviv, Israel’s Metropolitan, with its samples of the bygone era of the 30s of the last century, the Bauhaus. Proceed to the Chloelys, reputably one of the best fish and seafood restaurants in Israel. Have the cooking class there with Chef Victor Gloger, the Argentine born, who studied and worked in Paris for over 15 years. You will cook your lunch and enjoy it with the excellent wine, followed by exquisite desert. After lunch, drive to visit Caesarea, the ancient Roman Theatre, the Aqueduct and the Hippodrome. Drive back to Tel Aviv and make a short stop at the old port of Tel Aviv, now an area of restaurants, clubs and shopping including an amazing Chocolate factory called Max Brener. Drive back to your hotel for a short break and go out for dinner at Yo’ezer wine Bar, a very romantic place in Tel Aviv. Return to your hotel for overnight.
Overnight: Hotel in Tel Aviv
Day 7, Saturday
After breakfast, drive to Nazareth, in the Northern part of Israel. Visit the Church of the Annunciation and continue to Diana, probably the most authentic Arab restaurant in Israel. Together with the chef and owner Dokhol Safadi you will prepare your lunch and an excellent meal accompanied by local wine and followed knafa, a well known Arab sweet delicacy and coffee. After lunch, near Kfar Tabor, visit the olive oil facility of the Jahshans, believed to be one of the best in Israel. Experience the Druze hospitality and the olive oil tasting will be quite enjoyable. Return to your hotel in Tel Aviv and leave again for the Farewell dinner. It will be hosted by Chef Jonathan Roshfeld, probably, one of the most talented Israeli chefs, at his newly opened restaurant Herbert Samuel. Overnight at your hotel.
Overnight: Hotel in Tel Aviv
Day 8, Sunday
After breakfast departure to the airport for your flight back home.
The program sequence is subject to change due to days of operation. Please note the cooking session with Victor of Chloelys can be done only on Friday – prerogative of the Chef…
Get to know fascinating Israel by getting to know its food! Lively seaside Tel Aviv, the winding alleyways of Jerusalem and the Galilee hills studded with olive orchards and vineyards – these are the breathtaking backdrops for our cooking vacations in Israel.
Our week-long culinary tours of Israel feature fabulous food and excellent wines, colorful open-air markets bursting with gorgeous local produce and unusual hands-on cooking classes that explore the rich tapestry of Israel’s ethnic melting pot.
Food, fun and friendship in one of the world’s most captivating destinations – our recipe for the most exciting cooking vacation ever!
Tasting the real Israel
Nothing can bring you closer to the essence of Israel than our fantastic hands-on cooking vacations. Our culinary tours take you way beyond the usual tourist experience to get to know the real Israel – tasting, smelling, seeing, touching and learning how to create delicious, authentic Israeli dishes yourself.
Our week-long cooking vacations start in magical Jerusalem, move on to green Galilee and finish in vibrant Tel Aviv. Each stop on our culinary tours reveals more about the vast variety of ethnic influences on Israeli cuisine – the immigrants who poured in from more than 120 lands, plus the centuries-old culinary traditions of local Arabs and Jews.
Savoring the Seven Species
In the Bible, Israel was known as the Land of Milk and Honey. Our cooking vacations will bring to life the biblical list of nature’s bounties: “… a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and honey…” These are the Seven Species, and they remain the backbone of the Mediterranean kitchen to this day.
You’ll get to know the Seven Species and more as our cooking vacations in Israel take you to a boutique dairy, to a special winery and to the spectacular open-air produce markets in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Not to mention a delicious, after-dark visits to the streets of Israel to experience street food and local culture.
Hands-on cooking vacations
And what’s cooking on our culinary tours? You’ll enjoy fascinating hands-on cooking classes, each one reflecting the unique and authentic features of its location:
- The Mediterranean way of eating, set in cosmopolitan Tel Aviv on the shores of that fabled sea
A cultural point to remember on your culinary tours or cooking vacations in Israel
The issue of keeping kosher is a central one in the culinary culture of the Jews and in the development of Israeli cooking. Keeping kosher is a crucial issue for religious Jews, who are most meticulous in this matter.
Nowadays, one can find haute cuisine in Israel which does not take into account or keep the laws of kashrut (especially in Tel-Aviv and the northern part of the country). But you can also encounter excellent cooking which keep kosher at different levels (especially in Jerusalem). When you come on a cooking vacations in Israel it is important to understand the laws of kashrut and their origins since they reflect the history and the culture of the local food.
Many see kashrut laws as irrelevant and anachronistic, but a close and careful examination reveals that in fact their purpose is to make sure that the food is healthy, that it is produced in an honest way, a way which is fair both to the environment and to the people working in producing it.
A few rules for a kosher cooking vacations
Since kashrut laws and keeping kosher are a very complex matter, we shall address just a number of central issues affecting cooking:
First and foremost, one does not mix meat and milk. Not in the dish itself (you can’t have a dairy-based sauce for a meat dish) and not in the meal (if one of the dishes contained meat, the dessert can’t contain milk). This has reason related both to health and to a moral attitude which sees cooking the animal in milk as an act of cruelty.
In addition, when we talk about eating meat, there is a list of allowed animals and a list of forbidden ones. “Pure” beasts, which are allowed to be eaten must have hooves and must regurgitate (for example cows, sheep, deer or buffalo). In contrast, forbidden beasts include pigs, horses, donkeys.
In the realm of birds, birds of prey are not allowed to be eaten. In many places around the world, as well as in Israel, birds of prey are protected in order to keep them from becoming extinct.
Among the fish, kashrut allows the consumption of those fish which have scales and a fin. All the kinds of sea-food are prohibited by kashrut laws.
Regarding plants, kashrut laws are meant to protect the environment and comply with the present-day laws and rules defining fair trade. For example, from any crop a certain percentage has to be contributed to the good of the community. The farmer must take care of the well-being of the field hands (for example, have them rest on Saturdays, give them clothes and feed them properly). In addition, every seven years there’s a whole year when nothing is grown in order to let the earth rest and renew itself. Yet, the poor are allowed to pick fruit or the crop which has grown in the field, out of concern for their well-being. These laws are “green” and ecological laws of the first order, but are very difficult to keep and to carry out especially due to the high cost related.
Another kashrut law which also protects the environment is the law which prohibits eating fruit from trees less than four years old. Only on the fourth “birthday” of the tree can one pick its fruit. This law too is meant to preserve the quality of the crop and improve the trees’ health.
A culinary tour of kosher kitchens…
Different cuisines keep different levels of kashrut . The Cooking Vacations Ultra-Orthodox, for example, keep the whole set of laws in the strictest, most meticulous way. They have even imposed on themselves further prohibitions to make sure they do not err by mistake. All their foodstuff is grown and produced under the strict supervision of a kashrut controller who makes sure that all the laws and rules are kepy in the strictest manner possible.
People who keep strict kashrut (and these are not only the Ultra-Orthodox) have separate sets of dishes for eating and cooking dairy and meat and even separate sinks to wash the dishes accordingly.
Israeli chefs who keep kosher claim that the kashrut laws only improve the quality and the hygiene of the food and challenge the chef’s creativity. Others who do not keep kosher claim that the kosher kitchen is limited both regarding the ingredients as well as regarding the cooking processes. Israel, a land of different communities, holds one of its core discussion precisely on the issue of food and cooking. You will most probably encounter the creativity (or the limitations?) of kosher food during your culinary tours in Israel and in some of your hands-on experiences
Cooking vacation: a chance to get to know the local herbs and spices.
A culinary tour in Israel will inevitably acquaint you with the large selection of herbs and spices in the country. Israelis have a strong link to the local herbs and spices. This link, so enriching the present-day cuisine and every Israeli table, stems from antiquity. In those days, man was closer to Nature. In the Eastern Mediterranean, most people lived off the land. Agriculture was the main occupation and the local herbs were used both for cooking and for medicine.
The Land of Israel, the ancient homeland of the Jewish People, was blessed with many herbs. The ancient texts mention some of them such as dill and corianders, oregano and marjoram, myrtle and thyme. All of them were grown specifically for culinary and medicinal uses. The Talmud even gives precise instruction for planting and watering these herbs, so important for the local cuisine for the last 3000 years.
It is no surprise, then, that Israel has a flourishing industry of herbs and spices and is one of the largest exporters of herbal products and condiments to Europe and the US.
Cooking Vacations with Israeli Cuisine
The Israeli cuisine makes extensive use of fresh herbs. In almost every house or balcony, even in the large cities, herbs are grown to make infusions or as spices in everyday dishes.
Walking the streets of Tel Aviv during your cooking vacations, just raise your eyes and look at the balconies and you will see mint and basil peeping at you. Fresh herbs used for adding taste to dishes are a healthy, real and refined way for those of us who wish to avoid using soup powder or condensed industrial spices. Naturally, during our cooking vacations, we will use these herbs freely for taste and scent.
Cooking Vacations – Meeting with popular herbs in Israel
Let’s look now at some of the most popular herbs and spices in the present Israeli cuisine:
Za’atar. Za’atar is probably the biblical “moss” mentioned since the days of King Solomon. It is closely related to oregano, marjoram and thyme. Natural medicine uses it as a well-proven disinfectant and as an aid in reducing headaches. In the kitchen, Za’atar is suitable for practically all the Middle-Eastern dishes, and upgrades even a freshly chopped vegetable salad.
Take some toast, rub a clove of garlic on the toast, sprinkle olive oil and crushed tomato and add a generous amount of Za’atar on top.
Coriander. Coriander is mentioned in the Bible from the times our forefathers went to Egypt. It is a well-known remedy for stomach aches and strengthens the heart. In the kitchen it is used, mainly fresh, in a wide variety of dishes. The chopped fresh leaves should be added just before the cooking is done.
Sage. Sage is known to be originally from the Middle East. It was brought to Europe by the Roman soldiers who conquered Palestine. Natural medicine believes it lowers the blood-pressure, helps fight the common cold and gum infections. Some even produce a perfume based on sage. In the kitchen we have to use it with care, avoid adding to much sage since its strong taste tends to dominate the dish. It’s a good idea to add it to meat dishes and even to pasta with a fine sauce of olive oil, sage and garlic.
Mint. Mint, or its locally known variant Na’ana, is known the world over. It is originally from Greece and is known from ancient times all over the Middle East. Natural medicine uses it to relieve throat aches. Many Israelis drink tea with na’ana. In summer it is customary to serve cold water with mint leaves and lemon in every restaurant or café. The Arab tabouleh salad uses na’ana as you can see in the recipe included in the cooking workshop in the Arab Galilee culinary tour. For example, it’s a good idea to add na’ana leaves to fish kebabs.
Parsley. Natural medicine uses it to treat problems in the urinary system. Yet, it is best known for its place in the Israeli cuisine. Sometimes it seems that without parsley, there is no Israeli cooking… It is used in copious amounts in practically every dish (tahina, tabouleh, salads, hummus…).
Thyme. Thyme, the poets’ and chef’s beloved spice. Natural medicine uses it to calm cough and to relax strained muscles, if used in a bath. In the kitchen it’s delicate taste makes it suitable almost for any dish. Thyme is good for a meat roast or for roasted vegetables, finds its place in pasta and even in ice-cream.
Rosemary. Rosemary is a very adaptable plant. Driving along the coast or walking in parks during your cooking vacations, you will see it everywhere. Rosemary oil is good for the scalp and strengthens your roots. In the kitchen it is widely used but you have to be careful: it has a strong taste. It can be added to meat dishes, and you can use its branches as skewers and even place it on the grill so its scent is blended with the kebabs. In addition, you can add rosemary to any marinade.
Basil. Natural medicine uses basil to treat stomach aches, nausea and vomiting. In the kitchen it is synonymous to a good match. You can add it to practically any dish, preferably fresh including vegetable salads or rice and of course, you can chop it to make pesto.
We will meet all these herbs and spices, and many more during the workshops in the cooking vacations and culinary tours and learn how to use them to make savory dishes and drinks.
It may be that the great weather Israel enjoys most of the year is what makes street food so popular all over the country. The fact that you can walk outside and eat outdoors also fits the Israelis’ temperament, people who are known to be open and candid and not necessarily very polite. Be it as it may, during a culinary tour to Israel or a cooking vacations, you are bound to meet the people outside in markets and stands and experience the huge variety of street food around the country.
The one street food that has developed into a real national dish is of course falafel, balls made of hummus and spices, fried in deep oil. Falafel is an Arab dish which was adopted in Israel in the late 1950s and later on underwent modifications and improvements which made it into a real Zionist street food. Falafel is usually served in a fresh pita with a variety of salads, tahina and pickles. You can order a whole portion of falafel (a whole pita with about 6 balls) or half a portion (half a pita with 4 balls). In most places you can take as much of the salads offered as you like. A portion of falafel costs about 15NIS. Along Ibn Gvirol Street in Tel Aviv (which is lined with food stalls all along) you can find dozens of falafel stands. In Jerusalem, for example, we recommend trying “Between Gaza and Berlin” (55 Aza St, Jerusalem), where particularly fresh hummus is served as well as falafel balls, koubbe and additional home-made dishes, all excellent and extra-fresh.
In the typically Israeli family of street-food, falafel is the eldest son, but the family has a daughter as well: shawarma. Cuts of meat (usually turkey, but originally shawarma was made of mutton) which are packed into a laffa (a large Iraqi pitta ,which one fills and rolls like a huge taco), with salads and potato chips. A portion of shawarma costs around 25NIS and you had better take into account that it’s a really large dish. Here too salads are served with no limitation. While on your cooking vacations, it’s a good idea to try out “Shawarma Daboush” at Ibn Gvirol St. on the corner of Zeitlin in Tel-Aviv. The line here is long at all hours of the day and the night, but this also ensures a very fresh product, prepared right there, along with a generous variety of bit spicy salads.
As part of the same family of street-food you can encounter Sabih. There’s an ongoing controversy regarding the origin of the name. Some claim it has to do with sabah, which is the Arabic word for “morning”. Yet others say it’s a Hebrew acronym for “salad, egg and more eggplant”. The most famous Sabih stand is probably “Oved’s Eatery” at 7 Sirkin St in Givatayim. Oved himself is a colorful character whose behavior is reminiscent of the famous Seinfeld character “The Soup Nazi”. Oved has his own language, a huge crowd of devoted customers. Here too you’re bound to encounter a long line, but it’s worth the waiting: the taste is unbeatable.
One can find a great number of other street-food, of course, such as pizza, hamburgers or even stalls selling Mexican tortillas. In addition, you can find stall selling typical dishes of specific communities. A few examples are: Turkish börek (burekas in spoken Hebrew) served with an egg, crushed tomatoes and a pickled cucumber along with ayran (a Turkish yogurt beverage) – you can taste Turkish burekas at “Penso” in Lewinsky Market or at “Burekas Amikam” on Ibn Gvirol St, both in Tel-Aviv. A Tunisian sandwich, called Fricassee, is made of a long bun with pickled lemon, potato, onion, olives, tuna and mayonnaise. Excellent fricassee is to be found on Dizengoff St in Tel-Aviv. You can also taste Hungarian Kürtős (a dessert made of puff-pastry filled with goodies) at Dizengoff St in Tel-Aviv. The French too are represented at the “La Gâterie” on Ben Yehuda St in Tel-Aviv where you will be able to enjoy a thick fresh croissant which is cut along the middle to be stuffed with rich cheeses, fine salamis or both ingredients together with a poached egg. You’ll deal with your guilty conscience later on…
The king of sweet street-food is without doubt ice-cream. Tel-Aviv is packed with ice-cream parlors of various kinds. Some of these have joined the health-food trend and offer yogurt ice-cream with a variety of toppings. Try “Yogo” on Rothschild Avenue in Tel-Aviv or maybe Italian cream-based ice-cream. For this, one of the oldest and most special ice-cream parlors is “Iceberg” (there are two branches in Tel-Aviv, on Ibn Gvirol and on Ben Yehuda). “Iceberg” offer a unique choice of flavors, such as pineapple-vodka sorbet, orange-chocolate, pepper and mint sorbet (no mistake here!) and many other creations. All the ice-cream is made right there using natural ingredients and limitless creativity, making sure the sweet side of your Cooking Vacations is taken care of.
Wine, cheese and chocolate – could there be a better combination? All this we’ll meet in a culinary tour in the green North of Israel, from the Carmel Mountain to the Galilee, which is known nowadays as Israel’s Tuscany.
We will leave on our tour from the center of the country and drive to the Tishbi Winery, where we’ll start the day with a rich breakfast. We will tour the winery and the vineyards and learn about the production process of wine and brandy as well as about the vineyard’s terroir. The Tishbi winery is one of the oldest in Israel. A visit to the winery is in fact an encounter with an unbroken tradition starting in 1882. The name “Tishbi” was given by Israel’s national poet, Bialik, in 1925. Once there, we’ll taste the Tishbi wines which have seen success both in Israel and abroad for quite a number of years.
Our culinary tour will then continue to the “Ha-Noked” dairy farm. “Ha-Noked” is an outstanding boutique dairy farm producing boutique cheeses. Its specialties are organic goat and sheep cheeses. During our visit we will learn about the way cheese is produced at “Ha-Noked” and about the principles of organic dairy production. Naturally, we’ll taste some of the delicacies. And if we’re lucky, we might even see the flocks of sheep and goats gently making their way on the local hillsides.
We’ll have lunch in an Arab restaurant in the Galilee, at Kfar Rama. “Ezba” is a well-established culinary hallmark. The restaurant specializes in the refined dishes of the Arab cuisine of the Galilee. Its cooking makes extensive use of herbs and spices from the area and offers us a unique opportunity to taste the simple and mouth-watering delicacies which are traditionally served on the tables of local Arab families. The dishes vary according to the season and to what Nature has to offer in the immediate surroundings.
After lunch, we shall continue our culinary tour with a visit at the “Rimon” winery where pomegranate “wine” is produced. This is the only place in the world producing pomegranate-wine. The winery uses a special kind of pomegranates which is grown locally and produces a deep-red juice with an especially high content of vitamins. It was a typical Israeli idea to try producing wine from these fabulous pomegranates and within a few years of the experiment, the wine turned out to be an unprecedented hit with the public. Nowadays, the winery produces a number of pomegranate wines all of which sell very nicely.
Not far from there, to the north, we’ll reach the Miles winery and Adir winery at Kerem Ben-Zimra, a high-end boutique winery. Indeed, the Northern Galilee and especially this particular spot is extremely suited not only for growing wonderful pomegranates but for cultivating vine in order to produce wine of the more traditional kind. The Miles winery, a small, very select family business, is known for the great care taken in all the phases of production. The owners believe that the process must start with the proper treatment of the vines, so all the work is done by members of the Miles family themselves, from caring for the vines and the grapes up to the aging of the wine in a specially built cellar.
Nothing can sweeten a culinary tour like having some excellent chocolate on our way back. This we’ll find in Kiryat Tivon, made by “Mishi”. Gourmet chocolate is used for the meticulous preparation of pralines that leave their mark for many hours. Nougat and fruit, marzipan and genache, with alcohol or any number of other fillings, a visit to “Mishi” will no doubt be a perfect conclusion to a culinary tour to Northern Israel.
This trip to Israel included total of 10 participants this year. We visited Israel from the North to the South and went to Petra in Jordan. Here is the itinerary for this trip, together with few photos and comments participants had about this trip:
Day 1, Saturday, April 14, 2012 Depart from the US to Tel Aviv, Israel.
Day 2, Sunday, April 15, 2012 Arrival to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Transfer to our hotel in Tiberias. Overnight by the Lake. Overnight: Leonardo Plaza Hotel, Tiberias
Day 3, Monday, April 16, 2012 Today we start our tour in Israel. Leaving Tiberias, we will visit Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus and spend some time in the Nazareth Village where we will learn how people used to live in the time of Jesus in a Jewish village. We will also visit the Basilica of the Annunciation and the old Synagogue where Jesus himself was teaching. Driving pass Mary’s Well, we will then continue to village of Cana of Galilee where Jesus performed his first miracle turning water into wine at the Jewish wedding. Rest of the day we will spend in the Golan Heights. We will make a short stop at the factory shop of Naot on our way up to the Golan. We will then visit Caesarea Phillipi and look at the Israeli-Syrian border and learn about the different wars of Israel. We will end the day facing the Sea of Galilee where we can enjoy communion together watching the beautiful view of the Sea of Galilee. Overnight: Leonardo Plaza Hotel, Tiberias
Day 4, Tuesday, April 17, 2012 Today we will walk the path of Jesus in the land of Galilee. We will visit the sites where his ministry began; where he preached, performed miracles and gathered the multitude to follow him: Mount Beatitudes, site of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12), Capernaum, the headquarters of his ministry where we will visit the old Synagogue and Peter’s House, Tabgha, where the multiplication of the loaves and fish took place (Matthew 14:19-21). We will then visit the museum in Nof Ginosar where the “Jesus Boat” is displayed. This 1st century boat was discovered sunk in the mud in the Lake. We will take a Boat Ride on the Sea of Galilee and spend time in a prayer service on the same waters Jesus walked (Mark 6:48-50). Our day will end with a baptism service at the Jordan River (Luke 3:21-22). Overnight: Leonardo Plaza Hotel, Tiberias
Day 5, Wednesday, April 18, 2012 We will start our drive to Jerusalem via the coastal area of Israel. Our first visit will be to the top of Mt. Carmel, where the great prophet Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal and proved to the people that the God of Israel is the true God (1 Kings 18:17-40). On to Megiddo, the city of King Solomon and King Ahab, where 20 different layers of civilization were excavated also known as the valley where the kings of the earth will gather for the battle commonly referred to as the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-16). Caesarea, the port city built by King Herod the great 2000 years ago and the place where Simon Peter shared the gospel with Cornelius, the Roman centurion who became the first Gentile convert (Acts 10: 44-48), will be our next site. We then continue to Jerusalem. Depending on arrival, we might stop for a panoramic view of Jerusalem from Mt. Scopusand a traditional entrance for the Holy city. Overnight: David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem
Day 6, Thursday, April 19, 2012 (Memorial day for the Holocaust) Full day tour of the Old City of Jerusalem. Starting with a panoramic view from Mt. of Olives, we will then continue to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus “often met with his disciples” (John 18:2) and where he spent his last hours in solitude before being captured by the Romans (Luke 22:47-53). Up to Mt. Zion to visit the Upper Room, Cenaculum, the place of the Last Supper (Luke 22:14-22) and the place where the gift of the Holy Spirit came upon believers who were gathered there on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Here is also King David’s Tomb. Walk from there through the Zion Gate to visit the Jewish Quarters and the Roman Cardo, the main street in the Byzantine period of Jerusalem. On to the Western Wall, the holiest place for Jews, to pray to God’s presence and put a note in the wall. We will tour the Western Wall Tunnels, walking under the Western Wall plaza to the base of this remarkable wall and along it, all the way up north. Continue to walk the Via Dolorosa, the fourteen stations of the cross, starting at the Pool of Bethesda and to the Church of the Holy Sepulchure. Overnight: David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem
Day 7, Friday, April 20, 2012 Full day tour of the New City of Jerusalem. We will start the day visiting the City of David Excavations, where we will learn about Jerusalem of 3000 years ago. We will then pass the Knesset, Israeli Parliament with the famous Menorah, view the Supreme Court and drive to Yad Vashem, the holocaust memorial. Continue to Machane Yehuda Market to get a sense of Jerusalem and the many faces of the people in it while we watch them getting ready for Shabbat. Towards the evening, we will go to the Western Wall to watch the Jewish people as they come to pray at the most sacred place for Jews. Overnight: David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem
Day 8, Saturday, April 21, 2012 We start our day with a visit to Bethlehem. We will then continue to the Israel Museum, the place where the Dead Sea scrolls are on display and the model of 2nd temple Jerusalem. Our day will end with the Garden Tomb, Golgotha or Calvary. Here, Jesus was crucified, died on the cross, was buried and raised from the dead (Matthew 27:33-61) and here we will have a service. Overnight: David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem
Day 9, Sunday, April 22, 2012 Today we start our journey South. We will stop at the Ellah Valley to talk about the famous fight between David and Goliath. We will then continue driving to the famous Ramon Crater and learn about how it was created. We will then have a Jeep Tour into the Crater to view its unique and beautiful views. Rest of the day we will drive down to Eilat, the most Southern city in Israel for overnight. Overnight: Isrotel Agamim Hotel in Eilat
Day 10, Monday, April 23, 2012 Full day trip to Petra, Jordan and back to Eilat Overnight: Isrotel Agamim Hotel in Eilat
Day 11, Tuesday, April 24, 2012 Today, we will leave Eilat and drive down to the Dead Sea area. We will stop at the Desert Tabernacle in Timna park to learn about the way this Tabernacle was built. We will then continue to the Dead Sea and have the rest of the day to relax at the Dead Sea, experience ‘floating’ on the water and use the facilities at the hotel. Tonight is the evening of Memorial Day for falling soldiers, so most public places are closed. Overnight: Isrotel Dead Sea Hotel, Dead Sea
Day 12, Wednesday, April 25, 2012 (Memorial Day for Falling Soldiers) Today we will visit the eastern slopes of the Judean Hills and the lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea. We start in Massada, the royal fortress built by King Herod and used by the Jewish Zealots as the last stronghold during the great revolt against Rome between 66-73 AD. We view the Ein Gedi waterfalls where King David escaped from his enemies and continue to Qumran, the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were written by the Yachad (Essene) Sect 2200 years ago and where they were discovered in 1947. We then drive to Tel Aviv for overnight. Tonight is the end of the Memorial Day for Falling Soldiers and the beginning of the Independence celebrations for Israel. We will have time to join people as they celebrate the Independence in the streets of Tel Aviv. Overnight: Renaissance Hotel Tel Aviv
Day 13, Thursday, April 26, 2012 (Independence Day) Today, our last day in the land, we will leave the hotel later in the morning and visit Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv was founded 100 years ago. We will drive through the Rabin Square where Yitzhaq Rabin was assassinated , see the Bauhaus neighborhoods of early Tel Aviv and visit Jaffa, the old port city and the artists galleries. Our day will end with an early dinner in Tel Aviv before we head to the airport for our flight back home
This is the blog I kept during my trip to the camps in Poland, earlier in September 2011. I will publish it here day by day, some information, some photos and some videos and auido. It is very important for me to share this journey with all of you. We all need to remember all these who were murdered during the Holocaust. This journey is in the memory of all these victims ! ___________________________________________________________
Each person has a name, each person has the right that his name will be remembered, this is why we come on this journey, to be the voice of these who vanished, these who were murdered, we will remember them, they will speak loud through us and make the next generations remember.
This is why I want to publish this blog to all my friends, clients and to any human being, to be the voice of the silent 6 millions of our people who were murdered just for being Jews.
Tonight we will travel to Poland. I am going with my daughter Abigail, she is 17 years old, a senior in “Alon” school of art in Ramat Ha’Sharon, and her school is going on this very important program to visit the camps in Poland and study more about the holocaust. For me this is an important opportunity to visit the camps, but to do it with Abigail means alot to me, so I am very excited and am looking forward to this week together, as hard and emotional as it is going to be, I am sure this will be a learning experience for both of us, this is why I have decided to start this blog, not only for me, but also as a way for me to transfer some of what happened in the Holocaust to as many people as possible and to expose it to you. I am going to publish this on my website and encourage all my friends and clients to look at this.
I am hoping to bring here my thoughts, photos, maybe some videos or voices and enable you all to experience the journey to the camps through my eyes. It will be even more important since we will experience it also through the eyes of young boys and girls, a year from now they will be in the army, but kids their age were a big part of the victims in the camps and I hope to bring some of their stories here.
Lots of preparations still ahead of me, we are leaving later tonight, got to be at school around 9pm tonight. I am busy with these preparations, but also think of my feelings once I am there. Thanks God, my family wasn’t directly effected by the Holocause, but as a Jew and an Israeli, I feel that we are all holocaust survivors and so I wonder how will I feel when I am at the camps. It will be hard and very sad, very emotional I am sure.
It is after 10pm now, we are all at the bus ready to go, lots of excitment on the bus, lots of noise, all the kids are READY to go, we have a short flight, will get there around 4am and start touring immediately, this is going to be a non-sleep night for us.
We are at the airport already. Long check-in, late night flight into Katowice, small town not too far from Krakow, small airport, we will arrive there early in the morning, hopefully get some sleep in the plane, I will keep posting.
Kids are still energetic, I don’t think that they fully get the trip yet and like young people outside of school, they are happy, not sure they will stay in this mood once we land and start touring, Poland has it’s way to make you feel sad. These who came back well described it as a ‘gray place with an athmosphere of a graveyard’. This will be an interesting experience for sure.
Time to get on the plane. They are calling our flight. Time to go !
well, we are here ! It is around 5am now, small airport, we are at Katowice, at the airport, waiting for our bags to arrive. Everyone are so tired after a long night without any sleep, but the journey begins now. I better go look for Abigail in the crowd.
6am, finally we are out of the airport, on the bus, on our way to Krakow for breakfast and beginning of our trip. We start the journey with a briefing by the security officer we have with us, then an hour drive to get some rest and sleep before we wake up again.
We met our guide Adi and our security man Shay, from now on this is the routine on this journey, being an Israeli group in a Foregin country requires to have security, requires people to be careful and keep an open eye.
This is our guide Adi:
We started our trip with a song: all the faces, all the names, all of them, all the songs they took with them …
All the people we lost during the holocaust, these are who we are going to remember
We are driving on the country roads, it’s all green and pastoral, but you can’t help it, you find yourself thinking how many Jews were murdered in these woods, this is a beautiful country, but it is the cemetery of the Jewish people.
Krakow was the Capitol of Poland, this is where all the kings and rulers of Poland are buried. We are now stopping for breakfast at the university of Krakow, next to the stadium of Krakovia, where the famous football team is playing
We are having Breakfast at the university, eating and making sandwiches for lunch as well. We have lots of places to cover, so we will not have too much time for lunch, meaning we will have to eat what we carry with us as we go. On top of that the parents sent lots of candies and the school made arrangements to have fruits on the busses, so we will not be hungry.
Jewish quarter in Krakow, the Kazimish quarter in the past: Krakow wasn’t destroyed at the second world war. More than 90% of it survived, mainly cause Hans Frank, the German governor of the “general governament” as it was called then, chose it to be the center of his ruling. Krakow of today is built from lots of red bricks, these bricks remind the survivors from Poland the hard labor they had to do during the war, they worked in camps making these bricks.
Lots of Hebrew writing as we walk through the Jewish quarter
Inscription at the entrance to Synaguge says in Hebrew: בואו שעריו בתודה חצירותיו בתהילה
Come into his gates with thanksgiving, into his quarter with praise
Inside the synagogue in Krakow:
Here we had an opening ceremony for al 7 busses together. There are around 280 of us in total. it is overwhelming to be in what used to be the biggest Jewish quarter, the Kazimish quarter, the heart of Jewish life in Krakow.
School principal welcomes all students in the synagouge, followed by Noam, the guide of bus 1, who is talking about the Jewish life in Krakow now and before the war, past and present together, pluralism and Judaism. This is a temple, mostly belongs to the reform part in judaism, it’s meaningful because at the time of the war this group in Judaism wasn’t accepted, mid 19 century, most Jews were orthodox.
The community here was very liberal, not reform, but more liberal than regular orthodox, mixutre of opinions and ways, pluralism at it’s best.
This building was destroyed during the war, it was renovated in late 80′s with donations, it’s not active today, Jewish community is only 200 people at the moment, they are usually closed and only open when Israeli journeys like us arrive here, continuing the past.
King Kazimish in the mid 15th century brought progress to Poland, he changed it from wood buildings to stone buildings, Jews got here in the 10th century from Germany and France, Ashkenazi Jews, this king gives the Jews this quarter, he had a Jewish mistress, maybe that is the reason he loved the Jews and brouhgt them to Krakow, they in return called the quarter after him. He is buried at the Vavel, where the great people of the polish nation are buried.
This was the Jewish market at that time:
The Issac schoul at the Jewish quarter – בית הכנסת אייזיק שול בקרקוב, ברובע היהודי העתיק
This Synaguge is named after Issac the jew. There is a famous Jewish story of a Jew called Issac. He lived here in Krakow and he was very poor. One night he hears a voice calling his name, it’s not his wife, and this happens to him every night. One night he hears that the voice tells him to wake up and go to Prague, he wants to go and against his wife’s opinion he goes to Prague singing all the way:
He gets to Prague and goes to the bridge that he saw in his dream. There he looks for the treasure that he saw in his dream. He looks for it under the bridge as the dream shows him, he even tells that to the guard at the bridge. The guard laughs at him and tells him: if I was following my dreams, I would go to Krakow to the house of Issac and find the treasure that is hidden there. Issac then goes back home, and under the table in his kitchen he finds the treasure as the guard told him and he then sings again the same melody. He is using the money to build this Synaguge, and it’s named after him. Today this is a museum. That melody he played is called a “Jewish Nigun”
This was a school and Synaguge of the Jews from the chezc republic:
Jews were studying Torah here all the time, we can see the sign here from these days:
The Alte schoul, the old Synaguge, the first here in the quarter.
Before the war this quarter was very busy with religious Jews but there were also Zionist Jews here, non religious, big Jewish community. This is now the museum for judaica, inside you have more than 80,000 articles, stolen by polish people during the war, some of them we managed to get back to the museum. There wee More than 67,000 Jews here before the Jews had to leave the quarter to go to the Ghetto.
This is Part of the art and judaica that was returned to the museum:
Short movie about the Graves at the Jewish Cemetery
Center of Jewish quarter , many Jews are here, famous rabbis who died here. One of them is the famous Rabbi Moshe Isterlisch, who wrote a very famous book talking about all the Jewish laws and the daily way of Jewish life.
The Wislah River:
Jews crossed over this bridge on their way from the Jewish quarter in Krakow to the Ghetto when they were ordered to leave their homes behind and move into a smaller area
Ghetto Krakow: The war begins in 1939, after 3 weeks Krakow is under occupation, the polish nation is over, it’s all under occupation, Russians in the east and Germans in the west after the molotov-ribentop agreement.
All the ghetto had 320 buildings, it was closed at 1941 with less than 400 meters, more than 20,000 people on an area where only 2500 people lived before the war. Crowded, hungry, suffering, that’s how the Jews lived here during the war, but at the same time, Jews were trying to have some sort of normal life to, to keep the education, the cultural life etc. June 1942 was the first selection (Accia the Germans called them) where Jews were sent to their death in the east. From here Jews were sent to work at the factory of Oscar Shindler or sent to their death in the camps.
The chairs we see here at this square is where German officers sat down to select the jews to be sent out of Krakow and from this square thousands of jews were sent out to death.
View to the zagouda square from the pharmacy across the street, where a polish pharmacist named Tadeush helped Jews and got the title righteous gentile thanks to what he did:
Part of the original walls of the Ghetto
After the last 6000 Jews were taken from the Ghetto and killed, the Germans destroyed the place and it became a regular part of town. Jews revolted against the Germans in Krakow and this was an inspiration for the others in Warsha to also fight against the Germans, but not much is known about the revolt in Krakow.
Oscar Shindler and the camp in Plashow:
We are standing on top of the hill, the entire valley had 2 jewish cemeteries, street is still called Jewish street and the Jewish community all was here before the war. The Germans build their working camp of Plashow on the cemetery and covered the streets of the camp with tomb stones. Germans sold Jewish workers to Oscar Shindler and others and they became forced workers, working for the natzis. The house of Amon Gat, the commander of the camp, is not on top of the hill like in the movie “Schiendler’s List” but below the hill. He shoots Jews from the balcony there, as we see in the movie. The house is at the corner of the white buildings below. More than 8,000 Jews were murdered in the camp here.
The bodies were burnt at the valley below. The monument was build after the war, they didn’t want to mention only the Jews so it is very general and talks about all the victims of the war, Jews and non Jews. The small monument talks about the Jews. Hungarian women were also sent here instead of to Birkenau at June 1944 and the smaller monument is to remember them.
The entire valley here is where 8,000 people were burnt after they were murdered. Before the end of the war the Germans destroyed the camp and got rid of the evidence, but this is the camp that the movie of Schiendler talks about.
Up to the top of the hill, overlooking the entire city of Krakow:
View from the Vavel into the Whisla river:
The symbol of Krakow is a dragon and every few minutes he fires fire from his mouth. The story says that the king of Krakow, king Krak, lived in This Castle. Of course he wanted someone to come and kill the dragon, so he promised his daughter to the man who will kill the dragon. After many try without any luck, a simple guy tried and manages to do it, he manages to blow the dragon up and the dragon sinks in the river below the castle. The location of this astle here is for control, the king needed to control the entire city from here.
Who is buried here? Leaders of the nation, not politicians, but writers, philosophers etc
Short movie about the Inside of the Castel
If I want to summarize this day, I can try and say that today we learned about the very rich life in Poland of before the war, not only economicaly but mainly spiritualy, about the elite of the Jewish people and about a world which have disappeared in flames and smoke – the sites where it all happened are there, they look very green and pastoral, yet these are the graves of a whole nation.
Tomorrow we will visit Auschwitz and Birkenau where millions of people died. What bothered most of the kids is the difference between the beautiful landscape and what happened here, they can’t believe that people today live their life where millions were killed just few years ago, it will be a deeper feeling as we get closer to the main camp.
Complex of camps, 3 camps all together, main camp is number 1, the concentration camp, number 2 is Auschwitz-Birkenau, the death camp where we will be going later this afternoon. Now we are on our way to the main camp Auschwitz
On the way to the camp we watched a movie, testimony of a sur vivor named Obadiah Baruch. He survived Auschwitz, married the woman he met in block 10 in the camp (where German doctors led by doctor Mengale did medical experiments on inmates, specially women) and with that woman he had 2 children, grandkids and grand-grandkids. At the end of his testimony he says: “this is my victory, I won the entire Natzi armi with their generals and doctors, I stayed alive, I sur vived, I had a family and now with my family I visit Auschwitz to make my statement: they didn’t manage to kill me !”
This testimony was vert touching, very emotional and made us all think of what we are going to see in Auschwitz
Entrance to the camp, standing in a circle, reading and listening to a reading part written by a survivor, we join more than 1 million tourists per year, in the museum and memorial.
Auschwitz begins as a concentration camp for the elite polish people, not for Jews, it is built after Dachau, and we are standing at the entrance where the selection took place, this was the command room where Rudolph Hess was, the commander of the camp. Camp in total has only 28 buildings in it. First 30 preasonrs here were criminal inmates from Germany, they became the Capos here. Each person who gets to this camp, gets a number and becomes part of the complex of Auschwitz, from camp 1 to camp 2, Birkenau and to the rest of the working factories and camps in section 3 of the camp
Buildings here are the original buildings, the outside of the camp didn’t look as it looks now, today it’s a museum, with green grass and all, there were no seating banches in the camp, this is what survivors say, camp didn’t look then as it does now, people ate the grass as well, there was nothing green in Auschwitz.
“Auschwitz is not another planet, people here didn’t have names, logic here is different, when you arrive to the camp, you are a person with a name, when you are inside the camp, you are just a number, you have no rights, you are not aperson any more. if you don’t understand this, you die”
“Arbeit Macht Frei” – the sign at the entrance to the camp, this is what you saw as you entered the camp, “Work will set you free“. This is not the original sign, the original sign was stolen around 2010 and was found later.
Group in a circle looking at the entrance sign and gate
“If you were in Auschwitz, you will never leave the camp, if you were not there, you will never fully understand it”
Electric fences, signs to warn people from getting anywhere near the fence. Sometimes people just jumped at the fence to die and end their life when they couldn’t take it any more. People here were prisoners and we have lots of documents here since Germans documented everything in very detailed way.
Each morning when inmates went out to work, the band played music as inmates were passing Hess the commander of the camp like an army parade. People saved their life playing music as entertainment for the Germans, the orcerstra also played as people were shot to death.
The fence around the camp:
The minute you entered the camp through this fence, you had to change your view of life, you had to get used to live to survive, only to survive, not enough food, no human dignity, no rights, you have to think of yourself only and to do all in your power to stay alive.
Inside block number 4, symbolic grave with ashes from Birkenau
The ashes here is a symbolic remembarance to all Jews who were killed here. Behind the window lots of hair taken from the prisoners to fill carpets and matrices. Hair looks gray cause it was taken from people who were gassed to death, their hair changed color due to the sianid water in the gas of cyclone b.
Factory like solution, Jews must pay for their deportation, must pay to be killed, must pay to be fed and kept by the Germans, they pay working for Germany and pay when they die, gold tooth, hair, bones, all are materials for the German war effort.
We are in block number 5 now. Most blocks here were residential buildings, others were used for special purposes: block 10 was for medical experiments on the inmates, run by German and polish doctors, block 11 was a jail inside the camp and 21 was a hospital. Germans kept everything from the people they killed, even suitcases, tools, shoes, jewelry etc, it was all taken from the bodies and transferred back to Germany.
Each shoe here is a complete life story, a person, with full life.
In Auschwitz there was a water pool. Close to the fence, behind the blocks, the pool was a water reservoir and was built because of the claims from the insurance company. Germans actually insured the camp, each worker here was worth 6 marks per day for the Germans, his life meant nothing, but he was making money for the Germans and lots of money to.
Block 10 is the place where German and polish doctors did experiments on women. Young Jewish women were held here and they were used for medical experiments. Led by Mengale, Clauberg and others, the German doctors did crazy experiments on people. Doctor Shmuel was a jew who was forced to help the Germans but he also did his best to help the Jews, didn’t operate on them and saved some of them.
The wall of death where inmates were executed. Block number 11 was the in-house jail in Auschwitz, inmates who smoke during work, stole food etc, were executed in front of this wall:
One of the capos here was Jacob Kozaltchik who was a boxer before, he got to the camps and cooperated with the Germans and for many years later, even when he lived in israel, he was not liked. As it turned to be, after years, they realized that he was helping the Jews here, tho he was the capo.
Square where Rudolph Hess, camp commander, was hanged on April 1947. He had 5 children, his youngest daughter was born in Auschwitz, and he wrote her a letter before he died here.
Rudolph Hess was hanged here on this spot:
Room where they burned people after they were gassed, 30,000 people were killed here and their bodies were burnt
Auschwitz 2 Birkenau
All Jews who arrived here came to the Jeden ramp at the entrance to camp. We are now sitted in front of the train rails.
March 1941 this camp was built after a direct order by Himler himself, he needs to increase the speed of building more camps in preparations to taking Russia after the Barbarosa operation will begin. Germans take the village here, build a camp and call it Birkenau meaning “building” in german. This camp was built by 10,000 Russian war prisoners, they took down the village houses and used the bricks to build the camp. 45 original blocks survived here.
Most of the camp was destroyed after the war by the polish local people who rebuilt their village here.
This camp changes from a war prisoners camp into a death camp. This is a factory for death, this becomes the most efficient camp when it comes to killing Jews. All the Jews from Europe arrive here, they are selected here to death or work, and many of them are killed here using 6 destruction facilities, killing many Jews in a factory style solution, in an industrial way.
“Take me with you, says the little child to the train, each time we separate there is a little taste of death” – these words of a song talk about families separate, mothers see their loved ones sent to death from the ramp in this camp. Elite of European Jews got here from Europe and died here – end of the world is here.
After separating men from women, some of the Jews were selected to work in Auschwitz 1. The rest, most of the Jews who arrived here, were sent to death here. Even these who were selected so called to live, were actually selected to die. The lucky ones were sent to death right away, but out of these who were sent to work, only 10% survived, they were lucky, most people worked till they could not work any more and then died.
Entering the camp, they take away your self respect and your identity, you are no longer a person, you become just a number, you start with 5 weeks of getting used to life at the camp, enclosed in this wooden blocks, moving stones from place to place and just being in the blocks. If you survived that, you would start working in the camp waiting to be put to death. This is the biggest death camp for European Jews.
These blocks were meant to be stables for the German horses, but they were used to keep 500-700 inmates in a place meant for 52 horses. No privacy, toilets in the middle of the block, not enough water. The people who had to clean these toilets were called the “scheise commando”. As one of the survivors said, even the horses were suppose to have better conditions than the Jews who were kept in these blocks.
Remains of the camp after local polish people took all the bricks:
We are now on the ramp at the entrance to camp, this is where the selection took place, if you were too young or too old, if you looked not healthy enough, you would be send to death immediately without even get inside to the camp.
As we go towards the inside of the camp, kids carry Israeli flags, sort of the “march of the living” in a place that symbolizes death:
Inside the block, beds in 3 levels, wood only, crowded, total of around 600 people per block, 10 women in one bed, older women 40-45 in lower level, younger on higher levels. Wake up time in summer is 5am and in winter is 6am, you would get some hot fluid and go to work, either outside or as part of destroying bodies and taking their property, life at the camp were hard, if you didn’t have a certain position, you were at the bottom of the group, people did their best to get better position and survive better this way. Life in the camp were like in the jungle, if you are strong you will survive.
If you were not strong enough in the camps, you will be selected to die, they would take you and put you in a separate block, keep you there naked waiting to be sent to die. Women would try to look better when they knew selection is on it’s way, they would paint their lips, pinch their skin, maybe this way they would survive for another few weeks.
The destruction stops on November 1944 and the Germans leave the camp on January 1945, on their way on the death marches towards Germany. They walk all the prisoners from the camps back to Germany, huge distances, no shoes, in the snow, where people die in the long hard journey. There were 4 crematoriums here, death machine, women with kids, elderly people and children under 14 will go to death. This is crematurim number 2 in the photo, 2000 people at once, will be killed using 7kg of cyclone B gas, it’s heated so the gas will operate better, it takes 20 minutes to die, then the “zonder commando” people will clean the bodies from everything including gold tooth and property and take them to burn then. The ashes where then thrown into the pool. This was crematorium number 2:
When you are in Auschwitz, near the crematorium and close to the pool of ashes, the quietness of the place catches you, it’s so quiet here, so green, here where people died. I am saying here the kadish, the Jewish prayer for the deads, in front of the crematorium:
We end our visit to the camp with a ceremony planned and done by the kids, they prepared the entire ceremony themselves.
Short movie with part of the ceremony
End of the visit with the singing of Hatikva, group of Israeli kids on polish land, in the camp where their people died – this is our victory !
Group of Americans we met going out from camp made an interesting remark as they saw us coming out: “we are so happy to see so many Jews going OUT of the camp, all alive and proud with the Israeli flag in their hands …”
Abigail my daughter on the way out from the camp
In the evening we have a group meeting, reflecting on how we felt during the day. This was a vert emotional day for all of us, lighting candles in Auschwitz in memory of all these who were killed there, carrying the Israeli flag and being here with a group of young people who will be soldiers next year, specially with my own daughter, this was special for me and for all the kids on the trip. Hearing their reflections now makes me understand that they can’t bring themselves to think that they could be there, they are so safe in their life, in their country, that it doesn’t even get to their minds, they know what happened, they understand, but they can’t put themselves there, this is another planet, it didn’t happen in their world, it happened in another world, a world they can’t fully understand.
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Journey to the Camps in Poland: September 19 – 26, 2011
This is the blog I kept during my trip to the camps in Poland, earlier in September 2011. I will publish it here day by day, some information, some photos and some videos and auido. It is very important for me to share this journey with all of you. We all need to remember all these who were murdered during the Holocaust.
This journey is in the memory of all these victims !
Monday, September 19, 2011 - Day 1
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - Day 2
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - Day 3
Thursday, September 22, 2011 - Day 4
Friday, September 23, 2011 - ...
Style, Space, Luxury and Performence,
All and more in our new VW Multivan
The new 2010 car, fully a/c, we use for touring with up to 6 passengers
(Taken from the VW official website) See it here
Volkswagen's proud history in moving people stretches back more than half a century to the early model Transporters (aka "Kombis"). These iconic vehicles were extraordinarily flexible, adapting to the needs, personality and lifestyle of their owners.
Luxury is what you expect in a 7 seat Multivan. With 5 flexible passenger seats in the rear, the Multivan will surprise you with its sliding, rotating, reclining and removable second ...
Introducing Culinary Tours in Israel
Cooking instruction, fine dining and the art of wine, olive oil and cheese.
Culinary tourism is a relatively new industry in Israel, yet its popularity is growing. As food enthusiasts pursue unique and memorable food and wine experiences, Israel is emerging as a choice destination combining ethnic and modern cuisine and reflecting a vibrant cultural diversity.
Whether you are an experienced chef, a budding gourmand or simply enjoy food and wine, nothing can bring you closer to the essence of Israel than our fantastic hands-on cooking vacations. Our culinary tours take you beyond the usual tourist experience to the real Israel where ...