Half-Day Tours

These tours take up to four hours to complete. Dollar amounts are approximate and may vary depending on the exchange rate.

She’arim: A Tale of Four-and-a-Half Gates

New Gate, June 1967, photo courtesy of Yakov Schneider

Jerusalem’s Old City Walls and Gates (Tour #2.10)

We will explore four (“-and-a-half”) of the usable gates of the Old City walls. Why were the gates built where they are? What’s special about each of the gates in ancient and/or modern history? What can we learn about the geography, neighborhoods and current sociology in the vicinity of each gate?  These and other questions will be addressed as we begin with the New Gate and walk through the Christian Quarter to the Jaffa Gate. (We will discuss the different representations of the Christian Church organizations we pass, but we will not be going inside churches.) After a short break near the Jaffa Gate we will ascend the Ramparts Walk and stroll on the walls of the Old City, descending at the Zion Gate. We will continue down the hill, stopping briefly at the Tanner’s Gate (is that a new one for you?) and conclude at the Dung Gate.

TOUR LENGTH: 3.5 to 5 hours

SUGGESTED MEETING POINT: Kikar Tzahal, by the old and new City Hall buildings (near the Shivtei Yisrael light rail station)

TENTATIVE ENDING POINT: Sha’ar Ashpot (the Dung Gate)

PRICE (total per group): ₪800 (~$250)

NOT INCLUDED in the PRICE: Entrance fees for the Ramparts Walk (as of this writing: ₪20 per adult;  ₪10 per child 5 to 18 years old, student (with ID), or senior citizen)

Mishna I̶m̶Possible: The Daf Yomi Comes Alive

Photo Credit: Neot Kedumim

Sukkot Exhibit at Neot Kedumim (Tour #2.20)

Between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on route 443 lies Neot Kedumim: a Biblical Landscape Reserve, unique in the world. For over 50 years they have seeded  and nurtured virtually all flora mentioned in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and many that appear in Rabbinic Literature (Talmud and Midrash). Among their marvelous educational displays is an exhibit of sukkot – some kosher, others not (and still others, maybe), all illustrating the first couple of chapters of the Mishna Sukkot (with some variations mentioned in the Gemara/Talmud). Your “mishna,” should you accept it, is to take texts in hand and examine each of the model sukkot and try to summarize what makes a valid sukka. Time allowing we will also visit Givat Arba’at HaMinim – the Four-Species Hill on which they grow the Etrog (citron), lulav (palm frond), hadas (myrtle), and arava (willow). Great for adults as well as kids!

Note: Please wear closed shoes.

TOUR LENGTH: 2.5 to 3 hours on-site

MEETING POINT and ENDING POINT: Parking lot of Neot Kedumim  (transportation not provided)

PRICE (total per group): ₪800 (~$250)

NOT INCLUDED in the PRICE: Entrance fees for Neot Kedumim: ₪25 per adult; ₪20 per child 4 to 18 years old, student (with ID), or senior citizen; children under 4 enter free.

“…And a Wall Through Her Heart”

Border between Israel and Jordan, pre-1967

The City Line that Divided Jerusalem 1948-67, and a Glimpse at Today’s Municipal Borders (Tour #2.30)

Following a section of the “borderline” which divided Jerusalem 1948-1967, we will attempt to understand some of the ongoing geopolitical issues in the City of Peace. Beginning in Gilo (which was built after 1967) we will look out onto the western part of the city for a geographic orientation. We’ll drive along the old 1948 dividing line through the Arab neighborhood of Bet Sefafa. Stopping at the Goldmann Promenade overlooking the Old City and environs, we will discuss the complexities of the area before and after 1967. On the roof of a school in the Abu Tor neighborhood we’ll get a perspective on the divided city alongside the Old City. Time and traffic allowing, we will drive north of the Old City to see the location of the famous Mandelbaum gate: the only gateway between Jordanian and Israeli Jerusalem 1948-67.

Transportation is not provided. We will travel in a caravan of cars making the aforementioned stops. A group can also arrange for a bus or van for transportation.

TOUR LENGTH: ~4 hours

MEETING POINT: Shabbati Hangebi St., Gilo, Jerusalem (location TBA)

ENDING POINT: The Mandelbaum Gate (location TBA)

PRICE (total per group): ₪800 (~$250)

Herod’s Monument to Himself

Herodion from below, photo courtesy Itamar Ben David

Herodion (Tour #2.40)

King Herod (ruled 37 BCE – 4 CE) was one of the cruelest rulers of Eretz Yisrael of all time, but he was also a master builder. The Temple Mount (Har HaBayit), Masada and Caesarea are among his most famous accomplishments. But the monument that he built and named for himself in the Judean Desert is nothing short of awesome. He even built the infrastructure for his own royal funeral. From a distance Herodion (or Herodium) looks like a flat-top mountain, but it’s really an artificial cone! The palace and bathhouse built inside the structure are marvelous, as is the public room which was used as a synagogue by Jewish rebels during the revolts against Rome. Newly opened to the public is the theatre and access to where Herod’s tomb was found. Particularly cool are the huge underground cisterns, and hideout caves, that we will wall through. In short, this is a tour not to be missed.

Notes: Terrific for children and adults; requires a lot of walking uphill and climbing stairs.

TOUR LENGTH: 3 hours on-site

MEETING POINT and ENDING POINT: Herodion National Park (upon
request, we can arrange for a meeting point on Derekh Hevron in Jerusalem)

PRICE (total per group): ₪800 (~$250)

NOT INCLUDED in the PRICE: Entrance fees for Herodion (₪29 per adult;
₪15 per child; ₪25 for student with ID; ₪15 for senior citizen with ID)

Additional Half-Day Tour Possibilities

  • The City of David, including Hezekiah’s Tunnel
  • The Temple Mount and the archaeological park at the Davidson Center
  • Highlights of the Israel Museum: The Model of Jerusalem in the
  • “The Palm Sunday Path”: from Mt of Olives to the Via Dolorosa and the
  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre
  • Where David slew Goliath: Tel Azeka and HaEla Valley
  • And many more! Ask me about other options.

Tours and tour packages made just for you

Short Walking Tours

Join with other English-speakers in eye-opening tours at prearranged times and places, mostly in and around Jerusalem.

Half-Day Tours

Thematic tours of Jerusalem (Old City Walls and Gates; Divided Jerusalem 1948-67); Herodion; The City of David, including Hezekiah’s Tunnel; The Temple Mount and the Davidson Center archaeological park; Highlights of the Israel Museum; “The Palm Sunday Path”; Where David slew Goliath: Tel Azeka and HaEla Valley.

Full Day Tours

Jerusalem Old City; Jerusalem New City; Tel Aviv: from Old Jaffa through Neve Tzedek; Ancient Caesarea and the delightful Zichron Yaakov; the caves of Maresha and Bet Guvrin; Key sites on the ascent to Jerusalem from 1948 – including Latrun and the new museum at Sha’ar Hagai; Masada and the Dead Sea; Western Negev…

Overnight Excursions

The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) and environs; the Western Galilee (Acco, Haifa, and so on); the Dead Sea area; hiking in the northern Negev… or an extended trip of seven, 10 or 12 days – or more, touching on the multi-layered history and beauty of the country.