Mea Shearim (Me’a She’arim) Tours
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Having a predominantly Haredi and Hasidic population, the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Mea Shearim (Me'a She'arim) is a world of its own within Jerusalem. The insulated neighborhood is one of the oldest Jewish areas in the city and accordingly, life revolves around the many strict religious rules and traditions. Men can be seen wearing the traditional black frock coats with white shirts and stiff black hats to cover their heads. Women usually dress in black, long skirts and blouses and cover their heads with a headscarf or a wig. Additionally, the households in Mea Shearim reject most technology, including computers, televisions and radios as well as newspapers and magazines. Instead, important messages and news are glued onto walls or one of the numerous billboards that can be seen everywhere. Next to the messages, there are also the so called “modesty posters”, big notices with bold print that urge visitors to wear at least knee length clothing as well as tops with sleeves. Since the inhabitants of Mea Shearim also don’t want to become a major tourist attraction, photography is forbidden within the neighborhood and visitors are generally encouraged to blend in.
The residents of Mea Shearim might be suspicious of strangers, but if you make the effort to follow the rules and blend in, you will find the people to be nothing but honest, helpful and friendly. Those looking for bargains and reasonable prices will discover a great selection of interesting goods in the shopping district and it is worthwhile to purchase typical Jewish necessities and clothes, visit one of the bookstores and follow the mouthwatering smells into one of the many bakeries. The bakeries could even be called the main attractions of the neighborhood, so make sure not to miss out on the Sufganiyah, delicious round jelly doughnuts topped with powdered sugar.
The Mea Shearim neighborhood can be found outside the old city in the northern part of Jerusalem. Make sure to wear modest clothing when visiting and refrain from taking pictures.
Address: Jerusalem, Israel
2 Tours and Activities to Experience Mea Shearim (Me’a She’arim)
The Jerusalem light rail spans the city, connecting history, conflict, people and differing narratives. It is a wonderful way to learn about the many facets of this city. We begin on Mount Herzl, the fist stop. We will visit the national cemetery and gain an understanding of the history of Israel. We continue on the light rail, pointing out the sites on the way, exiting at the the colorful Machane Yehuda market which we will tour and sample the street food. We continue on the rail, stopping at the center of town, Jaffa Street and King George Avenue, to get a sense of this historical and bustling area. We continue to the Damascus Gate Station, to visit both a Jewish Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood and the neighboring hub of the Arab section of the city at the Damascus Gate and Salah a Din Street. Here we will get a deep sense of the complexities of this multicultural city. We continue to the Arab and Jewish northern neighborhoods, asking the question: What unites us? What divides us?
Discover Jerusalem’s Haredi Jewish neighborhood on a 4-hour walking tour and get a glimpse of daily life in this religious community. Visit a synagogue and see the local sights as you learn about Haredi traditions from your guide. Sample Jewish pastries such as 'rugelach' and 'challah' at one of the quarter’s distinctive bakeries and see an important Hasidic tomb. You'll also be welcomed into the home of a local family and visit a neighborhood library that houses ancient religious artifacts.
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