Thursday, December 31, 2015

A taste of Israel: Machaneh Yehuda

(This post has had some technical difficulties. I'm posting it; but I'll also try to solve the problems)

Machaneh Yehuda is the name of the main 'shuk' (market place) in Jerusalem. It's the largest open-air market in Jerusalem. 

It's got almost everything you need for your kitchen (excluding appliances). It's got fresh food, all the spices you could dream of, and lots more. There are 200 stalls and, I'd guess, more than two-dozen small restaurants and drink kiosks. 

My wife and I have made ​​it our habit to go to the shuk once a week to shop for our fruits and vegetables. Even accounting for the (modest) cost of bus fare (to get there), we find that the prices in the shuk are cheaper than we've seen at any stores in our own city. In addition to lower prices, the quality of what we buy in the shuk is better.

This shuk is a busy place. It attracts an average of 200,000 shoppers and visitors a week.

Here's a video about the shuk. You'll see some of the vendors we buy from. You'll watch people walk the aisles we walk. You'll get a taste (or, at least, a sight) of the colorful cornucopia of foods we see every time we shop there.

The prices you'll see in the video look to be four-five years old. Prices are in Shekel. A shekel is app 4 times a US dollar. 

The prices you see displayed are not 'per pound'. They are 'per kilo'. A kilo (kilogram) is 2.2 pounds. 

The video is less than 2:16. It's called "Postcard from Machane Yehua." It comes to you courtesy of Israel21c. There's a second video below it.

This second video is in Hebrew. It gives you an authentic flavor of being here. 

Don't be intimidated by the Hebrew. Yes, if you don't speak the language, it can sound overwhelming at first. It isn't.

So far as my own Hebrew goes, I can understand 100% of some of what's being said in this video. I understand close to 0% of other things being said. Most of the time, however, I can understand the 'gist' of what's being said - the topic, the context and the emotional content. I just don't yet have the vocabulary part of it.

Funny thing about that is, for most of my communication with people, I don't need that much vocabulary. 

i think you'll see in this video more of the vendors of the shuk, and more of the foods available in the shuk. I believe that this video gives you a better flavor of 'being there'. 

I'd say this video gives you a view of the shuk one might call, 'the real thing'. It runs 3:31. If you do get overwhelmed by the language, don't worry. Just watch the scenery behind the speakers. 

This video comes from the official site of Machane Yehuda (

Come home to Israel. The shuk waits for you - in both English, Hebrew and 'Hebrish'. 

'Hebrish' is your secret to success in Israel, particularly in a city like Jerusalem where many Israelis have some familiarity with English. 

'Hebrish' means Hebrew-English. It means you attempt to speak in Hebrew, but you use the occasional English word to substitute for a Hebrew word you don't know or can't remember. 

It works. Israelis who listen to you will often give you the correct Hebrew word for the occasional English word you've just used. 

If you can't speak a real Hebrew, speak Hebrish. It's  the language of new Olim.

Come home. The shuk awaits you. 

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