What Happens to Those Papers?

These papers are prayers inserted into the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

These papers are prayers inserted into the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

After visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem, many visitors wonder about those papers they see stuffed into the wall. Those papers are generally the written prayers that people hope God notices. If that’s the case what happens to them? Are they simply left there forever?

“Each year millions of notes are placed among the stones by Jewish and non-Jewish worshipers from Israel and abroad, including notes sent via the website of the Western Wall, fax and mail.”

Arutz-7 (Israel National News) published an article that answers that question. Read the full article and see the video at the link above.

What to Wear in the Summer

Muslim woman wears full cover in Jerusalem.

How Should You Dress?

Many Americans have the mistaken notion that Israel is a place where “women have to be completely covered and walk ten feet behind their husbands.” While that is generally not the case, especially for tourists, there are some dress related issues to keep in mind.

In order to pack and dress appropriately for your tour, you need to consider several factors.

WEATHER: The weather will range from warm and dry to hot and humid. The average daytime high temperatures in the areas you will visit are: Jerusalem (85), Tel Aviv (88), Tiberias (97), and Masada (100+). You should check the weather in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

COMFORTABLE and MODEST: Comfortable and modest is a theme we try to follow at Discipleship Travel LLC.

Since you will be getting on and off of a tour bus and walking a considerable amount throughout the day we recommend that you dress comfortably in loose, lightweight clothing. Choosing clothing that can be hand washed and hung up to dry in the hotel will reduce the amount of clothes you need to bring. Be aware that Jerusalem may cool off at night, thus a light jacket or sweater/sweatshirt is a good idea.

We also need to remind you that you will be visiting religious sites and other culturally conservative areas, so you should keep modesty in mind when selecting comfortable clothing for your tour.

In most cases, covering the knees and shoulders for both men and women is appropriate summer dress. However, there may be times where longer pants or skirts will help you and the local population feel more comfortable. The guide/leader will let you know when modest dress is a more sensitive issue or absolutely necessary.

You may also want to bring a swimsuit or some type of water wear (and a towel) for rafting on the Jordan, swimming in the Sea of Galilee, floating on the Dead Sea, and hiking through Hezekiah’s Tunnel.

HATS: The summer sun in Israel can be extreme, so consider bringing a hat or other head cover to help protect you from the sun. Some may prefer a light sun umbrella. Also, men are required to cover their heads while in synagogues, and almost anything counts as a cover: ball caps, fedora, bandanas, etc. Men may also opt to buy a souvenir yarmulka to use for cover in Jewish areas.

SHOES: Because you will be doing a LOT of walking, be sure to bring comfortable and stable footwear that will be appropriate for stairs, hills, dirt trails and rocky, uneven terrain. Many travelers are happy with hiking sandals, light hiking boots or sturdy sneakers (i.e., running/walking/basketball). We strongly recommend water shoes for use at the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea and Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Heels and cowboy boots are typically not a good idea on a Discipleship Travel LLC study tour.

JEWELRY: Wedding rings and modest accent jewelry are appropriate. You are wise not to draw unnecessary attention to your most valuable and prized jewelry; leave it at home in a secure location (e.g., a safe or safe deposit box). The less (and less expensive) jewelry that you bring, the less you will be concerned with its safety and whereabouts. And, if you ever feel like you didn’t bring enough jewelry or you simply want to add something from Israel to your collection, your guide can help you find a trusted local jewelry vendor.

BAGGAGE LIMITS: As you choose what items to bring, be aware that each passenger is limited to 1 checked bag and 1 carry on, and 1 personal item with the following limitations:

Checked Bag: A checked bag can weigh up to 50 lbs. and may not exceed 62 linear inches, including wheels and handles. The linear measurement = length + height + width.

Carry On:  The maximum dimensions for a carry-on bag are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches, including handles and wheels.

Personal Item: The maximum dimensions for your personal item, such as a shoulder bag, backpack, laptop bag or other small item, are 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches.

If you have any additional questions about what to wear, please do not hesitate to contact me at craig@discipleshiptravel.com.

Electricity Considerations in Israel

A tourist asked, “Do I have to use a transformer or adapter for my electrical devices in Israel?”

plugadapter

Israeli two-pin plug adapter

Electricity in Israel is 22ov (220v-240v) 50hz compared to 110v 60hz in North America. That difference requires certain precautions when using North American appliances and electrical devices, including telephones and computers.

First, let’s clarify the difference between adapters and transformers/converters. Adapters affect the plug; they change the standard American flat posts to Israeli/European round posts. At the right, you can see the standard 2-pin plug used in Israel.Transformers/converters affect the electricity; in this case, they reduce Israel’s 220v down to 110v; transformers/converters do not affect the hz.

Today, many electronic devices (e.g., computers, certain battery chargers, tablets, phones, etc.) have an internal transformer and can operate safely on 110v or 220v. Check the specs label on your device to see if yours does. Click here for an example. If your device is rated to operate on 110v-240v, you should only need an adapter like the one in the photo at the top right. You can easily find a 6-pack available on Amazon for $3 (Caution! There are a number of negative reviews of that product). Here‘s another adapter that has better customer reviews.

If your device does not operate on 220v, you will need a converter. The size depends on the type of device you want to operate. A 50-watt converter is usually sufficient for basic electronic devices like phones and computers. Heating devices (e.g. curling irons and blow dryers) usually require a more robust converter of at least 1600 watts. Many Israeli hotels have hair dryers and 110 electric outlets for shavers in the restrooms, which may be a better option than trying to get a North American hair dryer to work properly. Many travelers end up burning up their hair dryers when trying to use them in Israel. This hair dryer works in Israel (with a plug adapter) and has received good customer reviews. Additionally, this Conair mini-curling iron is dual voltage and will work both in the United States and Israel.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the links provided in this post serve to illustrate the kinds of devices that are typically used by tourists and should not be construed as endorsement of the quality or dependability of any of the devices. Discipleship Travel LLC assumes no liability for your correct or incorrect use of any items linked or described in this post. The purchase and/or use of any of these or similar items indicates your acceptance of personal responsibility and liability for any damage that may result.

 

You Asked About Electricity in Israel

A tourist asked, “Do I have to use a transformer or adapter for my electrical devices in Israel?”

plugadapterElectricity in Israel is rated at 22ov (220v-240v) 50hz compared to the 110v 60hz in North America. That difference requires certain precautions when using North American appliances and electrical devices, including telephones and computers.

First, let’s clarify the difference between adapters and transformers/converters. Adapters affect the plug; they change the standard American flat posts to Israeli/European round posts. At the right, you can see the standard 2-pin plug used in Israel.Transformers/converters affect the electricity; in this case, they reduce Israel’s 220v down to 110v; transformers/converters do not affect the hz.

Today, many electronic devices (e.g. computers, battery chargers, tablets, phones, etc.) have an internal transformer and can operate safely on 110v or 220v. Check the specs label on your device to see if yours does. Click here for an example. If your device is rated to operate on 110v-240v, you should only need an adapter like the one in the photo at the top right. You can easily find a 6-pack available on Amazon for less than $3 (Caution! The customer reviews on this product are not good). Here‘s another adapter that has better customer reviews.

If your device does not operate on 220v, you will need a converter. The size depends on the type of device you want to operate. A 50-watt converter is usually sufficient for basic electronic devices like phones and computers. Heating devices (e.g. curling irons and blow dryers) usually require a more robust converter of at least 1600 watts. Many Israeli hotels have hair dryers and 110 electric outlets for shavers in the restrooms, which may be a better option than trying to get a North American hair dryer to work properly. Many travelers end up burning up their hair dryers when trying to use them in Israel. This hair dryer works in Israel (with a plug adapter) and has received good customer reviews.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the links provided in this post serve to illustrate the kinds of devices that are typically used by tourists and should not be construed as endorsement of the quality or dependability of any of the devices. Discipleship Travel LLC assumes no liability for your correct or incorrect use of any items linked or described in this post. The purchase and/or use of any of these or similar items indicates your acceptance of personal responsibility and liability for any damage that may result.

 

How do I make falafel?

falafelFalafel has been called “Israel’s original fast food.” Many of our travelers experience falafel for the first time during their Israel tour. The reactions are mixed. Some simply refuse to try it because it is too different. Among those who try falafel, some don’t like the taste and some find it really tasty.

This post is primarily for those in the last category, though others may benefit, too.

Falafel is made from ground chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) and seasonings that is shaped into a ball or patty, then deep fried. In Israel, falafel is typically served in a pita bread with hummus, tehina, tomatoes, cabbage, and other interesting items.

Often, after arriving back home, our travelers want to try to recreate some of the foods they experienced on their trip and ask us how to make this or that item. Below is a recipe for falafel from Jewish Fusion:

Falafel Recipe Ingredients:

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, cooked for ½ hour and drained
4 cups water
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 thick slice rustic white bread,
crust removed.
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup of flour for dipping
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
2 Tablespoons, chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons of fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground tumeric
½ teaspoon ground coriander
Canola or vegetable oil for deep-frying
Pita breads, heated
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
Tahini
Hummus, optional

Directions:

Put the chickpeas in a 2-quart soup pot, add the water, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
Add the 2 teaspoons salt after 20 minutes of cooking.
Drain the chickpeas and reserve the liquid.
Grind the chickpeas through the coarse blade of a meat grinder or pulse in a food processor.
Add the bread, the 2 tablespoons flour, the baking soda, garlic, egg, and seasonings and mix well.
Add salt to taste.
Form into 1-inch balls, then flatten each slightly in your hand.
In a deep saucepan or a wok, heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees F.
Dip the falafel into flour and deep-fry in batches until golden.
Using a skimmer, transfer to paper towels to drain.
Tuck into warm pita bread, along with about 2 tablespoons each chopped tomatoes and cucumber, and a generous drizzle of tahini dressing and some hummus, if using.

You may be interested to watch this video demo, which is part of Epicurious’ “Around the World in 80 Dishes” series.

Best wishes on this adventure, and happy eating!