Sunday, 18 November 2012

Scavenger Hunting in Nachalot

Remember when I went scavenging around Jerusalem earlier this year? Well, Tali Kaplinski Tarlow and the rest of the Jerusalem Scavenger Hunts team kindly invited me back again, this time to explore Jerusalem’s Nachlaot neighbourhood.
Nachalot is actually a cluster of neighbourhoods in central Jerusalem, and is known for its narrow, winding lanes, old-style housing, hidden courtyards and many small synagogues. The neighbourhood was established in the late 1870's outside the walls of the Old City, which was becoming increasingly overcrowded and unsanitary. Sir Moses Montefiore, one of the most well-known supporters and benefactors of Israel in the 19th century, was involved in the building of Nachlaot, and the Mazkeret Moshe ('Memorial to Moses') and Ohel Moshe neighbourhoods were named after him.
After a short introduction from Tali about the Scavenger Hunts, and specifically about Nachlaot, we divided ourselves up in to teams and were given a Mission Pack, including a source book, map, instruction booklet and notebook. Our job was to solve the various tasks and clues set for us in the book. The answers were to be found in the street names, buildings, street art and signs all around us.
My team included Robin, a talented photographer, and two writers, Miriam and Laura. We had a great deal of fun together, though I may as well tell you now that we didn't come in first. We did better than last time though - we weren't last! Actually the whole competitive thing kind of passes me by. I prefer to take my time and learn about the area, rather than rushing to win. I guess I must be getting old!
As we moved from station to station along the hunt's route, we learnt about the families who lived in the area, as well as famous personalities who grew up there. Nachlaot was at once home to Yitzchak Navon, a playwright who would go on to become Israel’s fifth president, as well as various members of the Banai family, a family celebrated here in Israel for producing several famous performers and musicians.
We got lost once but Tali was around and about and helped us get back on track. We counted the old stone cisterns that once served as each community’s primary water source, and checked out the prayer times on one of the larger synagogue's boards. We talked to an actor who turned out to have no connection to the hunt whatsoever, though we had assumed otherwise, and we donated a few coins to charity as one of our set tasks.
All in all the Nachlaot Scavenger Hunt was really enjoyable. Anyone who wants to really discover Jerusalem, in this case specifically Nachlaot, should definitely give it a go.
To round off the whole event, we were provided with delicious vegetable soup and rolls, courtesy of the Village Green vegetarian restaurant, whilst Tali closed the morning's activities with a short talk about the places we had visited. Afterwards I hopped on over to Nachlaot's next-door neighbour, the Machane Yehuda Market (more commonly known as “The Shuk”) to purchase freshly baked rugelach and other treats for the oncoming Shabbat. It was certainly not a bad way to spend a morning...


Robin said...

It was a lovely day out, and was great to see you again too. Next year in Yemin Moshe?

Meeling said...

Sounds like so much fun and learning something at the same time.

I'm like you - I'd be taking my time enjoying the surroundings!

Miss Val's Creations said...

This must have been so much fun! I love the old stone walls. Fabulous artwork too! It is much more enjoyable to be caught up in the moment rather than being caught up in a competition. :)

Denise Kiggan said...

This sounds like so much fun. Have been thinking about you guys lately