Come Join Us: AACI’s Succot Walking Tours

Well, here it is – the end of September and the beginning of a new year according to the Jewish calendar. Summer is ending, the season is changing, and I for one am delighted … although I must admit I do feel a little off kilter. I still associate autumn with the splendid displays of red and gold and orange foliage of my old North American home (although some leaves do turn color in the Israeli autumn, the preponderance of evergreens tends overshadow them). I remember the brand new first apples of the season appearing on the trees and adding further to the glorious color scheme. The pleasure of these magnificent sights was somewhat allayed by the anticipation of winter, which in eastern Canada is not to be taken lightly.

In Israel, fall means something entirely different to me. The cooler days of autumn signify to me, not that snow will soon be falling, but that I can finally breathe.

And that is why I feel out of step.

The children of my neighborhood are heading off to school dressed in jackets and hats, while I am at last feeling comfortable going for a walk in my summer clothes … in the middle of the day! I no longer have to plan to get to the supermarket the minute it opens in the morning to make the long trek home, schlepping my shopping cart, somewhat bearable.

I remember years ago in my old neighborhood in Beit Shemesh, where the weather is much warmer even than in Jerusalem, being amused when the Israeli-born mothers began to dress their infants in snowsuits. It usually happened when the temperature plummeted from 40 down to a frigid 28 degrees C (that’s from 104 degrees Fahrenheit down to about 82).  My kids were still running around in shorts at that point, because I knew what snowsuits were for – to bundle up babies when the weather was below freezing, and the snow was too thick to push a stroller through, so instead we used mini baby sleds pulled by polar bears … hmm, wait, I think I’m getting carried away here.

Anyway, my point – and I do have one, as the comedian said – is that autumn in Israel, in addition to a whole holiday season, brings the loveliest weather. Perfect weather for all us, tourist or local, olim chadashim or vatikim, to get out, walk around, and enjoy this amazing country of ours. And what better way to do that than by taking part in one or more of AACI’s Succot Walking Tours?

Explore some new sights or revisit favorite sites. The tours are generally more walks than hikes, and last only a few hours, allowing all members of the family to participate. Prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is relaxed yet festive. Come join us. And enjoy the beauty of Israel in the fall.

You will be welcome whether you choose to wear a short sleeved T-shirt or a full-length winter coat!

AACI’s Succot Walking Tours are offered from September 28 through October 10, 2012. Click here for details and a full schedule. Please call the tour guide for confirmation of the tour and to find out the meeting place.

Chag Sameach! Happy Fall!


AACI Sukkot Walking Tours – Don’t Miss Out!

Where was Jerusalem’s first tennis court? Who is buried in the ancient cave tombs from the time of the First and Second Temples? Where did Theodor Herzl stay when he visited Jerusalem? Who hung out on Emek Refaim before the current patrons of the cafés and restaurants? What does Jerusalem look like from the Bridge of Strings?

Sukkot is the perfect time to get to know Jerusalem intimately by walking the stones, pavements, streets and alleyways of this magnificent city. AACI offers 24 walking tours guided by English-speaking licensed tour guides beginning Erev Sukkot, Wednesday, Sept. 22nd and continuing through Isru Chag, Friday, Oct. 1st.

Discover or rediscover Jerusalem neighborhoods and historical sites in both the old and new city. Whether you’re visiting Jerusalem for the holiday, a new immigrant or a long time citizen of the city, there’s something of interest for everyone and for all ages. Even if you know the city and its history well, there are tours that provide a unique perspective. You can “Follow in the Footsteps of the Women of Jerusalem” who added to the richness of life in the city or join the “Jerusalem Medicine Tour” and learn about the development of Jerusalem’s health care system through historic, geopolitical and anecdotal stores along Hanevi’im Street.

Carol Kaplan, a tour guide and one of the program organizers, explains that an added advantage of an AACI walking tour is the chevrah (group or congregation). Olim chadashim (new immigrants) can mix with vatikim (long-time residents). AACI members can connect with one another, and tourists can meet English-speaking veteran Israelis.

The complete list of tours with a detailed description of the itinerary can be found on the AACI website. The tours last 2 ½- 3 ½ hours. The cost is NIS 35 for AACI members, NIS 45 for non-members (unless stated otherwise). Children aged 5 and under are free, and there is a family discount price of NIS 120/150 for families of 4 or more. Participants pay entrance fees, if any. Responsibility for each tour is in the hands of the individual tour guide leading that tour. Tours are subject to change.

A tour will not take place if there are fewer than 3 participants so it’s best to call ahead and tell the guide that you are planning to participate. The guide’s name and telephone number is listed after the description of each tour.

So put on your comfortable walking shoes, bring water and your enthusiasm! For more information or questions, call Carol Kaplan 054-522-1665, 02-671-3770.

Chag Sukkot Sameach!