Where can you go in any city to witness an authentic atmosphere? The answer is simple, the marketplace. In London, we visited Borough Market. In Jerusalem, we meandered through the Mechane Yehuda Market located between Jaffa and Agripas Streets. This shuk (pedestrian only shopping area) offered approximately 250 vendors selling mostly food items. Our pace was kept in check by the people who meandered in the street and sidewalks. Even though Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) was fast approaching, small groups of people were still buying food items. One could easily get a taste of Israel in the Mechane Yehuda Market.
The market had an airy feeling. A canopy was overhead.
Amongst the produce, I spotted an Israeli favorite- large red pomegranates
All of the wine shops were busy. Israelis were making last minute purchases for Shabbat. The Jewish Sabbath starts at sundown on Friday.
Ira and I could not remember the last time we ate halavah. This rich dessert is crumbly. It is usually made from tahini (sesame paste) or other nut butters. The primary ingredients are nut butter and sugar or honey. In the US, I have only indulged during special occasions such as weddings or b’nai mitzvot.
Our guide, Jacob, insisted that we purchase a sampling from the kiosk at Mamlechet HaHalva (the Kingdom of Halavah). They have made halavah since 1947. We had never seen so many unique varieties. Yum. Ira and I were happy that we splurged by buying a portion of this rare treat. We rationed it for weeks to come. It was delicious.
With the sun starting to wane, the supply of baked items became depleted. There appeared to be an ample amount of twisted challah (egg twist bread).
The fish purveyor also was tending to his last minute customers.
Near the main street, there were small cafes. Israelis and tourists met for a late afternoon snack. Machane Yehuda Market is a lovely place to spend an hour or so wandering about on a Friday in Jerusalem. It provides an excellent taste of Israel.
Sandra Bornstein is the author of MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE. It is available on Amazon.
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