London, United Kingdom
July 30, 2001
Along the main pedestrianised Ben Yehuda Street, buskers fill the evening air with violin solos, arias and traditional Yiddish music from Eastern Europe. The standard of musicians is generally very high, and some of them have been part of the local scenery for a number of years. The large scale immigration of Russian and Eastern European Jews to Israel, which occurred soon after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, brought classical musical talent of world-class caliber with it. Israel already had numerous highly prestigious orchestras and opera companies and the new arrivals often found it hard to source work. So rather than wait to be called to the stage, many made the street their stage and as you walk through central Jerusalem in the evening be sure to catch these impassioned classical melodies.
Despite McDonalds and other burger chains to trying enter the Israeli market, the country, and Jerusalem in particular, still has its own distinct fast food. Falafel in pitta bread is Israel's official dish, try it with an assortment of salads and sauces. Shawarma is equally popular if you are in a meat eating kind of mood. This is a dish of meat slices in pitta bread, not dissimilar to a Turkish Kabap, but with the choice of Turkey or Lamb. The food which locals really rave about, however, is Humus. The easiest way to start a heated argument in Jerusalem is to say so and so's does the best Humus in town. Everybody has their favorite place and they guard its reputation fearlessly. The best thing is to ask around, then let your taste buds do the thinking.
From journal Jerusalem, the golden city