Summertime in Israel & the Living is Easy

By Time Out Israel Editors
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While Israelis tend to live like it’s summer all year round, there is still a certain noticeable feeling in the air; carefree, unadulterated fun abounds. Adopt these ‘go local’ strategies while on your Israeli summer holiday to truly relax and let go of the typical itinerary in the best ways possible 
 
No Pants? No Problem

Forget re-packing half your suitcase to head to the beach. Who needs bathing suits, sundresses, singlets, and the like, when you can throw all caution – and clothing – to the wind and hang loose (literally) at the top sand strips for being in the buff in Israel. We’ve weighed the pros and cons of where to strip down to our skivvies (or less), and these four prime places made the cut. In the end, they offer way less to schlep and way more to ogle. Don’t be a prude, go nude! 

1. Working Those Beach Balls

Ga'ash beach by @daniel_torgi

 Pro: No worries about uneven tanning or strap marks.

 Con: Getting sand where you really don’t want it. 

While Ga’ash Beach is more of an ‘unkept’ secret, it still retains its charm. Located just north of Tel Aviv, the beach is named after the nearby Kibbutz. Ga’ash North is mostly a gay beach, paralleled with Ga’ash South, which does not specify. During any given summer weekend, you may find close to 50 naturists showing off their stuff. Looking for a skinny dip with a more ballsy adventure? Arsuf’s small nudist beach is popular among nudists due to its remoteness.

2. Mooning by Moonlight

Dead Sea by @bibisunworld

 Pro: The moonlight gives your skin that extra glow. 

 Con: You aren’t the only creatures of the night enjoying the serene desert. 

While no places are officially recognized as clothing-optional at the Dead Sea (yet), summertime in and around the area can inspire a different kind of naturist activity: moonlight nature walks. By day, the Dead Sea’s natural desert spots are packed with tourists and their kids. However, when the summer sun sets and the tourists retreat, these areas become serene, beautiful, and perfectly warm. Wait for those four to five nights per month when the moon is (nearly) full. 

3. The Chunky Dunk

© Shutterstock

 Pro:  Bathing in your birthday suit. Enough said.

 Con: Greater surface area exposure to jellyfish and those little fish that nip at your legs (and other appendages).

Whatever size, shape, or form, Tel Aviv Naked Swim is the perfect reason to rip your clothes off and dash into the Mediterranean Baywatch-style. All skinny- dippers or chunky-dunkers (skinny- dipping for the not-so-skinny) are welcome. This event is so top secret that to find out its location and details, you must join their Facebook group and privately message the organizer. 

Facebook group: NAKEDSWIMTELAVIV

No Plans? No Problem

Dry clean your finest sundress because you're about to embark on an 'uplifting' journey (at least 3 floors or so). 
Welcome to Wedding Crashers: Israeli Rooftop Edition.

Scream it from the rooftop! Or gesture inaudibly as to not stand apart from the crowd of kind strangers with which you've just spent the past two hours trying to slyly figure out the dirty deets – who's dating who, who's cheating on Itai with Ilai (or was it Omer with Amir?), who's got their life together, who's the reliable hot mess (after you, of course), and most importantly, who's apartment this is. It only takes one Saturday afternoon meander along the boardwalk, through the park, or past any rooftop-rich South Tel Aviv street to know where the party's at. No need to spend hundreds of shekels on overpriced beach beers, overwatered mixed drinks, and over-salted finger food. Follow our rooftop party crasher's guide instead.

 
No Pals? No Problem

Want to make new friends, but slightly shy or just don't know how? Drink and spread your social butterfly wings with SipScene – a launching pad for meeting perfect strangers fortified with plenty of liquid confidence (did somebody say craft beer, wine, and cocktails?) Here's a look behind (Sip)scenes:

It's Thursday afternoon. You've made it home from yet another crazy workweek just in time to melt into your couch and drift off into the best Netflix induced nap you've had in centuries (well, at least since last Thursday afternoon). However, not to mistake this nap for an early night. Endless possibilities await you making it worth your while to get going. Really? Can't I just stay in? "No," your Whatsapp pokes and prods you with invites to Sputnik, Kuli, Teder, Drama, and just about every bar sprinkled down Dizengoff. I'd love to have a drink and I'm all about being social, but I'm really not down for the same old Tel Aviv party scene, rife with worn out one-liners from equally worn out single men, over-priced-under-liquored drinks, and music too loud to shout over. I just want to hear myself think.

Enter SipScene, the "social alternative to pubs and bars." SipScene is the online marketplace inviting down to earth individuals from all walks of life to either host or attend intimate socials events with all the fixings. Think: massive water fights, Women's Wine Wednesdays, clothing swaps, Speed Friending, and so much more. So how do these events typically work? Well, SipScene prides themselves on keeping the events to a manageable size (between 10-15 people), and even more manageable locations: usually held at houses, apartments, hotels, or rooftops. Anyone can host, and anyone can – and should – attend.

*NOTE: Events repeat, so keep an eye on the SipScene FB group (facebook.com/sipscene1for July and August events

 
No Presents? No Problem

Buying souvenirs for everyone back home can be an ambitious and overwhelming mission that can hang over your whole trip like dead weight. But done right, you can nip it all in the bud while also enjoying special, all-in-one experiences. Instead of spending a pretty shekel on every single person in your close and extended family, let yourself grow  with a new experience. Indulge yourself in one of these awesome Israeli cooking classes and artisanal workshops, and when you get back home, invite everyone over to show them and feed them what you've learned. If ever there were a way to kill two birds with one stone, this is it!

1. A Druze cooking class in the Galilee

Discover the stories behind the people of the Galilee with Paul Nirens - who has cultivated true friendships here - as he shares a part of his world with you. In this Druze cooking class, he takes you to the village of Maghar to Pnina’s Kitchen. Pnina, a religious Druze woman, lets you experience her culture and tradition through dishes like sinye (meat kebabs with tahini), zalabya (a fried spice bread), and shulbatta (bulgur wheat with vegetables and tomato sauce). 
(055-8810727) galileat.com 

2. The Forager’s Feast 

Tour the local forests near Jerusalem guided by certified ethnobotanist Leda Meredith, a fantastic opportunity to learn about the Israeli ecosystem and its products. Participants scout for wild asparagus, chasteberry seeds, super-nutritious leafy greens, root vegetables, and herbal remedies. Leda teaches how to identify, sustainably harvest, and prepare the edible and medicinal plants and mushrooms growing around Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. An author of five books on foraging, food preservation, and sustainable food systems, she is an instructor at the New York Botanical Gardens and truly passionate about plants. The tours are Leda’s way of sharing her knowledge “so that others may enjoy the free, delicious, healthy food growing all around them in a way that benefits them and the ecosystems that support them.”

The next tour is on June 22, 8:30-10 in the morning. Meeting point is Gan HaKipod in Ramot, Jerusalem. NIS 50. To register, email Leda here: ledameredith@gmail.com. For more info: ledameredith.com

3. A cooking workshop with vegan food expert Phyllis Glazer

American-born Phyllis Glazer is one of Israel’s most influential food personalities and a successful cook book author. In her energetic cooking classes, she welcomes participants to spectacular vegan cooking experiences, using the healthiest flours, organic herbs, and finally a sit-down feast. Learn about fermented foods, health benefits of herbs and spices, how to bake no-knead spelt bread, cook eggless shakshuka, and experiment with protein-filled grain combinations. Glazer is hosting a special upcoming class at vegan haven Meshek Barzilay on Saturday, June 9 at 18:00  – all about Israeli vegan street food. Transform falafel, hummus, and sabich into healthier, vegan versions of themselves. The 3-hour workshop is NIS 350, including a full meal of everything prepared, wine, beer, and takeaway recipes.

(058-6115888) phyllisfood.co.il

4. Beit Uri - A Community for Special Needs in the Northern Jezreel Valley

This kibbutz-like setting is special in every way: special needs residents serve patrons at the unique ‘Café on the Hill,’ a social enterprise offering fresh dairy meals, and also share their art work crafted from all-natural materials, which are then sold as unique gifts in the Gallery. Shrink your ‘present check-list’ with meaningful and unique gifts, have a great lunch stop or family event, and come away entirely enriched and inspired.  

(04-6511301 or 04-6511300) bet-uri.org.il

5. Tour Acre and break bread with Chef Erez Komarovsky

One of Israel’s most influential chefs and baking experts, Chef Erez Komarovsky, welcomes patrons to his cooking and baking workshop in his home in the Galliean village of Matat. Get a behind-the-scenes tour of Acre’s colorful market followed by a tour of Chef Erez’s organic farm and dine on freshly-picked produce with beautifully-paired wines as he shows you how to get the most from the hand-picked ingredients. 
(03-9772929) (erez-komarovsky.co.il)

6. A private cooking class in Chef Ezra Kedem’s home

Chef Ezra Kedem, a pioneer in Israeli cuisine with a strong focus on seasonal, farm-to-table ingredients, welcomes private groups into his charming studio in the picturesque Jerusalem neighborhood of Ein Kerem for private cooking classes, workshops, and once-in-a-lifetime tastings from his fresh organic farm. 
(02-6249138)

 
 

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