Tova is an Israel-based blogger and rising local celebrity living in Jerusalem. Born in New Jersey, USA, she moved with her family to Israel in August 2015. Her blog, and podcast, focuses on her experiences of navigating through family life in Israel. Check out her IQPlanner profile here.
Tova highlights the positivity of the country, and is passionate about showing the world the beauty of life in Israel. She frequently travels around the country with her husband and three children, in the hope of inspiring them to love Israel as much as she does.
What’s your happy place in Jerusalem?
My happy place in Jerusalem is my balcony. Each morning I wake up and walk outside to see the beautiful sunrise reminding me to make it another great day in the holiest city in the world — and how lucky I am to live here.
Name 3 top places to take children in Jerusalem?
My children love Cinema City — whether it's to watch a new movie, take photos with the oversized movie characters, or eat dinner at Moses Restaurant.
My kids also love walking through Malcha Mall, drinking an iced coffee from Neeman or Aroma, checking out the new animals in Jungle Pet Store, buying new pencils for school from Happenings, or getting lunch at Pizza Hut or Greg's Cafe.
Another great and cheap activity to do with kids is to ride the light rail along Jaffa Street. They get to sight see without complaining that their feet hurt from walking too much!
Describe your ideal day out in Jerusalem?
My ideal day is walking through the Mahane Yehuda Shuk. I spend a few mornings there every week. I love the the bright colours, the aroma of the spices and the fragrance from the fresh seasonal fruits. I also love capturing a few photos along the way to inspire others to visit too!
On an ideal day, I hope to visit the Kotel, the Western Wall — after walking along the ancient cobblestones through the majestic Old City walls, and passing all the narrow archways.
Even better would be to take a ZuZu Segway tour. If you mention ‘Tova In Israel’, you’ll receive 5% discount and VIP service through the Old City!
For anyone that knows me, a Coffix iced coffee is the best refreshment to cool off, especially on those hot sunny days.
Tel Aviv or Jerusalem? Which do you prefer and why?
I absolutely love living in Jerusalem, but there's no other place like Tel Aviv. I love going to the beach, with its sparkling clear water and soft pillowy sand. I’m fascinated by Sarona Market.
Azrieli Mall is a must. They have all the latest fashions, which may sound funny as Israel only recently started keeping up with all the latest trends.
But after a long day travelling, the park-like busy streets such as Rothschild, Dizengoff, Allenby and Ben Yehuda, it's nice to know I get to go back home to Jerusalem. My heart feels content and complete in Jerusalem.
Tell us something about Jerusalem that may surprise people?
Many associate Jerusalem with holiness and history, and that's true. But many people may not know how much fun and excitement you can have in Jerusalem, especially at night.
For all the tourists that want live music and trendy bars, Jerusalem's night life is not to be missed. There are many locations in the city center, around Ben Yehuda, Jaffa, and in the Mahane Yehuda Shuk market.
Surprisingly, the market looks completely different at night than it does during the day. After all the stalls close up, the restaurants and bars open up!
My favourite go-to restaurants/bars in the Shuk are Crave Restaurant and Beer Bazaar — make sure to check them out!
Describe what Jerusalem means to you in 3 words
Home at last!
Is there an area of Israel you’ve yet to discover?
Every day I’m learning about a new place to discover: a new cave where a battle was fought and won, a new water park, another park. In some ways I'm happy that Israel is so small as it cuts down on travel time from place to place!
What advice would you give to a first-time traveller to Israel?
Bring very comfortable walking shoes, layered clothing since the weather changes hour-to-hour on any given day, and don't forget your camera!
Make sure to talk to the locals, they love to talk!
Ride the buses and talk to the taxi drivers. Listen to their stories and tell them yours.
Taste all the food, don't even think about going on a diet in Israel on vacation. There’s too much delicious food to taste, but you'll be doing so much walking (that's why you need those comfortable walking shoes) that the calories will balance out.
Bring as many friends as you can. Fall in love with Israel, and then come back with more friends. Show the world how beautiful Israel is: from the desert, to the lush green hills, to the sea in Eilat, to the snowy Hermon mountain in the north. Be ready to ride a camel. Have ice cream at every rest stop along your journey.
Just have fun. Smile and laugh. Enjoy the culture, the history, the ancient and modern architecture, the food. Just enjoy Israel. Enjoy my home.
If you want to read up and follow Tova’s journeys in Israel, you can find her on the links below.