Jerusalem: The Experiential Guidebook: Book Review
Author: Tali Kaplinski Tarlow
Year Published: 2018
In February 2012, I participated with a bloggers’ scavenger hunt in the Old City. An opportunity to participate in another in November, exploring Nahlaot was impossible to pass up. In a 2015 post after a great Yemin Moshe ScaVentures hunt, I asked, “What will Tali come up with next.”
Tali Kaplinski Tarlow has expanded her educational tour game company, which she founded in 2010, to over a dozen Israeli routes. Now she has produced a volume for families and groups to navigate the Old City, Mishkenot Sha’ananim, First Station, Machane Yehuda Shuk, and Har Herzl National Cemetery on their own. It is more than a guide-book, though it is full on important information and historical context, along with “fun facts.” The hard cover, 200-page volume has a quality binding enabling users to fold pages with ease. It is full of photo and illustrations, adding to its educational value.
After the introduction, “Jerusalem, Seventy Years Young and Three Thousand Years Old!” Tali guides participants through Jerusalem through the ages. Having been on multiple ScaVentures, I was familiar with the interactive experiential educational style. Group members take different roles, giving young children a chance to be responsible and participate, levels of knowledge and familiarity with the location are not as important as team work. Taking photos, selfies, looking for clues, using maps and recording impressions are all important features of the “game.”
I would recommend this more than a book, to families preparing children to a trip to Jerusalem. Bring the book along, and fill designated blank pages with valuable written memories and others with photos.
The section on Har Herzl, for Yom HaZikaron, could be a good educational tool, not only for families in Israel, but schools and organizations around the world. With Israel 70 celebrations approaching, especially with the focus on Jerusalem in May, this publication is extremely timely.
With so much valuable content, it is hard to summarize this experiential guide in a short review. But I will close with one short story and message.
The first ScaVenture, in the Old City, ends in Batei Machseh Square by the Rothschild House. The Rothschild Family built the complex of approximately 100 apartments for low-rent housing in 1858. It was in this protective housing complex, the last Jews of the Old City, women and children, sought shelter during the War of Independence, before being exiled. On May 28, 1948, on the Rothschild House stairs the last Haganah defenders surrendered to the Jordanian Legion and were taken into captivity. No Jews lived in the Old City for another 19 years, until after the Six-Day War, in June 1967.
The Rothschild coat of arms is on front of the building. Tali tells of the Rothschild founding father and his five sons, and significance of their coat of arms. Five arrows, alone easily broken. Five arrows together, very hard to break. “Only thus, strong and united, would they never be broken.”
The Rothschild family dispersed in five directions, but their House in the Old City today is restored, and nearby the words of Zechariah are written on a wall.
“Thus said the Lord of Hosts: There shall yet be old men and women in the squares of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. And the squares of the city shall be crowded with boys and girls playing in the squares.”
“ScaVentures Jerusalem: The Experiential Guidebook” was launched over Passover at First Station. Families set out to explore together to solve clues, discover and take selfies.
You can purchase the book here. Soon to be available on Amazon.