January 13th 2015
Ben Yehuda Street is named for the founder of Modern Hebrew, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda. This busy pedestrian mall runs from King George Street to Zion Square at the meeting point of Yoel Solomon Street and Jaffa Road in central Jerusalem. Also known as the “midrechov” (literally, “pedestrian street”) in Hebrew, Ben Yehuda Street is the heart of Jerusalem’s compact downtown district.
The Jerusalem stone-paved walkway is lined with restaurants, shops and apartment buildings. The famous “Fro-Yo” shop on the corner of Ben Yehuda and Luntz Streets serves as a popular meeting spot among young Jerusalem locals and tourists. The nearby Café Rimon is open 24 hours and has both a dairy side and a meat side, so no matter what you’re craving, it’s probably available at Rimon.
Ben Yehuda is Jerusalem’s most popular destination for buying Israeli t-shirts, Judaica, Ahava cosmetics from the Dead Sea and other souvenirs. On Thursday nights and after Shabbat on Saturday nights, the street is jammed with teens and young adults who come “into town” to hang out, see friends and grab a slice from Big Apple Pizza. You’ll definitely hear a lot of English on the midrechov during these times.
Street performers of all kinds are often out with the crowds. Artists display their wares right in the middle of the walkway, offering you a chance to buy distinctive crafts directly from the creator. You might see religious representatives, such as young men from Chabad standing behind a cardboard booth, offering Jewish men a chance to put on tefillin and giving out Shabbat candles to Jewish women. Since the location is so central, political rallies and live concerts are held at the bottom of Ben Yehuda at Kikar Tzion (Zion Square).
The Jerusalem Light Rail runs up and down Jaffa Road and provides easy access to the Ben Yehuda area. There is plenty of excellent shopping on the streets surrounding the midrechov, principally King George Street, Jaffa Road and Yoel Moshe Solomon Street. Don’t miss the authentic French croissants at Gagou de Paris, a kosher French bakery at 14 King George. And in the evenings, the Off the Wall comedy club, located just steps from the main Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall, often features performances in English.