Jaffa · Photography · Tel Aviv · Tourism · Travel guide · Uncategorized

Tel-a-visitor: Impressions of Tel Aviv by Peter Monbailleu

guestblog  by Peter Monbailleu – www.shakalaka.be

Fan for Life

Coming to Tel Aviv always feels like coming home to me, even though I am not Jewish. Originally arriving to the city very hesitantly – like many people, I’m sure – it took just a few hours to turn me into a fan for life. Was it the comfortable climate? Was it the warmth of its people? Was it its glorious food? Make it a combination of all of the above. Either way, since then, I have visited the white city many times. It became one of my getaway cities over time, a place where I can come to hide from the everyday hustle of a promoter’s life, a city that gives me energy and inspiration while at the same time relaxing me more than any other place.

Even the graffiti is stylish

Beware of the green monster man

Sharing the city

For my girlfriend and travel companion, it was her first visit to this mostly unknown, hidden treasure. It was fun to share some of my favorite spots and discovering some new ones, because Tel Aviv is a city that is constantly changing while maintaining its vibe.

Did you know… When a muslim returns from the pilgrimage to Mekka, friends and neighbors paint the house of the pilgrims in honor of their return and feast.
Here you can even grow plants from an old suitcase
The Jaffa clocktower if you look down in stead of up

213 – And God spoke unto the city…

Tel Aviv is only about an hour away from Jerusalem so a visit to the holy city was inevitable. Our guide Karen was very well informed about all matters from the past and from today. She took us to some unique viewpoints and even into places where you would never come as a regular tourist. Jerusalem has always been a complicated city and it will probably always remain that way. But all its diversity is what makes it what it is today.

The dome on the rock bathing in the December sun
Humus like it should be in the Jerusalem market

When can we go again?

We’re on the plane home now and while at the beginning of the trip there seemed so many days ahead, now it feels like they went by too fast. We’re already looking forward to our next stay and yes, I promise to get in touch with my friends there before landing. Sorry guys.


Thank you Marilyn for the tips. Thank you Melissa for arranging the tour guide. Thank you Iris for breakfast and ever lasting friendship.

Peter Monbailleu – www.shakalaka.be


Time for a good cause from Brisbane, Australia – by Daisy Ambach


“As she came out of the classroom on her first day of school, she raced towards me and placed her head straight in my lap. Crocodile tears were streaming down her face. As a mother, I couldn’t help but feel protective and angry for sending her to school. Finally she calmed down and I could ask what had happened. Between several heartbreaking sobs, she stuttered “I didn’t learn anything today at school.””This is the story that my mum loves to share with all my friends about my first day of school.Funny? Yes.Embarrassing? Definitely. Every time I hear my friends cry from laughter when the story is told, there is one thing that always comes to mind. Man, I love learning.


Before I go on, let me introduce myself first. My name is Daisy Ambach and I am Marilyn’s little cousin. I am currently studying engineering and French at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. And one day, I want to save the world!

Where was I? Oh, right. I love learning! Ever since my very first day of school, I have had a love affair with learning. As a little girl, I remember not being able to get to sleep at night because I couldn’t stop thinking about what we would learn at school tomorrow. I remember coming to school with the biggest smile on my face because I knew I would learn something new today. I remember loving the feeling of not knowing an answer to the teacher’s question because that meant that there were more things for me to learn. Learning, learning, learning. It is like a drug to me and I simply can’t get enough.

Not only do I attend one of the top one hundred universities in the world, I feel damn lucky living Down Under. Brisbane is one of the most amazing places on Earth. Full of culture, full of nature and full of opportunities.


Yep, I can say that I am enjoying a very beautiful life. So, it saddens me that there are people in our world who are not enjoying life; they are only surviving it. It saddens me there are 1.3 billion people who live under the extreme poverty line. But most of all, it saddens me that there are people around the world who don’t get to learn.

For this reason, I started volunteering at an Australian-based not-for-profit organisation called Oaktree. We are Australia’s largest youth-run organisation with over 150,000 members. To us, extreme poverty is unacceptable and we believe that education is the key to breaking the extreme poverty cycle.We have partnered with developing communities in Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Cambodia where we support educational projects for young people.


Our largest annual fundraising campaign isLive Below the Line. It is a five-day challenge in which participants limit their food consumptions to the equivalent of the extreme poverty line. According to the World Bank, the extreme poverty line is defined to be AU$2 (or US$1.25). In this way, participants raise awareness for extreme poverty whilst raising funds for educational projects in remote Cambodia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea. In its four years, Live Below the Line has raised more than AU$5.6 million for Oaktree’s projects. Amazing, right?


Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Yes. Is it rewarding? Definitely. I first took the challenge in 2013 and the hardest part was not being able to go out with my friends for dinner. Being a university student, I live a very fast-paced life where it is only natural to catch up with my friends over a healthy brunch, a groovy sushi date or dinner in a funky restaurant. When you have to limit your food budget to AU$2, however, coffee dates suddenly become a luxury. To us, eating is a social experience whilst to someone living in extreme poverty, eating is just eating.

 In an attempt to learn a new lesson during the Live Below the Line this year, I convinced my friends to participate in the campaign as a team. We call ourselves ‘The Mental Lentils’ and you can check out our team on www.livebelowtheline.com.au/team/the-mental-lentils.

I live by the philosophy that we should learn something new every day. However, there is one thing that I have always struggled to learn: how to stop talking. So I will try to end this article on a short, sweet note. Thank you for reading my story and thank you to Marilyn & Josephine for letting me share my passion with you!




A few words from Josephine

Hi guys,

After 2 years of blogging i decided it is time to focus on new opportunities. I hope you have enjoyed my posts as much as i enjoyed writing them. Marilyn will keep you informed and entertained with stories about Tel Aviv and Israël. I like to thank her for our cooperation and wish her a lot of success.



Sien Josephine


Baking · DIY · Tutorial · Uncategorized

Tutorial: Marilyn’s Apple Pie

Are we allowed to post a tutorial for baking on our blog? Hell’s yeah. I never come empty handed to family or Shabbat dinners. Therefore I’m always looking for new creations in the kitchen. Today I’m sharing an apple pie recipe that is based on existing ones but where I’ve added my own imagination and the ultimate secret ingredient* that makes the difference. Thank you Delicatessen for the inspiration and thank you Tori Avey from TheShiksa.com for the basic recipe.


  • 5 ripe granny smith apples – peeled2013-10-053
  • feel free to add 2 or more other apples
  • a bowl of dried raisins
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (or more depending on your taste of) Cardamom*
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
1. Start with the crust. Some people buy it. Some people make it. To make your own dough, you can use this website. Once your dough is cooling off in the fridge you can turn on your oven, heat it to 175°C and prepare a preferably round oven dish with some parchment paper.
IMG_26602. Cut your apples either in small little chopped squares or just cut them in to thin slices.

IMG_26613. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a medium saucepan. Then add the apples and raisins and then the orange juice, lemon, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Bring them to a boil and stir occasionally until you obtain a nice mixture and a great smell. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat for exactly 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not overcook. Uncover apples at the end of cooking and remove from heat and allow to cool.

IMG_2662IMG_26644. To prepare the dough – whether from your fridge or freezer – make sure it’s not too cold so you can work it. Roll out the dough with a tool or with you hand as flat as possible. Place the flattened dough in your recipient, cut off hanging borders and keep some for the top coat. You can use your fantasy for the top coat. I try to make a little apple too for those who can see. Poor in the apple mixture. Then finish with your top coat. When preparing the actual pie, I always make some tiny little individual portions to share and taste.IMG_2666


IMG_26775. Bake pie for 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and pie is cooked through. Serve warm or cold, whith some vanilla ice or not. Bon appétit.


History · Judaism · Uncategorized

Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement

Today is Yom Kippur 5774. On Rosh Hashana God inscribes each person’s fate for the coming year into a book called the Book of Life and waits until ten days later, at Yom Kippur, to “seal” the verdict. During those Days of Awe, a Jewish person tries to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God and against other human beings. “Yom Kippur is the 10th Day of Repentance and can’t mask over the fact that we have looked deeply into our soul over these last few days, we have exposed our weaknesses and shortcomings, and that causes us to weep with anxiety and dread lest I be found wanting on the Day of Judgment. But Yom Kippur is also the Day of Atonement, when all sincere penitents are guaranteed a second chance.” At synagogue the service includes the Kol Nidre prayer (meaning all vows) reaching deep in to our souls. Kol Nidre symbolizes the opportunity to free ourselves from the past and is about letting the inner light shine out.  As we’re about to fast for over 24 hours, we first have a big family meal. Yom Kippur ends around sunset the next day with the blow of the Shofar (the ram’s horn) at Synagogue.  On Shabat and on every Jewish Holiday we eat Challah – that is jewish special braided bread. I’ve been trying to make it many times and mostly not sharing as it has not been a success. But today, with a little help from Tori Avey’s website “The Shiksa in the Kitchen”, we have a beautiful and tasty Challah bread with photos as proof. Here’s a great recipe if you’d like to try your own including instructions and variations for braiding. I’ve made a 4-stranded challah, a round one (mostly what we use on high Holidays) and a Unified Heart one (Leonard Cohen fans should know what it its). And talking about Leonard Cohen, even though I shared it last year, I dare to share again. His song “Who by fire” is inspired by this prayer from the liturgy of the Day of Atonement. Here’s an amazing live version from the show in Helsinki in 2012 – yes Javier Mas plays an almost 4-minute-intro.

On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed
And on Yom Kippur it is sealed
How many shall die and how many shall be born
Who shall live and who shall die
Who at the measure of days and who before
Who by fire and who by water
Who by the sword and who by wild beasts
Who by hunger and who by thirst
Who by earthquake and who by plague
Who by strangling and who by stoning
Who shall have rest and who shall go wandering
Who will be tranquil and who shall be harassed
Who shall be at ease and who shall be afflicted
Who shall become poor and who shall become rich
Who shall be brought low and who shall be raised high.

Tsom Kal & Gmar Hatima Tova צום קל וגמר חתימה טובה




And to end it on a lighter note with Ari Gold from Entourage and his way of celebrating Yom Kippur: http://youtu.be/3iqZIm-d7bk

Focus on · Music · Tel Aviv · Uncategorized

new single by N8n ‘Losing Control’

Did you know my brother was a pop star? You probably already by now I come from a musical family. So my brother N8n (pronounced Nathan) is an artist, a deejay, a drummer and a performer. He’s always playing somewhere around the world, from London to Capetown, from Shanghai to Tel Aviv. And in between his live gigs, he hops in and out of the studio to record his songs. This one was produced in New York. ‘Losing Control’ is the second single from his forthcoming album ‘Imaginathan’. The new single is another catchy tune with a solid hook, hear it once and it will stick in your head. The production is minimal with N8N & producer Scott Jacoby (John legends, …) bangin’ the beat, a Fender jazz bass to give it that depth, the acoustic guitar and clavinet playin’ the groove, while the the warm harmonies and 80’s synth pad take over the chorus. Lyrically N8N sings about a bad case of the ex. ‘Goin’ out of my mind – and into your Soul – It’s breaking my heart – Feels like I’m Losing Control’

N8n performing ‘Losing Control’ live in Rothschild12 Tel Aviv

Read the Newsletter

Buy it online

N8n full bio

More info: N8n’s website

Screen shot 2013-06-20 at 10.21.11photo by Sien Josephine


General · Israel · Tel Aviv · Uncategorized

High Telavivity – Take Five

In the spirit of John Cusack’s top 5 lists in the movie High Fidelity  here’s Tel Aviv in fives –part. 2

5 reasons to date an Israeli man

  1. he went to the army…you’ll always feel safe in his arms
  2. he will protect you from the bad local guys trying to rip you off thinking you’re just a dumb tourist
  3. he has this natural nonchalance slash indifferent attitude which is all you expect from a real man no?
  4. number 3 also means you like the way he dresses, like a real man
  5. he’s Jewish (http://marilynjosephine.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/dating-a-jew-or-two/)

5 reasons not to date an Israeli man

  1. just a few table manners and universal rules of politeness
  2. just a few fashion donts such as short sleeved shirts, these horrible black squared shoes, wearing underwear at the beach, socks not matching shoe choice, wearing tanga underwear instead of boxer shorts, etc etc.
  3. ars-alarm
  4. why talk so loud?
  5. ask me if I’m French…and then, when I say I’m Belgian, he may add “oh but what’s the difference”

5 reasons for an Israeli man to date an olah chadasha

  1. she loves everything about Israel always & anyways
  2. no fighting for whos family diners to attend on Shabbat & Holidays
  3. he always has a good reason not to have to join her friends: he doesn’t understand their language
  4. he can be sure he’ll have a month off when she goes to visit her family…and he has enough internationality in house so no need for him to travel anymore (saving money)
  5. think about the children’s passport(s)

5 annoying nicknames Israeli strangers call you*

  1. mami (with current variation to mamoush and mama and may creation confusion with mums/mothers)
  2. neshama (free translation: soul)
  3. hatsarfatiya – the frenchie (and then i go, no i’m belgium about 25794 times a day)
  4. kapara (free translation: honey)
  5. motek (free translation: sweetheart)

*all of those words are generally followed by shelli, meaning my: mami sheli, neshama sheli, kapara sheli, motek sheli.

top 5 Hebrew words

  1. sababa (cool)
  2. stam (literally this would mean: just, but in context it’s untranslatable, we’ve tried)
  3. bichlal (literally this would mean: general, but in context it’s untranslatable, we’ve tried)
  4. balagan (literally this would mean: chaos, but in context it’s untranslatable, we’ve tried)
  5. tachless (doesn’t it come from Yiddish? it means bottom line or to the point and it is a very needed word in a country where too many people just talk too much and not do enough)

5 reasons to blog about TLV

  1. we don’t live in a war zone
  2. we have internet
  3. we drive cars, not camels
  4. to show some positivity about this country!
  5. to show off the good weather – 300 days of sun a year

needless to post 5 things I love most in Tel Aviv as I’m in love with Tel Aviv

5 things I hate most in Tel Aviv

  1. people that take themselves way too seriously like Hipsters (and make me wonder if it’s Purim again)
  2. joukim* even when they’re dead and laying on their back with their legs up (*a jouk is a cockroach)
  3. street cats (for the smell and their cries at night)
  4. honking cars (as part of a more general noise problem in this city)
  5. these guys biking by and throwing spa&massage cards on the pavement


History · Israel · Judaism · Uncategorized

Chag Sameach & Happy Passover

The Jewish people celebrate Pessach (Passover) to commemorate the story of the Exodus, their liberation from slavery in ancient Egypt and their birth as a nation under the leadership of Moses. According to the Bible, God helped the Children of Israel escape slavery by inflicting ten plagues upon the ancient Egyptians: the Plague of blood, frogs, lice, flies, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts*, darkness and the death of the firstborn. (*I’m not superstitious but Egypt and Israel had a big plague of locusts just last week, weird) The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb so that God knew to pass over these homes and spare them from the curses, hence the name of the holiday. It is said that when the Pharaoh freed the Israelites, they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). Therefore, during the eight days of Passover, no leavened bread is supposed to be eaten, only Matzah.

The rituals unique to the Passover celebrations commence with the Passover Seder. In our family tradition we celebrate the seder with never less than 25 people, gathering over a big meal and some adapted Haggadah reading and singing. In Tel Aviv the Holiday is both observed and ignored, as usual in paradoxical Tel Aviv. On a daily level this mainly means that locals are going away on vacation, tourists are taking over the city, inaugurating beach season and that way too many youngsters from out of town (B&T) come in to party. I like some of those annual traditions; the family Seder, remembering school memories and childhood traditions; where was I last year, what has changed since. It’s always a good occasion for some in(tro)spection. Passover also symbolizes the celebration of freedom. Inner freedom means personal happiness. We don’t have control on most things in life, but the part we do have in our hands, is the liberation from our own barriers, monsters, defenses, roles, patterns and expectations. Being free means being you, the true you.

2013-03-251IMG_10682013-03-25IMG_11152013-03-252All photos taken with my Canon EOS M


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