A couple of quick questions about Israel

Mar 23rd, 2017, 07:30 PM
  #1  
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A couple of quick questions about Israel

I'm sure I'll have more questions later but just for now...

My SO and I have never been to Israel and are thinking of going this September. Unfortunately, our availability to travel is probably limited to the last three weeks in September. We hope to spend a week in London and the following two weeks in Israel. My questions are these:

What's the weather like in the latter half of September?
and
The weeks we can go include (I think) Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur. While I'm Jewish (SO isn't but likes it), I'm not religious. Does everything close up during the holy days? Are there special things to do at that time?

Sorry if I sound like a neophyte. It's because...well, I'm a neophyte!
Thanks in advance for your help.
goddesstogo is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2017, 11:36 PM
  #2  
 
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For starters - if this is the only time you can travel you can certainly make this work. If possible I would switch things around and come to Israel first leaving London for the end - the holidays begin on the evening of Sept. 20, this way you would minimize the amount of time you are here during the holidays, which are very crowded and super high season in terms of pricing, hotel rooms, availability, etc.

Weather in Sept. is variable - it will still be warm and you will probably have some very hot days - the odds of any rain are nil.

In terms of the Jewish holidays these are holidays that are celebrated at home, the observant go to synagogue.

In terms of closings - in addition to there being no public transportation (trains or buses) on Friday evenings and Saturdays - this year that will also apply from late afternoon on Sept. 20 through nightfall on Sept 23. Yom Kippur this year is a Saturday - Sept 30 -- everything (and I mean everything) will shut down mid afternoon on Sept 29 and stay closed through nightfall on the 30th -- everything means all transportation, restaurants, businesses, shops, museums, parks, and the airport.

On Rosh HaShana many places will have holiday hours that may be shorter than usual, but with the exception of sites in the Jewish quarter of the Old City, most places will be open.

Hope this helps- but it is also important to decide on your dates quickly and reserve hotels, etc - as the less expensive places book up very quickly.
Oreet is offline  
Mar 24th, 2017, 04:07 AM
  #3  
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Thanks so much, Oreet. That's tremendously helpful!

It would be possible for us to do Israel first and London at the end. I just thought it would be somewhat cooler in Israel by the end of September than the middle. No?
goddesstogo is offline  
Mar 24th, 2017, 08:01 AM
  #4  
 
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Israel is long enough that the weather varies.
We spent a month there in October, 2015.
Near Eilat, it was 100÷ degrees when we hiked in Timna NP, but we had to bundle up with long underwear, hats, gloves (including blankets) when we went stargazing near Mitzpe Ramon.
abram is offline  
Mar 24th, 2017, 12:42 PM
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We have no actual plan right now but while we're certainly going to travel, we'll probably spend more time in Tel Aviv than anywhere else.

We were originally hoping to go in November but no can do.
goddesstogo is offline  
Mar 24th, 2017, 04:35 PM
  #6  
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I think our timing may have changed a bit. Now we're thinking of last week in September, first two weeks in October. So if we do London first, we'll miss the holidays in Israel completely and might get slightly cooler weather.
goddesstogo is offline  
Mar 25th, 2017, 10:58 AM
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Sad to be the bearer of bad tidings but if you go with your new timing then you will hit all the holidays - the holidays in Israel begin with Rosh HaShana which begins on the eve of Sept 20 and last for over 3 weeks until the end of Sukkot, which ends at sundown on Oct. 12, only to be followed by a Friday and Shabbat so the first "normal day" will only be Oct. 15.
Oreet is offline  
Mar 25th, 2017, 11:01 AM
  #8  
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Now see? My problem is that I depend on my North American calendar where we just do the minimum of every holiday. I guess I really need to drag out my Jewish calendar.

Thanks, Oreet.
goddesstogo is offline  
Mar 25th, 2017, 12:11 PM
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Many Jews in North America celebrate all of the holidays, not just the minimum.
abram is offline  
Mar 25th, 2017, 12:20 PM
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So, Oreet, how limiting would those two weeks (first two of October) be for me as a tourist?
goddesstogo is offline  
Mar 25th, 2017, 09:59 PM
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For starters, since schools are closed for the entire week of Sukkot, there will be many Israelis traveling around the country, in addition to tourists - sites will be much more crowded than usual, hotel prices will be at super high season rates.

Additionally, if you are going to depend on public transportation - the following days will be like Shabbat in terms of no public transportation, kosher restaurants closed, many shops closed - the evening of Oct. 4, all day Oct. 5, the evening of Oct. 11 and all day Oct. 12.
Oreet is offline  
Mar 26th, 2017, 05:19 AM
  #12  
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Yikes.

I think we'll go to Italy this time.

The problem is that our travel time is quite limited. My SO teaches, so for most years September to April is out for a trip of such length. This year is different because he's on sabbatical but he'll be back teaching as of January but during a regular teaching year, he's only available for a long-ish trip from April to August when it's too hot in Israel.

We might have to hold off for the Israel trip until he retires in a couple of years.

When would you say are the best two or three weeks there?
goddesstogo is offline  
Mar 26th, 2017, 05:38 AM
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Yes, abram, I understand what you're saying. Sorry, no offense meant.
goddesstogo is offline  
Mar 26th, 2017, 09:36 AM
  #14  
 
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The best time to visit Israel is in the spring when the country is still green after the winter rains, the weather is still cool and the chance of rain is small - from the end of March to the end of May. However you should avoid the week of the Passover holiday for the same reasons you should avoid Sukkot.
mbgg is offline  
Mar 26th, 2017, 11:02 AM
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Thanks, mbgg. I really think we're going to have to wait a couple of years for that Israel trip. My SO teaches till April and then marking is due in May. He'll only work a few more years, I think, so maybe that will be our celebration-of-his-retirement trip.

Italy, here we (maybe) come!
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