Souvenir Shopping Part 1 (Self Guided), Jerusalem

It would be a pity to leave Jerusalem without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Jerusalem, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.
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Souvenir Shopping Part 1 Map

Guide Name: Souvenir Shopping Part 1
Guide Location: Israel » Jerusalem (See other walking tours in Jerusalem)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Author: Daniel
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Michal Negrin
  • Gaya Games Jerusalem
  • CADIM Ceramic Art Gallery
  • Ahava Centre
  • Steimatsky
  • King David’s Treasure
  • Art, Judaica, Jewelry
  • Pereg/Rak Shemen Zeit (Only Olive Oil)
Michal Negrin

1) Michal Negrin

What to buy here: Michal Negrin Jewelry.

Israeli Designer Michal Negrin has been creating unique designs in jewelry, fashion, and home décor for over twenty years. Her products are vintage-inspired and each branch of her stores is a unique fantasy world.

Negrin began by designing her own imaginary world and found that other people identified with her warm, feminine style. Her many products are distinct and romantic, including gift items such as a jewelry box, a business card box, table clock, picture frame, key chain, door sign, and angel doll. There is also a set of Michal Negrin stationary ($9.00) and a journal ($20.00).

Her jewelry combines materials such as brass, lace, and leather, with glass beads and Swarovski crystals for a romantic look. Stud flower earrings cost from $15.00 to $34.00, hanging earrings from $44.00 to $68.00, necklaces $68.00 to $345.00, rings $35.00.

There are two branches of Michal Negrin in Jerusalem, one in Mamilla, small but well-stocked. The other is at the Malha Mall further away from the center.
Gaya Games Jerusalem

2) Gaya Games Jerusalem

What to buy here: Puzzles and games.

Backgammon (sheshbesh) is one of the world’s oldest board games, believed to have been developed by the Egyptians 5000 years ago. A game of strategy, it is played on a wooden board with 30 wooden tokens. A decorated backgammon set can be purchased for about $100 in the Old City.

An official Hebrew version of the popular board game Monopoly was released in the 1960’s, with properties in Tel Aviv being the priciest. The game has been updated, adding credit cards and updating the prices of properties to reflect reality. Players can buy tourist attractions like the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

There is a Hebrew version of Scrabble called ShabetzNa, but all organized competition in Scrabble in Israel is in English. There is even an Israeli Scrabble Players Association.

If you like puzzles, visit a store called Gaya (, located at 7 Yoel Moshe Solomon Street, in the Nahalat Shiva area. It is open Sundays to Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Saturday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Since 1996 Gaya has been producing hand-made puzzles and games in natural wood, either stained or painted with non-toxic colors. The store has over 700 puzzles to choose from.

In addition to browsing, you can try your hand at some of the puzzles in the store. The company’s motto is “We mixed a cup of strategy, a dose of intuition, a spoon full of bluff and a pinch of luck.”

Prices range from $5.50 for a puzzle on a keychain to family games for $22.00 to $44.00. One popular gift item is a little bottle of Red Label or Absolut with a wooden puzzle you need to solve in order to open the bottle.
CADIM Ceramic Art Gallery

3) CADIM Ceramic Art Gallery

CADIM Ceramic Art Gallery displays the works of famous Israeli artists.

What to buy here: Israeli Ceramics.

Nahalat Shiva is a trendy street of galleries, cafes, and restaurants, a few blocks from the Midrachov. On Yoel Salomon Street there are three ceramic cooperative shops, presenting the work of forty of Israel’s most talented ceramicists. The range of styles and techniques is broad, reflecting the cultural heritage of the artists.

Cadim is located at 4 Moshe Solomon Street. Founded in 1987, it displays the work of 15 artists, who also manage and staff the store. The goal of the Cadim potters is “to exhibit and sell their work directly to the public, thereby creating contact between customer and artist.”

All artists live in or near Jerusalem and their styles are distinctive. Russian-born Leonid Gosin takes his inspiration from nature and the poetry of daily life. Nitsan Stern is influenced by Japanese aesthetics and Israeli scenery. Rani Gilat tries to achieve “simplicity and pureness of the shape” in porcelain. Argentinian born Edith Adi hand builds her pottery and uses various printing techniques.

Goods are sold at studio prices, ranging from $10.00 for little clay jars to $200.00 for large pieces with 18K gold designs. Hamsas and pins with printed designs and gold sell for $10.00.

Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday from 9am to 9pm, Friday from 10am to 2.30pm.
Ahava Centre

4) Ahava Centre

What to buy here: Ahava Salt Sea Products.

Ahava, which means love, is a company that produces a broad range of therapeutic skin-care products from the Dead Sea or Yam Hamelah (Salt Sea), as it is called in Hebrew. An hour’s drive south of Jerusalem, the Dead Sea is 1,388 feet below sea level, the lowest place on earth. Over eight times saltier than the ocean, it has been a health resort since the time of King David, due to the rich mineral content of its water, salt, and mud.

Several other companies produce cosmetics from Dead Sea salt and mud. Some are reputable and others are simply cashing in on the popularity of Ahava’s products. Ahava was the first company to create cosmetics based on the Dead Sea, over twenty years ago, and they have maintained high quality. There is a broad range of products for men and women, for rejuvenation, cleansing, and detoxifying. There are mineral botanic soaps, Dead Sea mud, hypo-allergic products, and sun care creams.

Creams run from about $35.00 to $75.00, and a set of creams in a case makes a lovely gift. There’s one with hand cream, foot cream, and body cream for $35.00. All products are brought fresh from the factory weekly. The store is open from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (8:00 p.m. in winter) Sunday to Thursday and Friday from 8:00 to 3:00.

5) Steimatsky

What to buy here: Books on Jerusalem.

The Jewish people are often referred to “the people of the book”, and Israelis are avid readers. During the annual Hebrew Book Week, an estimated 45% of the population visits book fairs held in venues throughout the country. A book makes a wonderful gift.

Steimatsky is the country’s oldest and largest bookstore chain. Founded in 1925, the first store was on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem. Steimatsky now has over 160 branches all over Israel. The tiny branch on the Midrachov, at 7 Ben Yehuda Street, has a broad selection of books in English. It is open from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (8:00 p.m. in winter) Sunday to Thursday, and Friday from 8:00 to 3:00.

The obliging store manager recommended the following two coffee table books for gifts.

Skyline Jerusalem ($40.00) by Duby Tal and Moni Haramati is a book of stunning aerial photographs of Jerusalem. This is one of the books often given by Israel’s Prime Minister to visiting world leaders. Modern Jerusalem is shown in juxtaposition to the ancient city, and various architectural styles and historical periods are illustrated.

Jerusalem: Places and History ($21.00), by journalist Roberto Copello. This book of aerial photos and maps depicts the religious sites of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, presenting a generous amount of historical detail about the city’s heritage.

Other books suitable for gifts are translations of short stories and works of fiction by popular Israeli writers such as Meir Shalev, David Grossman, Amos Oz, and Etgar Keret.
King David’s Treasure

6) King David’s Treasure

What to buy here: Kakadu Artisan works.

Kakadu Artisans Workshop was founded in 1990 by a Jerusalem couple, Reut and Aharon Shahar. Reut is an artist, musician, and environmental sculptor. She and Aharon, a carpenter and designer, developed techniques for hand-painting images on wood, producing aesthetic, functional, and durable products. The company’s slogan is “Art for the Heart”. Today Kakadu is a well-known Israeli brand name and its factory produces brightly colored items such as wall hangings, placemats, trays, lazy susans, and vases. Designs are taken from nature, with elements such as leaves, stylized birds, geometric shapes, and caricatures of people. Colors are bright yet earthy.

The Kakadu factory is in the vicinity of Jerusalem, and workshops are held for tourists, where they can learn the process, explore the colors, and decorate their own souvenirs to take home. For details see

Kakadu’s products are sold in stores such as King David’s Treasure, at 14 Ben Yehuda Street on the Midrachov, which also sells a range of souvenirs. A decorated wooden tray costs $35.00 to $70.00, a set of six coasters is $20.00, and a hamsa is $23.00. The store is open from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (8:00 p.m. in winter) Sunday to Thursday and Friday from 9:00 to 3:00.
Art, Judaica, Jewelry

7) Art, Judaica, Jewelry

What to buy here: The hamsa or hand symbol protects against the evil eye. It is sold just about everywhere, in a variety of materials from wood to ceramics to copper. Artist Chaim Peretz creates unusual hamsas in stained glass, bronze, and sterling silver, some with embedded gemstones. Prices range from $15.00 to $90.00.

The hamsa, explains Peretz, is a symbol of power and hanging a hamsa has a positive influence on the energy in the house. The color blue is particularly effective against the evil eye and negative thoughts.

Peretz’s stained glass fish hamsa of blue and orange glass and sterling silver ($20.00) is decorated with a silver fish. Peretz refers to Genesis 1:28, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth…” noting that hanging a fish hamsa in your home blesses you with many children.

The small eye hamsa ($26.00) of blue, purple, and green glass with sterling silver protects your home against the evil eye, while the large eye hamsa (also $26.00) provides increased protection.

Peretz’s studio is not far from the Mahane Yehuda market, in the refurbished Nahlaot neighborhood, at 2 Rabby Arye, a narrow lane off Shomron St. The sign in front of the store says “Art, Judaica, Jewelry” and hours are 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily except Friday, when it closes at 1:00 p.m. Peretz recommends phoning first (054-7281593) to make sure he is in. His website is
Pereg/Rak Shemen Zeit (Only Olive Oil)

8) Pereg/Rak Shemen Zeit (Only Olive Oil)

What to buy here: Olive oil is a staple of the Israeli diet and is used liberally for both cooking and salads. Produced from the Syrian and Barnea varieties, it has a much stronger flavor than Italian oil. Beware of bargain olive oil, as it is often diluted with cheaper kinds of oil.

A soft white cheese called labani is traditionally served with olive oil poured over it and a spice mixture called za’atar (consisting of ground hyssop, sumac, sesame seeds, and salt) sprinkled on top. The mixture is scooped up with pita bread.

Za’atar can be purchased at any spice shop in the Mahane Yehuda market, such Pereg at 79 Eitz Hahaim St. (Tree of Life Street) ( Pereg recently opened a second store in the Mahane Yehuda market, appropriately named Rak Shemen Zeit (Only Olive Oil).

The Pereg olives are hand-picked and cold-pressed. Prices range from $3.50 for a 100 ml bottle to $70.00 for a 5 liter can. The shop is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily, except Friday when it closes at 3:00 p.m.

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