By Sharon Szmuc
I encourage everyone to visit Jerusalem and by far the best place for travelers to stay is The Abraham Hostel, a hostel right in the center of Jerusalem just a block away from Machane Yehuda, which has been featured as one of the top ten best hostels in the world for four years in a row!
While waiting in the lobby to speak with Gal Mor, one of Abraham Hostel’s cofounders, I saw people of all ages and heard people speaking languages from all over the world. I also noticed that many people were not necessarily guests at the hostel, but Jerusalemites there for some of the events and tours the Hostel hosts. Abraham Hostel represents a sense of community with social events for all. They have movie nights, live music on the rooftop, barbeque Mondays, a bar that is always busy, and even Shabbat dinners were people in the hostel cook together in the communal kitchen.
I had the fortune of sitting down with Gal, who kindly offered me coffee and gave me a tour of the hostel. Seasoned travelers, Gal and his friend came up with the idea for Abraham Hostel with the philosophy that a hostel is not like a hotel—a hostel is about socializing. The hostel provides lodging at a cheaper cost and provides travelers with the opportunity to interact with the locals, which is why their events are always open to the public. Gal sees the importance of tourism in Jerusalem. He believes we must give people tours and experiences that make them go back home surprised that Jerusalem wasn’t just historical and religious. The environment of the hostel is mostly independent travelers and people cannot stay for more than one week because they want to encourage people to travel and see other parts of Israel. They offer dorm rooms, private rooms, and family rooms. The coolest part of the hostel is the tours they offer to Petra, the Negev, the Galilee and the Golan heights, and even tours of Masada to see the sunrise and the sunset!
Abraham Hostel’s name is just as interesting as the place itself. Abraham was considered the first regional backpacker, traveling from Hebron to Iraq to spread hospitality. It got me thinking the importance of traveling and seeing the world for one’s self. I would say that with the homey, comfortable and welcoming environment Abraham Hostels has to offer, one can get a sense of what the city and community of Jerusalem is like.
Towards the end of the interview, Gal knew my last question would be what things and places he loves in Jerusalem. He gave me a list of places to visit such as Azzana, Hamotzi, and even try some Sabich. He also loves Machane Yehuda and Ein Karem.
So to visitors and residents alike, I say this: for a funky and colorful evening with live music and the chance to meet all sorts of travelers, for a night out on a gorgeous rooftop with a picturesque view of the city, for a diverse repertoire of tours to get to know or rediscover the city and so much more, the Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem is the place to be.
Sharon Szmuc, our fabulous summer intern, is a fourth-year at Florida State University studying Creative Writing and Communications. In the fall she will start writing for Her Campus, an online magazine for US college students.