Photo Essay: A Visit to Jerusalem's Shuk Machaneh Yehuda

A stroll through the ‘shuk,’ reveals the secret sights and stories of Jerusalem’s Machaneh Yehuda market, seldom available to the casual visitor.

Ezra HaLevi , | updated: 6:16 PM

Shuk Machaneh Yehuda, Jerusalem’s open air market, is where Jerusalemites go to feel the pulse of the Jewish nation – or to pick up a piece of pita bread for lunch.
Guards are stationed at the entrances, located on Aggripas Street and Jaffa Road. Terrorists have targeted the shuk on more than one occasion
While some choose to do their major shopping at supermarkets and malls around the capital, strolling in the shuk, grabbing some fresh nuts or dried fruit, remains a treat.
Fresh fish, carted in from the Mediterranean and northern Israel fish farms that morning.
Eggs, brought in from a Moshav in the Jerusalem hills
It is the side alleys where the true hidden treasures may be found
A Hareidi-religious man runs a candy shop, offering discounts “In honor of the Holy Sabbath”
Another man hawks healthier snacks between drags on his cigarette
One shop sells only Halva, the sweet sesame-based snack, in a variety of flavors – from pistachio to maple syrup
Meat or potato filled Moroccan cigars
Fresh Beurekas, cut in half and stuffed with sliced egg, techina (tahini), harif (hot pepper spread) and pickles
Others come to the shuk to see friends. These two men came from Jerusalem suburbs to spend time at the barber shop of their mutual friend
“Micha’s Barber Shop – Air Conditioned. Happy Holiday!”
“Ronen’s Barber Shop – For Men”
A courtyard behind the area called the ‘Iraqi shuk’ due to the place of origin of many of the original Jewish shopkeepers there. Older Jerusalemites gather in the courtyard to play backgammon, cards and dominos
The owner of one of the small backgammon clubs looks on as two friends compete and enjoy his lemon tea
The clubs are full and the crowd spills outdoors into the courtyard despite the chilly weather
“Entry from 18 years and older only - The Management.” Below is a picture of Kabbalist the Baba Sali blessings former Sephardi Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu
A store tries to get rid of its audio cassettes with a sale price: “Eight for ten shekels”
The shuk is undergoing a change. While many old stores remain, and continue to thrive and be frequented by loyal customers who have shopped there since childhood…
…New fancy boutiques are opening up. A jewelry boutique is seen here next to its neighbor, who sells bulk pretzels
A clothing boutique opens its doors next to a fish store
The head of the Machane Yehuda merchants association expanded his roasted nut business, opening a dairy kosher cafe? with an open kitchen so shoppers can stop for coffee or a salad and see fresh produce being turned into delicious food before their eyes.
Yosef Avrahami’s shop abuts the shuk’s synagogue, which hosts prayer services each day as well as Torah classes given by students from the local Shas Party-affiliated yeshiva. “The whole shuk is doing teshuva (returning to religion),” he says
Nearby, kippot (Jewish head coverings) are sold alongside fruit and vegetables
“I don’t know if everyone is doing teshuva, but I do know that when most people come to the shuk – they remember why we are here and what we have to do”
Chanukah is in the air, with sevivonim (dreidels) for sale in high variety (The tops have letters standing for: A great miracle happened here)
Chanukah candles, oil and wicks by the dozen
“Menorahs! Menorahs! Get your menorahs while they last!”
A sign advertises Gush Katif bug-free vegetables. The name is still retained, despite the forced expulsion of all Jewish farmers from Gaza during the 2005 Disengagement
The palette of locally-grown fruits and vegetables dazzles the eye at the shuk. Here, two varieties of Israeli artichokes lie waiting to be bought, steamed and eaten
A mural of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin overlooks fresh Golan Heights apples and the last pomegranates of the season
New immigrants bring their flavors the shuk as well. Seen here is one of two stores that have opened in recent years selling Ethiopian products and spices
A man selling juice is seen behind a pile of French-strain oranges, grown in Israel
Cucumbers being unloaded
Israel is one of the world’s leading flower exporters. They can be found freshest at the shuk
Spices from the shuk make up the secret ingredients of favorite dishes for Israelis’ vast array of culinary creations – the result of the ingathering of the exiles together with their unique tastes and flavors
Doughnuts are how you know Chanukah is coming. They begin appearing in bakeries at the start of the Hebrew month of Kislev and are eaten in anticipation of the holiday’s olive oil-based miracle
A shuk restaurateur shows off his creations, made from his mother’s recipes she brought with her when she fled Iran for Israel
An assortment of teas
Uzieli, who lives on an agricultural moshav near Jerusalem, creates herbal drinks, remedies and super-spicy dips for his loyal customers
A wall of photos displays Uzieli’s passion – Yemenite etrogs (citrons), which he uses for medicinal and culinary purposes
The prized etrog. Sukkot is not that far away…

(Photos: Josh Shamsi, Arutz-7 Photojournalist)