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Visiting Gush Etzion, Israel

Shalom from the Gush!

Only minutes away for Jerusalem, is a unique cluster of Jewish communities known as Gush Etzion, aka “The Gush.” In Hebrew Gush means bloc. So in English these communities would be called the Etzion Bloc. The bloc has a rich history that represents Jewish nationalist idealism.

Without getting into politics, today this cluster of small towns and cities south of Jerusalem is considered by many a suburb since it takes less than 15 minutes by car and 35 minutes via public transportation to get here. {Click here for Regional Map of Gush Etzion} What waits on the other side is truly worth it! Every visitor (and many inhabitants) relishes in the pastoral fields; modest sized homes and rustic lifestyle that blend perfectly to form a global melting pot of immigrants from around the world, religious and secular live side by side.

The real beneficiaries of this gathering of exiles are the foodies and their families who enjoy delicious culinary delights, breathtaking views without breaking the bank.

Almost every style of food can be found in the Gush with the freshest ingredients. From bakeries to bagels, pizza and burgers, breweries and wineries, the Gush boasts a high concentration of eating establishments that is worth every moment.

Besides the usual occasions to eat at a restaurant, the Gush also hosts many festivals that focus around seasonal crops. This Friday, June 15 is the annual Rosh Tzurim Cherry Festival with a chance to pick as many cherries as you want (without getting sick of course) combined with a local farmer’s market featuring the finest small food businesses in the Gush. Here’s what one blogger had to say about it.

During the Fall, there is often a wine festival where one can experience the process of making wine from the planting to picking all the way to the bottling. Kids (and adults) can even relive the stomping of the grapes if they really want to get a taste of wine. 

In the coming posts, I, as a resident of the Gush and lover of food, will explore these restaurants and other food establishments around the Gush to offer tourists and locals an inside scoop on the issue.



Mordecai Holtz is a Senior Partner at i-point Media Group, a boutique marketing and branding firm responding to the practical online needs of small businesses and non-profits.

About the author


Mordecai Holtz is an experienced non-profit professional in community organization and development, nonprofit administration and management for 8 years. During this time, his areas of focus have been program development, driving awareness, engaging and facilitating communication, and actualizing programmatic vision with a keen eye for detail. Mordecai is well versed in social media and enjoys helping small businesses and non-profit organizations reach their fullest online potential. When Mordecai is not spending time with his wife or playing with his 5 kids, you can find Mordecai running, biking, playing basketball, or enjoying a great cup of coffee.

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  • I’m happy you had the great time with your vacation. I felt your story as if you were touring me around Gush Etzion. I thought it’s a great place, rich in culture and of course, the sights are awesome.