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If you can't stand the heat... start Kooking

by josh August 06 2008
Things to doArtFoodJerusalem strolls
Ticho House Rorscach test. I see an artist married to her cousin.
Wall-E Shmall-E. Catch real animation at the Ticho House

Between wine festivals, film festivals and crazy bridge opening celebrations, Jerusalem's pretty much got the party at night thing down pat. But what to do during the seemingly endless sharav-like days of summer in the city? The wonders of air conditioning make a day spent inside seem the perfect cure, but denizens need not only rely on the staycation (or holistay, take your pick) as a means of respite from the sun. Though not as people-watching-tastic as its big brother Ben Yehuda Street, nearby Rav Kook Street offers a slew of quirky and educational spots to visit while remaining comfortably indoors.

The street was once home to one of Israel's most celebrated rabbis, Rav Abraham Isaac Kook, hence the name. Kook worked to close the distance between the ultra-Orthodox and the non-religious Zionists during the mandate period, fostering the eventual creation of the religious Zionist movement. His apartment is now home to the Rabbi Kook Museum, a shrine to the rabbi and his teachings. The entrance to the house, featuring a turreted wall reminiscent of the nearby Old City walls, takes visitors into the residence that looks much as it did when Rabbi Kook occupied it, complete with mikveh (ritual bath) and beit midrash (study hall).

For those looking for a less straightforward religiously educational experience, there is the uber trippy Museum of Psalms. Though the paintings that make up the museum may look at first glance like just another deadhead trying to channel his or her energy into psychedelic representations of the his or hr most recent LSD-enhanced Phil Lesh concert, the art is actually the work of kabbalist and Holocaust survivor Moshe Tzvi Halevi Berger. Berger's paintings bring the 150 psalms to life, though the years they have spent on permanent display have begun to show in some of them.

A short walk away is the Anna Ticho House, a former Ottoman era home occupied by artist/social butterfly Anna Ticho and her husband/cousin Avraham, who also ran an eye clinic at the site, during the early 20th century. The gallery is filled with Anna's artwork, for which she was famous, and Avraham's chanukiah collection. There is also a special exhibit of sculpture, video and animation with the aim of bringing Ticho house back to life.

You can hit up the acclaimed Little Jerusalem restaurant without even having to venture outside. The dairy joint serves up standard European and Middle Eastern fare with a bevy of breakfast options.

Though Hadassah College is situated just up the street, you will have to venture a bit further out to catch two exhibits highlighting the artwork of Hadassah's newest graduating class. At the Underground Prisoners Museum next to nearby Safra Square you can see an exhibit of photography and digital media through August 21.

A bit further away at the Jerusalem Theater is another display of photography and digital media from the same institution, with a bit of print production and industrial design thrown in for good measure. The exhibit runs through the end of August.

Pictured is Raaya Karas' Some Place for Tomorrow, currently on display at the Ticho House as part of the Animating Ticho House exhibition.
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