A street where restaurants close. If you stand here for long enough, you will be able to see the closing and opening of a restaurant.
This is where I go when people treat me out for dinner. Emek Refaim is also where Americans go without fear of running into people who do not speak English.
The home to the original Burgers Bar, this area is the beacon of the Jerusalem dining business. The street connecting the center of the city to Talpiot and other areas, many vacationers enjoy the classy Israeli dining experience, by waiting for a table and noticing a random late shower cutting them on line.
We are in the Greman Colony area. Even so, nobody really knows where the German Colony is. And as such, the area is known as Rechavia. Like all neighborhoods in Jerusalem, it was established in the late 19th century. All that mumbo jumbo about Germans living here, is true. As should be noted, Greeks lived in the Greek Colony, right up the road.
Emek Refaim is more than a street. It is an area. An area where people cannot judge you for being religious and not frum. As such, there is a pool, a music school and the ICCY (which stands for something).
Along with Mamila, this area represents the melting pot of Jerusalem. The main goal of the residents is to get rid of the falafel places near the corner of Rachel Imenu St. So that one day, our children’s children will not have to say, ‘I live in the Middle East.’
The Templer sect of Christians, who broke away from the Protestant church to move to Israel in the hopes of greeting the Messiah, settled this area. As such, today, there are no Germans living here. The British forced them out in WWII. Thus, you will notice some beautiful homes that run along Emek Refaim and Beit Lechem streets. Homes which are built better than the homes in Baka. Homes which the world is fine with Israelis living in. To your left, you will notice the Templer cemetery, built with the traditional German architecture of tombstones.
Wait. That’s a friend of mine. I am going to talk to them for three minutes. I have a reputation, and I must pretend like we are close. They have money….
We are back.
And now that the parking has been taken away from the non-residents of the Emek Refaiim area, we can stand here for a few more hours to see more restaurants closing.
A few years back, the residents of the Emek Refaim and Talbiyah areas, all part of Rechavia, fought against the building of a hotel in the area. Along with all of the existing residents, they figured that if somebody wants to tour Jerusalem (just as they do for a few weeks a year) they should also purchase and apartment. Some of the residents claimed it would kill the landscape and take away all of the grass from the Emek Refaim shopping area. Which, as you can see, there is that tree on the corner over there with that squared off meter of boxed in grass.
This is what Derech Beit Lechem would look like if the street was built wide enough for cars. One of the distinguishing factors of Emek Refaim is that here you can find people.
***David Kilimnick may be seen educating you on Jerusalem, every Thursday night @ 8:30pm, and this Sunday- for the Tu BAv Comedy Special, at the Off The Wall Comedy Basement and is now booking shows for his Tour of America, later this year.