My daughter converted to Judaism many years ago and I have consequently been over to Israel many times in the last 20+ years .I lived in Africa when I was younger but can honestly say that the cultural differences in Israel and especially in Jerusalem where there is a larger proportion of the population that is Orthodox is greater and can be a shock to the system if one has been brought up either in the Christian tradition or in a more secular society.
It is like entering a different world and, to make it comfortable for yourself it is better to conform, especially if you are a woman. Ladies, wear skirts that are midi to maxi rather than trousers and three quarter length sleeves and a modest neckline and if you have tattoos or piercings, hide them. It may not be our way of doing things in the West but it is their way and when in Rome etc... After all, one visits these places to see different cultures and it would be pointless after travelling such a distance if one couldn't see it because of one's attire.
Of course, you will see many Israelis who do not dress like this, in fact in the shopping malls etc you will see extremely skimpy clothes but if you want to see religious sites, please conform.
The habit of bowing instead of shaking hands is because a male orthodox Jew will not touch a female, most especially a Gentile, unless he is related. If you want to read up on it you will find that there are, to the western way of thinking, some very bizarre customs in Judaism, but look and learn and try not to judge.
I'm not a conforming person normally, but in this instance, who wants hassle?
You are in the Middle East and it's best not to forget it.
The food is delicious, by the way. The best fruit and vegetables in the world, but the service is a little surly; not so many please and thank yous as we would expect in the UK or the States.
All the museums are well worth visiting with excellent facilities.
Have a memorable trip!
It is believed that the dead will be ressurected here, in the valley of Jehoshaphat. For that reason the valley is covered with cemeteries..
It's customary for a bride to say a prayer at the Western Wall after the wedding, in the picture, my new daughter-in-law is acknowledging this tradition.
When you visit the Western Wall (the Wailing Wall) you might run into a Bar Mitzvah. This is a ceremony commemorating the thirteenth birthday of a Jewish boy. It admits him to manhood.