Tourism in Sderot is a fairly new concept and is largely due to its growing student population. These have infused the city with a very sociable lifestyle that has generated several recreational and social activities, that tourists can enjoy as well. In no other post have I suggested so many activities that enable you to meet the people.
I was privileged to join a tour, courtesy of the Ministry of Tourism and Municipality of Sderot, that has enabled me to bring forward these offerings to your attention. Mayor Alon Davidi came especially to welcome us and tell us about the abundant projects that the city is working on with respect to tourism. They are all currently in progress so you have a lot to look forward to. Hopefully, if you come to Sderot to one of the major events you’ll meet him too. He certainly extends his welcome to you.
Trip Agenda Options
- Café Guté – a social café
- A Historic Tour of the City
- ‘Rokmot’ - The local Ethiopian embroidery club
- The Ultimate Lunch Stop
- Pub Sderot
- Meital Healthy Kitchen (in Hebrew ‘Meital Mitbach Bari’)
- Pasta and That’s It (in Hebrew ‘Pasta Vezehu’).
- The Students’ Village
- Sderot Adama Movement and Dance Center
- Upcoming events and attractions
A Historic Tour of the City
What better way to get to know a city than to walk through it while hearing authentic stories from its residents! Our tour started from the site of the initial transit camp in 1951, throughout the initial permanent neighborhoods, the largest swimming pool in the south, the Yeshiva with its incredible rooftop view and all the way to what is currently known as ‘Kobi’s hill’. On the way we met Gilad, one of the first inhabitants, a male nurse sent by his employers to the wild wild south to help the first settlers and of course Kobi, the city’s famous security officer who can tell a bit more about ‘Operation Cast Lead’ that ended in 2009.
Trip Reservation Phone: 08-6612739
‘Rokmot’ - The Local Ethiopian Embroidery Club
The local club in Sderot brings together 16 Ethiopian women who specialize in the authentic embroidery techniques and patterns used in Ethiopia as well as 2 experienced basket weavers. Together they enjoy a social interaction that allows them to both preserve their ethnic traditions while providing a decent livelihood for their families and contributing back to the community.
The club is open every Sunday between 9:00-12:00 and is open to visitors.
To reserve a visit: Gili 052-3968706 or Ester 054-7608773.
I bought something too. It says “Shalom”!
Sderot Adama Movement and Dance Center
When I saw Nir Ben Gal enter the room I thought to myself that Sderot was indeed becoming a cultural hot spot. Nir Ben Gal and Liat Dror are two famous choreographers who have performed in leading dance groups over the years and have won several international prizes for their compositions. In 2000 they opened their Adama movement and dance center in Mitzpe Ramon and have recently relocated it to Sderot where they teach and perform dance and film projects.
The center is currently planning their début festival in Sderot where they will be offering a full program for visitors that includes workshops, meals prepared by the local mamas and performances. It is located within 6 min walking distance from the train station and will be easy to reach.
For more information on the festival, click here.
I’m linking a short piece of a dance routine that was presented to us for your benefit. Enjoy!
And…I got my selfie with Nir Ben Gal 😊.
Café Guté – A Social Café
‘Café Guté is the result of a social project led by the Gvanim organization that is focused on integrating youth at risk or youth with physical limitations into society. Café Guté is one of their achievements. Currently it employs ~ 15 such youngsters, who are empowered by their ability to work in a normal environment. The skills that they gain during their employement help them take control over their lives.
From your perspective, Café Guté is a kosher dairy restaurant (type of kosher: ‘mehadrin’) located within the cinematheque complex that you may reach during several of the planned events. It’s an interesting stopover that can be enhanced either by a movie or by inclusion in a tour arranged by the Gvanim organization that will allow you to meet some of the youngsters in their program.
My photo depicts Tal, who works at Café Gute:
Gvanim Contact for Social Tours: Shoshi 054-5501514 or Adi 052-8875175
Café Guté Phone: 08-6515761 or 054-9773604
Café Guté Address: 4 Hadegel St., Sderot
The Students’ Village
The students’ village is another social project led by the Ayalim Association in Sderot in which students live together and volunteer in the city in various ways. Most of the students study at the Sapir Academic College near Sderot. Others at the University of Beer Sheva and additional institutions in the south. One of the volunteer efforts is in a care center for children that uses animals and is located right across the village complex.
A visit to the village includes a tour of about 1-1.5 hrs with a short film and refreshments in which the students explain about their lifestyle, and the program. We met Rinat. The tour should be reserved in advance.
The Ultimate Lunch Stop
You’re already familiar with these restaurants since I wrote about them in my post entitled “Darom Adom Festival Preview – What it is and Where to go”. Like I wrote before, these your restaurateurs are eager to accommodate visitors so I was lucky to get second helpings and meet my friends from Pub Sderot, Dhaba,
Meital Healthy Kitchen (in Hebrew ‘Meital Mitbach Bari’)
10 HaHistadrut St.
and Pasta and That’s It (in Hebrew ‘Pasta Vezehu’).
12 HaHistadrut St.
The Annual South Cinema Festival, 3-7 June 2018
The festival is held every year at the initiative of the School of Sound and Screen Arts at Sapir Academic College and takes place mostly in various halls in Sderot from the morning till late at night. The festival hosts dance directors and artists from Israel who screen their films at a premiere on a national level. We met Benny Cohen, the Director of the Cinematheque at Sderot who will be hosting several of the events.
The First Accessible Blues and Beer Festival in Sderot, 25-26 July 2018
The city of Sderot has issued several beloved Israeli musicians such as Kobi Oz (Tipex), Haim Oliel (Sfatayim) and other.
The Blues Festival in Sderot will combine international and local jazz concerts, blues ensembles and veteran Israeli and international bands ranging from the Mississippi to Sderot.
The festival will include musical films, lectures, sketches, master classes, dances and children's events alongside a drink fair and stands. There will be open shows, a central stage, bar performances, special restaurant menus, a film screening under the stars, a blues film show at the cinematheque, a music workshop and a children's dance workshop with musicians from Sderot and the surrounding area. Entrance to all shows will be FREE OF CHARGE.
Moreover, the festival will be the first accessible festival in Israel for visually impaired and blind people, hearing impaired and deaf people and people with physical disabilities. Accessibility will be implemented by the following features:
- Inclusion of blind musicians in the performances.
- Accompanying people who are blind or have visual impairments from the train station or from home to the festival area and during the festival.
- Sign language translation for lectures for deaf people or people with hearing impairments.
- An accessible website with a recorded program, a Braille program and more.
See above. This post is all inclusive.
A hotel within Sderot is under the planned activities. Currently, nearby accommodation is based on B&Bs. You are welcome to refer to my page ‘Best B&B’.
I spent a day. I only put in three locations because not all the locations are marked on google maps, but since most of the tours are guided anyway it shouldn’t be a problem. Moreover, most of these locations are around the ones that I marked. Café Gute and the Ethiopian Club are near the Cinematheque. The other restaurants are near the municipality of Sderot.
This is what it looks like on the map:
I don’t think any of my previous posts can compare with respect to the level of social interaction that you can achieve while visiting. A trip to Sderot is all about the people, which needless to say is amazing.
Photos Talma Gotteiner