City of gold – and fun

Families participate in citywide scavenger hunt.

Families, couples and kids of all ages raced through the Montefiore Windmill, Lions’ Fountain and Mamilla Mall to find each clue (photo credit: KATHERINE KEENAN)
Families, couples and kids of all ages raced through the Montefiore Windmill, Lions’ Fountain and Mamilla Mall to find each clue
(photo credit: KATHERINE KEENAN)
Nearly 400 people from around the country gathered in Jerusalem for a scavenger hunt last Thursday that took them across the city, starting at the First Station and ending with an awards ceremony at the Tower of David.
The event was a collaboration between the women behind tourism site Fun in Jerusalem, Israel Scaventures, and Reveal Cards, all of which are aimed at providing educational yet fun ways of learning about the history of Israel, and in this case, Jerusalem.
“We were three women that came together, three moms, and said ‘Let’s make something during the three weeks [between 17 Tamuz and 9 Av] that’s significant to us, that’s important to families,’” says Reveal Cards founder and event partner Miriam Lottner. “And we just did it; we built the whole thing on our own.”
Families, couples, and kids of all ages were racing through the Montefiore Windmill, Lions’ Fountain, and Mamilla Mall to find each clue, and if they stumbled across the right one, they quickly snapped a photo and made sure to use the hashtag “#FunInJerusalem” when posting online to prove they were there.
At the Tower of David, landmarks such as the ruins of a Herodian wall or a Middle Eastern-themed photo booth provided a lighthearted way to get to know the ancient city a little more intimately.
Lottner says that her aim was to get families back into Jerusalem, something she feels was accomplished through the scavenger hunt.
“It’s 10, 15, 20 people on a regular basis.
This was obviously a much more herculean effort,” she says. “We formed this amazing dream team and brought this project together.”
Planning began only six weeks prior to the event, added Lottner. Amid the tension and fear that is sometimes associated with Jerusalem, she believes the hunt was able to break through the stereotype and be a success.
“If you could’ve been here even two months ago, the feeling was like ‘I’m not going to Jerusalem, that’s scary, I’m not taking my family there,’” says Lottner. “I feel like today people just came, and enjoyed… it’s crazy fun.”
Families were encouraged to create videos, write songs or choreograph dances at each site where a clue was discovered, which would give them a chance to compete for grand prizes at the end of the hunt, such as tickets to the Tower of David Night Spectacular. One family wrote a rap about the North Africa Jewish Heritage Center, a museum that several participants visited for the first time.
“It’s the whole thing of learning the history about Jerusalem, seeing different parts of the city that you normally wouldn’t see,” says Steven Chelsky, who came with his family in celebration of his wife Rebecca’s 40th birthday. “We saw all the artifacts at the North African Heritage Center – it’s hidden,” Rebecca says.
Between chasing down the grandkids, as one older couple recounted, crafting the savviest social media post, or discovering a mystical creature at Lions’ Fountain, participants left with smiles on their faces – making Lottner enthusiastic for the next scavenger hunt.
“Everybody learned something, everybody experienced something they hadn’t experienced before, families came back and had fun in Jerusalem again. Mission accomplished for us,” she says.