the attractions of modi'in

Smack between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Modi'in's tourist attractions have been popping up like mushrooms after rain.

Pick and prepare to pickle your own olives at Aladdin’s olive farm. (photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Pick and prepare to pickle your own olives at Aladdin’s olive farm.
(photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Modi’in lies smack between the country’s two main cities – Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The area is full of forests, agricultural fields and animals, and recently tourist attractions have been popping up there like mushrooms after rain.
There are so many now that even on hot days you can jump from one to another without wasting time on a long drive.
Aladdin Olive Farm One of the surprises I came upon in the Modi’in area was the Aladdin Olive Farm in Kfar Ruth. This 4-acre ecological olive farm, situated in the heart of a huge olive grove, was built by Rimon Artzi and Azam Natzer. At the Aladdin farm, you’ll also find herbs and medicinal plants growing, and peacocks, chickens and rabbits wandering around the grounds. And if you’re really patient, you might even notice a fawn or two skipping through the trees.
The farm offers a number of exciting activities for the whole family, such as gathering herbs, feeding the animals, making flower pots, baking pita and tasting olive oil. Artzi leads guests on a 90-minute tour of the farm, during which she describes how the olive press works and explains how she identifies specific herbs. Guests can learn how to make a whistle out of lemongrass, how to make za’atar, and what uses the stevia plant has.
After the tour, everyone stops for a lemonade break. Then all the kids are invited to grind flour and make pita on a taboon, and to plant sage seedlings in pots they can take home with them.
Other activities at Aladdin Farm include learning how to prepare compost and make soap from olive oil. Of course, guests are invited to purchase locally made olive oil, olives and seasonal jams at the end of the day.
Price: NIS 25 to NIS 35 Open on weekends and holidays.
To make a reservation for a visit during the week: 054-314-1822
Hasmonean Village Just across the road from Kfar Rut, you’ll find the Hasmonean Village at Moshav Shilat, where kids and adults learn about how the Maccabees lived. Guests get to see remnants from four separate communities that existed at the site over the years.
The village is only 30 kilometers from Tel Aviv, and one can also see the Jerusalem Mountains in the other direction.
On one of the tours at the Hasmonean Village, you can see houses built during the Kingdom of Judah, later structures by the Maccabees, and even some from the Neolithic Era. You’ll pass by a blacksmith’s house, a synagogue, a museum, olive presses (which are still usable today), a granary, an ancient wine press and a mint that was used for making coins.
During the tour, kids are invited to engage in fun activities such as ring tossing, writing with a quill pen, and archery.
Tour lasts about 2½ hours.
Price: NIS 30 to NIS 35 To make a reservation: 054-448-0463 Neot Kedumim Another attraction that connects us with our ancestors is Neot Kedumim, which first opened in 1964. Spread out over 600 acres, this park was built in the belief that Jewish history can only be truly experienced outside in nature. To that end, huge gardens of biblical herbs were planted, agricultural devices and structures were excavated and restored, and animals native to the area were brought in.
There are four different tours you can take at Neot Kedumim, each of which revolves around a specific subject.
All the tours involve walking through the nature park, and some of them are wheelchair-accessible. It’s also possible to rent bicycles and ride around the park.
During the summer vacation, guided tours for adults take place every Tuesday, with family tours on Thursdays.
The current subjects of the four tours are love stories from the Bible; women leaders in the Bible; psychological insights into the Bible; and the relationship between Shabbat and Judaism.
During the family tours, children can participate in activities that enable them to experience history, such as drawing water from a well, herding sheep, using ancient agricultural equipment and making pita. The guides even show guests how the wheat is harvested and crushed to make flour.
Some tours last two hours, and others are three hours.
Price for tour: NIS 45 per person or NIS 150 per family Price to enter park: NIS 20 to NIS 25 For details: (08) 977-0777 Moti’s wood shop After you’re done learning about Jewish heritage, your kids will probably be ready to burn off any energy they have left at Saba Moti’s wood workshop in Moshav Ginaton.
Moti built all of his tools by himself, and he is always striving to get the kids and adults who participate in his workshops to “make the wood smile.” Everyone goes home with the project they make.
Workshops last 45 minutes, and prices begin at NIS 55.
To book a workshop: 050-668-8680