Bnei Brak, located just east of one of Israel’s busiest cities, Tel Aviv, is home to many ultra-Orthodox Jews. For a long time, Bnei Brak has existed without much tourist interest, until one man started giving culinary tours, giving participants an inside look at the cuisine and culture of Bnei Brak.
Unless there’s an investigative report on TV, or a new melancholic film about the Orthodox world, secular Israelis rarely seem to think about Bnei Brak, a city just east of Tel Aviv whose residents are mainly ultra-Orthodox Jews. But Pini Gorelick, an Orthodox Jew from Kfar Chabad, a Chabad-Lubavitch village in central Israel, believes the culture of Bnei Brak—particularly its culinary offerings—is something more people should experience, and tour.
Two years ago, Gorelick, who works in Israel’s high-tech industry, began leading private tours of Bnei Brak for his friends. Since then, interest has grown mightily—Gorelick guides tours every week, for groups that average 15-20 people. His tours, which last about 3-4 hours, are given in either Hebrew or English.
“Most people who go on these tours are secular Jews, with a few kippah sruga (knitted kippa–a term used to describe religious Zionists), and tourists,” Gorelick told me. “Orthodox Jews don’t come, not even from other countries, because they’re familiar with this lifestyle.”