Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from my personal experiences and observations during the Israel pilgrimage tour I joined. Additional information from the official website of the subject business is also used. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.
During the one and only free day I had in my recent tour of Israel, I decided to make use of the extra time to visit the Temple Mount, the Western Wall (note: my return for prayer), the Jewish Quarter, King David’s Tomb and Oskar Schindler’s grave on foot. It was also my plan to have lunch at the popular Mahane Yehuda market.
Coming from the old city of Jerusalem, I marched along Jaffa Street heading towards Mahane Yehuda. However, the accumulated stress of very long walks in the morning caught up with me and I needed a break. It was then I decided to pursue finding a certain Jerusalem joint known for good food, drinks and books which was featured on the YouTube channel of Israel (called Jerusalem’s culture café). That place is Tmol Shilshom and as soon as I saw a sign of it along the very busy Jaffa Street, I made the decision to search for it knowing it was a challenge to do so.
What exactly is Tmol Shilshom? It is described as “the one holy place of Jerusalem that stands above the fray,” quoting Amoz Oz.
According to the official material of theirs, Tmol Shilshom is a Jersualem institution. A café-restaurant and bookstore that was established in 1994 in a century-old building in the Nahalat Shiv’a quarter of the city center. The joint’s name means “yesteryear”, is the title of a classic Hebrew novel by Nobel laureate S.Y. Agnon. Tmol Shilshom was founded as a unique way to combine culture, good food, and a cozy atmosphere, as imagined by the late David Ehrlich who was the business partner of the joint’s owner Dan Goldberg.
For several minutes, I struggled to find Tmol Shilshom going through a few narrow walkways coming from Jaffa Street. I did not have mobile Internet access with me and there was no way Google Maps could help me. I simply paid attention to details of the walkways and the signs that I saw. There was a point when I thought I got lost but I found another sign leading to the place. After some further walk, turns and climbing up some steps, I finally made it to Tmol Shilshom!
My experience inside Tmol Shilshom
As soon as I entered the café-restaurant, I felt this great relief not only from the cold weather outside but also because I found the place’s beautiful interiors very welcoming and cozy instantly. The place’s heater was so good, I took off my trench coat and sat at the nearest table enjoying the instant warmth and comfort.
As it was my plan to have lunch at Mahane Yehuda, I first wanted to try Tmol Shilshom’s coffee. On the table, however, I noticed there was this visual reference about their special drinks offered complete with descriptions and prices (in Shekels) displayed. After some thinking and wanting to try something really unique, I decided to order their Halva Drink which is a vegan beverage composed of date honey, tahini, hot soy milk and shredded Halva. I stated my order to the waiter who passed it on to the counter. The waiter was also helpful in granting me access to their Wi-Fi.
After several minutes of browsing and checking updates online, a pretty blonde served to me my Halva Drink and she said, “Enjoy.”
Just looking at the Halva Drink, I was very impressed with the way it looked and how Tmol Shilshom made it. As a native of the Philippines who had been to local cafés and other cafés in the United States, Canada, Japan and Hong Kong, the drink truly looked one-of-a-kind to me!
After marveling at it, I finally decided to start drinking my Halva Drink. The first sensation of my tongue registered a mild sweetness that was also delightful. Naturally, I wanted more of the enjoyable taste so I continued consuming it. The combination of Halva combined with the other mentioned ingredients made it a pretty engaging and very unique drink experience for me. Whoever prepared the Halva Drink there at Tmol Shilshom deserves admiration and thanks! The same should also go to whoever designed the drink there.
As I enjoyed my drink, I took a break from my smartphone and observed the really nice interiors around me. There was this unique feeling of being at home (note: explanation in the Conclusion section) while also feeling comfortable as a consumer. I have been to many cafés and restaurants in my life but Tmol Shilshom is not only very unique but also a standout.
It comes to no surprise that the Halva Drink, combined with the warmth, the coziness and fine atmosphere of the interior, relaxed me a lot. The stress and the slight soreness of my feet faded away, and I was ready to move on to Mahane Yehuda for lunch and further exploration. Before leaving, I ordered bottled water (to keep myself hydrated), paid the bill and tipped them.
While my stay at Tmol Shilshom lasted less than an hour, my experience there still proved to be memorable with the mentioned factors above. I really enjoyed the place (note: the building was originally residential and it got converted for commercial use) and the minimal interior space was not a problem to me at all. Their workers were very professional, friendly and accommodating. It should be noted that apart being a fine place for dining, reading and working, Tmol Shilshom also established itself as a place for special events and gatherings.
If ever I will get to revisit Jerusalem, I would not hesitate to return to Tmol Shilshom and try out their meals and other offerings. It is truly a very special place of Jerusalem and I encourage you to visit them for your food and beverage interests. I personally thank our Lord for guiding me to find the place.
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 2:6-7 (NKJV)
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV)
To each of you reading this, I highly recommend visiting Tmol Shilshom when you are in Jerusalem. For your reference, visit their website at https://www.tmol-shilshom.co.il/en/home/ and follow them on Instagram.
Watch out for more Israel 2023 travel pieces here.
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