Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Port of call

Warning: The following post may exceed the recommended daily allowance for other people’s vacation pictures. Proceed at your own risk.

Think of it as an amendment to the original rule.

You see, according to the highly-acclaimed Our Shiputzim General Theory of Pesach Cleaning, now is the time for Stage II:

“Talking and blogging about cleaning in lieu of doing anything constructive.”

But seeing as this stage is essentially all about avoidance and denial, I would posit that an even better way to accomplish this goal is to ignore Pesach preparations altogether and, instead, to turn one’s attention to possible chol hamo’ed activities.

With that in mind – and with your permission, of course – I’d like to recommend a visit to the Ashdod port.

In principle, the Ashdod port meets the stringent criteria for “Ideal Late Summer Outings” – seeing as the tour is both free and air-conditioned. (Additional free and air-conditioned activities include the Bank of Israel in Yerushalayim and the Nesher Cement Factory in Ramle.)

But during most of the year, the Ashdod port is only open to schools and other large groups. However, during chol hamo’ed, families are welcome. [Note: Advance reservations are required.]

We were there on Succot (as you can see, it took me a while to get around to writing this post…), but I believe that the Pesach tours work the same way.

Seeing as there were no small children in our own group, we were very glad that kids under nine years old were not allowed (this rule is strictly enforced), because it meant that the tour was geared for adults and older kids.

The tour lasted about 1½ hours and was divided into two parts: a tour of the visitors center (where they have a few exhibits about the port’s history and operations, a couple of interesting audio-visual presentations, and several educational games) and a fascinating bus ride around the port itself.

IMHO, it is the latter that makes the Ashdod port well-worth the trip.

At one point, we found ourselves parked right next to a large ship, and we got to watch as the ship’s cargo was first unloaded and then reloaded.

Before I show you the threatened promised photos, I should explain that due to security concerns, visitors are only permitted to take pictures from outside the port’s perimeter, from inside the visitors center, or from a nearby scenic overlook known as Givat Yonah (literally, Jonah’s Hill – supposedly the burial site of Yonah HaNavi).

As always, please feel free to click on the pictures for a much better view:

IMG_3011The entrance to the port

IMG_3023A view from inside the visitor center

IMG_3043A view of the manmade breakwater from Givat Yonah

IMG_3044Two ships (as seen from Givat Yonah)

IMG_3050Cranes loading and unloading shipping containers (as seen from Givat Yonah)

IMG_3052Shipping containers (as seen from Givat Yonah)

In short, we all (yes, including the teenagers!) really enjoyed our visit to the Ashdod port. The tour guide was extremely knowledgeable; getting to watch the port in action was quite thrilling; and we learned a lot.

I don’t know if it’s too late to make reservations for Pesach, but if not, I highly recommend that you do.

Have you ever been to the Ashdod port?


  1. This sounds like a great hol hamoed activity, so i called the namal. Unfortunately, they are closed hol hamoed pesach and only offer family tours on sukkot. Will try to remember until then... Thanks for the idea!

    1. Bracha - That's too bad, but I hope you get to go on Succot!


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