Rte 38 & 35: South of Jerusalem, Israel

Rtes 38 and 35
are populated by moshavim and kibbutzim, agricultural settlements that
in recent years have absorbed new people from cities and towns
throughout the country, as well as convents, monasteries, wineries and caves to explore. A popular phenomenon is the relocation of artists and craftspeople to rural villages.

Rural lodgings on this route can be found for families and couples in two different agricultural villages: Agur and Zafririm.

 

Visit [1] Soreq Stalactite Caves [2] Tzora Winery, [3] Convent of the Sisters of Bethlehem and Beit Jimal Monastery, [4] Ella Valley Winery and jewelry
studio on Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed Hey, [5] jewelry studio, and Hans
Sternbach Wine Estate, on Givat Yeshayahu, [6] Kakadu Designs on
Zafririm, [7] Leather Shoes by Einat at Sirigim Li-On, [8] Beit Guvrin National Park, [9] stained glass, jewelry and pottery studios on Moshav Shekef.

CoolTip:
Always call in advance to ensure opening times. If you cannot get there
during regular hours, request an appointment. You will find that most
studios are accommodating.

Directions: To get to Rte
38 from the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway, Rte 1, exit at Shaar Hagai, and
follow signs to Beit Shemesh. You are now on Rte 38.

 

Start the route where Rte 38 intersects with Rte 1 in the direction of Beit Shemesh.

Israel rte 38 map

[1] Soreq Stalactite Cave

Rte 3855

Soreq Stalactite Cave is an 82-meter long cave with spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. No other like it in Israel.

  • Fee.
  • T: 02.991.1117
  • April – Sept: 8:00 – 17:00
  • Oct – March: 8:00 – 16:00

[2] Kibbutz Zora

Tzora Winery

With an annual production of over 50,000 bottles, the kibbutz-owned winery located on Tzora Winery on Kibbutz Zora is one of the larger boutique wineries.
On the day we visited, vintner Ronnie James was busy sweeping the floor
of the tasting area. We soon learned, that casual appearances aside,
this is a world class winery. Starting with the 2002 releases, the
wines are kosher.

  • T: 02.990.8261

Exit Kibbutz Zora
to Rte 38, and turn right, continuing in the direction you were
travelling. Pass Bet Shemesh and Ramat Bet Shemesh. Look for a tiny
road, with a sign on the right pointing you to the left, and make left
turn into a semi-paved road among olive trees. Looks like Tuscany in
the right season. Follow the road up the hill and park below the gates
of the Convent.

[3] Jimal

[3A] Convent of the Sisters of Bethlehem

[3B] Beit Jimal Monastery

Located approximately 5 km/3 mi south of Bet Shemesh.Sisters of Bethlehem Chapel

Drive
past Beit Shemesh and look for a small sign on the right side of the
road, showing a left turn. Turn left and drive up a dirt road with
olive trees on either side – reminiscent of Tuscany. All the way at the
top, you will find two Christian communities: the Convent of the Sisters of Bethlehem established by Trappist nuns, and the Beit Jimal Monastery
built by Salesian monks in 1881. Entrance to both communities is open
to the public. There is video on the life of this silent order of nuns,
and you can see their prayer room when you climb to the top of the
building. In the small adjacent shop, ceramics and pottery made by the
nuns are on sale, as well as convent- and monastery-produced olive oil.

Return to Rte 38 and turn left. Proceed to HaElla Junction. Turn left onto Rte 375. Follow the road to the gates of Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed Hey and enter. Follow signs to the winery.

Israel Rte 38 map

[4] Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed Hey

Route 375

Ella Winery[4A] Ella Valley Winery

Ella Valley Winery is located on Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed Hey,
the Ella Valley Winery is situated in a small park complete with
outdoor tables and chairs, and cages of parakeets and birds. Wine
production is over 300,000 bottles with a wide selection of types of
wine: Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Semillon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot. We tasted
wines from the Ever Red series. Besides wines, Ella Valley also
produces an exquisite olive oil. Kosher.

  • T: 02.999.4885

[4B] Neta Frishman Jewelry Studio

Neta's unique jewelry is created by knitting with beads to create rich, colorful necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings.
CoolNeta offers workshops to small groups.

Beaded JewelryNeta's Necklace

  • Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed Hey
  • Open hours: Friday 10 – 14:00.
  • Other times by appointment only.
    T: 02.990.0240; 054.548.3141

Directions to Givat Yeshayahu:
From Netiv HaLamed Hey, return to Rte 38 and turn left. Continue to the
first left turn off to Rte 3544. Turn left onto 3544 and continue to
the moshav.

[5] Moshav Givat Yeshayahu

Jewelry Designs by Meirav Ben OrHandcrafted 14K Jewelry

Original
Gold and Silver Designer Jewelry. Visit the studio of Meirav Ben Or for
unique designer jewelry. One of her special techniques is jewelry
fashioned from precious metal cut-out, for a lacey look. Custom designs
available.

Miriam Ben Dor

  • Givat Yeshayahu on Rte 3544, off Rte 38.
  • By appointment only.
  • T: 02.991.1228; 054.202.9973

[5A] Hans Sternbach Wine Estate

Amidst the rolling green hills of Givat Yeshayahu, Gadi Sternbach
settled down to cultivate a vineyard and produce quality wines. Planted
in 1996, and first harvested in 2000, the grapes are turned into three
generic wines: Janaba Reserve, Nahal Hakhlil, and Emek Ha'ella.

On Fridays and Saturdays, Gadi and his wife Shula welcome visitors to their al fresco home restaurant under a canopy of vines. Reservations required.

Tours and visits to the winery are available all week long.

  • T: 02.999.0162
  • M: 052.385.9926

Directions
to Moshav Zafririm from Givat Yeshayahu: Exit the moshav and
immediately turn left without returning to Rte 38. Drive up the hill to
the entrance to Zafririm and follow the signs to Kakadu Designs.

[6] Moshav Zafririm

Kakadu Designs

The studio and outlet shop of world-famous Kakadu Designs is located on Moshav Zafririm
off Route 38. Kakadu Designs, started in 1990 by a husband-wife team of
carpenter/artist, respectively, creates highly colorful, exquisitely
designed products on wood. See the artists at work and buy from their
outlet shop.

Kakadu Designs

  • Moshav Zafririm off Rte 38 on Rte 3544. Look for signs inside the moshav.
  • T: 02.999.8922
  • Open hours: Daily 9:30 – 16:30

Directions
to Moshav Sirigim Li-On from Moshav Zafririm: Return to the junction of
Rte 38 and cross the junction. The entrance to Sirigim Li-On will be
shortly on your right. Follow signs to Einat.

Rte 38 Israel map

[7] Moshav Sirigim Li-On

Designer Leather Shoes by Einat

Designed
by Einat, crafted by Geppeto and the elves, these elegant handmade
shoes are unique and beautifully fashioned. Born in Jerusalem, Einat
studied shoe design and crafting in Switzerland and in Milan, Italy.The
shoes are 100% leather with high quality latex soles. Shoes are
designed and constructed for quality and comfort, and made to last.
Available for men and women, sizes start at European size 35, or
American size 6. Prices range from 350 NIS to 500 NIS.

Einat Shoes Einat ShoesBoots by Einat

  • Moshav Sirigim Li-On off Route 38, on Route 353.
  • By appointment only.
  • T: 02-999.0357

To:
Bet Guvrin National Park: Turn back onto Rte 38 (either left from Givat
Yeshayahu and Zafririm, or left from Sirigim Li-On) and continue past
Nechusha Junction until the "T" which is Beit Guvrin Junction. Go right
at the "T". The entrance to the park will be on the left (the entrance
to Kibbutz Bet Guvrin is on the right – not what you are looking for).

[8] Beit Guvrin National Park

Rte 35

Beit Guvrin National Park is spread over 1250 acres. Explore underground caves from the time of Bar Kochba. See columbaria, hidden rooms, and the giant Bell Cave.

  • Fee.
  • T: 08.681.1020

Directions
to Moshav Shekef: Turn left when leaving the park. Drive for 10 minutes
to the turn off to Lachish. Turn left at Lachish turnoff, to a winding,
rural road. Pass the right turn to Moshav Lachish and continue to the
Amatzia/Shekef crossroads (about 6 minutes). Turn left at the
crossroads (before Amatzia) to reach Moshav Shekef. Take the road slowly – it is narrow with sharp turns.

Note:
When you pass Moshav Lachish, the scenery is stunning. Look out for
wildflowers, vineyards, wheeling hawks and eagles, grazing cattle.

CoolTip: If you turn right instead of left at Amatzia Junction, you will drive into more parks. Great picnic area. Drive up to the JNF tower and see archeological ruins to explore. Be sure to stick to paved roads unless you are driving a 4×4. If you go through a cattle gate, leave it as you found it – either open or closed. These gates direct the cattle to water and keep them off the roads.

[9] Moshav Shekef

Rte 3415

CoolMoshav
Shekef is fenced with a locked gate. The only way to enter is by
phoning the artist (you can use the phone that is in the booth at the
front gate) you wish to visit and the gate will be opened. Be sure to
have the telephone number with you.

[9A] Studio of Tamar and Cecilia

Two artists, one studio.

  • Cecilia crafts designer glasswork including stained glass, mosaics and fused glass art.
  • Tamar designs jewelry fashioned from precious metals and gems.
  • Stained Glass by CeciliaStained Glass by Cecilia


If coaxed, both women will gladly share techniques and explain their respective arts.

  • Moshav Shekef
  • By appointment only.
  • Stained Glass by Cecilia: 054.810.0596. Available daily, including Saturday.
  • Jewelry by Tamar: 054.420.1354. Available daily, except Saturday.

[9B] Razia's Pottery and Sculpture Studio

Bold colors on sculpted flowers and other themes.

  • Moshav Shekef
  • By appointment.
  • T: 054-537-3153

[9C] Fragments Gallery and Cafe

Photography exhibit and sale.

  • Moshav Shekef
  • Call ahead to be sure it is open.
  • T: 054.242.4408; 054.242.4409

[9D] CLAY Studio

  • Moshav Shekef
  • By appointment only.
  • T: 054.315.5571


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