Jerusalem travel guide is a love letter to the city
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A tourist at home

Jerusalem travel guide is a love letter to the city

Australia native Barbara Shaw offers her own take on where to go and what to do in the town she now calls home

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Jerusalemite Barbara Shaw designs gifts sold in her German Colony store, and recently published a guide book introducing her favorite places in the city (Courtesy Barbara Shaw Gifts)
Jerusalemite Barbara Shaw designs gifts sold in her German Colony store, and recently published a guide book introducing her favorite places in the city (Courtesy Barbara Shaw Gifts)

Lest you forget Jerusalem, there’s a new guidebook with a baked-in travel diary that should help first-timers and frequent visitors alike.

Barbara Shaw’s “My Jerusalem Book” is a 125-page softcover guide that offers travel pointers, and also functions as a travel diary and notebook for jotting down those brilliant insights that pop up only on the road.

It’s not a definitive account of Jerusalem history, archaeology or restaurants; rather, it is a particular Jerusalemite’s take on which museums to visit, what to buy at the Mahane Yehuda market, and how to handle the religious strictures of Shabbat.

“This is my take,” said Shaw, a native of Australia who moved to Jerusalem 31 years ago, raised three sons in the city with her fellow Aussie husband, David, and created a line of local products sold in her brick-and-mortar German Colony store and online.

“I feel Jerusalem in my bones, and these are the places that I love, where I eat, where I go,” she said. “It’s not heavy or political; it appeals to all religions and people.”

The cover of ‘My Jerusalem Book’ by Barbara Shaw (Courtesy Barbara Shaw Gifts)

The notebook-sized volume includes black-and-white illustrations by Shlomi Gorodetsky and handwritten text in spots, augmenting the impression that these are Shaw’s personal jottings, sharing her favorite stops in the city she adopted as her own.

As an ode to all things Jerusalem and Israel, there is even an illustration of Shaw by renowned artist Menashe Kadishman, who sketched her back in 1973, when they met during a history course.

Shaw already had a background in fine arts and business when she moved to Israel, and found her niche seeking out local gifts to send back home. She ended up creating a bold, graphically designed line of items that include kitchen textiles and tools, ceramics, stationary, baby gifts and t-shirts, all available at her store, online and at Jewish museums worldwide.

Shaw also designed products based on the illustrations.

The book, however, was something she’d thought about for a while, after seeing similar guides for London and Paris. Shaw calls it a love letter to her city.

Barbara Shaw, an Aussie who has lived in Jerusalem for 31 years, and created a line of gift products based on her beloved adopted city (Courtesy Barbara Shaw Gifts)

“These are the places that ought to be seen, and mostly places I love,” she said. “It’s the melting pot of the city, presenting that mix, but not in a very heavy way.”

The book is being translated into Mandarin, as Shaw has found that there isn’t much in the way of local travel materials for Chinese speakers. The language is special to Shaw, who met her husband at an intensive Chinese course in Australia.

“My Jerusalem Book,” is available ($24.90 or NIS 89) at Barbara Shaw Gifts, on Amazon, and soon at select bookstores.

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