Things to know
The main languages spoken in Jerusalem are Hebrew in West Jerusalem and Arabic in East Jerusalem. Most people throughout the city speak sufficient English for communication. In particular, English is widely spoken in areas most visited by tourists, especially the Old City. Typically, even if you do not find an English speaker on first attempt, one will be nearby. Inhabitants of Jerusalem of (almost) any background are always ready to help out tourists with the language as with other needs.
Additionally, some Charedi (ultra Orthodox) Jews speak Yiddish, and there is a significant number of French-speaking Jews. Smaller groups of Jews speak Dutch and Spanish. There is a large number of Russian immigrants of Jewish background, so it is not uncommon to see signs in Russian or hear Russian language radio.
Note: Remember that Hebrew and Arabic are written from right to left.
Currently, Jerusalem's population of around 800,000 is about 62% Jewish, 35% Muslim, 2% Christian, and 1% other. Neighborhoods tend to be overwhelmingly Jewish or Muslim; there are few really mixed neighborhoods, though many neighborhoods have a small minority of people from other religions. However, it is common for people of all religions to meet in the workplace. The Jewish population is a mix of cultures, with many immigrants from the former USSR, North Africa, Iraq, Eastern Europe, the US, and other places. Compared especially to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem is noted for its large number of religious Jews, ranging from Conservative Jews to the Haredi ('ultra-Orthodox').
Jerusalem offers a wide range of educational programmes, which include:
- The Rothberg International School – part of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
- Yad Vashem runs a number of educational courses treating the subject of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
- Al Quds University offers many different programs to foreign students, as well as special summer courses to improve your Arabic skills.
- All Nations Cafe organizes summer caravans where internationals can learn about the social, political and cultural aspects of life in and around Jerusalem.
- AISH Hatorah Offers walk-in interactive discussions and lectures that cover topics such as: Being Jewish in today's world, defining the major tenents in Jewish thought from a rational perspective, and exploring major themes and practices in Jewish spirituality.
- Yeshiva Machon Meir Address: 2 Hameiri Ave., Kiryat Moshe: Shiurim in weekly Torah portion (parasha), religious rules (halacha), Jewish ethics (mussar). Jewish outreach. Instruction languages are Hebrew, English and Russian.
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