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Tour Guide Confidential
108 minutes | Dec 29, 2021
Tamar Linchevsky - Guiding the Hero's Journey
In this episode I met with Tamar Linchevsky, a consummate storyteller who has been guiding for some thirty years. Unique in her approach to guiding, she takes her guests on inner and outer journeys of discovery based on the ideas of Joseph Campbell's archetypal "Hero's Journey". In our conversation, we discuss the current challenges and Tamar shares some of her own inspirational journey as well as the role that archetypal stories play in our lives. In addition, I provide the latest update on the tourism sector in the episode's introduction. Specifically, I discuss the government mismanagement of the sector and the current challenges surrounding the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Tamar can be reached at email@example.com or through her webpage at https://www.tamlin.co.il/en/.
100 minutes | Nov 11, 2021
Dr Eyal Dujovny - The Guide as Cultural Broker
In this episode, Tour Guide Confidential Host Dr. Eyal Dujovny has a conversation with Amir Katz and talks about his background and upbringing, how he got into guiding and what kind of a guide he is. Dr. Dujovny explains the impetus for this podcast, the way in which it was a Corona-times project and the importance of building a digital library that is an oral history of these trying times and episodes that serve as a calling card for guides. Moreover, he talks about his favorite places to guide, favorite groups to lead and recalls some of his more interesting guests. He discusses his decision to live in Israel and what is unique about guiding there – whether it is the wide variety of people, cultures and religions or the fact that it is such a misunderstood place. Lastly, he discusses his academic background and how he sees his role as a tour guide less as someone who can share facts and more as a cultural broker that brings people together. You can contact Dr. Dujovny through the Tour Guide Confidential website, by mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by Facebook at “Israel with Eyal”.
102 minutes | Jul 8, 2021
Elinoar Nitzani - Agricultural Tourism
I sat down with Elinoar Nitzani to discuss the fascinating trajectory that eventually led her to a career as a tour guide. A polyglot who guides in four languages, Elinoar shares her interesting perspective as someone who has, from an early age, lived in various places around the world. Passionate about the natural world, Elinoar relates how she pursued a degree in agriculture and how this eventually led her to the budding new field of agricultural tourism. As a leader in agricultural technologies, Israel has become a Mecca for those interested in the latest innovations in food production. Elinoar, with her deep knowledge of this subject, is uniquely placed and at the forefront of this new niche in tourism. Lastly, we spoke about the role of guides as ambassadors for their countries, the challenges and advantages of guiding as a woman, and the ongoing corona crisis. Elinoar is available at email@example.com.
99 minutes | Mar 16, 2021
Ori Unterman - Guiding Jerusalem From Local to Virtual
In this episode, I sat down with Ori Unterman, to discuss her rootedness as a 7th generation Jerusalemite and her passion for guiding in this truly unique, complex, and holy city. Few guides know the city as well as she does, and we discussed what is special about guiding in Jerusalem as well as how the city – which is usually heavily touristed – has weathered the ongoing corona crisis. In addition, we raised the issue of gender and how it can affect the choices that guides make when it comes to the types of tours that they guide. Lastly, we discussed Ori’s recent exciting project of live tours in the Mahane Yehuda Market as well as had an in-depth talk about the advantages and limitations of Virtual Tourism. You can contact Ori by firstname.lastname@example.org.
80 minutes | Feb 2, 2021
Rinat Blum - Think Global, Guide Local
My friend and colleague Rinat Bloom sat down with me for a wide-ranging talk in which we discussed her eclectic background, various experiences as a tour guide, her insatiable curiosity and thirst for knowledge, as well as our unbridled love for our adopted hometown of Haifa. In the episode, Rinat shares how she found her true passion as a tour guide after surviving breast cancer and how the current coronavirus crisis has upended the tourism sector. We talk about her experience of guiding at the Atlit detention camp and the importance of branching out from the typical packaged tours to visit lesser-known tourist attractions. We discuss shifts in tourism in our lives and agree that our guests are less interested in ticking off a checklist of “must-see” attractions in favor of opportunities to meet and form real connections with local people. She shares with us the challenges of guiding youth in the Israeli school system and her attempts to impart a deeper connection to the Land of Israel. She highlights her focus on Haifa and the surrounding areas and her hopes that tourists will return after the current crisis to discover all that this hidden gem of a city has to offer. Lastly, Rinat reflects on the challenges of the past year and relates the struggles of balancing a work-life balance in an industry that can often take us away from our families for weeks at a time. To contact Rinat, please check out her Facebook and Instagram pages under Rinat Blum or on Facebook at Israeli Moments.
109 minutes | Jan 1, 2021
Daniel Rubenstein - Guiding the Arab-Israeli Conflict
I sat down with Daniel Rubenstein to discuss the interesting path that led him from the United States to Israel and from a career in Israel advocacy to his current role as a licensed Israeli tour guide. Daniel holds a degree in Middle Eastern studies, worked for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington, and immigrated to Israel in 2011. Daniel served in the Spokesperson's Unit of the Israel Defense Forces, where he pioneered the unit's use of social media during the 2012 and 2014 military campaigns against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. His contribution was showcased in the book War in 140 Characters. Eschewing a reactive policy that attempts to respond to every accusation directed at Israel, Daniel discussed his "bottom up" and "show, don't tell" guiding philosophy. His approach is based on the seemingly simple principle that guides should focus less on the things that they know and more on what their guests don't know. Lastly, we discussed the many contributions of the Birthright program and the reasons why he, like previous guests, have opted to take a step back from guiding Birthright groups. Daniel can be reached via his website dprpr.com, on Twitter at paulrubens, and on Instagram at rubyguidesisrael.
90 minutes | Dec 8, 2020
Ihab Zeidan - Guiding from a Druze Perspective
I sat down with Ihab Zeidan and we explored the question of where culture, religion, ethnicity, and language intersect and what role this plays in Ihab’s guiding as a member of the Druze community. Ihab lives in the town of Usfiya located on Mount Carmel on the outskirts of Haifa and it is one of 17 or so Druze-majority villages in Israel. For those who are not familiar with the Druze religion or its beliefs, Ihab is a fantastic guide with a deep knowledge of his culture and traditions, as I am sure will be obvious to anyone who listens to this episode. The Druze self-identify as Arabs, and in addition to Israel, large Druze communities exist in Lebanon, Syria and less so in Jordan. Druze have long suffered discrimination and persecution but they pride themselves on being loyal and patriotic citizens of the countries in which they reside. Together we explore these cross currents in an episode that provides another important perspective to understanding this region and the challenges that guides face when guiding the Arab Israeli conflict. You can contact him at: email@example.com
113 minutes | Nov 9, 2020
Kamal Mukarker - A Palestinian Perspective on Guiding in the Holy Land
I sat down with Kamal Mukarker, a Palestinian tour guide and educator who is preparing a new generation of Palestinian tour guides. We had an in-depth and far-ranging discussion about his family’s background, the upheavals that they have suffered due to the last 100 years of conflict, his mother’s upbringing in Germany, the state of the Christian community in the Holy Land and broader Middle East, tour guide training in the Palestinian Authority, normalization, the difficulties surrounding the “occupation”, the recent Abraham Accords, and the struggles that tour guides currently face due to the continued coronavirus crisis.Kamal is a leading tour guide for English and German tourists, as well as a fixer for anything one might need in the West Bank. Part of what he does is inviting tourist groups to his home in Bethlehem for a traditional meal, where he gives talks during mealtime on life in Bethlehem in general and the Christian culture of it in specific, thus giving tourists an insider’s perspective on the lives of Palestinian Christian. He opened a floor in his home building for smaller families to stay and enjoy the evening dinner and breakfast with or without his family. A great opportunity for families that want to explore the West Bank in 2 or 3 days. He also loves to take Jewish families around and link the historical Judea and the Torah stories with the current land today. Feel free to write him an e mail at Kamal_mukarker@hotmail.com or by WhatsApp: 00972597806477 or give him a call at 00972 546336477.
102 minutes | Oct 16, 2020
Dr. Yaron Ovadia - Guiding, Islam and Fieldwork among the Bedouin
In this episode, I spoke with Dr. Yaron Ovadia to discuss his experience as a tour guide specializing in Islam and Middle East Studies as well as his his fieldwork among the Bedouins of the Judean Desert. Dr. Ovadia recalled his experience as a nature guide, his academic interests and decision to pursue a PhD and his thoughts on the pros and cons of the tour guide training course. In addition, we spoke in depth about the anthropological nature of his fieldwork among the Bedouin. Lastly, we spoke about the possible pitfalls of bringing tourists to visit these communities, the recent Abraham Accords with Bahrain and the UAE, and his thoughts about how we will exit from the coronavirus crisis. Dr. Ovadia may be reached by Facebook https://www.facebook.com/yaron.ovadia.391 and will be releasing a book based on his research in the near future.
98 minutes | Oct 1, 2020
Naomi Ehrlich Kuperman - Guiding as a Lifelong Calling
Naomi Ehrlich Kuperman, my guest for this weeks episode, has been guiding for over 40 years and kindly reached out to me to share her passion for guiding. Naomi and I had a far-ranging conversation that touched on the tour guide training course and how it has not kept up with the times, relations between guides and drivers, her experience of guiding Germans and how this has changed over time, and how she survived and overcame previous crises such as the first and second Intifadas and the First Gulf War. In addition to guiding, Naomi is a Board member of Moreshet Derekh, the incoming tour guide association and shared some of the recent political successes surrounding unemployment benefits and retraining for guides. Last, but not least, she shares some sage advice to young tour guides that they would be wise to heed.
108 minutes | Sep 16, 2020
Rotem Shahar - Grounded Journey: From Soil Scientist to Tour Guide
I drove down to Mosh Pedaya, which is about 30 minutes outside of Tel Aviv to have tea with my friend and colleague Rotem Shahar and to discuss her fascinating journey from the soil science lab to being a licensed tour guide in Israel. In this episode, we discussed a broad range of subjects including the role of gender in guiding and career in general, her favorite types of tourism, why she has decided to take a step back from Birthright, and how she has carved out a niche as a virtual tour guide during the pandemic. You can find her at rotemguide.com and contact her there about presenting virtual tours or trips to Israel. NOTE: The interview with Rotem begins about 10 minutes into this episode.
91 minutes | Sep 3, 2020
Daniel Sigalov - Tourism as a Free Market Exercise
I sat down with Daniel Sigalov and we discussed his family's struggle to emigrate from the Soviet Union to Israel and how this has impacted his life and his firm belief in the promise of free markets as the most effective way to ensure prosperity and the common good. We debate the role of government interventions in the tourism industry, such as the requirement for tour guide licensing and the certification of tourist vehicles. Daniel shares some of his entrepreneurial initiatives such as the Haifa Free Tour that he founded, his You Tube channel, his plans for regular tours from Haifa, and Israel With Fun website (Israelwithfun.com). Last, but not least, we discuss his extensive hat collection and how he sees his role as a tour guide and storyteller.
85 minutes | Aug 19, 2020
Amir Katz - Wine Tourism and Niche Markets
In this interview with Amir Katz, we cover a broad range of topics starting from his upbringing in the States, his Israeli roots and how he found his way to Israel, the importance of building relationships with guests as well as the challenge of being emotionally present while on tour. In addition, we talked about guiding the Arab-Israeli conflict, educational tourism, and Christian pilgrimage tourism. Amir shared with us his latest tourist initiatives - from a wine tour app in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, to group wine tasting tours and a wellness tourism project with his wife and yoga instructor Devra Katz. To learn more about Amir and these projects, please check out his website My Israel Wine Tours (https://myisraelwinetours.com/)
87 minutes | Aug 7, 2020
Peter Gokhvat - Activism in a Time of Crisis
For this episode, I drove down to Jerusalem to interview licensed tour Guide Peter Gokhvat, who has been camped out and on hunger strike across from the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) and the Finance Ministry for over 40 days. Soft-spoken and humble, Peter discussed his upbringing, immigration to Israel from the former Soviet Union and laid out the demands that tour guides have regarding the current coronavirus crisis and the need for a clear, government-backed, exit strategy. He also brought us up to date on his recent meeting with the Minister of Tourism and other Members of Parliament (42 in all) who have visited the protest encampment and the steps that the government is taking to address the crisis.
88 minutes | Jul 28, 2020
David Gurevich - Innovation in a Time of Crisis
Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, Dr. David Gurevich has been ahead of the curve in seeing the potential of online events to provide a virtual space for guides. So, it seems only appropriate that we met over Zoom to unpack what he has learned from this experience, as well as to discuss his activism on behalf of tour guides struggling to obtain their unemployment benefits. In addition, we discussed the benefits and potential pitfalls of being a tour guide with an academic background and why it is that guides are so central to tourism. A graduate of Haifa University, Dr. Gurevich is an archaeologist who conducts research on Jerusalem, studies Second Temple Judaism and the history of the first archaeologists. He also studied Christianity and ritual murders! He has published numerous articles and spent a year at Harvard University as the recipient of the prestigious Fulbright fellowship. If you wish to contact him to learn more about the events that he hosts or to invite him to lecture, he can be reached at: www.israelincolor.com
102 minutes | Jul 21, 2020
Mordechai Abraham - Unity in a Time of Crisis
In this episode, I sit down with Mordechai Abraham to discuss current political efforts to unite all tour guides under a new umbrella federation or united front. Mordechai talks about his dedication to the State of Israel and how he and those of his generation do not take it for granted, but rather see it as a precious gift. He recounts his personal experiences surrounding the founding of the State, the War of Independence, his father's escape from Germany, the loss of loved ones in the Holocaust, as well as his time on Kibbutz and as a principal of a vocational school. From there, we analyze the current unprecedented difficulties that tour guides are facing due to the Covid crisis and the ongoing political struggle to receive government recognition and support. You can contact Mordechai at firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking on this link to his Facebook Page.
88 minutes | Jul 14, 2020
Haike Winter - Guiding and the Burdens of History
In this episode, I sit down with the indefatigable Haike Winter. Originally from Germany, Haike shares her fascinating story of how she has made her life in Israel and we discussed numerous topics such as life on the kibbutz, working as a guide with Christian pilgrim groups, relations between guides and drivers, the tourist economy of Israel, the Arab-Israeli conflict and our current uncertain future as guides in the face of the Covid crisis. Perhaps inevitably, our discussion also touched on what it is like to be a German living in Israel and guiding German tourists who are visiting Israel - especially with all the historical baggage that exists between Germans and Jews. We touched on sensitive topics such as visits to Israel's Holocaust museum Yad Vashem, Holocaust fatigue, and the disturbing phenomenon of Holocaust inversion.For more information on Haike and to contact her directly, you can check out her Facebook page - Haike Winter Tour Guide.
101 minutes | Jul 6, 2020
Myriam Nedjar Kadouche - Guiding Across Cultures
In this week’s featured episode, I share my conversation with the brilliant and charming Myriam Nedjar Kadouche. Myriam is a veritable polyglot who is licensed to guide in no fewer than four languages and brings years of experience in guiding groups from all over the world. She shares with us about her fascinating multicultural upbringing and how her immersion in other cultures has impacted her guiding. Specifically, we ponder to what extent this background, with all its crosscurrents and inherent liminality, plays a role when guiding groups from vastly different cultures. Together we tackle crucial topics such as guiding the Arab-Israeli conflict which then leads us to an important discussion of the role of tour guides. Is the goal of guiding to present facts, to provide an experience, or to raise questions and facilitate discussions? Lastly, our conversation inevitably comes around to the current Covid crisis and our hopes that in its aftermath there will be a renewed interest in smaller scale, people to people (P2P) type tourism, that highlights and engages local communities. Please check out Myriam’s webpage at eretzcanaan.com.
95 minutes | Jun 27, 2020
Moria Gabsi - Ethnographic Tourism
In this inaugural episode of Tour Guide Confidential, I sat down with Moria Gabsi of Foot for Thought (footforthoughts.com) to discuss the promise and pitfalls of ethnographic or cultural tourism. Contrary to the common view of Israel as a black and white battleground between Jew and Arab, the country is blessed with a rich cultural mosaic of numerous ethnic and religious groups that practice coexistence daily.We discuss how cultural changes that stem from the forces of modernity can result in the loss of tradition and ask how tourism can be a mechanism for change to empower local communities. We tackle the inherent dangers of imposing Western values on local communities and perpetuating the motifs of the “disappearing native” while presenting an ahistorical “ethnographic present.”Lastly, we talk about how the current coronavirus crisis has spurred us to pursue our interests in P2P (people to people) and “slow tourism” and we share our thoughts regarding the future of the tourism industry in the post-corona era.
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