2015 Year in Review

BDHiMAs the year 2015 ends it is instructive to review what was accomplished this year. Not an easy year as we accompanied Bonna through chemotherapy, surgery, more chemo, good times, hard times, which ended when Bonna passed away in June. The light in my life, Bonna’s light is missed by many, so I have taken up photography with more passion, to capture and share the light that is so fleeting in this world.

This marks 8 years that I have been guiding and blogging. I only added 11 blog posts this year bringing the total to 309 which includes over 1200 photographs. I posted more to my Facebook page, Israel Tours.

There were 78,735 page views by 42,885 visitors this year, close to the number last year (I feel that the number of people who are interested in my blog about tours and sites in Israel has reached a limit, about 100 people viewing about 200 pages a day). Slowly I am inching my way up to a half a million page views. The total number of people who interact with my website/blog is increasing, there are currently 325 people who have subscribed to my blog directly and another 430 people on Facebook who are notified when I post a new article. I tweet when there’s something I want to share that doesn’t warrant a full post; the most recent tweets appear on the homepage.

I guided a writer for the New York Times travel section on a 3 day Herod the Great tour of archaeological sites connected to the great builder, you can read the article at NYTimes website. I again guided a group of University of Chicago students studying for a semester in Jerusalem, this time to the mystical city of Tzfat, Meron and Tiberias. The Bridges for Peace organization contacted me and used my photos in their annual pictorial calendar, this year about the Israel Trail. In July I walked Yam l’yam, a 3 day hike from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee, twice in consecutive weeks. In the last while I have been focusing on my photography and now offer a number of Photography Tours, here’s one example.

I’ve chosen 8 photographs from those I posted this year on my website. You can view them full size by clicking on them. This is your opportunity to vote for Photo of the year!

Here are the links to this year’s posts in case you missed some:

  1. Dagon fortress and Monastery at Qarantal - Today we drove off road in the Judean desert to high above Jericho to get within reach of a mountain fortress called Dagon (by Josephus), then we still had to climb up and down over 3 mountains and take the “snake path” that zigzagged to the top. On the way up you can look down […]
  2. Posts on Facebook - For anyone seeing this post I would encourage you to also check my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/IsraelToursbyShmuel/ where I share information and photos about tours and sites that I’ve visited with clients. Here’s the itinerary I put together for the client, a combination of exploring nature and archaeological sites with the opportunity for taking photographs, […]
  3. Hisham Mosaic Floor Revealed - This post is to announce the completion in 2022 of the restoration work and building of a walkway and roof over the ruins of the hammam at Hisham’s palace in Jericho at an estimated cost of $11.4 million with financial support from Japan. Covered since 1930, the mosaic floor of the hammam or bathhouse is now displayed […]
  4. Touring Israel in 16 days - Client emailed me with a list of some of the sites on their bucket list and I built the itinerary from there. √ Jerusalem (enough days to get a good feel for the city including major Jewish and Christian sites as well as Herodium √ Hula Valley and Eilat area for bird migrations  √ Negev Desert for […]
  5. Off the Beaten Track - Not every guide can take you “off the beaten track” and show you things that you couldn’t have any idea that you could find in Israel. But I can. Between Covid-19 lockdowns in Israel (and we had 3) I took the opportunity to travel the country, finding new sites, refreshing familiar sites and exploring off […]
  6. Coastline series - Just when we think maybe we’re beating Covid-19 and life and tourism may return to a new normal we get hit with an oil disaster along the whole length of Israel’s Mediterranean coastline. https://www.timesofisrael.com/tarred-and-shuttered…/ Here is a reminder of how things should be. Please share this post with your friends on social media. This is […]
  7. Snow Photos of the Day - The last time it snowed in Jerusalem was February 2015 and I wrote about it here. Headed out early this morning to take photographs of the snow that had fallen overnight. Idea was to check whether Herodion was covered with snow but it quickly became apparent that there hadn’t been enough snow. Across from Herodion […]
  8. Favorite Photographs of 2020 - If you’re reading this then you made it through 2020, a year that probably didn’t turn out quite the way you thought it would. With the Covid-19 pandemic I didn’t travel out of Israel so photographs in 2020 were all taken here and quite a variety, showing that Israel is truly a great place to […]
  9. Photographs For Sale - Since the lifting of Covid-19 lockdown I’ve been doing a lot of traveling around Israel, discovering new places and have taken a lot of amazing photographs. I’ve now printed more than 20 of these photos in LARGE size (70x46cm) and am offering them for sale as limited edition prints. Please contact me if you are […]
  10. Re-discovering Sussita - Today for my birthday we drove up to the Sea of Galilee, along the eastern shore until Ein Gev (highway <92>) and then turned off beside a field of banana plants on a road that winds its way onto the Golan. After a number of hairpin turns we reached a parking area and walked to […]
  11. Samaria-Sebaste - Today we drove north (from Jerusalem) along highway 60, up the spine of the Shomron to the remains of the ancient city of Samaria-Sebaste. Samaria was the site purchased by Omri for two talents of silver from Shemer and made the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Kings I 16:24-28). Omri’s son Ahab married […]

1 thought on “2015 Year in Review

  1. gary@garyfriedmann.com

    Great photos and blog summary Shmuel! I like your search for the light through photographs. As the light returns from the dark days of the winter solstice, we are wishing you a bright and joyful trip around the sun. Love, Gary & Glenon


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