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Work from the Road: Tmol Shilshom Hub

In the “Digital Age” we live in today, there’s a decent chance that even if you’re in Jerusalem for pleasure, you might need some warm and friendly confines to set up your laptop and get some work done. With the opening of “The Hub” at the legendary Tmol Shilshom, you finally have an official address to go to.

While it’s a recommendation in every Jerusalem guidebook, Tmol Shilshom, a bookstore concept cafe, has always been first and foremost a neighborhood joint with dedicated regulars since it opened in 1994. Many of its regulars happened to be remote workers and getting to know their plight motivated co-owners David Ehrlich and Dan Goldberg to start the Hub.

Photo: Jonathan Daitch

Photo: Jonathan Daitch

“For people with these circumstances, [it’s] a challenge how to organize a work day. ‘How will I be productive if I don’t have an office?’ [they ask themselves],” Ehrlich explains. “The Hub gives people an answer to the problems,” he continues.

The Hub is designed so that everybody benefits. Remote workers can get a Hub Card for just 30 NIS ($8) per year, which gives them access to the café’s comfortable, spacious restaurant areas from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. It also entitles them to a 15% discount on food and drinks from the regular menu and access to a special menu for remote workers.

“You get working space and a Hub Card for NIS30 for a year.” You come to one of Tmol Shilshom’s comfortable, spacious restaurant areas between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and work. With your card, you get a 15% discount on food and drink from the regular menu, or you can use the Hub menu which allows you to get a meal to eat during the day at special prices.

A peek at the English-Hebrew Hub menu shows the breakfast for NIS30; three choices of Shakshuka at NIS36 each; two choices of half a sandwich with vegetables for NIS25 each; choice of two salads for NIS25 each; and four choices of specials for NIS15, 20 and 30.

Photo: Jonathan Daitch

Photo: Jonathan Daitch

The Hub is based in one of the two restaurant rooms and has wood tables and chairs to seat 48. The stone walls of this 150-year-old building and tile floors are charming and historical, and book shelves with books around the room add to the homey atmosphere.

After only a couple of months, the Hub has gotten so popular that Tmol Shilshom has had to cap the membership at 50, but Ehrlich and Goldberg are reassessing the process to try to accommodate more people and have turning the idea into a full-fledged program. They’ve recently started hosting lectures for Hub members, such as the enlightening “How working space developed over the past 500 years.”

Even if you’re not a member, though, Tmol Shilshom is still an ideal place to set up your laptop and get some work done, as the space is always open for customers.

“The basic credo is, this is a café, open to the public; we love people with lap tops to come here,” says Ehrlich. “We have an interest that tables will be filled and building up good will around the Hub is a positive thing. People love the menu and it’s a good place for networking.”

The regular Hebrew-English menu is made like a book with the “Foreword” offering 9 appetizers and soup; 3 sandwiches; 3 varieties of shakshuka and 4 salads. The “Plot” has 6 entrees. “The Plot thickens” has 4 more entrees. “The Conclusion” has cold and hot beverages and hot concoctions. The “Eplilogue” has 12 desserts. There is a separate Hebrew/English alcohol menu.

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About the author

Sybil Kaplan is a seasoned foreign correspondent, journalist, food writer, book reviewer, and cookbook author. She comes from Overland Park, Kansas. She leads the weekly Shuk Walk in Machaneh Yehudah in English. Her husband, Barry, is her photographer. You can contact her by email at syb1023@aol.com.