1) Notice the small and unimpressive open storefront with a few tables on the sidewalk. There is a crowd gathered in front. This is the place you want.
2) Make eye contact with the Counter Guy. If he nods back at you, sababba -- you're in.
3) Wait patiently for your turn. Other people may try to skip ahead of you in line, so don't be a passive American and let them get away with that. On the other hand, you can trust the Counter Guy. He nodded at you, nachon ?
4) When it's your turn, use as much Hebrew as you can without losing track of what you're actually saying. Counter Guy will answer in English, but it's always nice to make an effort.
5) Give Counter Guy your order and he will gesture for you to step away from the line and wait on the sidewalk. Trust.
6) Select your beverages and have your wallet ready to pay when your order comes out. Counter Guy doesn't actually expect you to pay until you're done… Even though you're sitting on the sidewalk out of view of counter guy. They just don't dine and dash in Israel, I guess.
7) It is now time to go find a place to eat your falafel. If it appears that there are no places to sit, look at the other falafel eaters forlornly, with a hint of anxiety, and they will make room. It's like magic.
8) Enjoy your falafel.
9) When another falafel eater approaches the seating area, be ready to make room. And this may include temporarily holding his falafel while he uses both hands to adjust his chair. He will just hand it to you as if you were his sibling. This is Israel.
10) Finish your falafel with deep satisfaction, knowing that while this is lunch, you may hardly need to eat anything else today, even though chair guy goes up to order another.
11) Pay up, feeling very satisfied that you are a smart and savvy traveler who has just had a great meal, and a cultural experience for only $6 USD.
Image: Montreal Botanical Garden
Is a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem. He recently left his day job as a therapist, counselor, and consultant to follow his surprising dream of becoming a rabbi, and will be writing about his experiences during his year in Israel.