Tour Is­rael

The Jerusalem Post - The Jerusalem Post Magazine - - CONTENTS - • Text and pho­tos: MEITAL SHARABI CON­TAIN­ERS HOUSE Trans­lated by Han­nah Hochner.

Not that we ever need a rea­son to take a trip to the Mateh Ye­huda re­gion, but the food fes­ti­val is a great in­cen­tive. This an­nual food fes­ti­val, which has be­come some­what of a re­gional tra­di­tion af­ter 19 years, will take place there the first four week­ends of March (end­ing March 23). It will fea­ture am­a­teur women cooks who are of­fer­ing vis­i­tors tastes from dishes cooked in their home kitchens. Lots of oil has been poured into pots over the years as more and more women join the pro­gram. Par­tic­i­pat­ing in the fes­ti­val is a great way to be­come ac­quainted with dif­fer­ent dishes from around the world, in­clud­ing Moroc­can, Kur­dish, Cochin and Arab cuisines.

In ad­di­tion to be­ing a great way to en­joy a va­ri­ety of au­then­tic cuisines, the food fes­ti­val is also a unique op­por­tu­nity to be in­vited into peo­ple’s homes and hear their sto­ries about how they chose to join that com­mu­nity. Of course, this is also the per­fect time of year to squeeze in a na­ture hike and en­joy the abun­dance of sea­sonal flow­ers, such as anemones, daf­fodils and lupines, and streams that are flow­ing heav­ily with re­cent rain­wa­ter.

We be­gan our tour of the Mateh Ye­huda Re­gion at the Con­tain­ers House in Moshav Luzit. This unique house, which over­looks the Jerusalem Hills, was built by own­ers Si­gal and Ilya out of ship­ping con­tain­ers. On Fri­day, March 15, the cou­ple will be open­ing their home to vis­i­tors for a spe­cial Kab­balat Shab­bat evening of live mu­sic.

You can see that the house where Ilya and Si­gal live with their three chil­dren was lit­er­ally built from con­tain­ers. Si­gal is a tour guide who has led groups on ad­ven­tures all over the world and has even writ­ten a book about them. Ilya, whom she met 12 years ago, was born in the US and also has a very in­ter­est­ing life story that has taken him across con­ti­nents, which he loves to tell vis­i­tors at Fri­day gath­er­ings. In honor of the food fes­ti­val, Ilya has joined forces with Niri Dam­ski (Ilya plays a num­ber of dif­fer­ent in­stru­ments and Niri sings Shab­bat melodies and Eretz Yis­rael songs). Light re­fresh­ments, tea, cof­fee, cook­ies and dates will also be served in the fam­ily’s gar­den.

Time: First ses­sion at 11 a.m.; sec­ond ses­sion at 1:30 p.m. Price: NIS 50.

Lo­ca­tion: 650 Ha’es­hel Street, Luzit (ex­ten­sion)

Pre-reg­is­tra­tion re­quired: 052-889-5906.


The next stop is Srigim Brew­ery, which has an invit­ing vis­i­tor cen­ter and eclec­tic beer gar­den, where peo­ple from all over the coun­try and wide range of ages gather to en­joy re­fresh­ing beer. Srigim, founded by Ofer Ro­nen and Ohad Eilon – both for­mer hi-techies – is one of Is­rael’s most suc­cess­ful bou­tique brew­eries. Both Ro­nen and Eilon had been brew­ing beer separately at home and only de­cided to join forces to open up the Srigim Brew­ery in 2011. Each of them fo­cuses on dif­fer­ent types of beer, but both of them have cre­ated award-win­ning beers. The first line of beer, called Emek Ha’ela, in­cludes clas­sic Euro­pean-style beers, whereas the sec­ond line, called Ro­nen, is more sim­i­lar to Amer­i­can-style bou­tique beers.

Although both of their lines were in­spired by for­eign beers, they built their brew­ery on a beau­ti­ful hill in the nat­u­ral sur­round­ings of Mateh Ye­huda, next to Tel Azeka, where re­mains of beer that are 2,700 years old have been un­cov­ered. Vis­i­tors to the brew­ery can en­joy a cold brew and tasty food at large, heavy ta­bles (so that you can get to know other peo­ple shar­ing your ta­ble) sit­u­ated in their lovely beer gar­den on Fri­day or Satur­days.

De­tails: 073-272-5313


If you’d like to stretch your legs and get a lit­tle walk in be­fore you con­tinue on to your next scrump­tious meal, I rec­om­mend scoot­ing over to the B’nai Brit Cave in the Mar­tyrs’ For­est. This Na­tional Park has six mil­lion trees in mem­ory of the Jews who died in the Holo­caust, and the floor of the for­est is cur­rently car­peted with color­ful spring flow­ers.

There’s a lovely 500-me­ter cir­cu­lar trail in the for­est that’s per­fect for a quick na­ture out­ing. The trail starts and ends in the park­ing area near the B’nai Brit Cave, which is a karstic cave lo­cated near Na­hal Kisa­lon, a sea­sonal stream that for the mean­time is still flow­ing from the win­ter rains. The nat­u­ral cave was ex­panded and paved with stones by KKL-JNF in or­der to cre­ate a com­mu­nal gath­er­ing place to com­mem­o­rate Jews who per­ished in the Holo­caust. As you walk along­side the stream, you’ll see signs with names in­scribed on them of Jewish com­mu­ni­ties that were de­stroyed in the Holo­caust, as well as the Anne Frank Me­mo­rial, which was de­signed to recre­ate the room she hid in, and the chest­nut tree she would look out upon lov­ingly.

Di­rec­tions: From High­way 1, exit onto Route 38 at Sha’ar Ha­gai In­ter­sec­tion. Drive un­til you reach Esh­taol In­ter­sec­tion and then con­tinue onto Road 395. When you see the sign for Flam Win­ery, turn left and drive un­til you reach the cave park­ing area.


Beth and Dan, a cou­ple who moved to Moshav Kisa­lon from the Sharon area, de­cided to open their house (and their hearts) to trav­el­ers. Beth, an ar­chi­tect and jew­elry de­signer, and Dan, who worked as a man­ager, serve hot soups and freshly baked bread in their home, which over­looks the pas­toral moshav. On clear days, you can see all the way to Ash­dod. The two of them love to tell sto­ries about their lives and ex­pe­ri­ences – es­pe­cially at their quaint Fri­day night din­ners.

Dur­ing the fes­ti­val, Beth and Dan will be of­fer­ing soups, breads, wine or beer, and guests can also browse through the as­sort­ment of jew­elry hand­made by Beth. If you want to spend more time in the area, you can stay in the cou­ple’s lovely zim­mer for NIS 380 a night, in­clud­ing break­fast.

Date: Satur­days dur­ing the fes­ti­val.

Price: NIS 50 per per­son.

Lo­ca­tion: Moshav Kisa­lon, house #55. De­tails: 054-466-6799.


The last visit of the day is an ex­pe­ri­ence that com­bines na­ture and food.

Ex­ec­u­tive chef Na­dav Malin, of Luiza Cater­ing, and di­rec­tor of Slow Food Jerusalem, to­gether with Avivit Juti Berkowitz, founder of the Pro­fes­sional Gath­er­ing Cen­ter and au­thor of the book The Taste of Na­ture, will be con­duct­ing a unique gath­er­ing work­shop, at the end of which they will en­joy a meal to­gether.

Malin first came across Slow Food while work­ing as a caterer and he be­came so in­ter­ested in the con­cept that he com­pleted a bach­e­lor’s de­gree at the Slow Food Uni­ver­sity of Gas­tro­nomic Sciences in Italy. He later be­came ac­quainted with Berkowitz, who af­ter years of work­ing in hi-tech be­gan re­search­ing plants that grow in Is­rael.

Dur­ing the fes­ti­val, both of these amaz­ing peo­ple can be found at Kaima Or­ganic Farm, a farm that em­ploys teenagers who do not at­tend reg­u­lar public schools. At the Kaima Farm, res­i­dents grow a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent veg­eta­bles but also let wild­flow­ers and plants grow there, too. Vis­i­tors can join Berkowitz for a tour around the farm, dur­ing which they’ll learn about herbs and their prop­er­ties, or Malin for a cooking work­shop. Af­ter­ward, ev­ery­one is wel­come to join a slow food work­shop, af­ter which they will be in­vited to par­take in a scrump­tious and healthy meal. Date: Satur­day, March 16, start­ing at 9:30.

Price: NIS 300 per per­son (in­cludes tour, cooking work­shop and 10-course meal + un­lim­ited wine). Lo­ca­tion: Kaima Or­ganic Farm, Beit Zait.

Reg­is­tra­tion: 052-865-7370.

KAIMA OR­GANIC Farm in Beit Zait, em­ploy­ing teenagers who don’t at­tend stan­dard public schools.

EN­JOY FRESHLY baked bread with Beth and Dan in Moshav Kisa­lon. LEFT: TAKE part in a cooking work­shop at the farm.

ILYA STRUMMING in his Moshav Luzit home – lit­er­ally built from con­tain­ers.

A FLOWER IN Mar­tyrs’ For­est.

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