Friday, September 25, 2015

In the JNF Kitchen: Stuffed zucchinis and vine leaves

This #RecipeOfTheWeek is from the Druze village of Julis, one of the charming locations where GallilEATS organizes culinary experiences and cooking workshops. It is brought to you by GallilEATs owner Paul Nirens, who has lived in the rural Galilee region for almost 30 years and is a former chef who trained at one of Israel's leading culinary schools.

Paul describes Galilee as Israel's Provence or Tuscany; the region offers a bounty of top-quality, locally grown produce, including olives, fruits, and vegetables that have been staples since biblical days. In the last few years, the area has become a paradise for foodies and wine enthusiasts, offering boutique gourmet products ranging from cheeses, meats, breads, and conserves to beers, wines, and liqueurs.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Olive harvests and Templar tunnels: Unusual ways to celebrate Sukkot

By Daniel Peri
Aleh Negev is welcoming guests to its sukkah. 

What better way to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot than to visit special sites in Israel? From agricultural expos to wheelchair-accessible hiking trails, the Jewish National Fund has lots of ideas for fun and unusual ways to celebrate during this festive time of year. 

For registration information or inquires on any of the events below, please call 02-563-5638.


Join the Sukkot celebration on Friday, September 25, at Aleh Negev - Nahalat Eran. Family, staff, donors, supporters, and residents of the rehabilitative community for the disabled will celebrate together in the Sukkah. We'll also have a Beit Hashoeva (water-drawing) celebration on September 29 -- a great party. Come be our "ushpizin" (guest)! Location: near Ofakim (1.5 hours from Jerusalem).

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Starting over: A tree from Gaza plants new roots in rabbi's yard

Photo: Anne Taillandier
This road sign, a tangible reminder of Rabbi Eli Adler's life in Gaza, holds a prominent place at his new home 
in Halutza. 

By Leslie Katz 

Affixed to the outside wall of Rabbi Eli Adler's house in Israel's Negev desert is a road sign. Gush Qatif, it says in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. An arrow points left. Following the arrow would lead to the Gaza Strip, located a few miles away and the place where Adler lived and taught for years before Israel evacuated the rabbi and his community from the territory in 2005. But really, it could be inferred, the sign points to Adler's heart, where he holds a deep and lasting connection to the Gush Katif bloc of Jewish settlements he and his family called home. 

Adler now lives in one of three communities -- B'nei Netzarim, Neve, and Shlomit -- that make up Halutza, a small cluster of towns founded by Gush Katif evacuees. Where there once was only vast desert, Adler and other modern-day pioneers have in a short 10 years created a thriving world of homes, schools, synagogues, solar fields, and farms that yield bountiful crops unexpected in any desert.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Shai and Eran: Autistic boy and IDF lieutenant colonel shared special bond

Photo: Alon Alshech
From left to right: Yossi Kahana, Lt. Col Shai Moskovitch, General Doron Almog, Rev. Michael J. Graham, Stanley Chesley, Nina Paul, Ed Paul.

By Doron Almog

Eleven years ago, Israeli Air Force Commander Eliezer Shkedi invited me to speak at an officers’ induction ceremony at Tel Nof Air Force Base. While we were all mingling, engaged in small talk around the pool, a young major suddenly approached me. 

"I’m Shai, your son Eran's friend," he told me. 

"But Eran has no friends," I replied. "He can’t have friends because he's autistic, and he's also severely cognitively disabled." 

"You have no idea how smart he is," Shai continued. 

"Really?! And who are you, might I ask?"

Friday, September 18, 2015

In the JNF Kitchen: Easy crispy chickpea delight

While the Hebrew word for chickpea is hummus, there's so much more to chickpeas than hummus, or falafel for that matter, in Israeli cuisine. For a healthy and delicious variation on the humble bean, we bring you an easy and flavorful chickpea salad from Hagit Lidror. Hagit's cuisine is healthy and ingredient-focused, representative of Israeli cuisine in its freshness and simplicity. She is one of the people making the Western Galilee a paradise for foodies and wine enthusiasts (see our gallery below for scenes from the region, a key development area of the JNF #GoNorth initiative). 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

In the JNF Kitchen: Osi’s Rosh Hashanah Moroccan fish

According to tradition, having fish on the table is an omen for blessings in the year to come. When the fish is served, we recite a prayer expressing the wish that "we be fruitful and multiply like fish."

There's additional symbolism in serving fish. Rosh Hashanah literally means the head of the year, and it's customary to serve fish with their heads on and to recite a blessing based on a verse in Deuteronomy: "May we be heads, not tails" -- in other words, leaders rather than followers. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Israel's 9/11 memorial honors U.S. victims of terror, name by name

Photo: Alicia Yaffe 
By Gary Hill

Ever hear the expression "You can’t get there from here?" Due to construction of a new high-speed rail line from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, that's almost true as you try to find Jerusalem's Living Memorial dedicated to the victims of 9/11. Yes, a memorial in Israel for victims of terrorism who died in New York City, Washington, D.C., and a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. But once you find the memorial you understand why it is in Israel and how important it is to visit.

Israel has lost nearly 3,000 civilians to acts of terrorism -- each of their names is inscribed at the Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. The United States lost nearly 3,000 victims to acts of terror on September 11, 2001, and each of their names is inscribed at the 9/11 Living Memorial in Jerusalem's Azazim Valley, in the Ramot neighborhood. Only one place outside of the United States lists the names of all the victims of 9/11 -- the 9/11 Living Memorial in Israel. The the 9/11 victims were of all religions and ethnic groups and came from more than 50 nations, including five from Israel.

Friday, September 4, 2015

In the JNF Kitchen: Jonathan's rosemary and garlic roast beef

Need more inspiration for Rosh Hashanah dinner? This week, we're bringing you a juicy recipe from Jonathan Koren. Jonathan owns Lotem Organic Winerylocated in Kibbutz Lotem and offering a beautiful view of the Beit Hakerem Valley overlooking the Sea of Galilee. 

Jonathan plays music in his winery 24 hours a day, and insists that the energy and the frequency of the tunes affect the taste and quality of the wine. "We only play music about love, peace, happiness," he says. "It matters." Lotem is one of only two organic wineries in Israel and it 
offers tours. 

Jonathan is a member of JNF partner organization Western Galilee Now, a consortium of small businesses in the area. To see more of the riches the region has to offer, take a tour through our photo gallery below.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

This is what it looks like when 200 immigrants land in Israel to start over

Photo: Mimi Banks
A message to new olim arriving 
at Ben Gurion Airport: "You made it!" 
By Leslie Katz

Happy September! For many, the High Holy Days are a time for forging new beginnings. All this month, to mark the start of the new year, we'll feature stories of #JNF #NewBeginnings here on the Jewish National Fund blog, and on JNF's Facebook and Instagram pages.

You'll read about Rahma, a severely disabled little girl abandoned by her parents at birth and living at Aleh Negev. A couple who regularly visited her at the facility for special-needs residents just adopted her and brought her to her new home. 

You'll learn more about life in Halutza, a Negev desert community populated by Jewish settlers evacuated from Gaza during Israel's 2005 disengagement. Where there was once only sand, these pioneers have built a thriving world of houses, schools, solar fields and farms -- in the span of just 10 years

And what could possibly represent a new beginning more than packing up and moving to a new country? In the photo gallery below, you'll see what it looks like when a planeload of North American immigrants disembark at Ben Gurion Airport and experience their first few moments as Israeli citizens.