Guest Blog by Susan Eisenstein
If you love food, cooking, and unique experiences, then Israel has a wonderful surprise for you. In the Galil (which happens to be my favorite part of Israel, if you can have a favorite part), you will find GalilEat.
What is GalilEat?
Well, it is unique in the tourism industry in Israel. GalilEat programs include cooking workshops, home hospitality, and meals in local Galilean villages, cross-cultural immersion, full-day culinary tours, and more. They have Druze, Muslim, Christian, and Bedouin hosts, all of whom exemplify the middle-eastern custom of hahnasat orhim; warmly welcoming you into their homes.
Over coffee and tea, they will explain their family, village, faith, and customs in an informal atmosphere. From there, you can either learn to cook some authentic local dishes with your host, or go straight to the dining table and have a great authentic Galilean meal.
I first came to know Paul Nirens, owner and founder of GalilEat, when he skyped with one of my classes. He taught us about the diversity of people in the Galilee. Going a step further, he brought dishes from a dinner party that he was coming from, and discussed the authentic food of the region with us. Paul also Zoomed with one of my synagogues in New York State, showing us how to prepare authentic Israeli pita and Fatoush salad.
GalilEat's programs offer true grassroots cultural experiences, based around food, working closely with a wide variety of host families in the Galilee region of Northern Israel. Paul Nirens believes that in order to properly experience the Galilee and to encounter the authentic, day-to-day life of Israel’s green North, it has to be done with and by locals. Going beyond a good meal, the GalilEat experience is also about co-operation and co-existence, empowerment of local women, and respect and equality for all people living in the region. The economic benefits to the largely rural population are of vital importance.
Paul has lived in the rural Galilee region for over 30 years after making Aliya from Australia in 1984. He was born into food and says,
"if it's edible and from the Galilee, then I know about it. I want to share that experience with others."
If you are looking for a slice of Israel that is authentic, interesting, and what most tourists do not get to see, head on over to GalilEat!
Susan Eisenstein is a long-time Jewish educator, passionate about creating special innovative activities for her students. Susan has two Master’s degrees and a Doctorate in Education from Columbia University. Her passion is in Judaic studies and the Hebrew language.