On Friday, our group departed from Kibbutz Ketura. After a debrief of our time at the Kibbutz, we headed out to Neot Smadar for a two hour tour of a vegetarian Kibbutz that raised goats, grew vegetables, and had its own winery. We finished the tour with an amazing wine tasting! Each wine was a dessert wine, and one had 22 different spices in it symbolizing the 22 letters in the modern hebrew alphabet. With that grand finale, we got back in the bus for another quick road trip.
Our next destination was Mitzpe Ramon. Here, we did a private bread baking class hosted by a Jewish baker where we baked all different types of bread. Each person in our class learned how to roll, fold, and season bread to create different flavors and designs. We had created dozens of rolls by the time our dough was gone: some with sesame seeds, some with zatar and oil, some with sweet potatoes and baba ganoush! All of the different types were baked while we sat down for a lovely meal. The whole group had trouble moving after such a filling meal of breads, sauces, salads, jams, vegetables, and more. It was a highlight of the trip that nobody will be able to forget.
We sat down once again on the bus to travel towards Jerusalem where we would be staying for the night. The time on the bus was used by most of us to recover from our food comas, but we had forgotten that we had another large meal ahead of us! It was the night of our massive Shabbat dinner. In the spirit of Shabbat, we walked 40 minutes to a woman’s house who was kind enough to host our group. By the time our long walk was done, most of us were ready for some more food. We entered the woman’s house, and she walked us through the religious background of Shabbat. We were lucky to have such a knowledgable host who could share some of her stories and experiences with us. Following the religious rules of the holiday, we said the prayer over the bread and the wine and then shared a delicious meal. It consited of the Challah, soup, different salads, grape leaves, hummus, and baba ganoush as the starting dishes. For the main meal, we had an amazing onion flavored rice, salmon, and a vegan quiche with sundried tomato, tofu, and mushroom. The meal was topped off with an apple cobbler and some Ben and Jerrys vanilla ice cream on the side!
After our long day, we headed back to the hostel for a peaceful night of sleep! We had much to look forward to in the days ahead of us.