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From Moroccan cous-cous and beef cigars to Yemenite malawach and jachnun to Polish kugel to Russian cholent to Ethiopian injara, Jerusalem has it all. The city's culinary dishes are as diverse as its faces, and the capital boasts restaurants serving up food of every ethnic background. Jews know best that food brings people together, offering each a taste of the other's tradition. In that spirit, on Thursday, beginning at 4 p.m., the World Union for Progressive Judaism's Beit Shmuel open its patio for a bazaar of ethnic foods and artistic works.
After a half-hour of taste-testing and mingling, guided tours will visit a range of Jerusalem neighborhoods, their kitchens and eateries. The first tour, at 4:30 p.m., will explore how different Jewish ethnic groups collectively create the Israeli kitchen that brews so delectably with magical scents. Focusing primarily on the Ethiopian Jewish culinary experience, the tour takes in the neighborhood of Nachlaot, the Spanish Garden, Jaffa Road and Shuk Mahane Yehuda.
The second excursion will visit Jerusalem's Old City to discover and taste ethnic drinks such as the coconut-based sachlav, tamar hindi ("a hindi date"), sus charuv ("a carob horse"), an almond drink, mint tea and other flavored teas. Carbohydrate lovers will adore the third tour as it takes a bite into Jerusalem's breads. Participants will explore the difference between sacred and everyday breads and taste the breads of various Jewish ethnic groups while visiting various bakeries in the Old City. The tastes and scents of the Eastern European Jewish kitchen will come alive during the last tour, which visits the religious Ashkenazi neighborhoods of Mea Shearim, Geula, Zichron Moshe and Mekor Baruch.
Thursday (May 24), 4-9 p.m. Beit Shmuel, Rehov Shama 6, Jerusalem. Entrance to festival including tour, NIS 10. Children's play for ages 4-8, NIS 38 NIS. Lecture by Guy Hovav, 45 NIS. Festival entrance fee waived with purchase of play or lecture ticket. For tickets: (02) 620-3555 or www.beitshmuel.com/english