Off the Beaten Track: The Village of Hope

Residents of a kibbutz created for adults with developmental disabilities are also employees of the Tulip Winery.

By JOE YUDIN
August 12, 2012 14:29
3 minute read.
Winery

Winery. (photo credit: Wikicommons)

 
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Joe Yudin owns Touring Israel, a company that specializes in “Lifestyle” tours of Israel.

On a small hill between the Jezreel Valley and Lower Galilee lies a special community called Kfar Tikvah meaning “Village of Hope”. In this picturesque hilltop community live some 200 adults with developmental and emotional disabilities. Dr. Siegfried Hirsch was a German-Jewish scientist who moved to Palestine in 1930 during the rise of the Nazi party. He decided to create Kfar Tikvah in order to “…create an environment where adults with special needs can lead active, productive lives filled with opportunities for personal growth, communal camaraderie, and meaningful opportunities to integrate in the community at large.” He secured an old abandoned kibbutz from the state in 1964 and started to build his vision.

Today the village boasts a staff of over 100 people, both paid and volunteers from Israel and abroad. The organization provides its residents and commuters with a wide range of educational, cultural and physical activities. The most impressive attribute of Kfar Tikvah is their commitment to integrate their people into the everyday workplace. They do this in various ways with many companies and communities but perhaps the most impressive attribute is the commitment to Kfar Tikvah of the Tulip Winery and its owners the Yitzhaki family.

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The Tulip Winery was established in 2003 as a boutique winery. Yithak Yitzaki, an engineer by profession turned his love of wine into a hobby leading to the opening of the winery. He would travel the world with his young family visiting wineries all along the way, not going to the typical tourist destinations but focusing on the many wine countries all over the world. Yitzhak’s son Roy developed a deep love for wine and wine making as a result and turned the winery into a successful business with three clear goals in mind:

1. Produce only high quality wines without any compromises.

2. Give great value for money in order to share his wine with the masses.

3. Build the winery in Kfar Tikvah in order to help develop the village to which his family has always had a deep connection.

Several years ago the people of Kfar Tikvah were integrated into the process of the wine making from start to finish including the picking of the grapes, the bottling of the wine and the packing and shipping of the bottles. In 2004, Tulip began negotiations to gain kashrut certification and the practice of employing the non-religious residents of Kfar Tikvah at a kosher winery became an issue.

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After six years of negotiations Tulip and the Rabbinate came to an agreement whereby the Kfar Tikvah residents could continue to work there with the guidance of religious Jewish workers handling all issues of Kashrut in order to gain Kosher certification. Today thirty-three residents continue to work at the Tulip Winery and thrive there as valuable, productive workers.

The grounds are beautiful and the tours are well worth a visit. On my latest visit with a family from Florida a tour was organized along with tastings and a variety of boutique local cheeses, olives and bread. The wines were fabulous. The two white wines produced there are a semi-dry “White Franc” and a dry “White Tulip” The White Tulip is made from a blend of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc grapes.

Their reds come in four different series, the “Just Series” which includes a Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon aged in oak barrels for six months. Their “Mostly Series” includes a Shiraz and Cabernet Franc both aged in oak barrels for eighteen months. Their “Premium Series” includes a Syrah that has won gold medals in wine competitions all over the world and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Their flagship brand, the “Black Tulip” label is on a whole other level. It is a blend of Bordeaux aged for three years in the best oak barrels available using only the best grapes.

For a visit and tour of the Tulip Winery in the Lower Galilee call 04-983-0573 or e-mail Or at or@tulip-winery.co.il. Their website is http://tulip-winery.co.il/entours.html?v=1344910227.

For information about Kfar Tikvah or to visit or donate to the organization call 04-9539721or e-mail office@kfartikva.org.il. Their website is www.kfar-tikva.org.il.

Joe Yudin became a licensed tour guide in 1999. He completed his Master’s degree at the University of Haifa in the Land  of Israel Studies and is currently studying toward a PhD.

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