Putting desert hospitality on the menu

An initiative called ‘Culinary Queens’ aims to introduce tourists to Israel to the cooking of residents of Negev desert towns like Yeruham. The visitors also get to listen to stories of cooks like Casablanca-born Shula Knafo. Article in Israel21c:(with thanks: Michelle)

Knafo tells us how she immigrated with her parents and grandmother from Casablanca as a six-year-old girl. The family had 10 children and she married young to escape the male-dominated restraints her father imposed.

She talks frankly about her difficult marriage and proudly about her children: about one son who is a commander of an elite IDF unit, about another son who is a diplomat, about her victory in getting proper treatment for her child with special needs who today has a full-time job at a supermarket.

And, of course, about her grandchildren.

Shula Knafo cooking Moroccan delights (Photo Or Alexenburg)

When her husband died, she was left without any savings or pension, having worked for most of her life as a housecleaner. It was then that she was recruited for the Culinary Queens, and slowly she began reestablishing herself, she said.

She got her driver’s license, enlarged her patio and took a course in entrepreneurship.

But she didn’t stop there. When she could stand on her own two feet she established an organization which every year organizes a culinary charity event and with the proceeds takes children and families in the welfare system to an attraction or site they otherwise would never get to visit.

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