For such a small country, Israel has a lot going on when it comes to food, wine and culture. So much, even, that, as in the past few years, the Federation organized a dedicated three-day “food and culture” track on its one-week mission to Israel, which took place last week. “It was great to be in Israel, meet Israelis and see the amazing things being done in the food and wine space there,” said Eva Davis, one of the track’s co-chairs.

In addition to getting to know members of the DC-area community and bonding over delicious food and drinks, some highlights of the track included visiting Tulip, a boutique winery in Kfar Tikva (“Village of Hope”), a community settlement for people with special needs, who are trained and employed at the winery itself, and lunch at Knaffe Noga, a Jaffa restaurant supported by the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Loan Fund. Its owner took the traditional Arab dessert knafeh, composed of layers of kadaif pastry “noodles” and sweet cheese, and “put a modern twist on it,” said Davis, offering an assortment of sweet, savory and even vegan variations.

Abby Cherner, a member of the JFE leadership team, loved preparing stuffed grape leaves, eggplants, squash and zucchini, siniya (meatloaf cooked in tahini) and fresh pita with za’atar in a Druze kitchen and meeting with Janna Gur, Israeli foodie, magazine and cookbook author and publisher and author of The Book of New Israeli Food and Jewish Soul Food. “Now that I’m back in the States, I can’t wait to cook my way through The Book of New Israeli Food,” she shared. Quite the tasty souvenir!

Photos courtesy of Melanie Nussdorf.