Artists’ home hospitality

The home of artists, Hebrews in Dimona, a feast in the desert and a moonlight hike.

As a meticulous manager in charge of the wellbeing of workers, I am always tense when it comes to finding an event planning company to organize day trips or fun days for our staff. This time, however, was a different story.

From the moment I met Roni and Roy in my office, I realized I was in for something new, nothing like the usual. And, indeed, as we set out at noon from our offices, there they were waiting for us next to an air-conditioned bus with a smiling driver, a basket full of surprises, individual bottles of cold water and I knew this was going to be a different ball game.

Our first stop was the home of a very special couple. From the moment we set foot through the front door we could feel this was something unusual.

The husband, a unique musician and an artist in his soul, decided to build a house from recycled materials only, and to save a lot of money!

With the help of a friend with golden hands they took three used containers, and from this magnificent home was built.

The wife is a traveler and adventurer, she prepared the most remarkable and creative delicacies served in beautiful colorful dishes from all around the world.

After our meal the couple told us about the house-building process, their wild journeys around the world, arriving back home and their fascinating life story, both as a couple and as individuals.

We carried on driving south until we reached Kfar Hashalom, the home of the Black Hebrews in Dimona.

We were warmly welcomed by the group and sat down for our first encounter with a member of the community to hear their story (from their perspective) from the exile of the Jews to West Africa, their arrival in America as slaves and until their return to Israel in 1969.

Our group was fascinated and asked many questions about their life as a closed cooperative vegan community life with local leadership.

We also discovered that they fast every week throughout the year from Friday evening until the Sabbath ends.

Until recently, the men could marry more than one wife.

We then walked around the village to see their homes and were amazed by the structures covered with a black material. Their modesty and simplicity gave us much to discuss.

We ended the visit with vegan ice cream, a product of the community.

Our next stop was a private home in Yerocham.

Our smiling hostess awaited us and from the moment we entered her warm home she pampered us with unique delicacies. There was an abundance of salads and dishes – homemade recipes from her mother and grandmother in faraway Morocco.

At the end of the meal, while serving tea and sweet muflettas, she told us about her Aliya to Israel, the difficult ‘landing’ in Yerocham and her breakthrough into the culinary word when she began to host people in her home.

Leaving our hostess was emotional.

We felt that our visit contributed to empowering the initiatives of the women of Yeroham.

After a short drive further south we reached the Hawarim River next to Sde Boker.

We went down to see an ancient waterhole, and here awaited a surprise – all fire. We then went on a hike in the Shiny Hawarim (The walls of the wadi).

Out of the blue, we heard the sounds of a desert flute coming from a hidden corner under the light of the moon. We discovered a friendly flutist who serenaded us with magical sounds while we lay on our backs looking up at the moon.

With our arrival at the river estuary, Roni and Roy were waiting for us with hot cider – simply perfect! There is no doubt that it is the small touches and the attention to the details that make the difference.

I have to admit that this is the first event, in years, that I managed to enjoy and let go because the organization was so meticulous and precise!