PHILADELPHIA DELEGATIONS ACQUIRE A TASTE FOR
by Simon Griver
Reuven and Ora Rosenblat will treat
you for lunch with an educational experience in Ora's Backyard (photos by
recent months, Partnership 2000 delegations from the Jewish Federation of
Greater Philadelphia visiting the Jewish Agency Netivot-Azata Region
(http://www.partner.org.il/netivot) have been enjoying the food served up
at a newly opened garden restaurant called BeHatzer Shel Ora (In Ora's Back
Yard). Located on Moshav Kfar Maimon, the restaurant offers much more than
a unique Yemenite Jewish culinary experience.
"The meal also includes a
tour of our garden," explains Reuven Rosenblatt, "in which we
have some 100 fruit trees encompassing 60 different species from around the
The food served by Ora
Rosenblatt betrays her Yemenite origins but as her married name suggests,
she married an Ashkenazi.
"In our house we don't
think in terms of Ashkenazi and Sephardi," says Ora. "We have six
children and 17 grandchildren. Five of our six children are married to
people of diverse Jewish origins. We are one people. The Jewish
Reuven and Ora Rosenblatt both
carry with them the tragedies that befell the Jewish people in the 20th.
century. Born in Lodz in Poland in 1935, Reuven survived Bergen-Belsen
before reaching Israel in 1949. Remarkably all his immediate family
survived the Holocaust despite being split up and sent to different
concentration camps. Ora was not so fortunate. Her family set out on foot
from the Northern Yemen in 1943 to come to the Land of Israel. The trek
took three years before Ora reached Israel and both her parents died en
met in 1956 during our army service," recalls Reuven. "We married
in 1958 and came here a year later to set up Kfar Maimon, a religious
settlement in the Northern Negev."
Over the years Reuven has
served as deputy mayor of the Azata Region and mayor of the neighboring
Gush Katif Council. Ora worked as house mother in a nearby caravan site set
up for Ethiopian immigrants after Operation Solomon in 1991 and in recent
years the Rosenblatts housed Russian immigrant families in the house that
they originally built when they settled on Kfar Maimon.
"The idea of the garden
and restaurant came about by chance," adds Reuven. "When I
retired we planned all the fruit trees as a hobby that I would cultivate.
It would be something we could enjoy with our grandchildren. Then it was
suggested that we combine the attraction of the garden with Ora's renowned
cooking to create a very special place to host people."
The restaurant, which caters
for advanced bookings of groups of eight to 30 people, specializes in
family parties and visiting delegations from overseas. Ora's original
Yemenite recipes and Reuven's fruit trees have proven particularly popular
with Patnership 2000 missions. Indeed the restaurant was set up with advice
and assistance from Partnership 2000 within the framework of its efforts to
encourage tourism enterprises in peripheral regions. Partnership 2000 is a
joint effort of the Jewish Agency for Israel, United Jewish Communities and
the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
Ora and Reuven also market jams
and liqueurs made from the fruit trees. The trees, which include the
traditional species from the Land of Israel such as olive, fig, date and
pomegranate as well as exotic imports such as the banana and less known
carambula and anona also includes Jewish curiosities such as a giant etrog.
HaHatzer Shel Ora
Moshav Kfar Maimon
D.N. Negev 85153
- January 2000