Pnina is a religious Druze woman from the village of Maghar, where she was born and raised. Pnina was widowed at a young age and was left to raise her three small children on her own. She learned to cook traditional Druze recipes as a girl, spending long days in the kitchen with her mother and grandmother. Today, Pnina still cooks meals for her grown children daily, and continues to prepare her family’s traditional recipes, passed down lovingly through the generations of women. She uses fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts that grow in her garden in every dish. Pnina was Gailileat’s very first host, and continues to enchant her visitors with the colorful stories from her life and the delicious flavors of her cooking.
Amira and Waggi
Amira and Waggi live in the large Druze village of Daliat al-Carmel in a beautiful home built and designed by the couple themselves. Amira and Waggi are active members of their community and are always up to date with the goings on amongst the Druze in Israel. They are staunch Zionists and are proud of their Druze heritage, though both have chosen to maintain secular lifestyles. Amira is a skilled chef and, together with delicious recipes, her cooking workshops always include helpful tips and techniques for guests to use at home. Their love for hosting and cooking together with groups led them to build a special outdoor kitchen and seating area for their lucky guests.
Miad and Snir
Miad and Snir live in a beautiful home surrounded by fruit trees and vegetable patches in the village of Maghar. They are a young couple in their late thirties with three children living at home. They are secular Druze who maintain a connection to their Druze traditions but live very modern lifestyles. Snir is a high ranking officer in the Border Police and serves in Jerusalem’s Old City, meaning that he spends several nights a week away from his family defending the country. Miad, who runs the home while he is away, is a soft-spoken host and chef who cooks delicious traditional Galilean dishes in her large kitchen for family and friends. When weather permits, guests are often invited to enjoy their dessert and some tea on their beautiful scenic porch.
Roudena is a Christian woman who lives with her husband in a cozy yet spacious home within the mixed village of Deir Hana in the Lower Galilee. She has six children and fourteen grandchildren and cooks three meals a day every single day. Roudena’s home and cooking showcases the Galilee’s finest culinary traditions and she proudly and consistently insists on making every dish served in her home from scratch. Roudena is also a skilled baker, famous for her delicious malteet biscuits and mahmoul pastries. Groups lucky enough to dine with Roudena also enjoy a breathtaking view of the village and surrounding hills.
Ibtisam is a religious Druze woman from the picturesque Druze village of Hurfeish. She lives four houses away from her childhood home and is married to Amal, who she has known her entire life. The couple has three grown children and a teenage son still living at home. Ibtisam loves hosting guests in her home and sharing the unusual story of how she learned to cook at a late age; her mother had refused to teach her for many years in the hopes that she would be able to keep her only daughter out of the kitchen. Ibtisam is extremely ambitious, maintaining and marketing her own cooking business whilst working in conjunction with Galileat. She is also a champion of Druze women’s issues and has addressed the Knesset on the subject. Her guests are always treated to her gentle loving nature and outstanding traditional fare.
Nawal / Um Salech
Nawhall is a traditional Muslim woman from the town of Arrabeh in the lower Galilee. As is the custom, she has taken the name of her oldest son as part of her name and answers to both Nahwall or Um Salech equally. Her modest family home is typical of the Arab tradition of multigenerational buildings, where three of her married sons live on different floors of the same structure. She greets all guests with her smiling eyes, generous warmth and a love of humanity. Guests are enthralled by her stories of growing up in a poor peasant village and how proud she is of her children and many grandchildren, who are often coming in and out of grandma’s house. Besides her lovingly cooked food, a visit to Um Salech’s house allows a glimpse into a world that is perhaps disappearing to the world of modernity.
Saada is a modern religious Muslim woman from the village of Kaukab in the Western Galilee. She works in the education sector and is the director of the Community College of Sakhnin, a nearby Arab city and her hometown. While maintaining her strong spiritual and religious beliefs, Saada is also passionate about influencing cultural changes for Muslim women living in the traditional Arab society and is fiercely outspoken about how she mixes traditional Islam with modernity. Saada opens up her home to show guests her love for Galilean cuisine, welcoming them with an “I’m so glad to have y’all here today” in a broad Texan drawl. Her food, however, is straight out of the Galilee.
Zada and Ziad
Zada and her husband Ziad are Bedouin Muslims from the village of Sallameh. They can often be found foraging for wild edible plants and herbs in the lush Sakhnin Valley, which they then use to prepare fresh and delicious Galilean dishes. Their own garden is beautifully cultivated, and every meal that Zada prepares includes something fresh from her garden. The couple’s courtyard also boasts a large authentic Bedouin tent, in which they welcome groups to join them for a delicious meal and to hear the tales of their Bedouin heritage.
Zada and Ziad’s workshops and meals are kosher certified, and can host groups large and small.
Zarafat is a religious Druze woman living in the Druze village of Yarka. Zarafat’s six children are all grown now, but many still live at home with their children and the house is always abuzz with the comings and goings of the family. One of her daughters always join Zarafat for her cooking workshops as they themselves are fantastic and creative cooks. A seamstress by profession, Zarafat now spends every day cooking and believes that every dish that she produces should be made from the raw ingredients grown in her garden. Zarafat is famous in her village for her unique blend of the baharat spice mix, ground by the local miller, which she sells among her community. Zarafat’s guests are welcome to cook, dine and even learn to prepare her special spice mix on their own.