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Monday, December 14, 2015

Is Sharing A Meal The Ticket To Teaching Cultural Awareness #VibeEdu #VibeIsrael

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This is just one in a series of ongoing posts on the educational innovations in Israel. You can see additional coverage here

When Michael Biton took the role as Mayor of Yeruham, a small desert city, made up of about 10,000 mostly Israeli immigrants he had some challenges to realize one of his visions for the city. Known for it’s historical and archeological sites, the city was to become a sought-after tourism hot-spot. One that, among other things, offers sumptuous ethnic meals and gives visitors insight into the heritage, culture, and traditions of regular Israelis.

But first, he had to overcome a couple problems:

#1: The small town couldn’t afford any restaurants. The market was too small.
#2: There was a high unemployment rate for women

Fortunately, Biton had a recipe for success that included a combination of exploration, motivation, and innovation with a dash of chutzpah.
Mayor Michael Biton descending the stairs of the Yeruham Crater
to speak with students, educators, and edubloggers.
He recognized that there were some homes in city that had become hubs for community meals. From these homes the aroma of home-cooked, traditional recipes made mouths water. Fulfilling Jewish values of hospitality, caring, and solidarity, these families welcomed their neighbors into their homes.

It became apparent that these women had something to offer that might not only satisfy the appetite of tourists seeking delicious ethnic meals and insights into the Jewish culture, but it could also serve as a vehicle to provide added income for these unemployed women.

It wasn’t long before the Culinary Queens of Yeruham project was born. It has served as a win, win for both the community and those who come to visit.  There is perhaps no better way to learn about history, heritage, and culture than by experiencing a meal in the home of the people of that culture.
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