Its Pomegranate Month – in the States & the Galilee!

Posted on November 2, 2010


Every year in November I’m reminded of how lucky I am to live in Israel. When did I ever get to see olives being pressed in Manhattan? When could I ever be part of a pomegranate festival on the Upper West Side? Albeit I miss Zabars, Fairway and most of all – Bloomingdales – but there are experiences here which continually touch my heart.

The recent Pomegranate Festival held in Kfar Kana, in the Galilee (northern area of Israel) was one such experience. I was invited by my friend Aml Bisharat Hana to attend the festival that the village of Kfar Kana is so proud to host. She gets it into gear every year – with a display of 15 varieties of pomegranates, a movie describing the history of pomegranates in the area, and music, food, dancers, – you name it!

I was one of many invited guests, and the event took place in the garden and in the social hall of the senior citizen center of Kfar Kana. Among the honored guests were the head of the municipal council, his second in command, many of the village elders and the famous Amer  – a Lebanese-Danish businessman/foodie who is an accomplished chef. He came to visit many members of his family who live here, but most particularly to attend the festival.

While the prayers of the nearby mosque were held, the singer stopped his music out of respect. And when the meuzzin quieted, the music began again. There was singing, and a dance troupe performing, and many culinary specialties to dine on – all prepared by the women of the community center.

Under Aml’s careful watch, the event unfolded smoothly, and as dusk settled on the crowd, sitting outside under the fruit trees, no one seemed to want to leave. We were treated to fresh pomegranate juice, pomegranate salad with spinach and fennel, wheat berries laced with pomegranates, tehina & pomegranates, on and on.

While my friend/photographer Dan Bardov sat in the audience eating it all up (figuratively and literally), I was already thinking of learning Arabic so that next year, I can understand what they’re saying!

Oh! We had an extra added bonus. Aml took us to a small factory where olives are pressed into oil. That’s where her family takes their olives and we got to watch as a batch was produced. Wonderful!