From Figs to Pomegranates

In the Torah, the Land of Israel is described by God to be a land “flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8).  Once you taste the fruit in the Holy Land, you will understand that this biblical reference remains true, even in modern times.

As mentioned in a previous post about ice cream and sorbet, the produce in the Holy Land is f-r-e-s-h.  There is always a fruit in season that the whole country raves about.  A few weeks ago the talk was about figs.  For the next few weeks, pomegranates will be hot on the market.

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figs entering Jerusalem’s shuk (market). Photo courtesy Jessica Curhan for Breakingbreadjourneys.com

Both figs and pomegranates are considered to be part of the Seven Species.  According to Judaism, these fruits are special and during the times of the Temple, they were brought to the Temple as an offering to God.  Today, because there is no Temple, Jews say a special prayer before eating one of the seven species.  The other five other species are wheat, barley, grapevines, olives, and date honey (which is believed to be the honey in the biblical reference mentioned above).

According to Christianity, the fig symbolizes the search for truth.  A way to search for truth is by producing fruit.  It is said that if a Christian does not produce fruit in a certain period of time, his life is cut off from God because God does not profit from unproductive Christians.  When the New Testament talks about this, it specifically references fig trees.  Perhaps it refers to fig trees because it is a sterile fruit, meaning it requires seasonal labor.

Fun fact: It is believed that edible figs are one of the first plants cultivated by humans back in 9400–9200 BCE.
More fun (because “funner” isn’t a word) fact: It is also believed that these figs were cultivated in t
he Holy Land’s Jordan Valley.

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pomegranates in Jerusalem’s shuk #nofilter. Photo courtesy Jessica Curhan for Breakingbreadjourneys.com

It is also written in the Torah that Adam and Eve “sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths” (Genesis 3:7) once they discovered they were naked.  They discovered their nakedness after they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Some Jewish scholars believe that it was a pomegranate Adam and Eve ate.  Additionally, is believed that pomegranates contain 613 seeds, which correlates with the 613 commandments.

In Christianity, opening pomegranates symbolizes the fullness of Jesus’ suffering and resurrection.  Pomegranates are used for religions decoration in both Christianity and Judaism.

Which fruit season do you want to be in when you come on a Holy Land tour?

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Categories: Culture, Food

Breaking Bread Journeys launching in the US

“Breaking Bread Journeys” – a new Palestinian and Israeli tourism concept

February 2014

Jerusalem — “Breaking Bread Journeys” is a new Palestinian and Israeli experiential tourism concept that will be introduced to the US travel industry and media at the New York Times Travel Show in February in New York. The concept was recently created by two tour operators, Christina Samara, a Palestinian and owner of Samara Tourist and Travel Agency, and Elisa Moed, founder of Israel-based Travelujah. Both women were introduced by Tony Blair’s Quartet Initiative and are launching this new tourism concept with the support of the United States Agency for International Development under the Compete Project in the West Bank, which emphasizes economic development, including tourism, as a path to peace and stability.

“We realized that travel brings people together in many positive ways and helps in the pursuit of stability, prosperity and peace in the entire Holy Land,” said Christina Samara. “So we designed a set of very special Palestinian and Israeli cultural and historic tours that include many of the classical sites that both of our companies have long been offering.”

“However, we believed that what tourists really want is to experience the land in a personal way and we knew that by working together we could provide authentic experiences that would otherwise be virtually impossible,” explained Elisa Moed. “Each of our experiences provides   opportunities for small groups to engage directly with local communities. These include experiences for faith-based clientele, as well as other market segments that are keen to learn and enjoy local traditional cuisine, art, and music and, of course, break bread with the people of the land.”

Tourism to the Holy Land is important for both Israelis and Palestinians. In 2012, the Israeli tourism industry received 3.5 million visitors, and the Palestinian tourism industry received over 1.8 million visitors.  In fact, visitors to the Palestinian Territories increased over 40% from 2007 to 2013– a positive sign that the region can safely receive increasing numbers of visitors.

“We intend to visit the United States during the period of 28th February – 2nd March 2014 where we will be meeting tour industry professionals in the United States and we look forward to meeting tour operators, media and organizations interested in offering our rich, comprehensive cultural experiences in the Holy Land,” said Samara.

Samara Tourist and Travel Agency is being supported in the development of this initiative by the United States Agency for International Development through their COMPETE project in the West Bank as part of the Agency’s strategy to develop the Palestinian tourism sector and to make a significant impact in job creation and increased investment.

To view a brief Breaking Bread Journey tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CY5RbCrMu70

For more information, contact Christina Samara at +972-54-237-5288 or Elisa Moed at +972-52-744-4033. They can also be reached via email at: christina@breakingbreadjourneys.com or elisa@breakingbreadjourneys.com  

Their website is at: www.breakingbreadjourneys.com 

USAID

 

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Breaking Bread Journeys
P.O.Box 14058
E. Jerusalem 91140
Phone: +1 (561) 910-0640
info@breakingbreadjourneys.com

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