Monday, 25 January 2010

Haggis-tasting, parties ... and a room for quiet

Living in Israel/ Palestine is certainly very different from living in Zambia. In Zambia several months could pass before a visitor from Britain passed through, but in Tiberias it seems that people come every week, and always very interesting. Another difference is that here there are Burns Suppers! The other day I was called to the hotel to taste chef Oded’s haggis – artichoke stuffed with haggis, haggis in pastry, etc – and give it the OK. Only problem is that I don’t think I have tasted haggis for 16 years! The hotel supper is next week, but on the 22nd I was invited to another Burns Supper on a kibbutz. Coming from Ayrshire, I was a bit of an outsider, as almost all the others were from the Southside of Glasgow, and still had the accents to prove it.

On a miserably wet January evening, the staff party was held in one of the local restaurants. I went along thinking I would ‘show face’ for 30 minutes, then leave BUT it was so good I stayed almost till the end. I was so impressed by the strong sense of togetherness and camaraderie among the staff. They are a real mixture of Arab and Jew, Moslem and Christian and Druze, but cooperate (and party) so well together. Lots of eating and music, and the dancing was traditional dancing often occurring at Arab weddings, which was wonderful. A real celebration, and a thank-you to the staff for all their work through the year.

‘Migdal’ is the Hebrew word for ‘tower’, and we have now turned the tower in the herb garden (part of the old Ottoman town walls) into a Quiet Room for meditation and prayer. It is quite simple with whitewashed walls, but with a rich Turkish rug (well, made in Belgium) and some Ottoman-style tables and lots of shelves and alcoves for books and candles.
I am absolutely thrilled with it and will use it as my base at the hotel. Hopefully it will be used by people of all the Faith communities - though I am becoming very possessive of it!


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  2. Love you quiet room (and I love the name Migdale)
    it reminds of the quiet corner in Iona Abbey
    Enjoy your time in this little room
    Happy New Year Colin
    Margaret Graham