Jisr az-Zarqa, Israel
Blending Cultures in Jisr az-ZarqaWhen I was in Israel visiting a friend in Tel Aviv she responded to a newspaper ad by the organization Bridge to the Future whose goal is to increase Jewish/Arabic Israeli dialogue by offering Jewish Israelis tours of Arabic villages. I went along, and, even though I don't speak a word of Hebrew (or Arabic), I found the visit and the village fascinating. Jisr az-Zarca is a small fishing village north of Caesarea which also includes the Roman settlement of Crocodilopolis. The locals worry about the declining fish catch and the lack of other economic opportunity in the area. But despite their meager surroundings, at the end of the tour, on the 28th night of Ramadan, they served us a delicious feast of mjudra, dolmas, stuffed squash, tabbouleh, hummus, and many other dishes. I was honored to have been part of the cultural interchange and feel enriched for the experience.