Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hospitality, A Recipe and Flip Video Cameras

It is hard to find time to write because everyone is so friendly. I am sitting at the Wi'am Center table and people keep stopping by and talking. I have so much to write about!! First of all I was so excited to hear from my friends in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. There is a summer school class there that sent me some interesting questions about school here.

How many hours do students go to school?

7 hours
When does school start?

at 7:30

What do they eat for lunch?

They do not have a cafeteria with tables. They just have a place where they can buy food. They have a recess of 30 minutes where they can buy food, play, or eat a sandwich they brought from home.

How many students are in a class?

 between 25 -30 students

What do children play at recess?

They only have 30 minutes which is enough time to eat. Sometimes they play chasing each other, basketball or soccer. Sometimes they eat really quickly or they don't eat and just play.  At 2:30-3:00 pm they go home from school and there is hot food prepared for them. They call this lunch, but it is more like our dinner. They eat again sometime in the evening. The evening meal is simpler.

Do they go on field trips?

They take one or two trips each year. When there is a field trip the whole school goes together (1st-6th grades together and then 7-12th grades together). They have gone to a park in Bethlehem, the zoo in Jerusalem, Jerico and Jeneen (there is a theme park there with roller coasters). Their field trips are just for playing.

What are the biggest differences between the schools and US schools?
the food
they have less recess time
they have 45 minutes for each lesson
starting in first grade they have different teachers for each subject

The kids wanted to talk more and had more questions for the kids in Wisconsin. We will be putting their questions in here tomorrow.

We started learning about using the Flip Video cameras yesterday. They all made small movies just to learn how to use them. I am putting some pictures in here of them using the cameras!

The main topic today is hospitality. People here are so generous and hospitable. Every time you stop into someone's home they bring you tea or coffee. They make you feel so welcome. Last night I went with two other women to a house of someone they had met. While we were sitting and visiting with the family, Giselle kept going into the kitchen and coming out with one or another thing for us to eat or drink. First it was lemonade, then salted peanuts, then a plate of fruit for each person, then little hot meat pies, then tea, then cookies. The little meat pies are hard to explain because I do not have a word for them. One kind looks like a tiny pizza (about two inches in diameter) topped with some mix of meat and spices, one was a triangle of dough made with herbs in the dough and the triangles were filled with cheese, the last one was another triangle of dough which had a different filling. I am not sure how to describe it. It is not only food though. You feel like you are very welcome and they laugh and talk and everyone enjoys one another. No one is in a big hurry, so they sit and talk.

It is a contrast to our American way where we are all so busy all of the time. 
Ruty in Hertzeliya was also very hospitable. She made cake and the halva candy and took us so many places. Here is the recipe for the Halva Candy:

Crackling candy 
Material size 20X27 cm format:
1 cup sesame seeds 
100g butter 
Half cup honey 
Half cup sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder 
Cup raw tahini 
5 cups Rice Krispies
100g of halva cut into chunks

Preparation: Roast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan while stirring, until golden. Remove bowl and set aside. Bring to a boil in a large pot of butter, honey, sugar, coffee grinding. Remove from the heat, add Rice Krispies, toasted sesame, halva and mix well. Pour into pan lined with greased baking paper, flatten with a spoon or with the bottom of a glass (this is important to the cookies will not fall apart during cutting). Cool to room temperature. Keep in a sealed refrigerator and serve cold. When it is done it looks like marshmallow treats. Cut into 1 inch squares.


  1. I can't wait to try the Crackling candy recipe. What fruits are common in Palestine? Do they have different fruits than we have in the United States?

    Those kids have a long day and only 30 minutes for lunch/recess. They have to work a lot harder than I did at that age. Do the adults work the same hours? 7:30 seems early. Do businesses open at 7:30 too?

  2. Most of the fruit in Palestine is the same fruit we have. I have eaten lots of watermelon. I have also eaten apples, apricots, bananas, cantaloupe, honey dew, peaches, and plums. They also have pomegranate trees. Most of the fruit is grown locally and comes from other places in Palestine.

    The one fruit that was mentioned that was different is tamarind. I haven't seen the fruit, but yesterday I had tamarind juice to drink. It was made from a concentrate, so I am not sure if they have the fruit.

    I will answer your other question in the blog tomorrow.


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