Whether you are looking for a delicious de-tox from chemicals and animal products or just an escape from the stresses of urban living, a visit is mostly definitely just what the doctor ordered. Melanie Weiss visits Moshav Amirim...
For those of us who dwell in cities, even the restorative power of an organic lifestyle can feel hectic. Produce has to be specially procured, restaurants slowly discovered and vetted and, on the whole, it can feel like just another thing a busy urbanite has to deal with on a daily basis. How nice to be reminded, then, that there is a place, tucked away in Israel’s verdant North, where the vegetarian and organically-oriented can embrace the natural lifestyle at a slower pace. This magical getaway is, of course, Amirim, a moshav located in the Galil.
Amirim is over fifty years old, and its charm seems to be ever growing. Originally an abandoned settlement of Moroccan Jews, Amirim became the vegetarian moshav it is today in the late 1950s and has been an important tourist destination for decades.
It is easy to see why: the moshav, primarily supported by tourism, offers the eco-conscious traveler a hard-to-come-by combination of indulgence and guiltlessness. Various guesthouses, offering an assortment of cabins and rooms, are scattered throughout the village. These accommodations do not just offer privacy, comfort and a sense that one has wandered into one’s own personal Eden, complete with low-hanging fruit trees. They also manage to make you feel that your personal hedonism is, in fact, good for the earth. The hard-to-miss Ohn-Bar Guest Houses goes so far as to inform its guests that the grey (i.e., used) water from their in-cabin Jacuzzis serves to keep the verdant grounds watered.
Though many of the sleeping accommodations provide small kitchenettes for guests to use, it would be frankly criminal not to visit one of Amirim’s food establishments. Including two restaurants and a bakery/café, these businesses are entirely vegetarian, largely organic, and grow lots of what ends up, delicious, on your plate. The elegant Dalia’s, in particular, offers a stunning vista of a grove of fruit trees—the fruit from which goes into the incredible homemade jams. Indeed, just about all of the food at Dalia’s is homemade, and much of the produce comes from outside her back door—chemical-free, guests are assured, since pesticides ruin the delicate tastes.
It is not that Amirim is an all-tourist getaway. There is a local supermarket and residents can be seen walking their children and their dogs, though there are also artists’ studios, galleries, walking paths and other gentle reminders that the pace of life, as part and parcel of its veggie and all-natural mandate, is just easier in Amirim. Whether you are looking for a delicious de-tox from chemicals and animal products or just an escape from the stresses of urban living, a visit is mostly definitely just what the doctor ordered.