A month ago, I packed clothes and gear for two days, got in the car, and started driving towards the train station in Tel Aviv. There I was supposed to meet a few other bloggers and we were supposed to leave for Sderot, Netivot and Ashkelon. We were going to explore the wonderful places the area has to offer.
A few minutes after I started driving (around a quarter to 6 a.m.), my husband called and said to me: "Have you heard the news?"
"The situation in the south is not good. I suggest you check if the tour isn't cancelled."
I stopped immediately , opened up my news sites and my Whatsapp groups (all muted so the phone wouldn't beep all day), and indeed, the tour was canceled.
Two minutes later, I also received a call from Galit Kedar, one of the tour organizers. She made sure I saw the message on time, before boarding the train.
I returned home. The children were surprised to see me. I returned to normal, while missiles fell in Sderot and the surrounding area. The people who live there "spent" a few days in shelters😔.
Fortunately, last week the tour finally took off. We were able to go there and be impressed by all sorts of cool places located in Sderot, Ashkelon and Netivot.
Because we did so much over these two days, I decided to devide the experiences into a few articles.
This article will focus on Sderot, which, despite its image, is a lovely place that has lots and lots of lots to do!
(And by the way, anyone who follows me on the blog knows I've been to Sderot in the past. Which is why I knew some of the places, but these are fun places to come back to!)
So where were we and what did we do?
Our first stop was Gutte Café, which is located near the Cinematheque. It is a social place belonging to the Gvanim association.
The cafe, run by Leah Boganim, has been around for 5 years. It employs waiters with special needs who receive fair treatment, social conditions and preparation for independent living.
The cafe is characterized by a pleasant and calm atmosphere. During the week it works as a buffet and on Fridays, breakfasts are also served.
The place also serves as a stage for artists. When we got there, we had an exhibition of works around Aric Einstein's (One of the most famous singers in Israel) songs:
While we were eating the excellent Cakes there, we spoke with Amit Semesh. She told us openly about how Gvanim association helped her deal with mental difficulties. Today, she works at Gvanim's call center. The call center provides information and training for young people with disabilities.
Hadegel 4 Sderot
for further details:
Inside the Atzmaut Community Center, we met a group of Ethiopian women who live in Sderot. They create traditional Ethiopian-style art and embroidery.
(I loved this happy tulip so much)
We spoke with Tali Engadia, who told us that this is a social business, from which the creators make a living, and they also enjoy the social gathering.
(The women honored us with Injira- ethiopian bread and more)
The women come there twice a week. Zila Levy, from the volunteer group that works at the place, shared about the volunteer meetings with the women, from whom everyone benefits. The group has about 18 embroideries.
Workshops, engaging conversations and /or the purchase of beautiful embroidery products can be reached.
Chagay 30 Sderot
To book visits and workshops:
Zila Levy- 0507211948
Tali Engadia- 0525526365
If you are already in Sderot, don't miss Kobi Hill. The hill, which is named after the mythical security officer of Sderot, overlooks Gaza, and from it you can see the buildings where Hamas officials live. A must-see station for anyone who wants to understand better how close we are ...
A visitor center will soon be built on the hill where visitors can study the area.
In Waze: Givat Kobi
Gan Hamishalot (Wish Garden):
Gan Hamishalot is a playground. There the children can play in a more relaxed atmosphere than other playgrounds, because in the center stands a huge green caterpillar, which is actually a shelter(!).
Once you hear a siren, you can run into the caterpillar and hide in it until it's safe again.
In this playground we realized the impossible reality, which the city's residents are facing. They can't even go to play in the facilities leisurely ...
At Gan Hamishalot wev'e met Tamar Capsuto of the Tarbush cultural co-operative, which consists of a group of young artists from Sderot. The co-operative was established in 2013. In 2014, during the "Zuk Eitan" operation in Gaza, members of Tarbush set out on a venture. They invited residents of Sderot to send them songs about the situation and about Sderot. About two years later, the album "Ir chama"(Hot City) was released. The album contains some of the songs, which were composed by members of the cooperative.
Tamar sang some songs, which helped us understand the city residents' feelings a little better:
for further details:
Adama Center is a dance center, founded by Nir Ben Gal and Liat Dror, creative choreographers and directors of the Sderot Adama dance troupe.
In Adama center you can find a choreography and movement school. A movement healing course and a center for activities and performances. Nir told us about the many activities at the place. He gave us a glimpse into the rehearsal rooms, where the dancers worked on the next performance.
Palmach 11 Sderot
For more details and show dates:
We had lunch at the excellent restaurant "Pasta Vezehu" (Pasta and that's it).
I have eaten in the past in the restaurant. I was delighted to find that the high level of the pasta was preserved. There are new dishes, including gluten-free pasta!
We started with focaccia and salads:
(Salad with sweet potato, cheese and lots of good things)
And we continued with the pastas:
(Pasta in truffle sauce)
(Pasta in aglio olio sauce)
(Pasta in excellent tomato sauce)
Histadrut 12 Sderot
for further details:
So the next time you're thinking about a day-tour, think about Sderot.
It's easy to get there (using trains, buses and also by car it is not far at all). There are good people,a great atmosphere and lots of things to discover in this special city😄.