the road from Kibbutz Gvulot, we came upon Moshe Attala – the resident
cheesemaker in that neck of the desert. Attala, originally
from Algiers, settled in Israel in 1967. After learning Hebrew at ulpan
[intensive Hebrew lessons] at Kibbutz Hulda, Attala eventually settled in
Kibbutz Ze’elim. Although by profession a swimming trainer, Kibbutz Ze’elim
recognized the gourmand in him and sent Attala to France to learn the art
Attala is also the man behind the
new synagogue on Kibbutz Ze’elim. Although not a religious kibbutz,
members felt a need to establish a central place of prayer. Under Attala’s
leadership it took them a few years to gather the necessary funds and open
the doors to a very welcoming shul. Across the path from the pub where
the 20-30-something crowd meet, the synagogue offers kibbutz members a choice
of ways to celebrate the Sabbath. Although only a few years old, the new
synagogue, with a Torah scroll donated by a member of a neighboring settlement,
has been used to celebrate the births of new babies, and Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.
A simcha room has been set up at the back of the shul and members
gather there weekly for the Shabbat kiddush.
Cheeses [with kashrut certificate]
are for sale from the sparkling clean premises. Sheep, goat and cow milk
cheeses are produced: Camembert, Brie, Roquefort, Emantal, Labane.
The dairy is closed on Sunday since,
according to the laws of kashrut, the milk collected from the animals
on Shabbat may not be used to make cheese.
Text by J. Isaacson