“It was the best day I’ve had since the war began. A few hours of disconnecting from the outside, and connecting with the inside. Thank you for this treat, and most of all, for the acknowledgment and recognition. It replenished me with going into another tough weekend,” writes a recent participant in Asif’s new initiative, Follow the Food.
Since October 7, Asif has focused on supporting frontline soldiers and families deeply impacted by the war, all while supporting the local culinary community. With this new initiative, we hope to provide a day of respite for the partners of soldiers who are adjusting to a new reality with their loved ones at war. At the same time, the initiative is aimed at supporting the local culinary tour industry and the independent restaurants they visit, which have been devastated by the war.
Before the war started, Naama Eliyahu used to spend her days leading culinary tours through Tel Aviv’s Neve Sha’anan neighborhood. She stopped after October 7 and “it took me a while to decide to start guiding tours again,” she says. “It was hard to think of doing this work that is such a pleasure — something I truly love.” But, ultimately, she decided to return.
“I was so happy when Asif contacted me about this idea — I could not think of a better audience. People on my tours always say it feels like they are in a different world, like being abroad, so if for three hours I can make them feel abroad and leave their troubles behind, it’s worth everything.”
Suzan Serban-Yadid who attended one of Eliyahu’s tours explains: “I was so grateful for this opportunity to have time for myself and for this mind- and palate-expanding tour. Naama is simply fascinating. I’ve never traveled to the Far East, so I only know the mainstream dishes, and it was really great to be introduced to new things.”
Racheli Gat, who participated in a tour of Levinsky market led by David Kichka, also appreciated the experience. “It was fun to visit all these places I wouldn’t necessarily go to on my own, to taste flavors I wouldn’t try by myself, to meet owners of local businesses I wouldn’t have a chance of meeting on my own. It was a wonderful feeling, to exit survival mode, and for a few hours be nothing but a curious, careless tour participant.”
Asif has raised donations to sponsor free tours with Israel’s top independent tour guides including a culinary tour with Erez Gulko of the Talpiot Market or Haifa’s Wadi Nisnas; and a tour of the Machane Yehuda Market or a foraging tour with Nura Hertz in the Judean mountains and foothills.Interested in joining? Register here to receive updates on upcoming tours. Please note that participants are responsible for their own transportation. Tours typically last two to three hours. We are happy to accommodate different culinary preferences and other requests.