By Robin B. Zeiger
Recently I had a Chassidic moment. There is a story about a poor Jew from a small village who goes in search of a treasure in a far-away place. Unsuccessful, he returns home to find the treasure in his back yard. Recently I dined at one of my favorite restaurants in Jerusalem; a place I used to frequent as a tourist. This time I realized our local restaurant, Ha’roeh B’kfar, is superior to the Jerusalem cuisine. The backyard treasure is five minutes from my house. I promised I would bring you the secret spots in our sister region. So I set out to get the real scoop. So I interviewed Moron Shikler, wife of Dror, one of four brothers who own the restaurant. Moron and Dror’s story is sweet and romantic. They were born and raised in Emek Hefer, attended the same grammar school in the village and were childhood friends. K’far HaRoeh, like so many moshavim and kibbutzim in the area originally relied on agriculture. However, over the years, it became increasingly difficult for this to be the sole source of income. About twenty years ago, Dror’s mother, Shoshanna, began to bake and sell cakes from her home. Slowly, with the help of family, she became successful. Shoshanna had a vision; to start a café. At that time, there was no real business in K’far HaRoeh. Shoshana began what was to become a very successful bakery. (The cinnamon rolls are amazing!) Ten years ago, the family opened HaRoeh B’kfar, the first kosher restaurant of its kind in the area. Today the moshav boasts of several businesses to help boost the local economy, which include a gallery, frame shop, chocolate shop, cheese shop, and woman’s boutique. Today HaRoeh B’kfar has become well known. Even my Ulpan teacher from Netanya knew of its fame. I quickly learned that if I want a good spot on a Friday, I need to make a reservation. Interestingly the restaurant really does not advertise. Its fame has spread by word of mouth. The menu includes thick, rich soups, pasta dishes, salads, quiches, and other such delicacies. I have two favorites; fresh bread served warm with garlic butter and spreads and cheese cake paired with café hafoch (Israeli version of a latte). And of course, I like to sit outside in the peaceful garden. I learned that many of the amazing ingredients come from our moshav, including the cheese and bread. As I spoke to Moron, we sat outside while her three young children happily ran around. Moron is excitedly awaiting a second set of twins. Dror walked back and forth between the children, the restaurant and the bakery, with a smile. When Dror was out of earshot, Moron proudly told me how her husband’s family is special. Not only are they hard working people with vision, but they also quietly engage in acts of gemilut chassidim (loving kindness), volunteering, helping to feed the poor, and reaching out to others in need. Dror invited me to come back. I have a feeling I have gained two new friends. My ventures in Emek Hefer truly feel like treasure hunting at its best and it is all due to my readers in Richmond. Come join me for some cheese cake.