✈ Keeping Kosher in the Golan Heights, Israel

Contributed by: Laurie Rappeport | Last Date of Travel: December 2012

Kosher Information:

Kibbutz Merom HaGolan Kosher Dining Room

The Merom HaGolan kibbutz, along the eastern border of the Golan Heights, offers simple kibbutz-style dining to tourists who want a filling kosher meal while they’re traveling through the area. The dining area seats up to 300 people and serves both individuals and groups.

The Israeli-style buffet breakfast includes fresh vegetables and salads, eggs and a variety of cheeses. Lunches and dinners are meat-based with choices of beef or chicken and side dishes of rice, potatos and a variety of salads. Meal coupons for Friday night meals are available, a convenience for guests who are staying over at the Merom HaGolan Guest House.

Ochel Beiti, Katzrin

Ochel Beiti is located in Katzrin’s commercial center, right off the main entrance to the city. It features Yemenite home cooking such as home-made pitas, spicy salads, meaty soups and kebabs at budget pricing.

  • Katzrin Commercial Center
  • 04-696-2120
  • Meat
  • Golan Rabbinical Council

Cowboy’s Restaurant, Merom HaGolan

The Cowboy’s Restaurant at Kibbutz Merom HaGolan is a ranch-type restaurant which presents the atmosphere of the Wild West. It is located next to the kibbutz’s horse stable and diners can enjoy watching the horses trotting outside while they eat. The restaurant features fresh meats which are aged and then grilled including sirloin steak and entrecote beef, spiced lamb kebabs and an X-mix grill of lamb chops, entrecote, chicken steak, kebab and marinated chicken breast.

  • Merom HaGalil Kibbutz
  • Meat
  • 04- 6960206
  • Golan Rabbinical Council

Tourist Information:

There are a wide range of hiking trails in the Golan including the Gamla Nature Reserve, the Yehudiya Nature Reserve (Nahal Yehudiya) and the Hexagonal Pool. The Gamla Nature Reserve is known as the site of the “Northern Massada” where Jews, trapped by the Romans during the 1st century C.E. siege, jumped off the cliff to their deaths rather than submit to Roman slavery. The Nature Reserve features trails that bring visitors through an area that is heavily populated by a variety of bird species. Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve features a number of trails which criss-cross through rivers where hikers can swim. One of the Yehudiya hikes brings hikers to the Hexigonal Pool which is located at the bottom of a canyon (Nahal Yehudiya). The moderately-difficult hike takes approximately 2 hours but hikers can look forward to a cool swim at the end of the hike.

Katzrin is the main city in the Golan with a population of approximately 10,000 people. The Golan Winery is located a few minutes from Katzrin and visitors can take one of the scheduled tours of the winery and enjoy a wine-tasting experience. The wines are certified kosher by Rabbi Shalom Aronzon. The Talmudic Village is also located near Katzrin. There were a large number of Jewish communities in the Golan during the first centuries of the Common Era at the time that the Talmud was being written in Tiberias. The Talmudic Village presents a recreated village that shows visitors what life was like for Jewish residents of the area during the first centuries of the first millennia.

Travelers can head to the Northern Golan Heights where an 11th century Crusader fortress, Nimrod’s Castle, sits high above the Golan, offering an expansive view of the Galilee, Golan and Kinneret below. The fortress has been excavated and signs are posted throughout the complex to explain the entire system of Crusader life and the wars that they fought in the Middle East. Nearby Lake Ram, a volcanic crater lake, is open for tourists to swim and relax. The lake is filled by rain water and an underground spring.

Jewish Information:

Much of the religious life of the Golan is concentrated in Katzrin where the mikves and synagogues are located. There are two mikves in Katzrin, one at Chatzav Street (04-6961585) and the other on 34 Kinrot Street (04-6850049). There are five synagogues in Katzrin including Ashkenazi, Sefardi and Edot Mizrach congregations and a Chabad (04-696-4108) congregation. Most of the religious residents of the Golan are connected to the National Religious community.

There are also several “dati” (national religious) yishuvim on the Golan including Hispin, Nov, and Keshet. These settlements all have synagogues and Keshet (04-6960551) and Nov (04-6762449) have mikves.
There are guest houses on these settlements where visitors can find comfortable accommodations year-round.

Author of this post: Laurie Rappeport has lived in Safed, Israel for over 25 years and worked at the Tourist Information Center in the Old Jewish Quarter for 13 years. She continues to be involved in a wide range of projects which are aimed at bringing visitors to Safed to enjoy the religious, historical, cultural and artistic sites and experiences that the city has to offer. Laurie blogs at Safed.blogspot.co.il

About the author

Dani Klein

Dani Klein founded YeahThatsKosher in 2008 as a global kosher restaurant & travel resource for the Jewish community.

He is passionate about traveling the world, good kosher food / restaurants, social media & the web, technology, hiking, strategy games, and spending time with his friends & family.

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