Gala dinner will highlight Taste of Israel week

Clara Davidov, in traditional Bukharan costume, participated in last year’s “Israel Ethnic Epi­curian Gala.” (Photo courtesy of Sue Schergin)

The second annual “Israel Ethnic Epicurean Gala,” sponsored by the TIPS (Tucson, Israel, Phoenix and Seattle) partnership, will be held Nov. 3 with food prepared by nine ethnically diverse Israeli women from our Partnership 2000 region of Kiryat Malachi and Hof Ashkelon.

The women, who will spend a week in Tucson beginning Oct. 31, are gourmet chefs specializing in exotic dishes from their native cultures, including Indian, Yemenite, Moroccan, Persian, Hungarian and Tunisian.

The gala, part of the Heartbeat of Israel series, will be held at the Tucson Jewish Community Center at 6 p.m. It will include storyboards with each woman’s history as well as music, dance and ethnic costumes. Advance tickets are $20 for adults and $14 for children ages 5-17. Tickets at the door will be $28 for adults and $20 for children. Table sponsorships are available. Cookbooks with the featured recipes will be available online at jewishtucson.org.

During the “Taste of Israel” week, the women will also hold a spice workshop with Young Jewish Tucson, a lunch at Tucson Hebrew Academy and a henna demonstration and basket weaving at Hebrew High. They will visit the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation and participate in the Jewish Food Festival on Nov. 7 at Brandi Fenton Memorial Park. At the

festival, they will demonstrate how to create unique spice mixes, which will be available for purchase.

Volunteers can work alongside the women Monday, Nov. 1 through Thursday,

Nov. 4. For information, contact Tremia Cox at the Israel Center, 577-9393, ext. 133.

Led by Smadar Kaplinsky, these women have spent months learning the skills to run a catering and/or restaurant business. Kaplinsky has directed similar programs in the Beit Shemesh/Adulam, Okafim/Merhavim and Netivot regions of Israel. The Netivot group opened a restaurant in Tel Aviv “that is all the rage,” says Tucson TIPS committee chair Sue Schergin. The TIPS goal, says Schergin, is to have a similar venture in our partnership region.

TIPS is a project of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. For tickets to the Nov. 3 gala, contact the Israel Center.