I love you, Abulafia

The old sea port of Jaffa, a short walk from the bustle of downtown Tel Aviv is a beautiful, peaceful escape from urban jungle. Its maze of narrow streets is full of artists’ studios, shops and restaurants tucked in stone passageways that are cool respite from the heat of the Mediterranean sun.

Jaffa, Israel

For me, the absolute highlight of any trip to Jaffa has always been a visit to the Abulafia bakery for lunch. Abulafia is a 24-hour street-side bakery that has been located at the same corner in Jaffa since 1879.

You can imagine that after more than 130 years in the business, they pretty much have the recipes down pat. Bakery food does not get better than this in Israel. This magnificent eating establishment helped me recover after many a late night out as a teenager in Israel, and continues to bring a smile to my face when I visit today. I can’t even begin to describe how tasty the bourekas, sambousek, pitta with zartar and all the other local breads, they make. Outstanding!

Abulafia is truly an Israeli institution that everyone in the country knows and loves. A cab driver will need nothing more than its name to deliver you to its door.

But what I love most about this humble bakery is that in many ways it is the perfect symbol of Arab-Israeli coexistence. Owned by an Israeli-Arab family and staffed by Jews, Christians, and Moslems, here is a place where people of all religions both literally and metaphorically break bread together every day.

Could the solution to Middle East peace lie somewhere between a baklava and a bagel? Perhaps not. But then again, everyone does love a good feed now, don’t they?

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