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  • Talma Gotteiner

Sderot, Netivot and Ashkelon: Southern Hospitality (Part 1)

Updated: Jan 24, 2020

Hi there!

When you think of Southern Hospitality in the USA, you probably think of steak & potatoes, cowboys and rodeos. In short, fun and welcoming. In Israel, you can replace them with ethnic foods and crafts, singing and dancing, sunny beaches during the day and spirituality at night i.e. no less fun and welcoming.

I am happy to share with you a two-day trip that I took with a delegation of the Israel Blog writers Association (IBRA).

Trip Itinerary

Sderot (Part 1)

  • Café Guté – a social café

  • ‘Rokmot’ - The local Ethiopian embroidery club

  • Sderot Adama Movement and Dance Center

  • Pasta and That’s It (in Hebrew ‘Pasta Vezehu’)

  • Caterpillar Park

  • 'Tarbush' Sderot

Netivot (Part 2)

  • Tales of Rabbis in a Spirituality Walking Tour

Ashkelon (Part 2)

  • The Life & Legacy of Ilana Shafir

  • Sea Park Ashkelon - A Marina-Park Combo

  • 'Niso the Fisherman' Restaurant

  • Harlington Hotel - Accomodation

  • Karmazina's Beer Workshop, Talmei Yaffe

Trip Details


I've written about Sderot previously and have covered the first four locations as well as a few others so you may find additional information in my previous article.

Café Guté - A Social Café

I'm happy to say that Café Guté together with the Gvanim organization are continuing with their remarkable social project that supports youngsters with a variety of disabilities, in their efforts to lead an independent life and integrate into society. Leah Buganim a manager at Gvanim mentioned that around 2,000 youngsters are supported through the organization's activities throughout Israel. Amit Semesh, one of those youngsters shared her story of how working with Gvanim helped her cope with anxiety and depression.

Contact: 4 Hadegel St., Sderot, 08-6515761 or 054-9773604

Sderot, Netivot and Ashkelon: Southern Hospitality (Part 1)
Top Row Left to Right: Sigal Berg, Sderot Tourism, Leah Buganim, Gvanim manager, Amit Semesh and Miri Yosef, Ashkelon Tourism

‘Rokmot’ - The local Ethiopian embroidery club

The Rokmot club, which is within a walking distance from Café Guté has also expanded and now has 15 members aged 37-84, who meet on a weekly basis to weave and embroider their wonderful crafts amongst friends. They have also become more organized in the visits that they offer.

A visit normally takes one hour and includes a meeting with some of the members who share some of their immigration stories, explain a bit about their crafts, show a short video about their club and offer a taste of traditional ethiopian cuisine. Did you know that the ethiopian injera bread is gluten free since it is made of teff flour? As a celiac, I had a ball.

Sderot, Netivot and Ashkelon: Southern Hospitality (Part 1)
'Rokmot' - The local Ethiopian embroidery club

Sderot Adama Movement and Dance Center

Nir Ben Gal, the co-founder with Liat Dror of the dance center in Sderot met was happy to tell us how well it is flourishing. The locals have all been very supportive and neighborly allowing the dance center to expand it's work with students and professionals from all over the country and abroad. They offer a B.A. in collaboration with the Sapir Academic College, as well as several courses.

However, of the most interest to you are their dance performances and stand-alone workshops that take place during several festivals throughout the year. The most imminent one is the "Darom Adom" festival that will be taking place this year over four weekends from Jan 31, 2020 - Feb 28, 2020. This year, the "Sderot Adama Dance Company" as part of the "Darom Adom" festival, will be hosting the public on two Fridays, Feb 7th and 14th to a half day of fun including a dance workshop at 12:00, a show at 14:00 and a freestyle dance party with a DJ at 15:00. The show this year is an interpretation of "Dance of Nothing", a show originally choreographed and performed by Nir Ben Gal and Liat Dror. The show deals with love, relationships and identity that are expressed as a power struggle. During the performance, the dancers bake cookies that envelop the viewer and generate a conciliatory comforting close. The name of the show in Hebrew is "Aza Kamavet HaAhava". Since the dance center is located within 6 min walking distance from the train station, it's easy to get there and back.

If you're interested, there is a coupon code with a 20% discount for the two shows on my 'members only' page. If you're not a member, you'll be directed to subscribe.

Contact: 11 Palmach St., Sderot, 08-6595190

Sderot, Netivot and Ashkelon: Southern Hospitality (Part 1)
Sderot Adama Movement and Dance Center with Nir Ben-Gal on the top right and his students filming a video-art project on the bottom.

Pasta and That’s It (in Hebrew ‘Pasta Vezehu’)

I was happy to return to the Italian restaurant "Pasta and That's It", knowing the high-quality of the fresh homemade pasta and salads. They even have a choice of gluten-free pasta that I had with an aglio e olio dressing that is delicious.

Idan Kadosh the co-owner with Shira Langi, extended his welcome to you.

Sderot, Netivot and Ashkelon: Southern Hospitality (Part 1)
Co-owner Idan Kadosh from Pasta and That’s It

Caterpillar Park and the 'Tarbush' Cooperative

I'm combining the last two items because we heard about them together. We met at the Caterpillar Park with Tamar Capsouto, one of the founding members of the 'Tarbush' project.

Caterpillar park is a playground for local families that has a unique concrete caterpillar installation that allows children to play in safety since Sderot is relatively near the Gaza strip and lives intermittently under crossfire. It's located on 3 Ahad HaAm St., Sderot.

The 'Tarbush' project is a cooperative of local performers and musicians that write and perform songs related to life in Sderot. They have recently issued a book of poems/songs entitled "Sderot on Fire", named after one of them. The proceeds from selling the book will be used to produce their first album. If you're interested in purchasing the book or going to one of their musical performances, you are welcome to contact them at

Sderot, Netivot and Ashkelon: Southern Hospitality (Part 1)
Bottom Left: Tamar Capsouto at the guitar


See above. This post is all inclusive.


We stayed overnight at the Harlington Hotel in Ashkelon. Please refer to Part 2 for more details.

My Timeline

The tour in Sderot took till around 16:00. We then drove to the hotel and took a night tour to Netivot. Please refer to Part 2 for more details.

This is what it looks like on the map:

Sderot, Netivot and Ashkelon: Southern Hospitality (Part 1)
Sderot, Netivot and Ashkelon Part 1 Trip Map

I hope you take advantage of the upcoming 'Darom Adom Festival 2020' to visit some of the places in the South.



P.S. If you're interested in travel-related offers, you're welcome to view my 'guided tours' and 'best deals' pages. Subscribers also have 'members only' benefits such as my updated events bulletin. To subscribe go here.

Disclaimer: The blog may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links, I will receive a small percentage of the profits at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting

1 Comment

Jan 23, 2020

Graet tips and beautiful way of showing Israel that not everyone knows!:)

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