ESH KODESH – Maayan Shaar, 26, of Esh Kodesh had no idea that her family’s favorite midweek dinner – sushi rolls – would become such a sought-after food item across Samaria’s hilltop communities.
“I’ve been making sushi for a long time,” Shaar told Tazpit News Agency. “My children love it – every time I make sushi, the rolls disappear within seconds.” The mother of three, who has been living with her husband and family in Esh Kodesh for two years, discovered the business niche in sushi-making by accident.
“When Esh Kodesh celebrated the 13th anniversary of its founding last year, we had a community potluck and I brought my sushi. I found out that it wasn’t only my kids who liked my sushi – so did everyone else in our community.”
So much so that when Esh Kodesh opened its first bed and breakfast, the owner, Inbal Zeev, included Shaar’s sushi on the inn’s menu.
“Orders started coming in from all over,” explains Saar. People across the Binyamin region from communities like Adei Ad, Kida, Maale Levonah, Shiloh, Shvut Rachel, and other remote hilltops began phoning in to order sushi for all sorts of events and occasions.
“Sushi Esh Kodesh” was consequently born and the enterprise recently caught the attention of international and Israeli press including Yedioth Ahronoth, whose coverage has brought Maayan a whole slew of new customers.
“I make the sushi on my own,” explains Shaar who grew up in northern Samaria. She refuses to allow her husband to help her out with the sushi making. “I want to make this enterprise work on my own” the young mother explains. “I never expected anything like this to happen – but this is my niche that I want to develop.”
It wasn’t easy for Shaar to locate the unique ingredients needed to make the sushi. “There are very specific stores that sell certain sushi ingredients and you can usually only find them in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem,” she explains. “But thank G-d, I was able to find a local supplier.”
While her sushi business and family take up much of her time, Saar remains strongly aware of the media portrayal of the Esh Kodesh community. “It’s just unfair and frustrating,” Shaar told Tazpit. “The media portrays us simply as settlers- and not as people. The situation here is complex but we are normal people who just want quiet like everyone else in this country.”
In the meantime, Shaar envisions opening a sushi restaurant in Esh Kodesh someday. “It’s beautiful here,” she says. “I hope that people will come to visit from all over Israel to see what we have here — and eat my sushi,” she concludes.