Sunday, February 18, 2007

Pastel Toys: Kibbutz with a Cause

A few summers ago while on a road trip in Northern Israel we embarked on a fruitless journey to find a small Druze restaurant located in the "Park Ha'Slaim," or Park of Rocks in the Druze village of Kisra. The goal of the excursion was to make it to the restaurant before sunset. The restaurant is perched on a cliff overlooking the rock park and the view before sunset is magical and, besides the deliciously mysterious Druze food, the only reason to trek out to the obscure eatery.
Well, we got lost. Really lost. The village is ensconced somewhere in the winding mountainous roads of the Galilee. By the time we actually found Kisra and its rock park it was past sunset on a Sunday night and for reasons we shall never know since the Druze keep their cultural and religious practices secret, the restaurant was closed. I mention this story because while we were driving through those circuitous mountain roads we passed an Israeli kibbutz with a similar name - Kishorit - and got excited because we thought perhaps we had written down the village name incorrectly. But then we realized we were simultaneously correct and incorrect, for Kishorit was not the Druze town and instead a kibbutz that employs mentally disabled adults by making delicate handmade wooden toys for kids. Flash forward to the present and I'm flipping through an old NYTimes magazine and lo and behold a fantastic wooden airplane from Pastel Toys, the Kishorit brand.

The toys are made with milk-based paints which makes them allergy-free because they are made with non-toxic chemicals. The kibbutz also maintains an organic vegetable garden and proceeds from the toys go to help the kibbutz remain self-sustaining. The moral of this rambling post? Next time I am in Israel I will preceed a dinner at Kisra with a wooden toy buying excursion in Kishorit. Or buy them here. And here.


Maryam in Marrakesh said...

So lovely that bunny on wheels:-)

sara said...

I know! So precious. I checked out your blog Maryam and it's fantastic. I'll try and keep up with your Morrocan renovations!