Daphne Howland

Saying Grace in Tel Aviv

It wasn?t all that difficult to be a vegetarian while I was on a ?young journalists? exchange in Israel in 1990, during the first intifada. Eating was largely a free-range affair, and the meatless choices ? at least if one also ate eggs, cheese and fish ? were numerous and good, far more varied than my daily San Francisco-based lunch habit of package-marinated tofu and avocado sandwiches. A lot of Israeli street food, like cheese- or spinach-filled bourekas (pastries), was, according to kosher rules, either dairy or pareve. Falafel sandwiches, made from crushed chickpeas and fresh parsley, were as common as pizza in Rome and better than even those of the King of Falafel, on Divisadero Street in San Francisco.