5 Reasons to Explore Golan, Israel

Golan Heights is located in the northern part of Israel, in a location that was at one time occupied by Syria. While Israeli control of the area is still hotly contested, today the region is known more for grapes and wine than guns and war.

Don’t be scared off because of the events of the past, as the region is very calm now and has been occupied by Israelis for decades. Many Israeli farms, vineyards, and communities exist throughout Golan Heights, and most openly welcome visitors into their businesses and homes.

Interested in seeing a different side of Israel, away from the busy bars and beaches of Tel Aviv, and separate from the religious wonders of Jerusalem? Golan Heights is a great choice!

While there are a million great reasons to visit Golan, a few of the most special are discussed below.

Jam

Israeli and Jewish grandmas around the world are known for their fabulous fruit jam recipes, passed down through the family for centuries.

Stephanie Kempker / Own Work
Stephanie Kempker / Own Work

The Jam House is a great example. Sara, the proprietor and namesake, makes her jam with all natural ingredients in the good old fashioned grandma-styled way. She offers hundreds upon hundreds of jam flavors, ranging from sweet fruit flavors to savory vegetable spreads perfect for toast or crackers. I especially liked the garlic influenced savory jams and got a few for myself and a few for gifts. How did I figure my favorite? Sara provides free tastings of unlimited number!

She also provides interesting information and commentary, including a stern instruction at the beginning of the introduction about using a new spoon every time you try a different jam. When I looked at her questioningly (who would stick their saliva-covered spoon into a communal jam?), she informed me that you’d think it’d be common sense but it isn’t for everyone, and I’d be surprised how many locals try to “double dip.”