Safekeeping is a description of common characters residing on an Israeli kibbutz in the late 1990s. At the center of the story is Adam, a drug addict from New York city, on the lam and carrying a 700-year-old brooch. He stumbles into Ulya, a sexy, ambitious Russian immigrant to Israel, who feigned a Jewish identity to escape the confines of Russia only to find herself trapped in a tiny country and inside an even tinier commune. Claudette, is a French Canadian volunteer with an unrelented case of OCD. Ancient, dying, Ziva represents the Israeli pioneers that fought for the country’s independence and social identity. There are Arab workers and young soldiers sent to keep peace on the West Bank. Everyone is indeed universal: I met a variant of each one on Kibbutz Ketura when I live there. In the end, however, despite the meticulous notes that Jessamyn Hope must have taken when she lived on her kibbutz, very few of the characters feel complex enough to fully engage our sympathy. Not even the brooch.
A sourdough Fougasse is a flatbread baked into the shape of a leaf. This one was stuffed with olives and sprinkled with oregano and thyme. We dipped into organic, Greek olive oil (thank you, Aldi’s) and balsamic vinegar while it was still warm from the oven. Full disclosure. The fougasse in this picture is the second one, the first having been consumed before a photo could even be taken. The rest of the meal was a venison stew and steamed chard direct from our local Amish farmer.