July 22, 2024
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Israeli Chemist Offers New, Natural Activity for Chag Ha’Aviv

Kfar Saba—Pesach, traditionally also known as Chag Ha’Aviv (holiday of the spring), is aptly nicknamed as it virtually always takes place during the few weeks where Israel is neither too cold nor too hot. In fact, as natives and tourists alike can attest, Pesach is one of the most beautiful times to be around nature, as one can very clearly see the Holy Land awakening from a long winter and blooming into warmer times. National parks and hikes are constantly teeming with those anxious to see the shetach Yisraeli at her best, to the point that unless one visits a more “off the beaten path” site, they can oftentimes be met with the sight of every Israeli, their four savtot and numerous distant relatives making “naf naf in the shetach”—overwhelming, despite the high likelihood of getting leftovers.

For those seeking an authentic natural Chag Ha’Aviv experience without sharing it with every other citizen of the State of Israel, a visit to The Soap Cake Factory should be at the top of their bucket list. Under the direction of owner Gili Zilca, children and adults alike can create custom-made soaps, made from the most fresh and natural ingredients in Israel and abroad, to bring the Chag Ha’Aviv feeling home with them as well.

Zilca attributes her inspiration to big life decision she made several years ago. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and master’s degree in applied chemistry from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the native Israeli relocated to the New York area, where she worked in and consulted for several pharmaceutical companies (including Teva).

After many years in this lucrative field, Gili began to miss the pure ingredients that were usually scarce in medicines, and decided to leave her career to pursue a more natural profession instead. In 2003, she opened Luisa New York, a well-known store that has won numerous “The Best of Westchester” awards in the past few years. She began to produce natural essential oil and herbal-based soaps, drawing on her chemical background, as well as her creativity, to ensure a quality product—the result, she says, has been very fulfilling for her.

“Soapmaking is a scientific process governed by physics and chemistry, heat transfer and thermodynamics. But most of all it involves aesthetics and imagination,” Gili said. “It takes a good deal of science to produce quality products. However, it also takes an extra bit of creativity and passion to make products that are really out of this world.”

In 2012, Gili returned home to Israel, bringing her business with her. Wanting to give others the opportunity to make their own natural creations, she opened The Soap Cake Factory. Despite its industrial-sounding name, the factory is in fact a warm and intimate soap-making workshop. Visitors begin their visit with a tutorial from Gili on the scientific background of creating soap, and a walkthrough of the process they will shortly begin.

They then break up into groups and begin choosing base oils, materials, coloring—the entire process is tailor-made to each visitor—and then they get to work. After a visit of about two hours (including the tutorial and workshop), everyone walks away with their own creation, already ready for use. One of the best parts: the workshop is friendly for children and adults alike.

Cheryl, an American who visited The Soap Cake Factory with her family, said that one of the highlights of her visit was a truly natural souvenir to bring home from Israel. “I went with ages ranging from 3 years old to mid 60s, and everyone had a great time,” she said, “we all [even] got souvenirs to take back to America.”

The Soap Cake Factory, an unassumingly unconventional fun activity for the whole family, is located in Bet Knesset Hod V’Hadar in Kfar Saba, conveniently less than half an hour by car from Beit Shemesh, Modi’in and the Gush Dan/Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area, as well as under an hour from Jerusalem. Visitors to Israel over Pesach and beyond interested in a unique Avivi experience, creating their own natural Israeli soaps with renowned owner of Luisa New York Gili Zilca, are advised to coordinate their visit in advance, especially during high tourist seasons.

For more information about The Soap Cake Factory and to schedule a workshop with Gili, please visit http://www.soapcakefactory.com/27320/English.aspx or contact Gili Zilca at +972 58-426-4454. Please note that visitors who are Jewish Link of New Jersey and Jewish Link of Bronx, Westchester and Connecticut readers are entitled to a 15 percent discount.

By Tzvi Silver/JLNJ Israel

 

 

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