.In an ancient 200 year old house in the Druze village of Jat, Rasha Seif has established an unusual place used as a tea and spice brewing center
In an ancient 200 year old house in the Druze village of Jat, Rasha Seif has established an unusual place used as a tea and spice brewing center.
The house, residence of the Faraj family whose patriarch was the village Mukhtar (head of the village), served for many years as a meeting place for Druze community leaders from Syria, Lebanon and Israel, gathered to discuss community concerns.
The beautiful, authentic house that is very important to the Druze community, stood closed for many years, until Rasha Seif, an extraordinary impressive woman, opened it as a tea brewing and spice center.
She cleaned the authentic building and exposed the original structure where each stone tells a story of a different era, the oldest stone recounting the 1000 years old foundations of the house.
The impressive building consists of a large hall with an attic comprising the sleeping area and another small attic designed for a couple of newlyweds, covered with a curtain to allow the couple some privacy.
Under the attic designed for sleep there is an area that was designated for livestock and comprises the original trough. Next to it there is another room: the Divan where guests would be welcome.
The kitchen was located outside the house during the summer and inside the house in the winter; and to this day one can see the chimney and the pyre on which food was prepared and Pitas were baked.
The house has further niches that open to the neighbors’ houses, remnants of the Ottoman period designed to warn each other from Turks coming to snatch children to their army.
The children would be transferred through a window in the attic and smuggled through a secret window with stairs leading to the rooves of the neighboring houses, and this is how children were saved from the Turks.
The mysterious story of the house is told by Rasha who welcomes her guests with tea and cookies and gives them a 30 minute lecture about medicinal herbs and their merits, including tastings of 3-4 kinds of tea.
Rasha does everything here by herself and with her own two hands: beginning with seed selection, seeding them in the ground, pruning and drying and up to the final product packed as tea brews.
The diversified and ancient brews are numerous and as ancient as the Druze tradition, and may include: Zaatar brew designed for cleansing the digestive system, a special brew designed to increase nursing mothers’ milk, a brew for healing and preventing colds, alongside many other brews; and Rasha explains the purpose and health related function of each and every one of the brews with great patience.
Visitors may ask questions and consult Rasha, a graduate of software engineering at the Arazim College, who has decided both to repent and to go back to her roots at the same time, focusing on what makes her feel good in order to do good for others. She has been specializing in medicinal herbs these past two years, experimenting with different species. According to her, nature called her to live among the herbs that talk to her as she talks to them.
Rasha says that she accidently encountered the opportunity to begin her journey and embraced it with both hands.