Hed and Batya Shmueli live and work on a beautiful piece of property at the foot of Mt. Carmel. It is near the artist village of Ein Hod, nestled on a hillside amidst ancient olive groves with views of the Mediterranean Sea.
The hilly terrain provides more than inspiring views for artists. Twenty years ago when they set up their studio, the Shmuelis would notice hikers traipsing through their property from time to time. The hikers were mostly young Israelis, who after completing their service, would take a Med-to-Red trek, hiking the length of the country.
In those days the trail was poorly marked, with lots of places not marked at all. But the trek through this terrain has captivated explorers throughout history. Hed and Batya, young parents themselves, would host hikers in their home on Shabbat, sharing the warmth and beauty of the tradition. Soon word of these Shabbat dinners got whispered up and down the trail, someone posted about it on a website, and suddenly the visitors were showing up in real numbers.
So he built a really big tent. After a season or so they added a hut to the property, a place for guests to have shelter and recharge their cell phone and personal batteries. “When people come to us their hearts are open. It’s the best way to meet people,” he says.
Hed estimates they have hosted upwards of 10,000 guests over the years.
Now they have a large, welcoming guest center attached to the art studio. Guests can book online. Many hikers stay a day or two to enjoy Ein Hod and other treasures of this region. Some travelers stay for a few days to volunteer and help out at the property.
Hed is an environmental artist, with installations worldwide. Batya arrived in Israel from her native Ethiopia at age 11. She is a professional group facilitator who conducts various workshops. They conduct group activities for tourist groups, Birthright Tours, and Israeli family days.
“We meet some of the most interesting people in the world. When people hike this trail they come to us open and loose. They aren’t stressed and uptight. The conversation flows, the spiritual aspect of the land changes them. It’s really very special.”
For reservations or further information, contact the Shmuelis directly: firstname.lastname@example.org