Blind Taste Test

You may remember last year’s Israeli Master Chef final read like a 3 people walk into a bar joke: there was the hijab wearing Muslim arab, the German Jewish convert and the orthodox Jewish woman. The German eventually won in a very tight finish.

The new season has just begun and last night we met another amazing contestant: Shifri Shapiro. In 2003 (before Israel had a security fence) she was in her car when a bus along side her was blown up by a Palestinian terrorist suicide bomber. Her life changed forever while seventeen people were killed in that attack on 5th March 2003.

Whenever we hear of an attack we hear about dead and injured. We don’t often hear the stories of the multitudes who don’t die but live on with life changing injuries.

Here is a auto-translate proper translation provided by commenter CBA from the Israeli press. There’s a video on the page, it’s in Hebrew but you might enjoy it:

In front of everyone: The blind contestant who brought the judges to tears

In 2003, Shifri Shapira was injured in a terrorist attack and lost her sight. After 5 years of depression, she decided she wasn’t going to let blindness stop her, and she returned to the hobbies she had before she was injured, and even more (“I went back to cooking, and I started painting and sculpting”). In the next episode of Master Chef she will prove to the judges that where there’s a will there’s a way. “I’m not a poor unfortunate, I don’t want to be thought of like that.”

Shifri Shapira will never forget Wednesday March 5, 2003. In one moment her life changed, when a suicide terrorist blew up the bus that was next to her car. In the attack, 17 were killed, and Shifri and scores of others were injured.

“Suddenly you have nothing”

“Before the attack I was very busy, I didn’t have a single free moment. I have a Ph.D. in Political Science and Criminology,” says Shifri, with an admirable calmness, “and suddenly you have nothing. I didn’t want to carry on living when they told me I had been blinded.”

“Five years ago I woke up and said, ‘I have children, I have a wonderful husband (44 years now) and I want to live’,” says Shifri emotionally. “I returned to my love, to cooking.”

“You use all the other senses”

“So from a practical perspective, how does someone who’s blind cook?” wondered Haim Cohen. “I have a certain order that I put things on the table, one thing after another. I smell everything,” explained Shifri, while she demonstrated her answer. “I do everything, I’m not afraid. Now I’m not willing to give up the things I want to do. I want to cook, I’m not a poor unfortunate, I don’t want to be thought of like that, I want to do what everyone else does, and quickly.”

Perry Shapiro Master Chef Israel 2014

Shifri Shapiro appearing on Master Chef Israel 2014


Brian of London

Brian of London is not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy. Since making aliyah in 2009, Brian has blogged at Israellycool. Brian is an indigenous rights activist fighting for indigenous people who’ve returned to their ancestral homelands and built great things.

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