Israeli Bean Soup

Yield: 12 Servings
2cSmall white beans; (navy beans etc.)
6cCold water; (for soaking the beans)
1tbOlive oil
3Onions; chopped
3Stalks celery; chopped
3Garlic cloves; minced, up to 4
3Carrots; chopped
6 1/2cWater
2Potatoes; peeled & cut in small chunks
1Bay leaves; up to 2
1tsDried thyme; to taste
1tsCumin; to taste, up to 2
1cn(28 oz) crushed tomatoes
2tbTomato paste
Salt & pepper; to taste
1/4cFresh cilantro; minced, up to 1/2, up to