On Thursday last week I was hanging out with family in the Gush – Gush Etzion – and had the honour of visiting the Lone Tree Brewery. I will be writing a review after the nine days – so stay tuned for that. After a brief sojourn and taste test at the brewery, David, my cousin, brewmaster extraordinaire, took us on a mini tiyul.
We drove a little while, and stopped the car. We got out near a mile marker – an old old stone mile marker that has been there for centuries. David told us that this road was called “Derech Avot” – the path of our fathers. He related that this was known to be the road that our forefathers walked on on their pilgrimages up to Jerusalem, to bring sacrifices at the first and second Temples. It’s also the road that Avraham walked on his way to sacrifice his son Yitzchak.
To stand there, to stand on that very same spot that these great ancestors of ours had stood – I cannot even begin to describe the rush of emotion. My soul cried out internally THIS is MY land. I felt possessive. I felt possessed. I felt a connection to the land that I had previously never felt. If I closed my eyes, I knew I could see the procession up to Jerusalem for the three major festivals. If I concentrated harder, I could see Avraham walking off into the distance with his son Yitzchak, ready to be tested more than we can even imagine.
This land, this country of Israel, it’s not just earth and stone. It has something way more mystical. It has roots that have withstood time and destruction. This is my land!
I wish, I wish I could have that feeling every day and still be awed by it. Yet, here I sit in New York, where time will diminish these feelings, until I once more walk in the footsteps of our forefathers.
For the first time ever, I got to see a photograph this weekend of my namesake, my late grandfather’s mother. This is a picture of her and my great-grandfather on their wedding day.
Last Wednesday night (has it been a week already?) I was so honoured to be in a room (a terrace actually) at the HaGov Bar in Central Jerusalem with so many people I had never met before. One person in that room of about 50 people was known to me in my real life before the tweetup – she’s even had the pleasure of my chicken soup. (She tweets for @IsraelMaven).
The rest of the crew were mainly people I have connected with in the three years since I have started tweeting and blogging – and up until now we never had the chance to meet as they live in Israel and I live here.
The awesome William Daroff (@Daroff) joined us and brought some of his Twitter-verse with him – the more the merrier.
The HaGov Bar is owned by the youngest son of Yisrael and Batya Medad – well known bloggers in their own right. When I was looking around for a place to hold the tweetup they suggested the bar, as did my buddy Joel (@funjoel). It was a great suggestion – the drinks were cold and arrived frequently, the food was awesome – not your typical bar food fare. So. Much. Better. We even got a complimentary round of some kind of pink drink in my honour.
I met up with @BenjiLovitt (we first connected on twitter talking about CHUMUS of all things), @Bydahway, @itzuvi, @roopunzel who together with me gave Benji another lesson in Cockney rhyming slang, @rgoldstand was there, I cabbed it home with her and @jessicakorman. Awesomeness!! I got to hang out with the awesome Risa Tzohar, and Hannah Katsman (@amominisrael).
I finally got to hug @tripnmommy who came out from Neve Daniel with @mirigott and @chocoholique. Also representing Neve Daniel was my brewmaster cousin @lonetreebeer whom I had never met before.
There were so many more people there (excuse me for not mentioning everyone) – and it was just a lovely evening. Yisrael insisted on introducing me and I gave something of a welcome speech – never really spoken off the cuff before, but it was fine, and William followed up with some remarks of his own. There was just a very happy vibe in the room. It’s kind of awesome if you think about it, that I have been “talking” to most of these people without meeting them, yet we all feel more than a superficial connection. I was so humbled that so many people made a special effort to come out and meet me – and the hugs and squeals as we all met have a left a huge smile in my heart.
Let’s do this again soon, ok?