Leah’s Blog – Tu B’Shvat 2021
Our earliest neighbors here on Itamar were (and are) organic farmers. Back in those days the remoteness of Samaria in its new beginnings enabled you to get deeply attuned to nature whether you were a farmer or not. Walking in the wild woods into the remnant of ancient brambles, over mossy stones, old trunks and branches of wood from who knows when and thorny bushes that scratched, you could hear the mountain silence and even the faintest of sounds far away. As we were striking roots, organic gardens were shooting up in the wind washed hills all around us. Forests were being planted as hundreds and thousands of trees made a home right here on Itamar. The climate even changed. We planted a little banana tree, a grapevine some bushes and even some grass behind our little prefab which felt like a luxury in that stark setting. I needed it. There was zero shade but we felt a covering.
I felt the harshness of it socially too, I recall observing my neighbor’s blackened hands, earth embedded under her fingernails as she seemed to display them proudly like they were exquisite. I pondered as I too loved the earth but wasn’t a hardwood like her and enjoyed a nice manicure- even if I had to give myself one! One word can describe it all- austere on all fronts.There was also the sheep- herder who was always covered in mud with his high black rubber boots looking like part of a uniform. There were those that tried their luck as they removed the outer layer of earth and dug deeper to reveal the rich brown soil, planting myrtles and Etrog. Some crops succeeded, most didn’t. At first. I guess we were all soldiers in an absolute mission.The first Aliyah pioneers that came to Israel a hundred years before me to build and plant Rishon LeTzion and Petach Tikva left Europe wearing tailored suits. Reality had them tanning quickly, wearing white scarves and thin cotton work clothes wet with sweat as they dried out the swamps. It took a hundred year to build this foundation. We had it easier. Now tractors replaced hand tools and drip systems took over the worry of the blistering hot sun of July and August. Technology blossomed along with the crops and Israel was pushing its head out of the sand reaching out to countries like Haiti and Darfour, being a light unto the nations, healing and nurturing. Samaria became the vanguard of organic produce as Itamar wore its crown eventually trucking out daily tons of organic eggs and goat yogurts along with specialized flours of spelt, oatmeal and buckwheat to name a few. Some of this has reached Dubai.
Fast forward ahead from little me holding my garden hose, watering the little green patch behind the one row of prefabs in our forgotten shire. It became vibrant with life, the earth raised successfully now a wealth of delicious things like strawberries, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, kale and dill. My friend Tomer who went out to the furthest area of the periphery overlooking the desert facing east put stakes into literal sand it seemed at the time. He had a vision though of turning it from dead yellow to vibrant green, of a niagra of cascading leaves. Coming to a full circle in time, the wines on Itamar are being stored in cellars carved out during the time of JOSHUA! Tomer has won several gold medals despite BDS and other anti- Israel platforms. Were pushing through many obstacles. Friends of Itamar, our 501c3 helped him and other farmers actualize their dreams by pouring resources into the cultivation of hundreds of dunams for people like Tomer. We have added important features like security cameras to ensure that no harm will come to the new and thriving blueberry bushes or fields of barley. There is a battle protecting these fields and vandalism is dealt with out here on a DAILY BASIS. Area “C” as it is dubbed is being inundated with attempts to torpedo our mission as the European union is funding illegal enemy building projects on State Land. This tu Bshvat as I write these words I want to personally thank YOU for being a part of the dream as we return to Zion. We are partners in it as the people on the ground here sing in Thanksgiving in knowing they can rely on us to get them the help they need at this most critical time in restoration. We hope you feel the in tuned blessing of the Land coming to LIFE in your merit. We have streets now, public parks running with children being raised in the values and ideals of ecological and environmental awareness. They are guided by the loving spirit for this earth and specific Torah ethics that apply to this one place in the world- indigenous to the Jewish people. And I have friends- in YOU.
“But you, oh you mountains of Israel shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit for My people. They will soon be coming!” Ezekiel 34.
This is our answer to all of the subjects of today’s current events. THESE are the current events! Fresh new buds, new life- prophesy fulfilled!
As part of the Itamar family tree, I know you would love to get your hands into the earth and some of you have! We have planted trees together and we have planted trees for you. Maybe right now you are on the 17th floor of an office building. Maybe you have an important zoom meeting! Maybe you are having a manicure. Maybe you too are planting a tree!You can be and are part of it. Friends of Itamar has been supporting our farmers and continues to rely on your loving kindness in all Land reclamation projects. Let’s remember our farmers who are holding down the Land for all of us now, especially on Tu B’Shvat this year.
for those interested in participating in the Tu B’Shvat New Year tree planting please see this link! https://touritamarsupportisrael.com/donation-select/ earmark your donation – Tu B’Shvat 2021
Tu B’Shvat Sameyach!
Besorot Tovot, Leah