First and foremost, let me brag just a bit… Remember when I wrote last week about the CSA movement in Israel and how it is growing? Well, for Shavuot, Ronit Vered wrote a nice article in the Ha’aretz newspaper (Hebrew) about the wonderful weekly box that she receives from Danny, Nati and Eyal, “Chava Bakfar” people from Kfar HaNagid. What a great honor and joy to be a part of this greater endeavor. My salute to the “Chava BaKfar” members for the well-deserved compliments.___________________________
Esther Lachman of Arugot Habosem tells me that a course in natural pharmaceuticals will begin this week, under her direction. This is the third such course, and it will be held at the Center for Women’s Arts “B’Chefetz Kapeha” in Ein Kerem, Jerusalem, Wednesdays 9:30-12:00.
The course is comprised of seven sessions to instruct on a full range of homemade pharmaceuticals in the realms of organic cosmetics and detergents. There is no need for previous experience. Participants leave each session with two or three products and a broad base of theoretical and practical knowledge for use at home.
Cost of the natural pharmaceuticals course: 1,400 NIS.
For further information, Arugot HaBosem, www.habosem.com 050-2249600
This week we will be charging your credit cards for May vegetables. Here is a reminder of our complicated yet amiable way of operation (hopefully a change for the better will occur soon):
- Fruits and vegetables are billed together, accompanied by an invoice/receipt (no VAT). Deliveries are billed separately with an invoice/receipt that does include VAT. Additional products are billed separately as well.
- At the beginning of next month, a detailed bill containing everything that was bought, charged, and the status of your account will be sent. This requires your updated email address. If you have not been receiving our invoices and messages to your current email account, please contact us and let us know. We are at [email protected]
- As always, I would greatly appreciate your reviewing your bill to make sure it’s correct. Your feedback will help us discover any mistakes and improve the system.
The Dates are Back!!
To our delight, Mirit from Samar decided to spend the holiday with friends in the Galilee, and on her way north brought us a whole new supply of Barhi dates, thus we are rewarded with another batch of both species: the soft and oh-so-sweet barhi, and the drier Dekel Nur, with their milder, subtle sweetness.
Those of you who have been requesting dates lately are more than welcome to resume your orders. We have more than enough!
And one last comment:
On Sunday night, my email and voicemail held a dozen messages requesting changes for the next-day deliveries, all of which were sent after Friday afternoon. In order to update our lists for Monday deliveries, I would have had to work over the weekend or holiday. Again, I request: notify us of any changes, special orders or requests at least one (business) day before the scheduled delivery date. Please take my request seriously. I simply cannot respond to late messages. __________________________________
Pondering Shavuot, Foreigners and Self-Identity
Over the last few days, my mind has been trying to synthesize between the agricultural rhythm of the season—with wheat fields on the verge of harvest or within its course, and summer crops claiming more and more space in your boxes— together with the rhythm of Israeli current affairs, specifically relating to the foreign workers in Israel. As someone who works every day with migrant laborers and other foreigners, relying on them and being assisted by them in a manner that is crucial to our farming, this topic is close to home. I am extremely distressed by what I hear in the news, even though our workers are not those Africans specifically under current discussion.
These two clashing rhythms in my brain were connected by a thought-provoking article Rabbi Adin Steinzaltz wrote about Shavuot. Here are some of his words:
“Shavuot is somewhat of a complement to Passover, when seven weeks after Passover we celebrate Shavuot… Regarding the content of these holidays, they are both holidays of the beginning of crops, when after an agricultural year of labor and hazards, we can finally enjoy this year’s crops. On Passover it is the new barley, while Shavuot marks the moment of newly-harvested wheat…
Both holidays are essentially one that begins at Passover and ends at Shavuot. There is even an ascending line drawn between them. In the spring holiday, Passover, when we celebrate the first barley fruits, the happiness is not yet complete, for truthfully, the barley isn’t yet good enough for human beings to consume… Even when the barley grew beautifully, one still has to wait seven weeks, weeks that are laden with still more concern until the first crop ripens- the wheat crop. Only then can the happiness be complete.
Together with their natural-earthly significance, these two holidays also have a general and historical meaning… And also in this context they are holidays of beginnings, holidays that express the beginning of a Jewish nation. Passover is the time of exodus, a definition of a People almost solely in a negative form, as a negation of assimilation, of the Egyptian exile, of the definition of Jews as Egyptians. However, on Shavuot, when the People of Israel received the Torah, this is the positive definition of the Jewish People, determining its own essence, its aim and direction… The exodus from Egypt and the concept of liberty are only the first tidings. They are the spring of the era. It is a holiday of “barley offering.” Woe to a nation that is forced to remain in a situation of food meant for animal fodder. Woe to liberty that is driven only by escape, one that exists by negating others, devoid of its own content.”
I thought of all the refugees and migrant workers in our own culture: the sons of Jacob, migrant laborers/refugees in Egypt, who go there in search of food (like their great- grandfather Abraham before them, like their father Jacob, who fled his brother to Haran in Turkey), about Moses, the refugee from Egypt who found work and a local wife in Midian (Jordan), about Ruth the Moabite (Jordan), who blessed the Jewish nation with King David. And this is, of course, only a partial list. It’s incredible to see how the roots of the Jewish People stem from the encounter with other cultures.
And how astute and accurate are the words of Rabbi Steinzaltz in regard to our situation today, when we are a liberated nation in its own country, but somehow unable to proceed to the next level, to set the target and direction to which we shall turn. The seething xenophobia is the continuation of our self-definition as “not” instead of saying what it is we are. The inability to make a clear statement about the foreigners in our land is also part of this not-taking-responsibility. As long as the foreign workers are out of sight (in the Arava) or in separate or hidden places growing our food and fancy agricultural exports, building our houses, tending to our elderly and sick, that was fine. But now they have “increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land [is] filled with them,” and action must be taken. “Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.” (Exodus 1, 7-10)
It is so sad and upsetting. And of course, it’s a real problem that should be addressed. But the path we’re being dragged down now is terrible and cruel, and it is frightening to see how a nation that suffered so from xenophobia and from rejection for being different and persecuted and weak, is not able to be generous and merciful towards anyone else in their situation. I fervently hope that we will find a way to ascend, to change and pursue the path to a different policy, a different behavior– to adopt the behavior of Jethro the Midianite, Moses’ father- in-law, or the Egyptian king who respectfully received Abraham and then his huge tribe of great-grandchildren. They are the reason our nation exists, the nation in whose Torah these words are inscribed: “Also you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 23, 9)
May we all have a great week!
Alon, Bat Ami and the Chubeza team
WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?
Monday: Basil or white savory, lettuce, sweet red peppers, onions or scallions, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers or fakus, carrots, beets, potatoes, small boxes only: cabbage or broccoli
In the large box, in addition: Parsley, Swiss chard, broccoli or cauliflower, cabbage
Wednesday: cabbage, lettuce, green onions, tomatoes, beets, zucchini, cucumbers or fakus, carrots, parsley or cilantro, red peppers or green beans, potatoes
In the large box, in addition: Swiss chard, basil or white savory or lemon verbena, cauliflower or broccoli
And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: granola and cookies, flour, sprouts, goat dairies, fruits, honey, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers and organic olive oil too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. The attached order form includes a detailed listing of the products and their cost. Fill it out, and send it back to us soon.
Note: in the near future there will be many updates from Chubeza’s associate vendors. We will be updating our order form according to what we have in stock, so be sure to open the form through the link for the very latest version.