From Nachlaot to the Shomron...six intrepid travelers determined to explore the beautiful Shomron area of Eretz Yisrael, guided by our friend David Ha'Ivri and ensconsed in an air-conditioned mini-van, we left Jerusalem on Monday morning and headed for SHILOH, where the Mishkan stood for 369 years. The feeling of holiness is still in evidence there, and we could have lingered for hours at the Tabernacle Cafe where original arts and crafts with Mishkan-themed motifs are on display and for sale. Then on to various stops throughout the Shomron including Mt. Garazim overlooking Shechem, and an intimate visit with Gershon Mesika, Mayor of the Shomron Regional Council (pictured).
Gershon Mesika has the unusual political distinction of being elected as the head of the local council of Elon Moreh for ten years...with an election being held EVERY YEAR. His vision for growth, development, sustainable prosperity and security for Israelis in the Shomron is that of a practical visionary, whose experience in bringing Torah-inspired principles into real-life government planning is invaluable, especially in our times. He's also an expert in hand-to-hand combat - perhaps one of the many reasons he successfully ran for office 10 years in a row?
The sensual highlight of our trip was Itamar, where we enjoyed nibbling on award-winning merlot grapes (pictured) at one of Itamar's kosher organic wineries...the grapes were hefker, of course, as all the growers in the Shomron strictly observe Shmitah (which we are in this year until Rosh HaShanah). Wine produced by the Kosher Organic farming communities of the Shomron is created under the strictures of halacha for use in the Holy Temple, may it be re-built speedily and in our day.