Harp and Story

Shiloh and Morning Star Communities

Picking Grapes on Mt. Gerizim

September 23, 2009
This is digressing a bit, but I want to catch you up. Tuesday we finally got to harvest some grapes in one of Nir’s vineyards on Mount Gerizim. All of us were on the mountain – aound 80 people – so the 4 tons that Nir needed for that day we harvested fairly quickly.
Grapes!! 35 Pounds per Basket

A rabbi was on hand to make sure we did everything properly. It was an educational experience, he would walk up and down the rows looking at the grapes and if a cluster didn’t look mature enough to him he would have it cut off and cast to the ground and when he was finally satisfied with what was left then we could all go in and harvest the grapes that were left on the vines. Nir came along after him and picked up all the grapes on the ground and took them to his personal winery. He sells most of his grapes to other wineries, but this year he is hoping to keep back several tons for his own use. He is quite excited about the yield of his harvest this year.
Weighing Out 4 Tons of Grapes

We came home, cleaned up and headed off to Shiloh for a tour of the ancient Tabernacle sight and a bar-b-que. David Rubin – former governor of Shiloh – was our tour guide, he has written a book titled, God, Israel and Shiloh in which he describes his own personal journey to the west bank of Israel. He told us some of his story – being attacked by Palestinian gun fire late one night as he was traveling home from Jerusalem in 2002 with his three year old son and both of them being shot – a compelling story of YHVH’s miraculous intervention that saved their lives.

David Rubin Leading Us Through Tell Shiloh

That evening two other Israelies spoke to us – one talked about the history of the land and the other, a rabbi, told us tales of establishing outposts on the mountains of Judea/Samaria, a real how-to manual he was. Anyone interested!

Any fellow that was interested was invited to camp-out that night in Shiloh. Steve stayed and slept under the stars – only he said there wasn’t much sleeping going on as the young boys that also stayed were pretty ramped up from all the evenings excitement and they didn’t calm down for quite awhile! Dinner was a grand affair with hot dogs and hamburgers and kebobs and potato salad and cucumber/tomato salad and other things I can’t remember and of course chocolate chip cookies of various sorts for dessert.

Steve Flipping Burgers and Dogs

Worship ended the evening and I must admit we were all quite pooped when we got back to Ariel! It was a 5:00a.m. to 11:00p.m. day and we had to be back at it at 5:00a.m. for the next day! Short nights these harvest days are!!!

The next day we were back at Shiloh with the promise that we would finally get to harvest Shiloh grapes. The Shiloh folks are quite cautious about who they let harvest their grapes and so far all we have been allowed to do is pull weeds – they are checking us out, seeing if we’ll keep smiling and not turn vulgar – it’s a hard job, but so far everyone has maintained a good attitude. True to form, eleven guys were pulled off the team to go pull weeds in the olive groves and the rest of us were driven out the back door of Shiloh over hill and down dale, on roads no one was familiar with, until we got to an entirely new community called Morning Star.

View of Morning Star Outpost and Vineyards
We drove in the gate and through the established community and on to the outpost community. Established communities have permanent housing, outpost communities are mostly “caravans” (travel trailers) on pillar foundations, working to become permanent communities.
Kobe and the Rabbi Inspecting the Grapes

We met Kobe, the vineyard owner, who was excited that we had come to pick for him. As the morning wore on he became more and more excited – for we picked 6 tons of white wine grapes in less than three hours with no injuries! We are sent into the vineyards in pairs of two working each side of the vines. It is quite easy to clip your partners finger instead of the grape clusters especially in the green grapes for they grow much more densely woven in the vines than do the red grapes. Just the other day we were told someone had lost one of their fingers in just this way.

The Harvesters at Morning Star Vineyard
We had lunch around 11:30 and watched them load the bins of grapes on the truck which two rabbis were supervising. The tractor they were using so reminded me of the tractor Steve and I used to own, very much with a mind of its own! Mostly worn out, with little fine motor skills left! The fellow operating it though was a master and the few mishaps we blamed on the tractor not the driver.

After lunch Kobe was so thankful he took us up to a lookout that in all probability no one like us has ever been to. At the end of a dirt/rock road (best driven with 4-wheel drive vehicles) was “my outpost!” It was spectacular! I would love to go camp up there for a few days, the view was to the northern end of the Dead Sea, Jericho, the Judean wilderness, I believe someone said Mount Nebo – it was breathtaking!
Tommy wanted to do a little worshipping up there before we left and he asked if anyone wanted to pray, when no one else offered I volunteered and then the Holy Spirit took over and that mountain top was claimed as Tommy describes it.

Overlook of the Judean Wilderness
When we were in Israel in 2006 for Succot, we visited Masada and the Dead Sea area and at that time I felt such a draw to this part of Israel, again on this mountain top the same inner draw is present. Could it be that our tribal inheritance calls out to us when we are on our land letting us know that we are home? HOME, I can’t wait to come HOME for good!

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