Reflections from a Wine Guide in the time of wonder.
Yesterday I gave a zoom lecture to some of my fellow guides on ‘Wine and the birth of the State of Israel’.
We gathered together, yet apart from each other.
We felt a sense of connection in our isolation. For an hour, talking, and tasting, laughing and reminiscing on our love for the land of Israel, we were again a community. A gathering of guides, forced to retreat to our respective homes and reflect on this experience. It was a special opportunity for me as a guide to engage with my peers and feel for a few moments that I was still a part of my currently dormant profession. What I do is a part of who I am, and this situation has severed me from that part of me, as I’m sure is the case for millions around the world.
I mentioned to my peers that this was the first time in nearly a month that I have spoken much Hebrew. I speak English with my wife at home and choose to raise my daughter in Spanish, my second tongue. I realised quickly that I was a little slower in my speech, and slightly off tune in my usual Hebrew patterns of speech. I speak for a living and am blessed to be able to host in many tongues: Hebrew and English, Spanish and Portuguese. And suddenly I was engaging in the language of the land that had slipped away from me in my recent isolation. Language is the ultimate tool of relationships and connectivity and a small part of my community and its language had been severed. I’m not sure how to comprehend this phenomenon, but I choose to share it with you here in the hope of strengthening our virtual community.
Tonight the Jewish people will gather collectively, yet isolated from our families. We will conduct the Passover seder, some via zoom and others, in the traditional way, removed from technology. We will raise 4 cups of wine and celebrate our freedom. I’ll be drinking from Lueria Winery who’s wines I love and a family whom I have to honor to visit often on travels in the Galilee. I love that my work allows me to connect and that wine can be a ‘social lubricant’ to allow us to develop new relationships, turning strangers into friends, fellow dinner guests into companions, and a large group of co-religionists into a community. I’m grateful for my community and I’m grateful for the gift of life and family, all the more so at this time of suffering and plague. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but here and now, I chose to celebrate redemption and freedom, I celebrate for my immediate family, my wife and daughter, and for the greater family of the world, currently brought together by the challenge we face together. I feel isolated from my profession and the guests I typically host, yet I know that we are united as a community and believe the collective ‘we’ will emerge from this darkness into brighter days ahead.