Thursday, September 1, 2011

Not what you would think, Not what you are being told…

I was walking through the campus listening to the sounds of the various instruments being played by young musicians. It was like a bouquet of sounds, not really mixed well as the variety of types of music being played was as diverse as the students playing. Jazz, Classical, Rock, an Oud playing classic Arabic tunes, and the whispers of Klezmer seeping through.

Long hair, Short hair, Shorts, sandals, like I said…as diverse as the students playing. Another first day of school, this school obviously is not your “regular” high school… the emphasis here is on music, not just the classic scholastic roster. A bunch of kids more interested in their music, their instruments than math and history, how can this be?

The bottles of Chardonnay, Cab-Merlot mix, and the 2009 Shiraz were strategically placed next to some of the sharper cheeses. The visual against the solid wood table blended as well as the different tastes on our palettes. A Still life well choreographed, whose results only brought smiles and approval to we who were charged with the difficult task of being “tasters”.

Hand squeezed grape juice brought out together with the freshly crushed grapes being scrutinized under the vintner’s sensitive nose, eyes and taste buds. “Next week” he said, “pick the grapes then”, he continued, behind him a wall filled with various international awards, trophies of victory and excellence bearing witness to his success, and of course the excellent wine we were enjoying.

The security personnel sat around listening to the lectures… most of them have heard them before, all of them. Next came the exercise stations, what to do if and when… nothing new, nothing old, some might even call it S.O.P. Standard Operational Procedure. Practice, train, exercise…SOP, just like security personnel all over the world, in every town, village and city. Being prepared for any possibility, pretty much what we all would and should expect of our police, firemen, and first responders after all, that is their job.

“Underwhelming”, was the word my friend said. “I thought it would be different”, just like Everywhere, USA. Of course the guys we were hanging with are among the bravest there are, ready to risk their lives for others…24/7, real heroes.

So, where are these places? Scottsdale? Woodstock? Sacremento?

These scenes took place north of Jerusalem, in the Binyamin Region of the Shomron. Amidst the hysteria that the media is stirring, these scenes are quite the norm. Yes, we are dealing with the definite possibility, the most likely probability of violence once again, to continue to rock our region. No one is taking it lightly, it is a very serious matter, but the point of showing this side comes from a different side.

Too often the people living in Judea and Samaria are portrayed in a very stereotypical, racist and bigoted view. Only one type of folk live there, bible totin’, gun slingin’, Payis (sidelocks) wearin’, types…yup, that’s them, no one else would live in the Jewish Heart/Home/Historical land.

Always the target of the Israeli Left wing, the International fa├žade of supposed Liberal thinkers and Victims of the United State of Deceptive Journalism, the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria has to be one of the most misrepresented in Israel. Even worse, this stereotypical view is believed by a majority of not only the Jewish population of the world, but by most of the world…that is those that notice Israel.

Yes, there are those living here that fit the description above, but they are not the majority at all, they are a part, just like everywhere else in Israel. There are religious, non religious, anti religious, Black, White, Brown, other shades, almost every ethnic background you could imagine, a spectrum of diversity living in the historical homeland of the Jewish people.

Political views are as diverse as the people living there as well. Indeed, “underwhelming”, but at the same time overwhelming, it is these same people who brought and continue to bring life back to the land. It is this wonderful diverse Jewish population that has brought wine, art and music back to this land despite the fact that it has had its Jewish population ripped from it throughout the millennia. Remnants, a Mezzuzah, A Star of David, a Jewish grave, and more, are still found in the villages throughout Judea and Samaria attesting to our historical and social right to our land.

Yet despite all this, the scenes mentioned above are not spoken of in JCC’s, most Jewish Congregations in the Diaspora or University Campuses, they remain hidden, on purpose, less the truth come out and the world see that the Jewish people of Judea and Samaria are as normal as they are.

Who knows, armed with the truth, they might even want to come out and visit, or heaven forbid…live here!

The conflict is alive and well, it is being fed and fueled by the continuous stream of deception and misinformation that makes its way into your schools, newspapers and favorite web sites, I promise you, I have not forgotten or ignored this conflict, I can’t and won’t.

But it is not the only thing happening out this way.

Come see for yourself, and try the 2009 Shiraz.