Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Project Leket

Back in 2003, an observant Jew observed that huge quantities of perfectly good food were going to waste. This was also during the worst period of the tech-bubble and terrorism-triggered recession, when hundreds of thousands in the country were going hungry. Project Leket, "Table to Table," was initiated to collect food which would otherwise be wasted from catered events, corporate cafeterias, army bases, food manufacturers, grocers, farms, and packing houses, and deliver them to the needy.

A Leket volunteer explained some of the reasons food goes to waste. One example he gave was of oranges, which had been a profitable fruit, but economists determined that import tariffs on Oranges were causing inflation, so the import tariffs were removed. This sent the price of oranges plummeting, and farmers found it no longer profitable to harvest their orchards.

Last Friday, a field of Palmellos was going to be left to rot on the tree in an orchard north of Tel Aviv. In came project leket, who contacted Nefesh B'Nefesh looking for volunteers, who contacted me, and so, off I went.

Meeting up in downtown Jerusalem.

The bus drops us off in the fields.
We had to walk a ways to get to the Palmellos

We filled bag after bag.
Some were enormous.
Unfortunately, we didn't have ladders, so the vertically challenged had to get creative.

Yours truly, in the field.

On the bus back.
It was truly an enjoyable experience, and I was glad to have the double mitzvah of assisting the needy and working the land.
On the drive back, we passed through Tel Aviv. Ideology aside, I do like Tel Aviv. It's a beautiful city, far more physically imposing and flashy than modest Jerusalem. I admire the size and breadth of the city, and I believe any settlement of Eretz Yisrael is a positive manifestation of materialism.

Towers in Ramat Gan

Downtown Tel Aviv.

These are the Azrieli towers. When I lived here in 2003, they had built the circle and the triangle towers. Now, four years later, they finally have the financing to build the square tower. Also, note the five-lane freeway, the only one in Israel.

The Tel Aviv Rail Station

New Apartment Complexes in North Tel Aviv

On the road back to Jerusalem, we passed construction of the new rail bridge, to carry the bullet train from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, scheduled for 2009, cutting the commute time between Israel's two largest cities from 45 minutes (on a day without traffic, which is never) down to 28 minutes.

But it's time to leave Tel Aviv, the city of now, for Hebron, the city of the past, and the future. It's one of those struggling communities in Judea. I call Sasha on the drive back to Jerusalem. He's at the central bus station, waiting for me. I talk with the driver and he agrees to drop me off at the entrance to the city, next to the bus station, for the pilgrimage to Hebron.

Stay tuned...

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