Tu B'Av: Written Six years Earlier
Among the many reasons we chose to make Shilo our home was the agricultural connection that the community had. When we first came twenty-four years ago there were several herds of sheep, a number of fruit orchards, and it was not unusual to hear chickens clucking in neighbour’s gardens. A few years later the planting of the grapes began.
Now about a half a dozen Shilo families own and are responsible for their vineyards. Even an American family, who wants to have a share in the Torah laws applicable to working the Land of Israel, owns a grove. Fifteen years ago the family hired a manager to clear the land and set up the irrigation system. After working for two weeks, he hired ten teenagers to do the planting and my oldest daughter was among them. She remembers getting up early in the morning, something she usually avoided, dressing in old clothing, and spending three hours planting the 5,000 seedlings. It was hard work and the pay was minimum. Still, she has fond memories of her experience.
She also remembers how that vineyard was almost destroyed shortly after the planting. One Friday morning in August carloads of Arabs, accompanied by their reporters and cameramen, came to the fields to burn the plants and cut the pipes. Evidently they wanted a story on Arab land being stolen by Jewish settlers. That land belonged to Shilo, though, and before the grapes were planted it had been barren of anything save rocks and thorns.