Wine and Cheese Night at Mikve Yisrael

20 Feb

Tonight I went on an adventure with a new friend Amir. It is a funny story how we met but that is for another post.

He invited me to join him at a Wine & Cheese event at Mikve Yisrael – an agricultural school located in Holon. He had found out about the event and had all the details (I knew nothing of the location, time, etc)

We planned to leave at 8pm to embark on our journey. I took a look at Dan (the Tel Aviv bus company) website to see what bus would take us to Holon (a suburb outside of TLV) and found that the 1 or 2 bus from Dizengoff Street would take us directly there.

We got on the #2 bus and the driver had no idea what we were talking about. We knew that the Wine and Cheese event was close to the Wolfson Hospital.

A little background on Wolfson Hospital – I spent the summer of 2002 volunteering for Magen David Adom out of Bat Yam – the neighboring city to Holon. I have a lot of good/bad/funny/tragic memories from that summer.

We got off the bus and started walking towards Wolfson Hospital figuring the Wine & Cheese location was before the hospital. As we were walking along we came across a gas station which hosts a big half built office building behind it. All of a sudden I had a flashback to the summer of 2002 when I was on the ICU ambulance (ICU ambulance has a doctor on board and paramedics. The white ambulance is used for non-life threatening patients). This building that Amir and I were standing in front of was the location for one of my more disturbing experiences. The ICU ambulance (which I was riding on) was called by the police to declare a person dead.

Upon arrival the doctor and the paramedic hopped out of the ambulance and I was told to wait inside. They returned a few minutes later without the body but were talking about what they saw and curious Ahuvah said she wanted to see the body too. The paramedic Yoni said sure – why not. The doctor has to fill out paperwork might as well take a walk over and let me see the body.

The office building behind the gas station was in the process of being built and in the ground was a square hole with a poll across the middle of it. hanging from that poll was a body (not sure if it was a man or woman but to me it appeared male). I wont go into graphic detail but needless to say the body had been there a while. I will never forget the sight and smell of that experience.

So flash back to tonight and I am passing this building and I am transported back in time where I can see the body and smell it all over again. This shook me a bit but I shared with Amir the story behind my sudden mood change.
We continued on trekking toward Wolfson where by the time we reached there we had not passed an agricultural school (the supposed location for the event). We ended up walking around Wolfson Hospital due to the bad directions we were recieving from folks who worked in the hospital.

We reached the front entrance to the emergency room and I could picture our ambulances idling outside waiting for the next call. I could have sworn that at any minute an ambulance from the Bat Yam station house would come roaring around the corner and my friends would come out of the ambulance. Unfortunately (or fortunately) no ambulances came and we continued on our journey to find this event.

We ended up getting the correct address from Amir’s roommate and we hopped in a cab and drove away from Wolfson. I was still pretty shaken up – old memories flooding back. Memories I haven’t thought of in a long time.

We reached Mivke Yisrael, an agricultural school on this gorgeous large campus. As Amir put it- Israel has such gorgeous yet unfamiliar to us non-native Israelis historical places. I do not yet know all that much about Mikve Yisrael (but I plan on researching it) yet it felt like we went back in time. The event was hosted in a former winery that has been closed for over 30 years (but they want to revive the location). The hosts had spread hay all over the outside of the location with tables and chair set up and even a few baby cows in little enclosed areas. We walked into the room and there were two (?!) wineries – Barkan and the other one I cannot remember plus 8 or so stands with different cheese makers. We each received a glass of wine and a cheese platter with our entrance ticket.

I ended up buying this gorgeous deep rich and husky cheese from Shiratroim. Luckily for both of us we have different palettes and we didnt like the same cheeses. We shared our wine platters while sitting outside at a table and enjoyed the blend of wine and cheese both made in Israel.

These random nights where I get to experience Israel as an off the beaten path experiences makes my life here that much richer. I feel at times that I am on my path to seeing and experiencing Israel not as an American who moved here but the way another sabra experiences the country. This wasnt an event largely publicized but lucky for me Amir came across it and we shared this experience together.

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