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December 28, 2023 - Sad to report that our Classmate Thomas Gentry passed away

 

September 9, 2019. Tom's yearbook photo will be moved to the "Gone but not Forgotten" page. 

 

See below a new posting from Doug Greener 

The Greeners are gleaners.

The search for more volunteer activities led us to Kfar Shmuel, a moshav between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.  It was a sunny December day that I rode there with son Aharon and grandsons Amitai (14) and Yadin (11).  Our destination was the Paz Farm, a family enterprise of 100 dunams (25 acres) of olive trees and a modern press for producing olive oil.

We went to help with the olive harvest (which has a special name in Hebrew – "masik").  There were a few dozen other volunteers there, mostly American-born orthodox families.  Most of the regular harvesters were Arabs from West Bank villages (not very far away), but the border has been closed since the start of the war.              

The traditional way of harvesting olives is to spread a blanket at the foot of the tree and then beat away at the branches with sticks so the olives fall onto the blanket.  The orchard we worked in used a special machine on a tractor that gripped the trunk in a vise and shook it violently for a few seconds.  That caused over 90% of the olives to fall onto the sheets.

What about the other 10%?  That's where the volunteers stepped in.  Picking up our sticks and mini-rakes, we knocked down and pulled down all the remaining olives we could see, often right onto our heads.  After we'd beaten a few trees and the tarpaulin was full, we pulled it over to a container, heaved up the tarpaulin and dumped out the olives.  Each container holds 400 kilograms (880 pounds) of olives.

It was hard work for about three straight hours, but Amitai and Yadin didn't tire.  They kept whacking the trees and bringing down the olives like real pros.  

We walked over to the very modern, mechanized olive press, where they were already pressing the olives harvested that morning.  The trick is to press the olives as soon as possible after they are harvested, as this keeps the acidity level low.  

Paz olive oil is not sold in retail stores, but is supplied mostly to institutions such as hotels and restaurants.  However, they do sell to volunteers and visitors, so we purchased a few liters to bring home.    

Olive harvesting makes you very sore, very dirty and very oily.  But also very satisfied.  It seems to work for all ages

December 27, 2023 - Roger Annicelli photo and military history added to the "Our Veterans" Section, and address change on his "Yearbook" Photo

November 19, 2023 - Doug Greener

 

Our latest foray into the world of volunteerism took us to a tempeh factory.  Well, not exactly a factory, but an apartment in Jerusalem where Natanel Rubin makes tempeh for the Israeli market.  

[For those who don't know, tempeh is an Indonesian food made from fermented soybeans which is high in protein, probiotics, fiber and vitamins.  It makes an excellent meat alternative, and can be marinated, seasoned and sliced as needed.]

Since the war started, Natanel has been devoting one day a week (in this case Sunday) to produce tempeh which he donates to restaurants and non-profits.  They then use it to cook vegan meals for soldiers on the front lines.  

 

To do this he needs volunteers for the Sunday work, so Trudy and I duly traveled to the apartment, where we joined around a dozen other volunteers.

Making tempeh is hard work, beginning with boiling the soybeans in mesh bags, cooling them by hand, adding the enzyme to begin the fermentation, bagging the mixture, rolling it flat, and putting it into an incubator for a day or two.  Natanel buys his organic soybeans from Canada.

During the time we worked, other volunteers were arriving and leaving.  The work continues until 8:00 pm, and on a typical Sunday about 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of tempeh are produced, enough to feed 1,500 soldiers with nutritious plant-based meals.

 

Trudy and I brought home two bags of tempeh, and the next day, she used one to make a delicious broccoli and mushroom stir-fry.

If you want to volunteer to make tempeh or to contribute towards expenses, call Natanel at 058-543-4411.

This time it was cucumbers.

Trudy joined Aharon and me as we drove to a moshav near Haifa that put out an urgent call for volunteer pickers.  Dozens showed up and within a few hours we had cleaned all the nethouses of ripe, big, beautiful cucumbers.  Trudy also helped in the packing shed making boxes.  

The farmer said we had picked about 3.5 tons!

This is not to get kudos, congratulations, mazal tov or anything like that.  It's to show that everyone can make a contribution in some way.

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There are so many places, so many jobs to be done for people who want to help. 

If you feel like picking fruits and veggies, the Ministry of Agriculture can help you find a place and even offer support.  Call *6016

Also, the HaShomer HeChadash ("The New Guard") organization has a project for matching volunteers with farmers who desperately need help.  Call  050-8818217           

I hope the Greener family isn't stopping.  We've already picked tomatoes and cucumbers.  All we need now are onions and bell peppers to make a tasty Israeli salad.

To prepare a Gaza salad will take a few more weeks of chopping, dicing and shredding. 

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NOVEMBER 11, 2023 - From Doug Greener

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OCTOBER 27, 2023 - From Doug Greener

 

 

Early morning three days ago, I rode with my son Aharon to pick tomatoes close to the Gaza border.  The moshav we went to was not attacked on October 7, but almost all of the residents were later evacuated.  Twenty-five people chose to remain, including the farmer whose tomatoes we had come to "save."  Fourteen of his 19 Thai farmhands fled back home when the war erupted and he had put out an urgent call for volunteers to pick the vegetables before they rot on the vine. 

[At least 15 Thai agricultural workers were among those killed in the Hamas attacks, 18 were wounded, 19 kidnapped to Gaza, while another 15 are missing.  The Thai government is funding the repatriation of its nationals, some 28,000 of which were working in Israeli agriculture.]  

Aharon and I joined around two dozen other volunteers and we picked tons of tomatoes (so it seemed) and then trimmed leaves over the course of six hours.

A representative of HaShomer HeChadash ("The New Guard"), the organization that had arranged the volunteer effort, was there videoing the tomato pickers.  Aharon called him over and said, "Look, here's my dad, 80 years old, the oldest volunteer here."  Thanks, son.  He videoed me picking and exhorting other volunteers to join the effort.    

A friend of ours who lives in a neighboring moshav (now also evacuated) warned Trudy not to let Aharon and me go there because the area is still too dangerous.  Well, there was an air raid alert mid-morning and we reacted as we had been instructed: We hit the dirt and covered our head with our hands.  We could hear the explosions getting closer to us.  I'm not sure if they were the rockets hitting the ground or the Iron Dome missiles hitting the rockets.  At any rate, we stayed down the required time, got up, dusted ourselves off and started picking again.

The only other sound was the constant roar of our planes overhead and the welcome thud, thud, thud of the bombs hitting Gaza.

After the farmer told us to finish working, he invited us to his home for coffee and cake.  "You're my angels," he said.  Nah, we're just some dirty and sweaty volunteers who were happy to have a chance to get involved, to help the war effort, to do something as much for ourselves as for the country. 

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OCTOBER 26, 2023 - New info for Joy Calvano

3537 Jolene Place

The Villages, FL 32163

Cell:  (631) 655-3983

The map on 'Where We Are Now' has been update

 

OCTOBER 25, 2023 - email from Harvey Pearlstein:

 I wanted to pass along some sad news. Bob Levine's wife of 52 years, Patt, passed away Sunday night. 

Condolences may be sent to Bob at 

519 Putting Green Lane

Oxford, CT 06478

OCTOBER 13, 2023 - email from Lois Christensen-Bish:

I learned this week that our classmate, and my close friend all these years, Janet Columbia, passed away last Monday in Lake Oswego, Oregon.  She leaves 4 wonderful children, and their spouses, and 9 grandchildren.  Plus, her siblings, two brothers (one in Florida and one in Kansas)  and three sisters, still on Long Island.  

Condolences to Janet's family.  Her photo has been moved from the yearbook page to the 'Gone But Not Forgotten' Page

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