Tuesday, September 3, 2013

An Israeli Story and the Pomegranate: A Quintessential Israeli Fruit

Israeli moment today.
The power cuts out suddenly in the house. I call the electric company. After checking, the representative (Rena - very nice, if a bit rushed) tells me that as I'm the only one who's called from Yad Binyamin, I'll need to call a private electrician to ensure that it's not my house, but the electric company's problem.
I go outside to investigate, and hear the loud sound of drilling from nearby. The noise leads me to a large truck parked outside of a huge power box, protected from the sun by a huge umbrella. A worker has dug a huge hole in front of the box, and I see huge wires protruding from the ground. Aha. Now I understand.
"Excuse me," I say. "This work wouldn't happen to be the reason why my power went out?"
"Of course it is," he replies. "Not just you. The whole neighborhood. This is a special rush job. We wanted to get the work done before Rosh Hashanah."
"Did you think of letting us know that you were going to cut the power?" I ask him.
"What," he says. "Tell the whole block? How should I do that?"
I didn't really have an answer. It seemed so obvious to me that he should have told us, and so clear to him that he shouldn't have. He picked up his phone and called his dispatcher, who assured him that his work order was indeed in the system. Sadly, Rena the customer service rep didn't know anything about it. No harm done.
"How long will it take you to finish?" I asked.
"About forty minutes," he told me, and I wished him well, and left him to work.
"Wait," he called after me.
I turned around, wondering what he wanted.
"Chag Sameach and Shanah Tovah," the electric repairman wished me.
I returned the good wishes, and walked home with a smile.

A neighbor brought some of the extra pomegranates that he culled from his tree recently. Apparently, they could only use thirty or forty and had to give some away. Opening the fruit at home, it dawned on my that more than the Sabra, the Rimon is the quintessential Israeli fruit.
On the one hand, it's proud. Name another fruit with it's own crown.
There really isn't much of a fruit. The fruit is the seeds - divided into small clusters. Sound like a country we all know and love?
It tastes terrific - really amazing.
But here's the catch. To get that great taste, you need to work hard, cutting open the fruit, removing the seeds. It almost seems like more work than it's worth, until you bite into a mouthful, and you get a burst of amazing flavor. Then you have to swallow the seeds.

That, in a nutshell, seems a lot like Israel to me. It's a lot of work to get to the flavor. And you're going to swallow some seeds to get to the taste. But it's oh so sweet and flavorful!

Wishing you all a sweet, safe, meaningful year.