If it weren’t so frightening and depressing, it would be fascinating to examine how our sense of time and of history has become unreliable in the last half decade or so.
Covid seems to have muddied everything. We know that there were years when we didn’t do anything together but instead huddled at home if we were lucky and put on masks to brave the world and tried not to breathe until we got home if we weren’t.
When exactly were those years? How long ago did they end? When was the vaccine first available?
Will time every make sense again?
And why? Why? WHY??? is covid back now?
And now there’s the rise in antisemitism, a phenomenon that very few of us could have imagined until a few years ago. But now it’s back.
And the nightmare in Israel, the barbarism, the rape, the torture, the kidnapping, the murder — the return of the pogrom, something we’d thought had died, willed out of existence by the concerted will of the civilized world, appalled by the evil of the Holocaust.
Now, we have to wonder if there is such a thing as the civilized world. Is it all a veneer? And how thin is that veneer?
Why all the Jew hatred? What is going on?
But — and there is always a but when things get too black — there is for-real good stuff going on as well.
This week’s cover story is about the new New Jersey and Israel-based don’t-call-it-tequila operation that’s opening in the Negev. The initiative takes a lot of money, a lot of work, a lot of thought and care and experimentation. And it’s about something that at first seems to be maybe a bit self-indulgent. Liquor? Really?
But look more closely. It’s a venture fueled by a love of the land — not an abstract but a specific love of a specific land. It’s romantic, as this idea of producing something deeply tied to the land often is. It’s also practical and scientific. You need more than a goal and sweat equity to produce a high-end spirit from scratch. You need know-how.
It’s sustainable. It’s not inherently clean but a kind of self-cleaning is included. It provides jobs. It takes back some of the ground that had been salted and drenched with blood just two months ago.
It’s about hope and love in a lowball glass.
It’s wonderful. We hope it succeeds, and we’re pretty sure, given the passion that’s going into it, that it will.
In every sense, l’chaim.