Kerem is the Hebrew word for vineyard, and this group is dedicated to the sharing of information and connections among those who have, or would like to have, hopefully the organic way, a vineyard in Israel and/or make wine; it is really enough to start by planting one vine and getting to know it when you taste its wine. Finding and obtaining the land is another story, but now that Israeli wines are adding to our reputation in the world, it should get easier to actually get the assistance every citizen of Israel is entitled to, in order to get started into one of the healthiest, most rewarding and passionating businesses. We can get together to form a Small Vintners’Association and advance the use of local denomination control marks, build clout which translates into collective buying, selling and equipment sharing, make and publish our own news in the world’s media, offer training and experience to the next generation, and last but not least: enjoy the reward of our feet’s labor together, in joyous song and dance at its appointed time.

And for those who choose to still live abroad: it is a mitzva to plant and own a vine in the land of Israel, so starting from Modiin Vineyards and welcoming those who offer a similar program to non residents, we propose you the ownership of one or more individual vines hosted here under our careful management.

Each vine, or share in the rest of the vineyard and ancillary facilities, will entitle its owner to the dividend of a yearly bottle of wine, which in the Shemita year will be replaced by a bottle of Grappa or Brandy made with wine from the year before.

The first seven applicants to the position of Founding Members of the Young Israeli Vintner’s Association will obtain its benefits and all its publication and events at no fee for as long as they are in office; I will accept all proposals and suggestions for the articles of incorporation.

Basic information about the Kerem Bnei Shlomo project:

This is to verify if you are seriously interested in participating, and to prevent from the beginning any possible misunderstandings (i.e.: is this Disneyland? or which one of us is Mickey Mouse? and so on…).

What I am offering you all is membership in a cooperative vineyard/winery which is an excellent way to cheaply acquire from the government otherwise expensive, not to mention unavailable, land, which is zoned for agriculture, NOT building.

Things do change, and once the winery has started producing wine for years later, a legitimate situation has been created wherein it becomes possible ( by having 10% of the land rezoned to residential/commercial according to existing laws which may, but are not expected to, change in the meantime) to build decent homes, form an actual community and live in it, but putting the cart ahead of the horse only spells failure.

Therefore from the very beginning I wish to clarify that although no residential community is established in the beginning, some parameters must be established to make sure that when there is a neighborhood there will be in it neighbours who want to live each other.

The services of Architect, Lawyer, Accountant, Economist, Agronomist, etc… must be retained and paid for; I need from each prospective member of the cooperative ( based on 40 final members, and if more than that number apply a second separate cooperative will be started, and so on, in order to keep its size democratically manageable) but starting when the first ten have paid that amount ) an advance on expenses of NIS 10.000 to be deposited in account 300046471 at the Main (Keren haYesod Ave.) branch of the Bank of Jerusalem, belonging to AMEN, Association to Empower the Needy, the Amuta which I direct and which effectively undertakes the project.

For tax purposes, the above sum will be considered a donation for AMEN, which is in the process of obtaining Seif 46 status (the Israeli equivalent of Schedule 501c in USA – if you prefer a US deduction you can obtain it through our California registered “Friends of AMEN” charity.

When the land is signed for it will take money to plant and tend the grapes for the first three years, with income accruing only on the fifth year from wine of the fourth year’s harvest; in the meantime I already have lined up serious investors, and the aid coming from the government to the new enterprise, which will include also a youth hostel for volunteers and agritourist guests, will have already been several times the amount originally invested in setting up and registering the enterprise, whose members, based on a figure of 40, will own 2.25% of the privileged shares to be issued, with 1.00% held by their private bank account and 1.25% by the ouside investors as guarantee on their investment.

The remaining 10% will be kept by AMEN for its philantropic endeavors, their dividend constituting maaser for all the remaining shareowners, outside investors included.

This shoud be sufficient for an initial explanation, and more will become available as the project grows, but if everybody waits for the next Jew to dip toe into the Red Sea, the Joshua or Caleb of our generation must step forward or there is no vineyard; I have already spent 38.000 USD in litigation to make this possible, but I am not in this world to subsidize the rest of the Tribe, I have eight children already and they are on top of my list as they should well be.

Therefore the above NIS deposit is sine qua non for the continuation of my running around to make the project happen, and the absolute precondition to the execution of an agreement between AMEN and the
individual would-be vintner, in the presence of the group’s lawyer, who will constitute a separate Amuta to continue the project once it has been started, and delink it from AMEN in its dealing with authorities.

Based on the above, please inform me of your interest in being part Kerem Bnei Shlomo, and of being prepared to wait at least three years while living elsewhere, for the opportunity to build your dream home in the Modiin Hills, surrounded by the Ben Shemen Forest, and to earn a substantial income from the
wines sold while having all you can enjoy on your table.

The project is limited to 40 coop members only, who can be singles, couples or families, and a couple which is not married yet is allowed to take two single separate memberships, in effect doubling their future holding, while it is possible to own a membership or purchase it on the behalf of a dependent minor or another party.

Membership cannot be subsequently transferred to another person for the first five years, and then it can only be resold to the cooperative, which alone can select the replacing member by vote of the assembly.

Will there be secular members in our group?

Certainly; only missionaries for ANY religion, the most fanatical of which I consider to be Atheism, will not be welcome; I believe that religion is a private matter between (wo)man and Creat-r, and no one should be judged by another based on belief instead of direct action.

Whether you yourself are secular or not, and in either case you would accept and welcome those of a
different persuasion, perhaps remembering, in case you are “religious” how much more or less so you have been in the past, and whether in your personal growth as an observant person you have updated or replaced any minhagim that you had believed valid intil you had learned more about their, purpose, reason and/or source; obviously, if you are not observant the question is how committed you are to your perceived ( by self and others) identity and whether you rule out in principle any change or personal growth in a different direction, but in a neutral key my position is as follows:

To be slightly more precise: if we fear a challenge to our own belief system endangers it, or us, we are failing to realize how much we need each other to be in the world, and that without each other there is no
world; a mother is not squeamish about changing diapers, so why should we be afraid of someone who is more, or less, “religious” than we fool ourselves into thinking that we are? Given that no matter how much, or little, “religious” we are there will always be someone who is more, or less, so.

Religion ( a generic brand, no registered trademarks implied ) is a stairway, or elevator, or escalator, and if we are to remain in the same place while on it, is useless; and if one is not prepared to give a hand to those who are climbing on it more slowly, it is an abomination instead of a vehicle for evolution,
which sometime order to sprint ahead requires some backup space as dictated by circumstance; the angels on Jacob’s ladder were going up and down without ceasing to be angels, and even the Evil one is part of the G-dhead and has a purpose which for excellent reasons is hidden from us while we are in this
world.

What I am saying here is that I welcome tolerant people but prefer not to live with bigots if I can help it, simply because I don’t want to waste my life in sterile arguments. Personally, I am committed to full Torah and Mitzvot observance, including kiruv by example, but not by stuffing my level and minhagim down someone else’s throat, because I realize that that person’s position on the ladder is not permanent, and my Ls&Ms don’t have to apply there.

AS for observance of Shemita and Yovel, Maaserot, Terumot, etc… all the relevant halachot will be kept to the level required to satisfy the need for humra of the most extremely observant authorithies, becase the vineyard must function as a commonwealth; the investment of each member will mainly consist in the appreciation of their rights to use of the land, and the wineyard will be managed by appointed or elected managers on a rotating basis

I hope I have said enough about this subject; and I am moving, when I have time, all the FAQs to the group’s Facebook page and to the keremil@yahoogroups.com will post publicly all the non-personal Kerem Bnei Shlomo correspondence on http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/keremil so I don’t have to repeat myself.

Any further clarification will be supplied in person.

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