A Delivery from Lotem

About five months ago, I hired a COO to handle all of Matana’s operations - the packing, shipping, negotiating with suppliers, coordinating deliveries and everything in between. This has freed up a lot of my time to focus on growing the business and offering a better product to our customers. The downside of this is that I have had a little less contact with our vendors - something I used to love. But when Elad and his family flew to Prague for the weekend, I had to wait for a delivery of jam and, for the first time in a long time, was reminded of why I love this business.

I headed to our warehouse in Ramat Hasharon to wait for the delivery. I texted the vendor, Assaf, who informed me that his father would be delivering the jam around noon. At about 1pm, I got a call from a man who sounded very flustered… “I can’t find the place,” he said. ”I have been driving around in circles for an hour! Can you come outside?!”

I ran out to the street and saw a parked truck covered in political bumper stickers. The driver, an elderly man with a white beard and a denim work shirt, was holding a map and scratching his head. When he saw me, he smiled and folded his map. “There you are,” he sighed, “they must have changed the roads since this thing was printed.”

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I laughed to myself, thinking about how Waze, the traffic and navigation app used by tens of millions of people around the world, was developed mere kilometres from where we were standing. But that’s the thing with Israel: it’s a country full of contrasts and dichotomies that exist in shockingly close proximity.

We chatted for a few minutes about technology and the way this country has changed over the years; the new roads that have been built. He told me a bit about the old days on Kibbutz Lotem. We talked about the sweet scent of orange blossoms filling the crisp spring air. We both took a deep inhale and smiled at each other.

The man got back in his truck and drove away, leaving me with a feeling of gratitude for this interaction with an 80-year-old kibbutznik in a denim work shirt, delivering jam from the Galilee using a map to find his way.

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Emily Berg