The Mountain of Blessings // How did the daughter of a secret Nazi collaborator inspire an assimilated family of Holocaust survivors to become chareidim in Eretz Yisrael? The story begins on the mountain of blessings

It had been four years since they’d planted the vineyard. Three years of orlah, and now, finally, in the fourth year, they were ready to harvest.

Really, they didn’t know what they were doing when they first decided to plant. They simply wanted to settle the land in the most literal sense.

Yirmeyahu Hanavi said, “You will yet plant vineyards in the mountains of Shomron.” That was the reason they chose to settle in Har Brachah, located on the southern ridge of Har Gerizim. Har Brachah was lush, fertile and literally full of blessings, a sharp contrast to the neighboring Har Eival, the bleak mountain peak on the northern side of the Nablus Valley where no one lived and nothing grew.

First came the apple orchards. Six months after they’d gotten married, Erez and Vered used their wedding money to purchase the orchards on Har Brachah. A few years later they bought 20 dunams (around five acres) of empty land on Har Brachah to plant the vineyards.

“You can’t actually buy land in our area because of politics. You can only rent it from the government for 49 years. So that’s what we did. The mountain was empty when we came here. It was waiting over 2,400 years for us to come back and fulfill the words of Yirmeyahu,” Vered says.

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