Where did you grow up?
Were your parents both born in America?
My mom was born in Philly. But my dad was born outside Haifa.
So he’s Israeli?
He was the first child in his family born in Israel after they emigrated from Yemen.
And so he grew up in Israel?
He grew up in a one-room shack with 10 siblings.
How old was your dad when he moved to the States?
He was in his early 20s. He was a commander in the Israeli army but then moved here after being wounded several times.
You must still have a lot of family in Israel, yes?
Yes. But many members of the family moved to the U.S. Four siblings stayed in Israel.
Was wine a part of your life, growing up?
No, not at all.
How has that changed since?
Aside from the obvious fact that I work in a winery, I’m slowly teaching my brother and my mom—who only drink kosher wine—that good wine can truly enhance their lives.
And what about you? Do you drink wine regularly?
Yes, generally with dinner.
What brought you to California?
I did the Urban Adamah fellowship here in Berkeley. Urban Adamah is an urban farm dedicated to education, social justice, and earth-based Judaism. And it happens to be located across the street from Covenant Winery.
Your husband, Eli Silins, is Cellar Master at Covenant. How did you meet him?
I met Eli at an event at Urban Adamah. We got married two years after we met. And I started working at Covenant a year before the wedding.
What do you do at Covenant?
I do everything that doesn’t relate to wine production. That means I manage the Covenant Landsman and Kiddush Club wine clubs, hospitality and wine tastings, manage inventory, oversee compliance, graphic design and whatever else needs to be done.
Wow. It sounds like you’re pretty busy.
Yeah. There’s never a dull moment at Covenant!
What’s it like to work daily with your husband?
We don’t work directly with each other; so that’s helpful. But it’s fun to see each other throughout the day. And we typically eat lunch together, often with everyone else at the winery.
Really? How many people work at Covenant?
There are only seven of us.
What have you learned, in general, since working at Covenant?
Well, I didn’t know anything about wine when I got here. Now I do. In Berkeley, we’ve also made lots of new friends—among both the wine aficionados and the regular local crowd. So I guess we’ve come to better understand the value of community!
Do you think the young people your age are incorporating wine into their daily lives in a healthier and perhaps more integrated way than your parents’ generation? Do you think this can help Tikkun Olam?
Absolutely. Wine slows us down at the table—in the way now promoted by the Slow Food movement—and promotes better communication among all of us. If that’s not better for the whole world, I don’t know what is!
You and Eli seem to have developed the wine bug together and are now making a little of your own wine at Covenant. Tell me about it.
This year we started Camuna Cellars after making a little wine for fun in the past. Camuna relates to community and togetherness. We hope to use our wine and my ceramics to elevate people’s awareness of what they are eating and drinking. Eli’s been getting mentored by [winemakers] Jeff and Jonathan. As a result, I think we’ve been able to make wine at a pretty high standard.
What’s on your dinner table tonight?
We’re going to Jeff and Jodie [Morgan’s] for Shabbat dinner. It’ll be really good. And Eli made sourdough bread. So we’ll eat that too!