After a long 24 hours of travel, canceled and delayed flights resulting in lost luggage, I checked into the Mamilla Hotel and my concerns evaporated as soon as I was seated at the Mamilla Café for a late evening meal. Naomi, a young woman who assisted me that evening as an almost concierge server, guided me toward the polenta & root vegetables appetizer, and a glass of Nes Harim wine from the Katlav winery,a mountain vineyard local to Jerusalem. More comforting than the smooth polenta with mushroom and touch of parmesan, and more relaxing than the wine, was Naomi's attention to a tired traveler needing to prepare for the next day's business. Without hovering, she was at my table to refill my water glass, offer a suggestion for shopping to replace clothes and, of course, to advise that the wine I loved is also available by the bottle. She managed other tables during my meal, but I honestly felt that I was her only customer that evening.
I left to join colleagues debating whether I should share my good fortune of service and menu to keep that small slice of Jerusalem to myself. My better angels won out and I encouraged my friends to make time to eat even one meal at our hotel.
The story of Naomi's influence was only beginning, I brought a bottle of the wine home with me.