Guru, Rabbi and Bolshevik: Meeting Anomarel

 

Before we got engaged, David took me to learn about diamonds. We sat through an educational film to learn about diamonds (clarity! color! carat! cut!) before I finally got one placed on my finger. While not the most romantic gesture in the world, it certainly explains who David is.

Once David decided to learn about breads, he applied the same level of commitment as he had shown while diamond shopping. David went out and found arguably the most talented bread baker in Israel. And while Anomarel is truly a gift to the world of carbohydrates, he has also supplied me with endless hours of entertainment, wisdom and the occasional prophecy.

The best way for me to describe Anomarel is to create some sort of composite between guru, wizened Rabbi and Bolshevik rebel and maybe a bit of Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid. We have been blessed to add him to our lives. I can see him fitting in easily in a yeshiva in Meah Shearim or a biker bar in Hell’s Kitchen.

Anomarel spends his days traversing the country setting up bakeries with new and seasoned bread bakers. There is always a recipe in his mind that he throws down like Santa dropping gifts. Anomarel defines you by your hands: are they good hands? Do they connect to the dough? He lets you know about bread divas and bread narcissists. He’s seen it all.

At some point, during the renovation of our first bakery, I pulled up to check in and found Anomarel sitting cross-legged on the porch playing the oud while a French film crew documented his every note. And I thought… how did this become my life?

But it has. Anomarel is brilliant, an autodidact and while he and David can talk for hours about bread, religion, politics, history and life, I find myself leaning in when he talks about his family, his life, his journey.

When we were debating about opening a second location, we had a few options. And, in fact, just five days before signing on a factory a different location fell into our lap. It was a factory, a second store and a restaurant. And while we had no plans to open a restaurant (having had zero experience in the restaurant world), we were seriously considering it. Anomarel went to see the place and then phoned David. After they spoke for a long long time, David handed the phone over to me. “It’s Anomarel,” he said. “He wants to talk to you.”

And Anomarel, my sometimes guru, sometimes Rabbi, sometimes bread maker said, “Devorah, this is your space.” I trust him the way ancient Israel mostly always listened to their prophets. He’s mine.

So we have bread and a bakery and a restaurant and an entry into the Israeli culinary world from Anomarel because David always finds his people.