Moti Teoerberg and Hila Lieber-Teperberg
Moti Teoerberg and Hila Lieber-Teperberg
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Birth:

Moti and Hila were both born in Jerusalem: him in 1953, her in 1988.

Home:

Moti lives in a detached home in Jerusalem's post-1967 Ramot neighborhood; Hila in an apartment in the city center.

Extended family:

Moti has a brother, Daniel, who is a judge, and two sisters: Rachel Hasfari, a retired school principal, and Amalia Twersky, an educational adviser. Moti's wife, Saraleh ("She is an absolute superwoman" ), a social worker, has an M.A. in Jewish studies, a law degree - she specializes in planning and construction issues - and is a volunteer at the women's organization WIZO. Hila has a brother and four sisters: Amotz, 32, is an entrepreneur; Malka, 31, is on the way to a master's in law; Hanna, 29, is a special-education teacher; Anat, 27, is a graduate of psychology studies; and Racheli, 17, is in high school. Hila's husband, Ido Lieber, is employed by Modiin Ezrahi, a security firm, as a guard at border crossings. Moti has nine grandchildren.

Cellars and spies:

Moti is a fifth-generation Jerusalemite on his father Menachem's side and 10th generation on his mother Rivka's side. The foundations for the family's wine business were laid by Avraham Teperberg, who immigrated to Ottoman Palestine from Austria in 1850, and two years later opened a store in Jerusalem that sold wine and other alcoholic beverages. His son, Ze'ev Zaide, caught the bug and in 1870 set up a winery called Efrat in the Old City, named for the ancient route of grapes that were transported from Bethlehem, also called Efrat in Genesis. The first winery in the country's Jewish community, antedating Baron Rothschild's venture by about 20 years, it was located in cellars beneath the Jewish Quarter. In 1925, the winery was relocated to the Romema neighborhood at the western edge of the new city. The business flourished and the Teperbergs sold bottles of sweet sacramental wine in large numbers. But then someone noticed that the winery's logo, showing the two spies in Canaan with a cluster of grapes, had been copied by the big Carmel Mizrachi Winery. "There were legal proceedings with Carmel over the logo," Moti recalls. "In the end there was a compromise, but the affair cost the family a lot of energy and money, and the business deteriorated." Afterward, the Teperbergs were granted an exclusive franchise by the British Mandatory authorities to produce alcoholic beverages, and established a plant in Sarona, the community founded by the German Templars north of Jaffa. A few years later, the authorities allowed alcohol to be imported and the family went bankrupt.

Behind the hummus place:

After Israel's establishment, Moti's father and his brother went back to the wine business. The new winery, located in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda produce market - in the backyard of Rachmo's famous hummus place - manufactured some 80,000 bottles of sacramental wine. "That was the only kind of wine people in Israel drank at the time," Moti says. "There was barely any dry red wine. Afterward, the Romanians and the Hungarians brought in the spritz trick: You put wine in a Sypholux soda-maker and create Champagne. I remember the Mahane Yehuda winery from my childhood. On holidays, during the harvest, I poured grapes into a machine and stomped on grapes with special boots." In 1964, the winery moved to Motza, outside Jerusalem.

Someone up there:

Moti's family has been religiously observant for generations and affiliates itself with the national-religious movement. He attended Nahalim Yeshiva and offers his own interpretation for his business success. Code name: connection with the Creator. "I believe 120 percent," he asserts. "If you display readiness and effort, and if you work honestly and decently, God will complete the work for you, that's for sure. I believe that there is someone up there who guides things. There are messages and signals. People say 'intuition,' but what is intuition? I believe that the Lord sends good fortune to everyone, but only the select few know how to bend down and pick it up."

Army:

Moti served in the Paratroops and in the Nahal paramilitary brigade, concluding his service as a tank commander. Hila put in one year of study before entering a religious girls' pre-army course, then was a service conditions noncom in the combat engineers unit and afterward in the school for paratroopers.

National lottery:

Moti joined the family business in 1976, working with his father at the winery. But after half a year he found the place too confining and went to the United States for six months. "I went to find myself but my father sent my cousin to bring me back home. His excuse was that he needed me in the business." Moti returned and his parents breathed a sigh of relief, but not for long: He gained a reputation as a Don Juan. At the age of 23 he was already considered an aging bachelor and everyone expected him to settle down. "I slept two or three hours a night and the rest of the time I partied. I had a car and a few of us would drive to Tel Aviv to pick up chicks. That's how I met Saraleh. She was a Tel Aviv 'northie.' To this day I feel, every year, that it's our first year. It was like winning the national lottery." Five minutes after they met he threw away three pieces of paper with the phone numbers of other girls. The next day, they went to a play and when the usher asked if they were together he replied, 'This is my wife-to-be.' They were married a few months later.

Boutique 1870:

Moti has managed the winery since 1984. For the past six years it has been located near Kibbutz Tzora, on the slopes of the Judean Hills wine country, which evokes Tuscany. Moti joined the new wave of local winemakers who discovered the marvels of terroir (a fusion of terrain and climate ), and the ability of skilled local vintners to put out high-quality products. In an attempt to shake off the image of the sweet Efrat wines, Moti called his line Teperberg 1870; his is today the fourth biggest winery in the country. Hila works in the business as a market coordinator and is in charge of establishing a visitors' center.

Hila's birth:

Moti was present at the birth, as he was for all the children: "A gorgeous girl emerged, and since she was born she has always known what she wants. She is putting us through our paces, that's for sure."

Taming of the shrew:

A girl like Hila in a family like hers is exceptional. "She is very independent," her father says. "She wanted to change our way of doing things." She switched high schools three times. In Or Torah, located in her neighborhood, she felt stifled at the end of the 10th grade. "I wanted to get out of the neighborhood, be more independent and meet new people." She transferred to a boarding school for girls in the Etzion Bloc, south of Bethlehem - and left after two weeks: "It wasn't for me. It was too religious and I didn't have the patience to study until 7 in the evening, because I danced, I waitressed, taught dancing to children from underprivileged families on a volunteer basis and did Krav Maga. I experienced adolescence in the most powerful way" ("She was a street girl," Moti says ). The next stop was Evelina de Rothschild High School for religious girls in the Rehavia neighborhood.

Gentlemen's agreement:

She entered the school a few days before a critical test in history, which would constitute a large percentage of the final matriculation grade. The principal didn't want Hila to take the test, but she extorted a gentlemen's agreement from him: "I asked him to let me do all the tests, and told him that if I didn't get good grades he would not have to sign me up for the matriculation exams. I studied for the history test for two days and got the highest mark in the class. At that meeting we also reached an agreement that I would come only to the important tests and the matrics, and he would exempt me from doing homework. That's how it was. The day after the matrics I flew to the Far East for two months."

Wild one:

Moti is a master of understatement, and he makes plentiful use of it when talking about his daughter's adventures. "She was a bit of a wild one," he says. "She crossed boundaries that had never before been crossed in this family. We love a framework and she said that there is life besides studies. She wore pants. The kids she hung around with were no great shakes. She went for a trip to the north, came back late, didn't come back at all."

Conscious decision:

Her parents had only two choices: "We could lose the kid or 'flow' with her, so we decided to flow with her," Moti says. "We preferred trying to get into her head rather than going head to head with her. She has exceptional capabilities but did not realize them in that period. She studied only what interested her, such as a special law course for three years at the Hebrew University, as part of her high-school studies, which was the equivalent of a five-unit matriculation exam."

Nerves:

Hila is perturbed that she resembles her father in too many ways. "Everything that bugs me about myself also bugs him about himself, like his hyperactivity." Moti doesn't like Hila's manipulations. "She knows how to get things, everything is calculated with her. She plays a game and I have to use my head to figure out what part is the game and what part is reality. She can twist her mother around her little finger and it bugs her that with me it doesn't work."

Reflections in the mirror:

When Moti and Hila look in the mirror, they see each other's reflection. The similarity scares them. It takes the form mainly of sharpness and quickness of thought, and impatience with fools.

Expectations, disappointments: "We are not a family that gets one another uptight with expectations and demands," Moti explains. "I believed that she would succeed at whatever she did. Each of us went a different way, and from our point of view that is fine. The important thing is for them to be content with what they are doing." Regrets: Moti is sorry for not being attentive enough or "present" enough in her life. "I have guilt feelings for coming home late from work and missing out on the kids a little." Hila too is regretful: "For driving them crazy during adolescence - I could have gone easier on them." Things never said before: Hila wants to erase her father's guilt feelings. "Even when he got back late at night, I knew he would always be there for us. But I never told him: 'Stop tormenting yourself.' I will never be like my father ... I try not to be impatient like him, but in the end I am exactly the same." Fantasy: Hila has a fantasy of creating a home for indigent families, a kind of school that offers a new kind of life, with experts and professionals who will teach life skills. "I ran a project like that in the army," she notes. Moti's fantasy: to establish a visitors' center at the winery. "Then to join my wife and do all the things we like together."