Shire members from the Holy Land make a Pennsic pilgrimage

by Master Liam St. Liam, Pennsic Independent Battlefield Reporter

In the past year, Lord Yehoshua ben Haim HaLevi and Giovanna Luparelli have met through a forwarded e-mail message, which he received the first week after moving from Boston to Israel, helped organize the first SCA group in Israel and joined in running five events.

In the past three weeks, they have gotten married in New York City and joined that group, the incipient Shire of Beit Ariyeh, in its first visit to Pennsic.

“This is our honeymoon,” said Giovanna, who has two daughters, Tzipporah and Sara. Other shire members attending are Naomi bat Yehezkel and her husband, Alter, and Rana, who has recently moved back to the U.S. from Israel.

The shire members said there are five paid members in the group, which is part of the Kingdom of Drachenwald, and that there are about 30 people who take part, including 15 who regularly attend events.
Lord Yehoshua moved to Israel last September and almost immediately received e-mail from a friend, who had seen Giovanna request to form an SCA group on another list.

The shire, which has a Hebrew name meaning “House of the Lion,” is planning an “Eighth Night” event, in December and has invited members of the nearest SCA group – in Greece – to the event. The group is also working with a friend who is a travel agent to organize a “SCAdian’s Tour of Israel” next June.

Alter said he had tried once before to get together with someone to start a group and added that the latest effort has seen the shire members involved in fencing, bardic arts, brewing and period games. “We are hoping to get heavy fighting going,” he said.

One of the difficult aspects of having a shire in Israel is that at least half the members are religious Jews who observe Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

Considering that in Israel most people work a half-day Friday, have Saturday off and go back to work on Sunday, Thursday nights have become the easiest time to have events.

For Pennsic, Lord Yehoshua contacted a friend from the Atlantian Barony of Storvik who he knew kept kosher. The shire, the three people from Storvik and three other religious Jews from Lord Yehoshua’s former barony of Carolingia are cooking together at the war, making separate meals from the 40 others in Storvik.
The family will be leaving Pennsic today to visit New York for another week before returning to Israel.

Photo by Master Liam St. Liam: Lord Yehoshua ben Haim Halevi (with Lady Genvieve Fletcher, Drachenwald Herald) is one of seven members of the Incipient Shire of Beit Ariyeh — the first SCA group in Israel — attending Pennsic.