The view from my veranda

140221 Yoni Rechter, YSHC, Conscription, Falk, Prosor and Clark,

21st February 2014
Shabbat Shalom Everyone!
So much happened this week that I decided to start at the beginning and then go where my fancy takes me!!! So we will begin with the unbelievably successful concert and then go to the news and then cheer you up again at the end!!!!
Yoni Rechter is a truly amazing Israeli composer, musician and singer who decided to give a free performance in aid of the Yuri Shtern Holistic Centre. With 700 tickets to sell both Lena Shtern, and Roni Gilboa put all their efforts into the PR for the concert and my goodness, it paid off!!!! Not only was the concert a sell out but the entire Yoni Rechter troupe and the Jerusalem Theatre chose to give their services gratis too!! It was so much fun that people were dancing in the aisles and in their seats – not a common occurrence in the austere theatre!!!!! Yoni Rechter wrote many of our most beautiful songs, here he plays the piano and another sings – Malachim Bochim – Angels Cry. “When the angels cry in the other world it is sadder in ours”
Religion has been in the news this week – in one sencse positive and in another negative. Christian Arabs have long fought to have separate designation on their ID and now it is to happen. Christians are joining the IDF in bigger and bigger numbers and want to be separately identifiied. Member of Knesset Yavin has successfully brought a law before the Knesset to represent that desire.
The second item returns to the determination of this Knesset to bring equality to the burden of Israel’s security “Shivion b’Netel”. In the ultimate aim to bring all of Israels residents to shoulder the onus the Knesset began with those Jewish Israelis who do not play their part. It is all about sharing responsibility not about damning religion or religious study. The greatest Rabbis of old worked and yet the time they spent studying produced huge rewards for the future of Judaism. Maimonides (Rambam) was a doctor, philosopher, astronomer and scholar of Islam. Rashi was a working Vintner with his own winery. As to fighting, what of Judah Maccabee, Gideon, Saul, King David, Bar Kochba………… I could go on and on Throughout the ages the most impressive Jews who ensured our continuity worked and fought, yet still had time to study and teach. So, why are the Haredim fighting the obvious need to reunite the Jewish people? Politics dear friends it is all politics and nothing will convince me otherwise! A long ignored aspect is that in order to be accepted to almost any good position in work one is asked what one did in the IDF – it enables everyone to advance in life
Two items on the United nations and incredibly one is good bur really! Richard Falk is leaving as the spokesperson of the UN Human Rights Commission (is that an oxymoron or what?)and in his final reports accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing. Is he insane or simply self-hating? Ethnic cleansing is taking place in most of the Middle East and Africa and unabated killing is taking place in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and a multitude of African countries but Israel is the target of his ire and vitriol?
The second item is really good and due to the work of the exceptional Israeli diplomat Ron Prosor. Through his undaunting work 170 countries have voted Ambassador Prosor to run the elections to the Human Rights Committee of the UN. Bravo Ron – you are our hero!
Helen Clark, the former New Zealand Premiere, is headed for Israel because in her new position she needs help in the world fight against AIDS. Don’t expect too much from her though – she decided to cut relations with Israel in order to improve her countries relations with the Arabs and sell New Zealand Lamb!!!!!! Seriously I am not joking!
The IDF introduced voluntary conscription for young men and women with special needs, with outstanding success in bringing them into the normative society. Through this particular innovation we all profited in a most unusual manner. It was found that high functioning autistic young people are able to see even the tiniest inconsistencies in satellite intelligence pictures which even the most trained normative eyes cannot find.
Rabbi Jeremy Rosens blog this week – Shabbat. Why should we reconsider our reasons for keeping Shabbat and the dangers of instant gratification.

Zvi’s friend Baruch Ivcher went to Peru to seek his fortune. He set up a successful radio network and life was fine. However Baruch grew up in Israel, in freedom and understood the Pruvian leadership was oppressive With intelligence, determination and Israeli Chutzpah he decided to bring democracy to Peru. It almost cost him his life and his radio station was blown up – however he succeeded in deposing Fujimori. Baruch has been honoured with a major road in his name in the Peruvian Capital. Kol ha Kavod – the Power of one in action.

Dr Malcolm Hoenlein brought the impressive Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organisations of America to Jerusalem this week. Unfortunately as things turned out I did not manage to go to the meetings despite Malcolm’s kind invitation but I hear it was exceptional as always. To see and hear those who spoke –
You already know that I am a people watcher – I love to simply sit and observe the similarities and differences of passersby. Failing trips to Mahane Yehuda I am fascinated particularly by Israeli medical institutions. I am not being morbid, and my visits were for regular check ups but gosh it is amazing. In a visit to Shaare Zedek I became obsessed with hats or rather with the myriad of head-coverings passing me in the corridors. Wigs and shtreimels; black hats and beanies; baseball caps and intricately wound scarves of the Mizrachi women; wimples, hijabs and hippie slung scarves; black, white, knitted, silk, velvet, Yemenite and large Moslem kippot without even starting on the lengths of skirt – each expressing provenance and religiosity of the wearer. The visit to Kupat Holim (the Health Fund) produced a similar variety in both staff and patients. I love the diversity which is clear evidence of our wonderful free and open society.
Arlene, my beautiful friend, arrived this week. She had three requests and I managed to fulfil at least one of them! We didn’t manage Mahane Yehuda (next time) but I took her to see the pink clouds of the Shkediot (almond blossom) on the Jerusalem Hills. We drove finding hill after hill and pink flash after pink flash in the most unexpected places. She was as excited as I was! We then went to Givat Zeev to see my beautiful daughter Rachel and on the way back to Jerusalem we saw the panorama that I love so much. As we neared Samuels Tomb I told her to look right and wait……….. and the promise of the view was fulfilled – Jerusalem in all her beauty shining golden amid the mist. It still gives me a chill.
Today is a beautiful day and as it draws to a close it will become a special day – Shabbat. Shabbat. A day of family, calm, contemplation and prayer and of course of eating…………. eating……… no Jewish affair, whether family or religious is complete without eating!
Today I have a special song for you – very special. Sorry the link is so long but it is worth it for the result. Shalom Aleichem
A special wish our lovely friend Andrea – be well my love.
Shabbat Shalom dear friends
With love from Jerusalem – centre of our world