The view from my veranda

141015 Chag Sameach Happy Tabernacles!

15th October 2014
I don’t quite know which Chag to bless and what is happening when and how!!! I could just say Chag Sameach and cover the lot but then tradition tells us to say Moadim le Simcha – Happy News (or something close) and in Israel we celebrate just about all of the upcoming festivals in one fell swoop whereas in the Diaspora it is three quite separate issues. Gosh this is hard!!! In principle and most importantly tonight Jews all over the world will dance around the synagogue in groups, in a very specific fashion, carrying a Torah scroll on their shoulder until the next group gets “called up”. Why? In celebration, in delight, in joy at completing the reading of the Torah (Deuteronomy) and then starting at the beginning (Genesis) again. Each week the portion of the Torah is read until another year will pass. Why? TRADITION!!! We are a people that loves a reason to celebrate and since this is virtually the only festival that is simply celebratory rather than relief of survival over adversity it is all the sweeter. Oh and talking of sweets, they will fly through the air as delighted children scrabble on the floor to collect their booty, barely believing their fortune at being allowed to eat as many as they want!!!  
A few weeks ago a new campaign started here in Israel to lower the cost of food, housing and services. Unlike the previous campaign of cottage cheese this one involves an over-sweet chocolate dessert called Milky. What struck me as sinister about this particular campaign is that comparisons were made with costs in Berlin and it joined with a campaign to get young Israelis to move to Berlin with many enticements from the German government. It horrifies me. MK Yair Shamir expressed my feelings entirely
Any bad feelings I had, any insecurities were cast aside as Zvi and I walked into the VIP reception hall of the new Pais Arena for the spectacular evening of the Annual Tabernacles week organised by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. Director Jurgen Buehler greeted his guests and Zvi and I found ourselves surrounded by friends. Tim King, Jay and Meridel Rawlings, Malcolm Hedding (all founding members of the ICEJ) and Jay and Meridels son David. Then over my shoulder I saw Earl Cox – to our absolute delight! I love Earl and cherish the times we worked together to found his and Kathleens international media campaign to help Christians understand Israel. I was also thrilled to meet Susan Michael who is a recipient of these missives for some years now and promised she would be “looking for you” at the event. I don’t have words to describe the sheer joy of walking into the auditorium and seeing 5,000 Christians from all over the world who came for this festival of Tabernacles, under the auspices of the ICEJ, to tell us they love Israel. Their words, love and prayers were so strong they were tangible. Also Beverley Dwyer, the incredible PA to Jurgen Buehler did a phenomenal job on the spectacular show.
Our wonderful friend Canon Andrew White had spoken at so many events that he did not come to the Arena that night but I will get my hug soon. Andrew is not going back to his beloved Baghdad, it has become too dangerous even for him and the Archbishop of Canterbury has asked him not to go.
President Rivlin expressed his delight at the event and Ron Lauder also spoke out saying  Israel allows itself to be defined by her enemies
Mr Lauder spoke out to rousing applause saying how the World Jewish Congress has taken on the support for and publicity about the plight of Christians in Moslem countries. Bravo Mr Lauder – at last someone is speaking out.
The Temple Mount is not holy to the Jews they should not be allowed to go to this deeply holy site. The mere presence of Jews is a profanity, so believes MK Taleb Abu Arar when he spoke to a Jewish activist on Friday 
The UK Labour Party and its leader Ed Milliband put a one line whip on the vote to recognise the Palestinian State. I was most distressed by Jack Straw and the odious Gerald Kaufman who are out and out anti-Semites despite Kaufmans Jewish ancestry. I happen to know that there are very good people trying to combat the out and out anti-Israel feeling and Prime Minister Cameron has assured us that it does not have any bearing on the UK’s alliance with Israel. Please listen to this excellent debate on Voice of Israel. Am so proud of my friend Danny Seaman on this one – indeed on every one.
Ban Ki Moon toured the Gaza Strip, the tunnels and the Southern Israeli towns and villages yesterday. The media only reported his statements on the destruction in Gaza but in fact he said far more. When he went into the tunnels and was horrified at their construction and sympathised with the Israeli children who were bombarded.
Making clear his position on Hamas’s actions, Ban commented, “I have condemned time and time again Hamas’s rocket attacks and their use of tunnels. It is not acceptable. Nobody should live in constant fear and under the threat of rockets and tunnels.”
The real ethnic cleansing of the Middle East: From 1948-1978, over 850,000 Jews were expelled from their homes in Arab countries throughout the Middle East. Learn more about Jewish Refugees of the Middle East:
OK. I know that our prayers are usually answered but this time the Almighty used his natural ESP to give us an absolute downpour prior to our prayers!!!! It already happened in Tel Aviv and is expected in Jerusalem any time which of course means flooding in the Negev!! It fascinates me that King George Street is the divider between the rainwater that goes south to the Dead Sea and Negev and the rainwater that goes to the sea. You don’t feel anything when you are standing there but apparently it is true!!!
Talking of rain – in Hebrew Geshem – I had to give you one of my very favourite songs by Israeli superstar Eli Luzon. You can even sing along because it has transliteration and translation.
Tonight is Simchat Torah but there are two kinds of Simchas. One is the Simcha or joy when a new Sefer Torah is given to a synagogue to celebrate a wedding, bar-mitzva or birth. That can be on any day of the week and is a festive affair the other is the festival of Simchat Torah. In Jerusalem there are two days of celebration called Hakafot (circles with the Torah) ha Shniya (second), more religious in the Rav Kook Yeshiva but just as joyous!!
I wish you a joyous Simchat Torah and a blessed Tabernacles Festival.
With love from Jerusalem, our city of Gold, heart of our hearts.

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media

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