The view from my veranda

150712 Greece, Iran, Hillary, Maslow

12th July 2015,
Dearest Friends, Shevu’a Tov, a Gutte Voch, a good week to you
I started to write to you from Greece but then I decided that it was too hard to write on my tablet and waited until today! Here is the beginning from Greece and the remainder from Israel.
Shabbat Shalom from Greece. This has been a fantastic week of friendship,  success and  warm receptions.
We are here at a pivotal period and are slowly learning about many Greek tragedies.  Their inherited memory of the Third Reich which rampaged, pillaged and burned Greece has created a sense here that it is Germany, not Europe or the IMF, or the irresponsibility of their own politicians that is the cause of their fiscal ills.Indeed Greece bears a strong resemblance to the Madoff tragedy except here it was a government’s greed and the willingness of the wealthy countries to lend what could not be repaid.
We found a confused people that wants to regain its pride.
Their history and ancient mythology, runs alongside our own on many levels,  including the flood, but no-one mentions the Hellenists who tried to dispose of the Jewish people, not by killing us but rather by making kashrut, brit mila (circumcision ), Shabbat,  daily prayers illegal so we would assimilate into the Hedonistic Greek way of life.
I cannot emphasise sufficiently the warmth with which we have been received; be it Karpenisi, Delphi, the amazing Tagli Lodge in Arachova, indeed when we arrived in one restaurant we found a baby naming in progress. The family were so excited by the fact we came from Jerusalem that they invited us to sing, to their thrilled excitement the choir sang in Greek!  Athens awaits, we’ll see.
Now from Jerusalem.
Athens was terrific, we went to the Parthenon, to Delphi, to Tavenas and to the Plaka area. While the monetary situation was clearer in the countryside many shops were closed or empty, but on the other hand, sales drew customers in. Coffee shops and restaurants that were empty during the day were still full to overflowing at night, about half-half locals and tourists. As usual Zvi and I spoke with taxi drivers and locals and as if with one voice they voted OXI – no – to the idea of paying back their debt as set out by Merkel. One said it was because he had to ensure his childrens future but none, not one person understood that their inability to repay meant that pension funds around the world would suffer.
In several hotels I was amazed to discover they had Israel 24 news for us 
I saved the best for last…………
HaKol Yachassi Jerusalem, the choir that Zvi sings in, won first prize in the Folk section of The International Choir Competition in Karpenisi!! In the Parade HaKol Yachassi sang and danced our way through the streets of Karpenisi and at the end, Zvi presented the Mayor with a Jerusalem Flag. The Mayor fell on Zvi in gratitude, tears in his eyes. There was also a choir from Serbia, The Jewish Choir of Serbia, who sang Israeli songs and again, my lovely husband brought each and every one of them a little Jerusalem plate. Life is good!!!
In the meantime, a young, mentally unstable Israeli from Ashkelon wandered across the border to Gaza and disappeared. It took time to understand what had happened since Hamas denied his existence at first then said that they had found him, realised he was unstable and released him. Former Prime Minister of the UK Tony Blair is conducting the negotiations for his release and for the release of a young Bedouin man who also crossed the border.
The limping negotiations with Iran continue, led by a limping John Kerry. It is hard to accept any reports because, as I told you, the IAEA, the organisation responsible for overseeing the Iranian nuclear programme for all the years it was flourishing, was in fact a member of the Moslem Brotherhood!
Hillary Clinton has never been know for sitting on the fence and to my surprise has come down firmly on the question of boycotting Israel and of the establishment of the Palestinian State. She is clear and forceful in her condemnation of the BDS movement, recognising that it is totally negative to any negotiations with the PA
Al Quds Day was celebrated in most capital cities around the world. At least it purported to be a Moslem celebration but in fact it was yet another opportunity for unadulterated incitement to hatred of anything Jewish and of Israel.
The disgraceful Jon Snow yet again met his match in his war of words against Israel. I tired of reasoning with him but the indomitable Mark Regev, spokesman of the PM’s office, managed to keep his sang froid and responded with clarity and poise.
According to Maslow’s Pyramid of needs, Israel should be in a constant funk of misery unable to reach out to others or enjoy life in any way yet we defy every aspect of “the “rule Well, they say the exception proves the rule and Israel is exceptional in so many ways. One could put the pyramid on its head and Israel would still reach out to help those in an even worse situation!
The best part of coming home is getting onto that El Al aeroplane, knowing that the pilot was an Israeli Air Force Pilot with battle experience, and then it happens, “Shalom, welcome to El Al” as the smiling stewards and stewardesses joke with the passengers, help me put my hand luggage on the rack despite the rules, hug the children and chatter away in Hebrew. It makes me feel I already arrived.
Landing in Ben Gurion Airport (yes that’s the name, not Tel Aviv) is exciting, crossing over that coastline excites me and landing in that oh so familiar airport is special. This time our luxurious minibus was not waiting for us so we piled into a Sherut (Nesher Minibus Shuttle), which was bound for Jerusalem, prolonging our vacation by an hour and dropping us right next to Gadis home and our car.
I have spoken to you about the incredible work of the Yuri Shtern Holistic Centre, which provides free holistic therapies for cancer patients and their families in Shaare Zedek Hospital and a small clinic in Jerusalem.  Over 140 therapists, including reike, reflexology and other touch therapies, and psychotherapy, give 2 1/2 hours a week as volunteers, and the method is so successful that Sloane Kettering hospital wants the Centre to teach them. Because it is a totally volunteer organisation we are strapped for money, seriously strapped for money. Please watch this emotive video and consider donating – please i beg of you. I am so proud of their work, have been a recipient and watch friends flourish after being treated.  Indeed to ensure that the Yuri Shtern Foundation can reach out to help more and more cancer patients and their families every penny counts. To donate – Your generosity will help so many people and I feel deeply that this cause is one that touches all of us at some time in our lives
We arrived home in plenty of time for Shabbat, and my first thought as we walked in the door was to press the button of the shutters to take in our view of Jerusalem. I was sad to find that the drip irrigation system had failed and I may have lost my little kumquat tree but I think I save all the others. I doubt if they will fruit but at least they are alive.
This week is already hopeful as our dear friend Bernardo, who is in Chennai India for a heart transplant, is off the respirator and breathing alone. He is talking and smiling. Keep praying though Ezra Dov ben Iska. Baby steps for him, but great news for Rosa and their son Moi who is there with them. To make life even better, their daughter Aliza had a baby girl last week!
Hopefully this will be a good week, a happy week filled with good news. At least i have my view of Jerusalem and my wonderful veranda to look forward to and sweet memories of our trip and the choirs enormous success.
For your delectation here is a small taster of HaKol Yachassi and their disc is coming out soon, available right here.
This is the Serbian Choir that we met, giving a whole new touch to Hava Nagila!!!
With love from Jerusalem, beautiful Jerusalem

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

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