The view from my veranda

150925 Succot, Tabernacles, David Efron, Pope


25th September 2015

Shabbat Shalom, Gmar Hatima Tova and finally –  almost Chag Succot Sameach,  a Blessed Tabernacles and a peaceful Eid-Ul-Adha, the Day of Arafat and Hajj.

Actually, looking at what I just wrote above, hopefully using the traditional blessings for the Jewish and Christian festivals, Succot is happy, Tabernacles blessed and Ei-Ul-Adha I chose to use the word peaceful because I do not know what is traditional. Our hearts should, however, go out to the families of the 700+ dead in Makka, men who simply wanted to walk past the Kaaba.

The next time someone tells you that it is dreadful that Israel wants to impose stronger punishment for the throwing of stones by Palestinian youth get them to watch this video of Israel soldiers stopping stones with their bare hand and shooting in the air. Look at the youngsters total lack of fear of the soldiers.

Another point is that Jews and Christians are not trying to go into Al Aqsa, we just want to go onto the Temple Mount and silently pray. How on earth is that offensive? I see Moslems stop work and kneel down to pray all over Jerusalem and no one bothers them.

This is going to be a relatively short missive. For some that in itself is a blessing but the reason is a good one. We are going away, as do many, many Israelis, for the long weekend. We are heading North to Lake Tiberias, the Sea of Galilee, with Zvi’s sons and their families. We try to go away with them every year since a long weekend is a rare occasion in Israel!

Our dear friend David Efron has received his papers!! These are very special papers however, honouring Davids devoted work for Israel. On the 29th of this month David will be installed as the Honorary Consul of Israel to Puerto Rico. In one year David became a grandfather for the first time, his youngest daughter got engaged to be married and now he will represent Israel in his beloved Puerto Rico. Well done David. Mazal Tov!

As Kippur ended the sounds of hammers began. Succot (Tabernacles) going up on verandas all over Israel. Traditionally one puts the first nails into the structure immediately after Kippur goes out. The trinket markets open on many street corners as decorating the Succah becomes quite competitive. Another Succot tradition is to welcome guests in to partake of a meal. Unlike in colder climes we don’t hang fresh fruit from the slatted roof, in Israel we use either plastic fruits or something very close to Christmas decorations!!! Occasionally one hangs the yellow clusters of dates, fresh from the tree but rotting fruit in hot weather is really not a Succot tradition!!!

I often talk about our friend Professor Gabby Barkay and his incredible Temple Mount Sifting Project, well this time one of his visitors, a child, found a tiny stone seal from the time of King David. Such an exciting experience!

So today we leave the view from our veranda, drive to Tel Aviv to collect some of the children, hopefully going through Givat Zeev to kiss Rachel and her family Shabbat Shalom, then start up the coast. As we drive we pass history, ancient Roman (Caesaria), modern British (Atlit) and then cut across the country finally arriving at the Sea of Galilee and the town of Tiberias. We will make Shabbat in the hotel, it is fun watching all the other families stop what they are doing and look in amazement as Zvi begins to sing Kiddush. We are staying in the countryside so we will take long walks along the River Jordan (as Shimon Peres said the River Jordan has more history than water!) on Sunday the others (not me) will kayak and go down the Banyas fast waters. I still have memories of my son Gideon who decided to white water raft without the huge inner tubes they provide and got caught on a rock! He was only 16 at the time!

I wish His Holiness Pope Francis a wonderful visit to America, may his message of peace be heard and his followers enjoy every moment.

We return to a wonderful Tabernacles event by the International Christian Embassy – thousands of people who came to be in Israel, support Israel and celebrate their own religion in joy.

Succot in Jerusalem, such a happy time

What is a Succah? Well here it is – a hug from above.

As one enters the Succah in addition to the regular prayers one says a special prayer thanking God for bringing us to this moment Shehechiyanu We never miss a chance to say thank you!

With much love from both Zvi and I, here in Jerusalem. I will take a final look over our view before setting off, I find it hard to leave Jerusalem even for a few days, almost as hard as I find it to write a short missive!!!




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