The view from my veranda

151211 Chanuka, Canon Andrew White, ICEJ, CAMERA

11th of December 2015
Shabbat shalom dear friends. We send love from our home to yours.
Apparently I may have a problem with my original address, according to a google warning, so in the future you may well receive the letters from sheerav2 or sheerav3 or even sheerav4 so check your spam in case it is rejected! Remember you can always find the letters on my archives
It has been a beautiful week filled with visiting friends for Hanukah candle lighting, sharing the beauty of this service and relating the miracle – no, not the miracle of one day of oil for the “Ner Tamid” the eternal flame of the Temple lasting eight days but rather the miracle of the unbelievable victory of a tiny people against a colossal and powerful Empire, who tried to oppress us. We need such leaders today, leaders who give us enough confidence to fight back against the ever increasing vision of an oppressive Caliphate.
I have been guilty of comparing the incessant violence in other places, be it in California or Timbuctou, with the relatively rare violence in Israel, however, as my son Gideon said “But Mum, in Israel it is different because they are specifically targetting Jews” Of course he is right about the insane teachings of the PA and Imams who encourage children to kill Jews, but I what about other parts of the world? – it is a Judeo-Christian problem.
Canon Andrew White came to visit yesterday, with horrific stories of kidnappings, killings and oppression which make one realise that it is not a local issue, it is a pandemic, deadly plague. Canon Andrew sees the very worst and cruelest situations, and in order to save the lives of many has to meet the most evil of human beings; Andrew is worried, worried that the situation is getting beyond control. I agree with him, admire him, know that unlike our leaders he will continue to give people hope, hope that someone cares enough to fight back in the most civilised of fashions – with love and succour.  Andrew is working with Shachar Zahavi of IsraAid on several projects– one of my better Shidduchs!!!!!!!
It was good to make him laugh and allow him respite from his exhausting work. His MS doesn’t stop him reaching out with enormous reserves of love – defying Maslows Hierarchy of Needs and proving that one does not need to be healthy, rich or political to be philanthropic; generosity of spirit is not dependent up wealth. Of course this prolific author with millions of Frequent Flyers from his non-stop determination to spread the word of goodness, came armed with his latest book “My Journey So Far“, I can’t wait to read it!!!
Zvi and I went to the Christian Embassy in Jerusalem for Chanuka lighting by a lovely Rabbi and heard Anat Berko, IDF Officer, Physician and Member of Knesset, speak of her family, who fled Iraq after 2,000 years of tolerance and freedom in that country, and found safe haven here at home, in Israel. She said that it was appropriate that we celebrated Chanuka together in the Christian Embassy for what starts with the Jews continues with the Christians. Sadly her words have already proven true. It is always a joy to visit the most beautiful home of the ICEJ and talk to excellent people like Jay, Meridel and David Rawlings and Tim and Martha King.
Israel’s outreach to those in need is known, the IDF’s role less so, but watch this incredible video and report from the British Daily Mail newspaper on the highly dangerous operation to save the lives of Syrians horribly injured, irrespective of which side they fought on.
Ynon Magal is a Member of Knesset (at the moment under a cloud) who chose to respond to the Arab Members of Knesset who criticize Israel…… in Arabic – absolutely brilliant
Maccabi USA President, and our dear friend Ron Carner sent us thoroughly disturbing letter yesterday. Ron was invited by the wonderful American Jewish leader Dr Malcolm Hoenlein to a Conference of Presidents function, to meet and hear an Israeli Member of Knesset speak. The Member of Knesset’s name is Ayman Odeh of the Joint List, Arab and Jewish Party. Apparently MK Odeh arrived at the building in NYC, was told that the Jewish agency also has offices in the building and refused to enter – and to speak to the waiting group of dignitaries. This man who benefits from the open Jewish democracy called Israel, who swore allegiance to Israel on his induction, refused to enter a building because the Jewish Agency has an office there? What kind of aberration is that? A total abuse of his position and his citizenship, to say nothing of his lack of diplomatic nous. I think it is time to enforce their pledges to uphold the state which they abuse.
We have a truly delightful guest this week, his name is Michael Meir and Michael loves  and breathes Israel – of course! We haven’t had time to take him everywhere but yesterday he went on the Ir David (City of David) Tour. He came home thrilled with the detailed explanations and sheer magic of the place. It really is an important stop of your Jerusalem visit
Yesterday was four days in one! Zvi and Michael went off to the Old City in the morning while I made antipasti – of course I do each of about 10 separate vegetables in a different fashion because that’s what I do, and it took hours and hours. Then we went to friends for Chanuka lighting, which was a joy, then carried on to another candle lighting and an excellent briefing by Hadar Sela on bias in the BBC. It is so obvious, overt and unchecked that it demands careful sifting to find the most important issues to chase. CAMERA and Hadar are doing a fantastic job in BBC Watch. We know that the BBC is not alone in its bias but to understand that the English broadcasts are pro-Israel by comparison with the Arabic and Urdu programming is disturbing. Please see Hadar told the select group that the most important thing to do is complain, in concise terms, to their complaints department and COPY YOUR LOCAL MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT. If the politicians realise how many people are disturbed by the content of the BBC they will ensure that changes are made in order for the BBC to retain its public charter and receive the licence monies. We were invited thanks to Lola Cohen who with her husband Norman initiated many, many aspects of Israeli hasbara emanating from Israeli.
After the CAMERA briefing we set of for the Scottish Church in Jerusalem for a concert of classical Spanish Choral Music. The highlight was when a young guitarist walked onto the stage and played. His hands created heavenly music, his proficiency and love of the instrument clear and his talent unequalled. When I complimented him we found a common love of John Williams and Julian Bream!
As we walked out of the Church we were greeted by a truly magnificent view of the Old City walls, lit in Blue and white with an interchanging Chanuka display…………. It simply took my breath away. I couldn’t help but feel that it was unfair that a church so anti-Israel that they refuse to sell the work of Israeli artisans in their gift shop, should have the gift of this view. Ironically, when the church sold off some of its land the Begin Centre was built and as they excavated the land for building our dear friend Professor Gabby Barkay found a tiny rolled up piece of ——– what? A dirty, very tiny, piece of scrap metal? When carefully unfurled it turned out to be the earliest and only ever example of a silver priestly blessing. Divine retribution for their anti-Israel stance – Of course!!!!!!!!
What is Chanuka? This video really explains the true meaning well worth watching “New Yorks Great Chanuka Blackout”
A Jewish man gave a refugee family a lift from Vienna to Budapest. On the way, to pass the time he sang – indeed he sang to them in Yiddish. This is a true gem, a rare and special video showing the one at a time, through kindness we can make a difference – on one family.
I love having Michael with us. Michael and his late wife Rivka, are very important in our lives, indeed Rivka is still with us in spirit and Michael is just a very special person who loves Israel and is curious, wants to learn and know and see and do. Tonight we will have an Italian Shabbat Dinner with Zvi’s son Leor and his lovely family (hence the antipasti) who adore Michael. It will be Amit’s 9th birthday and she is incredibly excited about seeing him.
There is a supermarket in Jerusalem called Osher Ad. Osher Ad is a Haredi supermarket but they have great stock and is really inexpensive……… they even import Costco products and sell them here!!!!! It has wide aisles and the most well set out displays. Of course that isn’t what fascinates me though, it is the variety, the rainbow of both customers and workers. Haredi and Moslem; black, white and brown; simple and scholarly; jeans, hijab and sidecurls – and that is just the staff!!!!! The same goes for the customers, happily enjoying the convenience and familiarity.
Actually I only told you about a couple of our Hanuka candle lighting experiences this week!!! We lit candles and sang great songs at the Yuri Shtern Holistic Care Center; at Yossi and Nitzas with friends and of course at home, just Zvi and I, quietly contemplating  the light emanating from the Chanukiah, praying that its light would spread out ….. one can but hope.
Your first song is Chanukah oh Chanukah in Yiddish – love it!
The second is a cute Chanukah songs from an American perspective, Six13 singing Dreidle Spin
The third is pure Shabbat and very Jewish. I dedicate it to all my girlfriends and the men lucky enough to marry them.  It is called Eshet Chayil mi yimtsah – Noble Woman who can find – and every Jewish husband should sing this to his wife on Erev Shabbat, Friday evening. This Yaakov Shwekey singing in honour of good women the world over.
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Shabbat Shalom from our home to yours, from our veranda and its incomparable view of Jerusalem as she quiets down in preparation for the joy of Shabbat. I wish you peace and strength, the strength to stand up and fight, to be a Maccabee.
With love

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

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