The view from my veranda

160122 Rome, Hebron, Nati


22nd January 2016

Shabbat Shalom everyone!

They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder and I can only say that even when one is in the glorious cities of Rome and Florence, Jerusalem is the city I yearn for.

So, home sweet home even though our heating isn’t working and it is bloody freezing!!.

We loved Rome and also Florence and walked our feet off. Rome has too many steps but other than that it is such a lovely friendly city.

What amazed me about Rome in general and the squares in particular, was the vast number of police and soldiers, machine guns cocked at the ready, eyes everywhere – most of all around the Vatican. We were very aware of the ISIS threat of the 23rd March, to destroy the Vatican and turn it into a Mosque.  Rome is clearly taking that threat very seriousl; Rome and Jerusalem, two cities under threat because of their spiritual meaning to so many. Take Rome and Jerusalem take the world.

The Italians, indeed the people we met from all over the world, were great. Rome is probably the only European City where we had no qualms about saying we are Israeli, indeed most people were thrilled – a surprising number had been to Jerusalem and knew how beautiful she is. Our tour of the Vatican comprised of 2 Koreans,2 Bahrainians,  4 Californians, 2 Greeks, 2 Indians, 3 Iranians, 2 Israelis and a Partridge in a pear tree!  The conversations were wonderful and we each understood the other – except that the three Iranian ladies avoided the Bahranian!

We really did Rome – landing on Sunday morning, Natan Hamawi  organised a driver to collect us from the airport and then after dropping our luggage we went into Rome on the bus and began our tour with him at the Spanish Steps. We saw everything,  stopping to savour local delicacies, all the while hearing explanations. I highly recommend Nati – Hebrew, English or Spanish. or better still go to and “like” him. He really deserves it.

The Jewish Quarter was a revelation – the original Ghetto, the synagogue and of course deep fried artichokes………… not my favourite but a real ancient Jewish delicacy. I hadn’e realized that Jewish Rome has been strong for nearly 2,000 years, after we were taken there as slaves. Vittorio Pavoncello explained a lot while we sat and ate a Roman meal in Yotvat – Rome!!! A guard/guide at San Pietro con Vincoli, asked us where we are from and when we said Jerusalem he greeted us with Shalom Aleichem – he was a Jew, Italian, his family in Rome over 2,000 years and he Wears Magen David on his arm!!!!!.

This is going to be a quick letter – because we got home at 04:00 this morning and I have Shabbat to prepare although my Rachel made us our Challot and Zvis children are making most of supper and brining it here.

Hebron has a deep Jewish history. King David’s capital city before coming to Jerusalem, Jews have lived there throughout the ages. I will defend the right of Jews to purchase property anywhere in the world, legally and fairly, and abhor any racist denial of that right……….. however I am faced with a dichotomy. Two Jewish families bought home near the Cave of the Patriarchs and moved in. Today the Israeli Government has already declared confiscation of their homes and eviction of the families for moving there. The dichotomy is that while I defend their right to be there I cannot understand their need to be there and put themselves and their families in danger, but in a typically Tevye situation, on the other hand the world will say “Look at those Israelis, taking poor Palestinian homes again”. We all know that is not true but – Oy vey – what is the right thing to do? While normally I find Caroline Glick right of my politics, by a long way, this speech perhaps answers our Tevye question.  Equally the q1uestion of one way human rights is approached in this excellent article

The stupidest proposal I have heard over recent years – is the idiotic idea that British Doctors boycott Israel. Yeah Right!!!!

Actually they should read Prof. Michael Baums book and then decide!! Michael is a dear dear friend, and his book held me enthralled in my rare free time in Rome

The sun is shining and as I went over the top of Nebe Samuel – Samuels Tomb – the view was even more spectacular than usual! I don’t know if four days away from my beloved city gave her a special glow, but she performed in all her glory, spread before me as exquisite as any sculpture, tapestry or painting we saw over the last few days. Even before we build we plant trees along the roadsides and the view of white houses and green trees in the sunshine is very special.

I am now flagging!! Time for a shloof before the grandchildren arrive. Zvi should be back from his parliament any moment, happy to have wonderful tales to tell.

Children, the children are our future and our history. They hold our traditions in their hands. If they don’t know to continue, who will? This rendition of Shabbat songs is dedicated to children everywhere – including us!

Shlomo Carlebach gave us so many beautiful melodies to Shabbes songs – here he tells a story worth listening to, especially if you think that the world is rotting.

Finally to make us all happy before candle lighting – Hevenu Shalom Aleichem – We Brought Peace Unto You

Shabbat Shalom dear Friends, Shabbat Shalom. As much as I loved Rome, her beauty and her obvious spirituality, nothing comes close to Jerusalem. Perhaps it is because of hospitality, our determination to ensure every single friend has a good time, sees what they should see and enjoys the warmth of our homes. We missed that, except for nati, Nati made our Roman Holiday exceptional.


By the way – just a quick postscript. A journalist I know very well, a special person in a big media outlet, wrote something to me last night. I loved it so much I am giving it to you even though I cannot identify him.

 I totally love the fact two Arabs are suing Supersol Supermarkets over deliveries ! I love the fact they can bring this law suit before a court of law be judged as equals with the law being applied regardless of whether they worship pigs of Jupiter or are green or whatever and there is an unbiased process that will determine the outcome. That to me is the greatest part of Israel.  Blind justice. And it gets reported without any fear!!! God bless Israel – it’s a light in darkness. I know you are proud of your country and you bloody well should be.
Keep up the good fight