The view from my veranda

160325 Brussels terror, Purim in Jerusalem


24th March 2016

It seems banal to say Happy Purim and Shabbat Shalom when we, the entire world is seeing Purim without Mordechai and this Shabbat has no Shalom, excepting that which we bring to our holy day from within.

The connection between Purim, Haman, Homeini, domination, Turkey, Israel and Belgium is infinite but so complex that I will try to unravel it just a little.

The tragedy, the horrific terror attacks which hit Brussels this week should have been foreseen. Turkey warned the Belgians about the perpetrators who fled Turkey, but they checked them a month ago and let them go free. Why? Because we in the West don’t believe anyone could be that cruel and utterly ungrateful.

We have the pictures of people running through the smoke burned into our brains, of terrified screams and, for me, the man running, hanging on to his luggage cart for dear life – literally.

May the souls of those killed be blessed and their families regain their equilibrium. May the injured heal quickly and receive help to wipe the unimaginable pictures from their minds.

Purim, which today is a day of celebration, was a time of horrific oppression; a naïve King who had a feminist wife and a taste for pretty ladies; his cruel advisor and Vizier Haman; a wise man and his beautiful niece who were todays equivalent of the Mossad; a plan and finally the determination to succeed. If you recall, Haman hated Jews and was so jealous of Mordechai he demanded that the quisling in the palace been paraded around Shushan on a white horse, sitting backwards, for all to see and pelt with garbage; King Ahazhverus listened carefully to his demands and agreed to them, but after hearing the truth from his beloved Queen Esther, who told her King that she was a Jewess and Haman was the quisling, the King set Haman on the horse in Mordechais stead. The moral is clear – stand up to evil, but do it cleverly. If you have a weak leader who is convinced that even those intent on killing you have good intentions, use wile to ensure he learns the truth.

Since it is Purim I thought you would enjoy this very cute video of “What do Non-Jews think of Purim”

Kay Wilson is an Ex-Pat Brit, Jewish Israeli who just a few years ago was almost hacked to death by Palestinian terrorists while she saw her friend dying. Kay spoke before the Human Rights Council of the UN in Geneva

In Israel there are no prizes for killing Palestinians, even if they have just stabbed another soldier in an attempt to kill him. A soldier has just been arrested by the IDF after shooting a terrorist when he was already on the ground. We do not kill.

The great news is that all but 40 Yemenite Jews arrived on Israeli soil this week in a covert operation of the Jewish Agency. With them they brought an 800 year old Sefer Torah. Those who remain in that war torn country feel safe in a compound with Westerners, but sadly the chaos is closing in on them.

So AIPAC has been and gone. At least two of the candidates expressed determination to bring the American Embassy to Jerusalem but I have strong doubts. If every President since the day in 1995 when Zvi and I sat in the Chamber and heard the unanimous vote to move the Embassy to Jerusalem, all Presidents of both parties have vetoed the act. Indeed, the Jerusalem Consulate has changed all its staff to Palestinians not Israelis – a decision which begs an answer.

This is conceivably the most theatrical of all American primaries. The players are so easily identifiable and so diverse it is incredible. It is almost like a soap opera – or as if I was watching Scandal!!!

This week’s newsletter from Rabbi Jeremy Rosen explains my feelings perfectly. It may be the Cardiff connection, the Carmel connection or the fact we have known each other since I was 4, but he captures my thoughts. This week he talks of “Why I Don’t Criticise Israel More”

Purim explained

Zvi and I went to see Rachels children for a Purim Seudah (Purim Feast) yesterday. I wore a multicoloured wig, fake glasses and a red nose. I thought it would make the woman in the car beside us at the lights smile, but she stayed stoney faced. Then her Chihuahua saw me and went berserk!!!! The kids were excited at crazy Safta and delighted to show us the vast amount of sweeties they got as mishloach manot then went absolutely crazy with excitement as Leor arrived with his three girls – gosh they all love each other. My amazing daughter had a multitude of neighbours calling in to eat – she reckons between 25 to 30 of them. A real balabusta!!!! She even made green bread rolls!!!

Last night Zvi, Rachel, Leor and I took six grandchildren, in age order, Yosef, Talia, Amit, Ayala, Gili and Ori, to the colossal Cinema City here in Jerusalem to ice skate! Leor was an absolute champion and took al six children most of who had never been on ice in their lives, onto the rink. Yosef immediately took to the ice and sped off, Talia almost followed him and fell and got up a hundred times (that’s my girl!) and the others clung to the sides except when Leor came to take them for a little run! The Cinema City was heaving!!! Crazy costumes abounded, music blared and it was only when one saw a Haredi man dancing with a girl in skinny mini skirt you realized it was a costume!! Religious men came in skirts and fancy hats and Superman was the favourite costume for tots!!! Afterwards we all went for Pizza and then home to sleep. Leor and the girls are staying over and today we hope to go to the Gazelle Valley with Rachel’s children, so that they can run around while the weather is good.

I am still taking life a bit easy, although feeling much, much better. I was thrilled that our dear friend Gloria Goldstein came to Jerusalem on Monday and we managed to meet for lunch. I love Gloria who is thankfully spending more and more time in Israel rather than her Sydney home. We always have so much to talk about.

Tonight Amiad, Noga and the two little ones, Leor and the girls are with us for Shabbat Dinner so we have a mixture of sophisticated Eggplant Parmesan, fresh salmon and roasted vegetables and “Clean Pasta” for the children – of course preceded by the latest favourite soup which is Pea – good old fashioned, infinitely easy, pea soup. The girls don’t know that Safta bought them some treats, don’t tell their Mum, little bottles of Yotvata Choco, chocolate drops with sprinkles and……….. well, if I tell you then I really will be in trouble!!!!

Today is Good Friday, which precedes Easter Sunday. In Jerusalem it has an even deeper meaning than anywhere else in the world which is why Canon Andrew White and Dumisani Washington are here, both celebrating the festival and praying for a kinder, saner world. Dear friends, only by honouring each others beliefs and traditions, joining hands in love, can we possibly hope to fight the evil that would change our lives and the future of our children and grandchildren. May your prayers take wings.

I wish you all a good Shabbes, Shabbat Shalom, a Holy Easter. This will be a week of songs because on Thursday HaKol Yachassi, Zvi’s choir, are holding a huge concert in honour of the late great President of Israel, Yitzchak Navon, right here in Jerusalem. On Sunday I will meet with Stephen Ryde, star letter writer and proponent of Israel, of course in the Botanical Gardens.

I couldn’t resist this Purim version of Pharrell Williams song, Happy!

Finally, when one comes down to it, Purim is a festival that the children get to enjoy, more than any other. They become their heroes. My favourite costume was a little boy in a wheelchair whose parent built a whole Gotham City around him with legs flying behind. He was so pleased! If you want to see the photo just go to my FB page. Back to children – this is the top Purim song

I send love and strength to all my friends who are having a tough time, especially Sue and Doron. Can’t wait to dance with you next Purim.

I wish you a safe week, a happy week, a kind and gentle week and most of all Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem, centre of our dreams.