28th July, 2016
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope you are well and not too deeply into despair every time you switch on the news or hear the newspaper drop through your letter box.
We live in a time of horrific killings and the utter ineptitude of our leaders. We live in a time whereby Church leaders condemn Israel, their only refuge, yet do not preach of the slaughter of their parishioners in Moslem countries. We live in a time where Islamic leaders are calling on lone wolf terrorists to kill Israeli athletes at the Brazil Olympics. We live in a time where the Palestinian Authority is suing Britain for the Balfour Declaration because they are rendered incapable of moving forward by hate so deep that they will not build their potential country. We live in a time where an aged priest has his throat slit while at prayer because he refused to denounce his faith and his country’s leader still believes we must get used to it. There has always been war, for some countries it is overseas and thousands of miles away for some their cities were bombed and homes and families destroyed, but somehow, it was not personal, except for one exception, the worst of all exceptions, the Holocaust. The Shoah was very personal. The Shoah singled out specific groups with the soul intention of wiping them off the face of the earth in an organised and almost predictable fashion – this is different. The Goerring lies are the same; the cant is similar; but it is the unpredictability of their methodology that is so horrific, pure unadulterated terror. Taking tiny children and inculcating them with a hatred so deep that they grow up with one aim in life – to kill those who they cannot overpower in order to achieve world domination. No more no less. They have been successful for one reason – our leaders, virtually all, have misinterpreted their intent, their determination and their methods. Again, I beg of you to watch this important documentary by Israeli journalist and Arab expert Zvi Yehezkeli. His documentary is about Europe but it applies to the USA too. Allah Islamhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hR7REARFFpQ
If you ever read the words of the Reformist Martin Luther you will know that nothing is new under the sun. Please read this excellent article by Carla Brewington who is a volunteer with Standwithus. http://www.algemeiner.com/2016/07/27/on-modern-antisemitism-christian-silence-is-complicity/
Now that you are thoroughly depressed, let’s go on to politics!!!
I am so impressed by the carnival of American Elections! No endlessly boring speeches by candidates outlining their manifesto, conventions become akin to pop concerts where the candidates are the stars and the atmosphere reaches fever pitch. The applause and the clearly professionally printed placards of the minor players do less for me but the jamboree effect is sensational. Of course, it has nothing to do with politics, but it certainly is fun. The Republican convention gave us more drama because we couldn’t decide what would happen next (a little like the candidate) but it was rather businesslike; the Democrats, however, know how to throw a party!!! Film stars (I thought Meryl Streep would pop her socks), Pop stars, Rock stars, Presidents wife and of course Bill Clinton, all stood up to declare their love for the candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. They dedicated songs of freedom and women’s rights and Mrs Clinton herself spoke to little girls about the possibility of them becoming the next woman President………. By the way, am I the only one who noticed that her voice is getting deeper and deeper a la Margaret Thatcher? I love it! That is, I love it with deep reservations. America is electing the leader of the free world, and it is an endangered free world, the carnival is not enough. All eyes are on the election of a President who can lead us through a period of extreme danger, who has the courage to make huge decisions, to look outward not inward. We want a leader who makes his/her intentions clear, a list, a manifesto, a declaration of intent – not bells and whistles – solid, clear, written intent. Please.
While all the horror has been taking place, have you read Israel21C?www.israel21c.org tells you of all the amazing innovations and inventions created in and by Israel. Just this week the “black box” of brain tumours was discovered – a way to find them before they actually become malignant; we read of a nanotech printer which creates human tissue from stem cells to say nothing of the wonders of the past which have given hope and life to millions. Israel is a positive spot of light on a dark landscape.
Daniel Meron is a Senior Advisor at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our neighbor! Daniel wrote this excellent Op-Ed
The Jewish sages teach us that Abraham’s tent was open in all four directions because he wanted to be prepared to lend assistance to anyone who happened to pass by. Abraham, as the Bible tells us, also tried to save the people of Sodom and Gomorrah from their grave punishments. In the spirit of our forefather, Israel has been working since its establishment to provide much-needed assistance in catastrophes and to those less fortunate around the world. The founding leaders of Israel recognized that it is a country’s responsibility and moral obligation to share its experiences with other nations.
Dr Yleem Poblete was, for many years, the senior advisor to Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen. Over the years and our friendship with Ileana we became closer to Yleem and began to recognize her outstanding academic approach to the American relationship with Israel. Yleem wrote this exceptional Op-Ed entitled “Israel deserves better” .https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/8537/israel-deserves-better
Despite relating the umpteen times Jews were banned, slaughtered, exiled and enslaved by Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, Crusaders etc in Jerusalem– we are here. This is video takes us through 4,000 years in 5 minutes!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mR2W43t6tI
Last Shabbat we went to the baby blessing of Michael and Meira Partems little grand-daughter. It was such a joyous occasion and the whole family took part in the Shabbat service and Michael explained the Parashat ha Shevua – the Torah reading.
This week the Liwerant Family is in Israel to celebrate the Bar Mitzva of Eitan, Daniel and Judit’s grandson. Being the wonderful people they are they could not imagine their grandson having his barmitzva without putting on his tefillin (phylacteries) beside the Western Wall. After the religious ceremony we went to the Touro Restaurant in Yemin Moshe for what we were told it brunch but turned into an exquisite cornucopia of elegant dishes. What could be better? Good people, wonderful food and a view of the ancient walls.
I finally got to sit down and enjoy the company of two of my favourite ladies, Judith Hallside in the German Colony and my friend Sheila Zucker!!! Sheila is a former broadcaster, both here and in America. I love her and we always have so much to say but never seem to meet. We sat on the veranda of the King David Hotel (or as Canon Andrew White calls it ‘Daves Caff”) and absorbed the view, the elegance and the opportunity to talk about everything. Hopefully we will get together in January in Southern Florida where Zvi (and I) are coming to speak.
We are off again! Portugal with the HaKol Yachassi choir. I love travelling with them because we are friends and because we sing all the way there and all the way back!!!! We will visit Belmonte the Jewish Sefardic Museum learn about Portugals Jewish history as well as enjoying local sites and sights. http://mpjh.org/Museums.html
Music, to lighten our hearts
Israel is haven to birds as well as people. Every spring and autumn hundreds of thousands of cranes, pelicans and so many more come to rest and enjoy the weather of the Hula Valley as they go to winter in Africa and summer in Europe. This niggun is dedicated to themhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d8tHhrDNZ4
Since we are going to Portugal I thought it appropriate to give you a wonderful song written by Eli Yaron, a member of the choir with music by Adi Hayat – Israel Mio – My Israel, in Ladino. I hope you like it. In this clip our dearest friend Shmuel Benalal z”l was still alive and so happy, so I dedicate this to Flory, Asher, Avi and Netanel, his loving family. Shmuel ws killed in the terror attack in Mali. Hakol Yachassihttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oZfs4WjDpU
I won’t be cooking this Shabbat but I promise you that we will sing Kiddush, break bread and sit together for our Shabbat meal just as if we were at home, at a table surrounded by friends
With all my love from Jerusalem, the most beautiful, open, welcoming city in the world