The view from my veranda

160923 PM in UN, Kay Wilson Standwithus UK, London


23rd September 2016

Shabbat Shalom to all of you dear friends. Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem.

I’m sorry that I am running late, I really intended writing on time but…… well the truth is that I very efficiently prepared everything before heading off to get Talia and Ayala from school; I set the Shabbat table for all 15 of us tonight; made the salads; par-boiled the potatoes and put in the other veggies for roasting; indeed – was right on time. I collected the girls, drove them home via the fishmonger to pay my bill, the florist and the garden centre to get flowers for their Mummy, spent a delightful time with everyone, received my challot from Rachel and drove home………. Well almost! Just as I was about to turn into the driveway I realised I had forgotten the fish in Rachels fridge!!!! As much as I love the panoramic views about which I oft wax lyrical in my letters, I didn’t expect to see it again quite so soon!!!! Anyway, I promise to try and give you a good letter today, but really fast!!!

First and foremost, to those who I didn’t manage to see while in the UK, please don’t be cross, I go to see my beautiful grandchildren, Sammy, Olivia and Zacky, Gideon and Stephanie and my siblings…….. If I manage to see anyone else it is a bonus but, hey, you understand I am sure.

Kay Wilson, an Ex-Pat Brit, was walking in the Judean Hills with a friend when two Arab youths attacked her and her friend with machetes. Her friend was killed but Kay miraculously survived, with horrific injuries, and crawled for help. Kay is an outstanding speaker, mostly for Standwithus, and Joy Wolfe brought her to the UK to speak. Here is what she said on FB about her experience

On another note, during the summer I saw lots of friends I had not seen for a long time and during my UK speaking tour for StandWithUs in England, I met lots of new ones.

One of the most profound moments on the tour happened after I had addressed a class of high school girls. In the class, there were Sikhs, Hindus, Christians and a couple of Muslim girls wearing hijabs. I told them that Palestinian Muslims took their knives to hack at my flesh, yet it was a Muslim Israeli surgeon who used his knife to save my life.

I will never forget what happened next. One of the Muslim children rushed up to me and hugged me tight. She didn’t want to let me go. And it made me want to weep.

It made me feel hopeful. It may be only a drop in the ocean, but who cares? It is the little things in life that can change our world and perception of others. Just think, it was nothing but a flea that wiped out hundreds of thousands of people in the plague. Further, a microchip can send a rocket into space and most painful of all, it only took 3 chords in pop music to destroy the beautiful world of Jazz 😀 This child’s hug made my summer. We never know the impact we have (for good or for bad) and how far our words and actions reach. I felt compelled to tell you this. That’s why I’m back on FB – at least for a while.

Kay’s story

The Prime Minister of Israel has been in the States. He spoke at the United Nations and received a standing ovation – yes that is what I said, he received a standing ovation! His speech was excellent, but that isn’t new, his words were strong, as always, so what has changed? Is it even remotely possible that the members of the UN are beginning to wake up?

Mr Netanyahu has also been busy inviting guests to Jerusalem – Ban Ki Moon and Mahmoud Abbas in particular. Hmmmmm wonder what the chances of them enjoying a meal at the PM’s home is? The PM also met with over 15 heads of state, ensuring that they understand what Israel has to offer to friends – and we have many, don’t be fooled by the media. The big meeting, the one we all want to be a fly on the wall, is with President Obama. I have a good feeling about it.

I am on the board of an exceptional organisation, well organisation is probably not the right word, it is a research institute in the Hebrew University on the Givat Ram Campus. IMPACT-SEresearches the school curriculum of schools in Arab and other Middle Eastern Countries to see if they meet the UNESCO criteria for tolerance in education. IMPACT-SE also set the criteria for UNICEF. Any research that did not include Israeli schoolbooks would be irrational, so that is what we did – or rather what Prof. Eldad Pardo and his team did. The result is heartwarming. Israeli schools teach tolerance and emphasise our search for peace

The other evening (I arrived at 07:30 after a night flight from London and was at the event that night) Zvi and I were invited to an event celebrating 50 years of the Jerusalem Foundation. It was quite a spectacular but only one person received a standing ovation and that was former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, Rabbi Dr. Lord Jonathan Sacks. I don’t have a transcript but here is another one

Zvi coped incredibly well while I was away – in fact he coped too well! He had cleaned out his crazy office and discovered a floor under all the boxes – it looks stupendous. I hadn’t realised how big it was!!! He was busy with meetings and friends and the day before I returned he and hs friend Itzik Lev were guided around the Sefat Academic College by Gideon Selinger. They were both very impressed. The college encourages equal numbers of Jews and Arabs to attend, don’t forget that the Arab population in the north is greater than the Jewish population, and has excellent results.

I did manage to meet with Carol Gould in Golders Green, Jill Lipman who came with Stephanie and I to St Albans, The Ryde family especially Beanie and finally, but far from least, Valerie and Martin Myers and Tony Perkin. Valerie and I not only “grew” our children together, we had our own business together and were the best of friends…..even more importantly, Valerie introduced this Indian Tonic Water drinker to something much more fun – Gin and Tonic!!!

The time I spent with the children was special. I don’t want to be a distant figure on a Skype screen and every hug is worth its weight in gold. Walking them to school, playing with them, hearing their piano practice alongside my incredible daughter in law Stephanie, is the stuff of dreams. To sit with my son and see his face relax as he watches the Rugby on television is wonderful even if he supports the wrong team – what? Not Wales? I saw beautiful buildings, watched the beginning of autumn in the local park and saw a London which is diametrically opposed to the London the media present. We walked the highways and by-ways and were greeted warmly by people in the street. I heard Polish, French, Romanian, Russian as the predominant second languages, everyone was polite and kind. As I told you a hundred times – keep away from Oxford Street and Edgware Road and London is a fabulous city. One more thing – unlike virtually everywhere we visited this summer, food in London is amazing. The best food in the UK is pub food, but food is terrific and many tradition British dishes are making their gourmet comeback!!!

Talking of food, I need to get on with my cooking! Since we are so many for supper I am not doing an hors d’oeuvres, everything together with a surprise for dessert! I decided to do bananas in pyjamas for the children – my kids used to love it!!!

And so to music

I love this version of Shalom Aleichem, May peace be with you, because it encompasses tradition, children and spirituality. Not the first time I have given it to you and probably not the last!!!

The iconic Leonard Cohen has written some truly magnificent songs/poems. His smokey voice has enchanted and entranced, I can’t quite feel his latest song but I seem to be alone in my emotions – Hineini – Abraham, Jacob and Moses all said it, but what dark meaning does Cohen hide in his words.

Heavy stuff eh? Let me lighten your faces with a 9 second song from the Smurfs – Gut Shabbes

With all my love from Jerusalem. Life is not always simple, gone are the days when children lived in the next street to their parents, today they find their own adventures and that is good. Whenever I leave my children or grandchildren my heart breaks and when I am with them my heart sings – emotions so ably expressed by Ella Fitzgerald

Shabbat Shalom from our veranda, the view, the flowers, the fruit and the herbs. Shabbat Shalom from me to you