3rd March, 2017
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope this missive finds you well.
The Hebrew month of Adar has arrived. A month of joy and pleasure, of Purim and the celebration of the survival of the Jews over yet another enemy. A time when children, and adults dress up in fancy dress and to ensure we are not a people who wreaks vengeance on our enemies, we are encouraged to become tipsy; I reiterate, TIPSY. The tradition is that one becomes sufficiently tipsy that one cannot distinguish between Haman (the enemy) and Mordechai (the hero) rather than so blotto that you cannot distinguish between your children and the broom-cupboard! Adar, the month of glorious spring flowers and fruit blossom, and remembering to differentiate between joy and pleasure. http://jeremyrosen.blogspot.co.il/
I listened to most of President Trumps maiden speech before Congress and found little to complain about. While his level of eloquence may not please the subject matter was extensive and covered many aspects of concern for the American public and for both sides of the House. It taught me the eloquence can be empty while straight talk is clearer and the populace understands exactly what is being said.http://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/03/01/donald-trump-congress-address-full-speech.cnn/video/playlists/president-trumps-address-to-congress/
Did you know there is a pan-Arab version of American Idol called Arab Idol? This year a truly amazing thing happened. A young Palestinian entered the competition and won, but that is not out of the ordinary; what is exceptional is that Yacoub Shahin is a Christian; indeed not only is he a Christian from Bethlehem but he is a Syrian Aramaic Christian and the competition finals were held in the once Christian Beirut. Mazal Tov to our dear friend Hano Ishaq who is so proud of his Aramaic history and a fine upstanding Israeli citizen.
Talking of first prizes, did you see the Oscars? Poor Warren Beatty was handed the wrong envelope and when he showed Faye Dunaway she read out the wrong movie. “And the winner is La La Land”………… oh no it isn’t! The winner was Moonlight! Actually I was very disappointed; I wanted Hidden Figures to win, for the storyline, for the brilliant acting and for the moral message.
Please can I annoy just about everyone? The Sessions Enquiry. Now I know the furore is because the new Attorney General spoke to the Russians when they were accused of interfering in the US election process, but I do not understand why that is a reason to impeach and Attorney General when the US President tried to change the Brexit vote and did everything he could to undermine the Israeli Prime Minister, but still wanted diplomatic relations with both! Sauce for the goose and sauce for the gander springs to mind. See I told you you would be angry!!
Incidentally, from what I understand, again not from personal knowledge but rather from reading between the lines of the media, President Trump has not barred all the major media outlets (CNN, BBC, NYT, LAT) from all the White House briefings but rather decided to give a briefing to the smaller media and press. If that is so then there is no permanent ban. Please let me know which it is.
Zvi went to Tel Aviv for the Jewish Agency Board of Directors meetings and I thought I could rest. I should have known better. I got “the call” from my wonderful husband and we sat through a number of meetings some of which excited me and some depressed me. My depression comes from the fact that I don’t believe that the work of the Jewish Agency outside Aliya is understood. Apparently the youth work is vast, although not really aimed toward the Israelis or Israeli youth. I repeat, this is just my opinion and my husband is very vocal about changes that need to be made and will follow through. On the second day my spirits were lifted and my hopes renewed as we heard two young TED talks
Erez Perlmuter Co-Founder & Chairman, Kol-Zchut (All Rights) an organisation which puts all ones medical and social rights online in a simple and straightforward manner. Erez began the website when his own daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes aged 8 and he found it almost impossible to navigate the multitude of bureaucratic trapswww.kolzchut.org.il
Zaki Djemal, Entrepreneur & Writer, noticed that when people play “Shech-besh” or backgammon Jews and Arabs look the same, get excited about the same moves, enjoy their coffee with the game and so he began an incredible initiative to brings Jerusalem Arabs and Jews together to play shesh-besh. It may sound banal but it has worked wonders! One wonder is that Luke Baker, Reuters bureau chief and known Israel critic, wrote a positive article!http://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-palestinians-backgammon-idUSKBN1671XR
I raced back from Tel Aviv because the very next day was St David’s Day and the annual Welsh get together was to be held in Jerusalem after many years of hard work by Les and Viv Greenbaum and Mimi and Gerald Rapport in Netanya. When Les approached me to take over the task I did so willingly but admitted that it really had to be in Jerusalem because of logistics. Since I was off to Florida (and the unexpected trip to London for GCQC) Angela Ben Gur and Adele Landau Roffman joined the efforts and took over once the site and menu had been decided and the list basically prepared. I finished off the last minute shopping and the printing of programmes etc and raced to Caffit in the Botanical Gardens to prepare the room with Adele and Angela. The evening was a huge success from every aspect. Adeles marvellous quiz; Angela (all dressed up in Welsh national dress) prepared the singsong and acted as MC; Brenda read Dylan Thomas Under Milk Wood; Judy sang beautifully having learned Welsh pronunciation. We met old friends and enjoyed new ones and the evening was a rousing success with delicious food. We ended with both the Welsh National Anthem and Hatikva. The real Wales https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GwcvhZOwXM&t=134s
Yesterday, oh my yesterday!
At the invitation of the Jerusalem Press Club a small group of journalists went on a special Magen David Adom minibus to the South, to see the work done by MDA with the Bedouin communities and tribes in the South of Israel. After a fantastic lecture and slide show in the town of Kuseifa, when the Chief Regional Officer Ziv explained the incredible work done in educating the young people of the various Bedouin tribes in the area. Teaching 16-18 year olds first aid, CPR, First response saves lives in the more remote villages and gives the young people a thirst for knowledge. Boys and Girls alike study, within the limits of tradition, and then many serve as volunteers on ambulances and medical centres. After the lecture we went to visit the Abu Djuda tribe, Anon village. What a phenomenal treat! They hosted us beautifully with home made delicacies; the Father of the family, wearing a special white head-dress as a Haji (someone who made pilgrimage to Mecca) watching carefully over the presentation given by his eldest son who is about to move from volunteer to a member of staff at MDA. The son has two hard earned degrees but chose to stay in the apparently primitive surroundings of his family with his wife and 3 children. I asked him why. “Family and tradition. Here I am safe”
Then a truly wonderful thing happened. I was watching the children happily playing in their muddy yard – no need for toys when the women of the family called me over. “Do you want to see out home?” they asked in Hebrew. Did I ever!!!! There were three main rooms (the reception room we sat in was more of a tent and outside the family home) stark, tiled floors with about 12 mattresses stacked neatly against the back wall, ready to bring down to sleep at night. There was an inside kitchen – basicall a large room with kitchen cabinets against the back wall and the outside kitchen, stark but filled with activity. A small two burner gas stove, a special cooker like an upturned wok was heated from a fire and everything was sparkling clean. They hugged me and we took photos together and their warmth made me happy. I had the pleasure of sitting next to a delightful young Chinese journalist who has only recently arrived in Israel. Leo absorbed everything I said and derived the same joy as I from the wonderful work of MDA and the incredible Bedouins who chose to learn.
I got back from the South at 4 and raced home to prepare some food for today because at 8 we were sitting in the front row of Standwithus auditorium to hear Col. Richard Kemp. A witty, fascinating man who has never shied away from a fight he has studied the IDF from every angle and found it to be the most humane army in the world –”even more than the best army in the world which is of course the British”!!!Incidentally, Harold, he explained that the West Bank is Israeli, legally, and the illegal settlements aren’t illegal!!! Hopefully by next week I will give you the video. One of my absolute heroes was at the lecture Kay Wilson, who survived a horrific machete attack which killed her friend and still smiles through the intense pain. I want to take this chance to tell Michael Dickson that this work for Israel is unmatched.www.standwithus.com
Music music music!!
Did you know that Over the Rainbow was written about the dream of Israel – of a dream for a home for the Jewish people? Yipsel Harburg wrote the words and the film was released 75 years ago. The film was released just days after Kristalnacht and are still relevant as we strive for acceptance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HRa4X07jdE
A touch of a Yiddischeh Shabbes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ffmH8ND5ck
The miracle of Purim https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgJInVvJSZg
Shabbat Shalom everyone. Chag Purim Sameach don’t get so drunk you don’t see the children eating all their Purim goodies in one go!!!
With love from Jerusalem, my favourite place in the world