The view from my veranda

180223 UN, Alderney, Daniel’s visit, Purim


23rd February 2018

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Shabbat Shalom

I don’t know about you but I am sick of corruption, politics, supposed diplomacy and guns – actually guns should have been number one on my list of fears. I know that there are many of you who believe that your freedom depends upon owning at least one weapon. As one person said if all teachers carry weapons and a shooter comes in the classroom it will mean that two shooters are in a classroom full of children.

A fascinating article about why school shootings don’t happen in Israel

In another strong speech in the UN by US Ambassador Haleyafter she was ungraciously told to shut up by Palestinian spokesman Saeb Erekat, Nikki Haley responded that she will not shut up and although the PA may find the “moving of OUR Embassy to Jerusalem” it is the American Embassy and it will happen. She pointed out that Jason Greenblatt and Jared Kushner sat behind her ready to negotiate and make a better life for the Palestinian people.  Incidentally that same Saeb Erekat who lambasts and incites against Israel expressed anger that Israeli doctors are not willing to put him at the top of the transplant list here in our hospitals.

UN idiocy of the week? Appointing Syria to the pole position fighting the subjugation of peoples

The IDF revealed that in August they foiled an attempted Islamic State aeroplane bombing of a flight leaving Sydney, Australia.

Canon Andrew White is in the British Channel Island of Alderney. Since he has been just about everywhere it may appear to be unremarkable that he is in Alderney, but it is and his reason for being there is even more remarkable. Alderney was one of 3 British Channel Isles that were occupied by the Third Reich, Guernsey, Jersey, all suffered under Nazi rule but Alderney was different. There were four camps on the island, two work camps and two death camps. 40,000 souls were lost. Canon Andrew is determined that they will not be forgotten

This has been an incredible week! My NYC son Daniel, wife Karen and children Joshua and Callie have been staying with us, which of course means that I have been to many places I normally don’t visit! We went to see the Jerusalem Aquarium which, as our guide and educator Shai said, is still in “run in” mode. If this is the run in then the final stage will be amazing because we all adored it! When there was a break in the rain on Monday we took off to the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. It is truly wonderful, the animals are in the closest possible copy of their natural habitat and although it isn’t huge it allows one to wander through beautiful areas. From there we went to Rachels where the cousins played as if they are together every day – and Auntie Rachel made her famous pizza for all.

Then came the Galita Chocolate Factory on Kibbutz Tzuba, which I wouldn’t miss for anything!! A course teaching us to make chocolate houses, lollipops, pralines, with an array of toppings in front of you as you build your chocolate dream under expert instruction………. Eating at least 50% of the incredible rich chocolate made on site. In the evening Sagi and Ditty Daren came over for supper with their 3 children and we had some of the chocolate treats for dessert.

I admit I was too tired to go to the Bloomfield Science Museum, but I know they had a ball, rushing in the door to tell me all about the games they recognised and the new ones too! Rachel, Yosef, Talia and Ayala came for supper afterwards.

Yesterday we went together to the Kotel, the Western Wall. The entire plaza was jam-packed with Israelis and tourists alike. Bar Mitzva boys were led in by musicians and drummers, families dancing and singing, the embarrassed but proud youngsters under chuppas of all natures – from Tallit to Israeli flag, as they went to read from the Torah for the very first time beside the towering wall. The children were amazed. We also went to look over the newly extended egalitarian prayer area of the Western Wall, the Kotel – the one that some tried to claim did not exist.

What most impressed Joshua and Callie? The newly opened Supermarket opposite; the view from the veranda each morning over Jerusalem; our very large electric blinds which Joshua loved raising to see that view; picking lemons and kumquats; the newly emerging orange blossom; the vast array of craft equipment I have stored in the playroom and of course their Daddy laughing at me yelling “Look at the wild cyclamen” every time I saw  beautiful pink delights at every turn in the road.

Unfortunately, timing meant that I missed the Conference of Presidents meetings and seeing Dr Malcolm Hoenlein, but sorry Malcolm, it was worth it!

Yesterday my miracle grandson was 13- Samuel George, Sammy, Samsam. 13 is the age of responsibility for Jewish boys but Sammy has taken responsibility for making our family smile for every day of his 13 years.

Happy birthday to my brother Ronnie today.

Our delightful, special friend Dr Kimball Taylor is making the interminable journey from Cardston, Alberta to Israel because he loves Israel and us!! Kim is coming to be with us on Saturday evening – and then we will all go to Zichron Yaakov for the Jewish Agency Board Meetings. I hope that some decisions will be made, that they will not forget their purpose for existing which is to create a bond between the Diaspora and Israel – an unbreakable bond. Will report.

Purim! Apart from the dreadful habit of Israeli boys to explode caps at each other it is a festival of joy, parties, fancy dress, mishloach manot or gifts of food and fun and general celebration. I think you all know the story of the wicked, Jew hating Haman who convinced King Achasuerus of Shushan, Persia, to kill all the Jews and of Mordechai who took his niece Esther to enter a beauty contest, win, become Queen and convince the King that Jews were OK and Haman a bad man. Well although while we read the “Megillat Esther” – the Story of Esther – in the synagogues and recount Hamans evil motives, we are encouraged to drink alcohol (honestly) until tipsy. A strange tradition? Yes and no. The command is to drink only until one cannot tell the difference between Mordechai and Haman – in other words, vengeance is considered a sin, so one should drink until one does not feel anger over Haman. I have a problem with it, I don’t drink a lot and sadly see a direct correlation between ancient Persia and today’s Iran. I don’t want to wreak vengeance but I wish Esther would appear really quickly!

Rabbi Jeremy Rosen makes a wonderful comparative between all the religions and Purim

And so to music!!

Maccabeats and the story of Purim

From Shushan to Teheran – Jews all over the world have prayed for just one thing, something that runs through every song, poems and prayer – Peace. Former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, initiated this amazing recording. Oseh Shalom – a prayer that there shall be peace.

Shabbat Shalom with much love from both of us, here in Jerusalem.