The View From My Veranda
Sheila's Letter From Jerusalem
16th June 2022
I’m ignoring the politics and diplomacies of this world, not because it doesn’t influence our every day life, or the price of fuel which has affected everything else, but because Zvi and I are off to Pathos, in Cyprus, tomorrow morning.
I should tell you that the last time Zvi surprised me with a vacation it was less exciting and more traumatic than being told at midnight that we were going away for a few days to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Imagine sitting in the car on the way to dinner with friends in Tel Aviv when suddenly Zvi took the Ben Gurion turn-off. I think I threatened to jump out of the car until he told me that we were on our way to Antalya in Turkey. Of course I was horrified “What about clothes? Passport? Medicines? Make up”? All logical questions but he had packed everything I remember nothing about the journey but will be ever grateful of the holiday because we met Norman and Lola Cohen, who became such dear friends. Of course that’s one vacation that we will not be taking right now – the Iranians are threatening to kill any Israelis in Turkey – which does not thrill Erdogan and caused Foreign Minister Lapid to warn Israelis to come home immediately. Incredibly they are still flying out there! As Forest Gump said “Stupid is as stupid does”
Back to Cyprus. Our wonderful downstairs neighbours, who have our house key, obviously agreed to take care of everything and then the husband, Naftali, said “Give my best to my birthplace, Nicosia” of course I understood what he meant, his family were in the British POW camp in Cyprus after WW2 and before 1948. For me my memories are so different. Cyprus was the source of lunchtime entertainment with my beautiful Zeidy, my grandfather who I adored. Each day he would collect me from my school across the road from their house and take me home for lunch, cooked by my Bubby, grandmother, who was a terrific cook. After lunch we just had time for the radio programme from BFPO (British Forces Posted Overseas) where soldiers got to speak to their loved ones and play a tune. The moment anyone says Cyprus my mind goes back to “Famagusta calling, Famagusta calling” – or “Nicosia calling” my childhood memories are so warm and undoubtedly Naftali’s are quite different. He has promised to come up with his wife Yael and tell us his story over a glass of good wine and some cake when we return.
This has been another crazy week filled with meetings, arrangements and general craziness so we are really looking forward to a real rest and a lot of spoiling!
So dear friends, that’s it! I am not even referring to our sadly failing government. Much to my surprise Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak came out, in a well publicised interview, extolling the successes of this government despite the shenanigans of the opposition. This opposition led by a one man band and his followers, rather than preparing itself for a return to government has spent all its time deriding the current government and voting against everything including votes important to their supporters! I am proud of the successes of the government under impossible odds. I hope and pray that enough members of the Likud will defect and join forces with them.
Professor Gerald Steinberg is not only erudite, his analyses of the Middle East wake us up
1967 -2022 Ending 55 years of Temporary Drift and Chaos
Before I end I want you to think about the words of the late Charles Krauthammer, The Weekly Standard, May 11, 1998
“Israel is the very embodiment of Jewish continuity: It is the only nation on earth that inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language, and worships the same God that it did 3,000 years ago. You dig the soil and you find pottery from Davidic times, coins from Bar Kokhba, and 2,000-year-old scrolls written in a script remarkably like the one that today advertises ice cream at the corner candy store.”
Just think about it. Inside Israel and outside Israel, everyone is trying to change us, perhaps, as Charles Krauthammer wrote, there are many things worth hanging on to.
The first song this week has nothing to do with Israel, it isn’t religious but it is the basis of our lives on this earth. Lean on Me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YapAxPfRyI
Everyone knows the song Dona Dona, even if it’s just the Joan Baez version. Her eit is sung in Yiddish, English and Hebrew – something for everyone to join in! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGz3Zm0IVzw
Now for a real treat! I told you all about the Cantus Choir Concert in the Jerusalem YMCA, conceivably the most beautiful building in Jerusalem. The concert was fabulous, packed house and ecstatic audience, well I have the YouTube of them singing “You Raise Me Up“. You may recognise the handsome, tall guy at the back!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkupB1JUsDs
Hopefully I’ll have lots of stories to tell you next week but for the meantime, I’ve said goodbye to all my beautiful trees, the little lemon tree is smothered in blossom and baby lemons; the kumquat is similarly full of blossom and then the lime and orange trees promised to produce blossom before we get back. The flowers are well watered and should be fine until we return.
Be well everyone, take care, Covid isn’t leaving us so just take precautions.
Shabbat Shalom to each and every one of you. I’m actually thrilled, no recipes for you this week because I won’t be cooking!!
With love from Jerusalem, take care of her while we are gone.