The View From My Veranda
Sheila's Letter From Jerusalem
29th March 2019
Good morning, Good Shabbes, Shabbat Shalom!
Last night the clocks went forward into summer but the weather most certainly didn’t. It’s rather cool, cloudy and threatening rain, but in my heart it is warm and sunny because we are home.
Zvi and I travelled to London last week, together with Zvi’s grand-daughter Amit. Zvi and Amit “did” London, loving every moment. We all had marvellous time family time, we are a typical modern family, spread all over, and as a grandmother – a Safta – I was inordinately proud of my Grand-daughter Olivia who broke with tradition, chose to read from the Torah and performed brilliantly. Olivia Hannah sang her Torah Portion, making even the description of burnt offerings sound wonderful, and then stood before the assembled community and gave a sermon. Her Daddy Gideon had taught her well as he had been taught by his father Philip, with about equal degrees of impatience, but with much love. Very much in family tradition Gideon and Stephanie’s home was an open house to family on Friday night and to all comers after the service and Kiddush (reception) on Shabbat. Stephanie did an amazing job on organising food for everyone and the fantastic party at the Saracens Rugby Club on Sunday evening with Jason Millan catering and “Shir” singing and leading Israeli dancing. One highlight was when Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg came to the synagogue, after Olivia’s wonderful performance, dressed as an Israeli Guide Dog for the blind!!! He just returned from the Jerusalem Marathon where he raised monies for that cause and successfully wove the dog into the story of Purim, as the guide dog of Esther’s handmaiden who overheard Haman’s plot and spoke to Mordechai who understood dog so saved the Jewish people. Rabbi Wittenberg doesn’t officiate at Bat Mitzvot but he loves Gideon and Stephanie and chose his own unique way to appear and express his love for them! The entire affair was a lesson in generosity and charity since Olivia asked for donations rather than gifts – donations to her brother Sammy’s Special Needs School and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for her cousins. I was surrounded by family the entire weekend and loved every moment.
London surprised Zvi. As a news hound he avidly reads articles including those about London and according to the media hype he expected Londonistan but found a warm and friendly city whose citizens not only helped but often took him to his required station or bus stop. A city filled with incredible sights, architecture and adventures. One such delight was on Oxford Street, right outside Selfridges, where a busker played Hatikva on his saxophone, to the delight of those who knew what it was and those who didn’t!!!
In fact, the current news media is so busy with Brexit that there is little else!
While we were away Hamas decided to test this government and launched a missile at a home in far off Kfar Saba, which happened to be the home of a British couple whose family were visiting from the UK. How they all survived only Heaven knows because the house was destroyed. Of course we responded and of course the foreign press then described the response as cruel big Israel attacking poor little Gaza but that’s another issue entirely. Israeli troops are massed on the Southern border in preparation for any insurgence of Hamas terrorists disguised as “demonstrators” and if necessary to enter Gaza while the Egyptians, yet again, act as arbiters in that seemingly unsolvable situation. Hamas, as poor little Gazan leaders, have been systematically killing and maiming the Gazan people’s brave demonstrators who dared to turn out to protest the oppressive Hamas regime, but nobody seems to care. No-one seems to care that tens of thousands died in floods and mud slides in Mozambique either.
President Trump signed a statement that the United States recognises Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. To understand the significance of the statement one has to go back before the Six Day War to the time that Syria used the Heights as a shooting range to shower the Israeli farms and villages below, a situation I remember well since I was on Kibbutz Kfar Hanassi. In fact annexation of land won in war, especially in a defensive war, is not illegal! The UN nor the ICC have any legal power to demand the return of such lands. Moreover, there are literally hundreds of disputes, current and angry, although we never hear of them since only Israel seems to reach our biased news media. This may clarify the issue https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_territorial_disputes
A pro-BDS man in Holland bewailed the stocking of Israeli wines in a store which caused a huge buying spree of those wines!! Eat your heart out Roger Waters! ttps://www.jta.org/2019/03/26/global/dutch-bds-supporter-triggers-israeli-wine-shopping-craze
Here in Israel, the electioneering is as dirty as always, becoming almost libelous mud slinging rather than declaring policy. Smaller parties are dropping off in the polls and the two major blocs are almost equal. The actions of Hamas most certainly strengthen Mr Netanyahu’s Likud and their “Centre Right” (some of whom within his bloc are far right) but the Gantz, Yaalon, Lapid led “Centre Left” are holding their own and things are pretty much even. Personally, I am pleased that this may finally be the end of one person parties and the subsequent interminable political party broadcasts – by Israeli law each party in the race must receive air time appropriate to the size of the party.
There has been a surprising outcry from Moslem women after New Zealand women came out in sympathy with the Moslem community by wearing Hijabs. While appreciative of the support for the New Zealand community after the horrific shootings, killing 50 people at prayer, they say that the Hijab is a symbol of oppression of women not of Islam.
Tomorrow is March the 30th, a day emblazoned in my memory – a day of both horror and miracles – it was the day Kinneret Boosany was the victim of a horrific terror attack on the Tel Aviv coffee bar she worked in but it was also the day that Kinneret Chaya Boosany was born. For those of you who joined this list later in my musings, you may not know my beautiful Kinneret Chaya, today Kinneret Chaya Boosany Twig, or her story. On the 30th of March 2002, at the height of the 2nd Intifada, a young man walked into “My Coffee Shop” on Allenby Street in Tel Aviv and asked the beautiful young barister for a coffee, as she prepared to bring him the coffee he exploded the explosive belt around his young body destroying everything in its vicinity. Kinneret was hidden beneath the coffee bar which was engulfed in flames due to the alcohol on its shelves and when Magen David Adom Paramedic Itzik Kohav made a final scan of the area he almost missed her but saw a hand move, with superhuman strength he lifted the bar and took Kinneret out. He rode with her to the hospital and stayed with her until her sister Anat, then parents Yaffa and Moshe and sister Nitzan arrived. He speaks of her chattering all the way despite her horrific injuries, burns on more than 80% of her tiny body. She was given a 2% chance of survival. Her family asked us to go to a local Rebbitsen to bring an amulet to her bedside and a Rabbi came to see Kinneret and asked the family to rename her Kinneret Chaya – Kinneret Lives. Today she is the married Mother of four, after they said she could never have children and a truly happy lady. HAPPY RE-BIRTHDAY DARLING KINNERET CHAYA
As incredible as the week was for all three of us there is no feeling to equal that of landing back home. Touching the ground knowing we are back in Israel always thrills and the Aliya, the ascent to Jerusalem still gives me goose bumps! Poor Zvi had to bring the suitcases up our two flights of stairs to the apartment but as I raise the electric blinds and the view from our veranda lays before us, it is all worthwhile. I stand and check the flowers, excited to see a multitude of tiny pink buds on our orange tree, a sure sign of spring. The poppies and anemones are out as are the daffodils and narcissi and in the distance I see that Beit Tsafafa, Gilo, Ramat Rachel, Talpiot, Baka, all stretch before me and on the hill above Beit Tsafafa, between Beit Tsafafa and Gilo, under the small neighbourhood of Sharafat archaeologists found artifacts from the Hasmoneans (descendants of the Maccabees), 2,000 year old wine presses, mikvahs (ritual baths) and burial sites – apparently the Jews who lived there all those years ago had a good life! https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Impressive-Jewish-artifacts-found-in-Arab-neighborhood-of-Jerusalem-584865
I just came back from my regular trip to Givat Zeev and it was extra exciting because the blessed rains (take that as you wish) have created incredible green fields and the cherry blossom stand proud and pink against the green. The mimosa, the Judas Tree, and of course the narcissus family at the side of the road, goats and sheep nibbling at the refreshing greenery. Talking of flowers, young people set up beside busy roads to sell flowers for Shabbat on a Friday, sometimes it is quite a challenge to avoid husbands driving home as they realise they are empty handed and swerve to stop and buy a bouquet!!!
So what songs do you want to hear? Perhaps songs that express our feelings for this little but beautiful country, so ready to help so ready to defend so ready to reach out “Ein li Eretz Acheret” I have no other country https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paSpun78Ix0
The excellent band “Shir” that performed at Olivia’s Bat Mitzva party is an exceptional group, leading Israeli dancing and singing traditional and new songs. This song “Adio Querida” sung in Ladino, is mistakenly believed to be a love song but in fact it is a song of disappointment at the Expulsion from Spain. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjsIVD3I4Hw
Zvi proudly read the prayer during the service of Olivia’s Bat Mitzva, expressing his, and the community’s love for Israel. Here is a song that tells you why. A Tiny Country https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUInjvoxKpE&t=2s
I wish you a day of rest, of family and of contemplate on this Shabbat. The weekly Torah portion relates to the laws of Kashrut (kosher) and of the argument between the brothers Moses and Aaron concerning offerings. Aaron and his descendants begin the priesthood line, of which I am a proud member, and begin to officiate for the first time. An important reading indeed with much to learn.
With love from Jerusalem, heart of our world, given nine-tenths of the world’s beauty by the Almighty.
Facebook Sheila Silver Raviv
Involvement http://www.impact-se.org/ The Yuri Shtern Holistic Center https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=kMhjARej5-o