The view from my veranda

Happy Passover


7th April 2009.

Chag Pesach Sameach

Our hearts go out to those Italians who lost their homes and their lives in the horrific earthquake which hit Italy early yesterday morning.

Our dear friends David Efron and Kathy Rundell arrive from Miami, as they do each year to be part of our family at the Seder table. Today David will dedicate the Efron Dance Center in Jerusalem in memory of his parents. The Hora Dance Troupes, young and old, have a marvelous facility to practice and meet whenever they wish in beautiful, happy surroundings. What a marvelous way to remember ones parents.

The house is ready, the table set. The Seder plate and the Haggadot in place, and apart from the inevitable sand-storm in Israel which each year successfully dirties the gleaming surfaces, all is well.

The acrid smell of cleaning fluids which hung over the country has been replaced with the aromas of fish and fowl – the type of fish dependent upon the origins of the household. Gelatinous Polish gefilte fish or spicy fish croquettes in fiery tomato sauce. The Sefardi (Spanish and Portugese) and Mizrachi (Eastern) kitchens have the advantage of using pulses and rice, but notheless the hallways tell the tale of in which Gola (Diaspora) ones family spent 2,000 years of dispersion.

Yoram Ettinger, erudite former Ambassador for Israel in the United States, writes a marvelous column each week combining an economic outlook, political tidbits and religious interpretation . This weeks “Passover Guide for the Perplexed 2009” is a must!

A special quiet will fall over Jerusalem tomorrow evening as an entire nation sits around a table, whether in private homes with loved ones, in a hotel, in the civic Seder for those who haven’t the means to provide for themselves, to read the story of how we left slavery behind us forever. Each Pesach is linked to fear for my friend Naomi Ragen who still remembers her family’s near tragedy as they prepared to partake of the Seder in the Park Hotel Netanya seven years ago. Naomi, we all wish you and all Am Yisrael a happy seder to create new memories.

“LeShana ha’Baah be’Yerushalyim” don’t forget to repeat it, sing it and do it. We will sing Chad Gadya, Only one Kid – with all the appropriate sounds – the kid’s bleat, the cat’s meow, the dog’s bark, the stick’s tapping, the fire (fire engine wow wow!), the Angel of Death (booooooooooooooh) and of course HaKodesh Baroch Hoo (G-d) who receives a huge cheer for saving us all. The Seder should be filled with joy and unanswerable questions so we never forget this story of our history.

To end I wish you my late Auntie Lena’s favourite blessing

“May all your troubles be as thin as Matzo and they will surely Passover”

With much love from Jerusalem. Have a wonderful Pesach, Pascha, Easter or whatever way you choose to pray.


PS By the way Stanley, we met Irit and Itzik again yesterday. Ramat Hasharon with friends!!!!! Love you!