The view from my veranda

Musings of an Autumnal Friday

8th, November 2019


Good Shabbes, Shabbat Shalom! Hope this missive finds you well and not too disturbed by the state of our world.


I don’t normally discuss the politics of other countries, unless it directly affects Israel, but an article in the long established British community newspaper “The Jewish Chronicle” caught my eye. The Jewish Chronicle is very moderate, sometimes too much so, but the concern about Jeremy Corbyn and today’s Labour Party has forced even the JC to reach out to Jews and non-Jews in the UK to think very carefully before voting – especially since the former ethos of the British Labour Party attracted the votes of many centrist voters. Attached, an important article addressing those who still consider voting Labour, an article applicable to other countries too.


US president Franklin Roosevelt was perfunctory to say the least about rescuing Jews from the Nazis, he obstructed rescue opportunities presented by Sir Winston Churchill, that would have cost him little or nothing and spurred by his eugenist policies also interned some 120,000 Japanese Americans as potential spies in WW2. FDR’s role in preventing the rescue of European Jewry is detailed in a new book called, “The Jews Should Keep Quiet: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and the Holocaust.” FDR was assisted in his eugenist policies by one sycophantic Jewish leader, one Rabbi Stephen Wise, who sold his soul for invites to the White House. Essential reading and a sharp reminder that a leader choosing to ignore the fate of others is far more dangerous than making mistakes.


Blaming Israel, or more precisely the Jews, for everything that happens is not a new occurrence; it didn’t begin with Shakespeare nor end with Arafat.  So it has been throughout history and so it is today, just look at the accusations of Jewish control, both fiscal and political of both the Democrats in the USA and the Labour Party in the UK. Conor Cruise O’Brien was a diplomat, politician, editor and historian and very Irish. In his book he outlines day by day, year by year, the history of this region.


Brazil is football mad! By football I mean the game that involves kicking the ball with your foot – hence foot-ball! In memory of Kristallnacht the players of Corinthians Football Club wore a small yellow star on their football kit and every seat in the stadium had a Yellow Star on it. In London, Chelsea Football Club initiated a Holocaust Education Programme for their fans with great effect. Sport is the ideal way to send a message which reaches a wide audience.


Yes, I know, you want to know what is happening about forming a government in Israel. I’m doing my best to avoid the subject! I put a question up on Facebook, “Who do you feel is responsible for the lack of government” and the responses were wide-based but fell clearly on the shoulders of Benjamin Netanyahu. His determination to hold on to power while rendering the government powerless is a major element because Blue and White have clearly stated that if he will step down or take the second rotation as PM (until his legal issues are solved either way) they will form a broad unity government tomorrow. My prayer is that Blue and White will succeed without including the extremist parties. I believe that all sectors of Israeli society should be included in a broad based government and have a minorities representative in the wide Cabinet if not the Security Cabinet. If an agreement is not reached in the next few days then it is back to the polling booth!!!


In the meantime the Prime Minister’s “Air Force One” equivalent has taken its maiden flight, amongst much debate as to the wisdom of spending a huge amount on Prime Ministerial comfort when hospitals are desperate for funding.


The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal Secret Service, has thwarted no less than 450 terror attacks in the last year (check your own country’s list, it is happening everywhere). Despite the obvious horror of the attack on 17 year old Rina Shnerb, the leader of the terror cell responsible, who was injured after his capture, was treated in Hadassah Hospital and a full military inquiry took place as to why he was injured during his interrogation. This is a country of clear moral standards and we do not under any circumstances accept violence from our soldiers.


Iran claims that a United Nations inspector “went to the toilet” and put explosive nitrates on himself so that he could accuse Iran of nuclear research activity. Of course it had nothing to do with the fact that it has been proven that Iran has reestablished nuclear testing in Fordo. Really! You couldn’t make this up if you tried! To understand the complexities


Twitter has banned Hezb-Allah and Hamas from their site. Finally a website with a conscience!


We tend to whine and moan about our politics and how they affect our daily lives but think about the politics in Mexico, Venezuela, Uruguay and take your pick of African and Middle Eastern countries and we really are lucky! Moaning about the weather? Remember there is a terrifying waterspout over Genoa, Tornadoes in Spain; Bush fires in Australia and forest fires in California; Volcanic eruption in the Tongan archipelago; heavy floods in North of England to say nothing of Japan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Colombia where thousands lost their lives, and an earthquake in the Philippines. It’s all about perspective. The only real thing we can do, as individuals, to reverse some of the disasters is to plant trees. Trees =rain and rain prevents wildfires….. or limits them anyway. One of Israel’s greatest achievments has been the work of KKL or JNF in planting trees – Israel is the only country in the world to have increased her tree population consistently. Former Prime  Stephen Harper is in Israel to open the new state of the art visitors centre in the Hula Valley Game Reserve yet another major ecological project which has welcomed over 60,000 cranes and white pelicans each year as they migrate from cold to warm waters.


It is common practice among secular Jews, to complain about the Haredi community but I believe that there are situations where secularity is more damaging. I am with a foot in both sectors as a Masorti (traditional) Jew, but here in Israel the pseudo feminists cause major disruptions of society on various levels. HaRav Firer has created a world wide organisation to help people who need medical care that is either unavailable, too expensive or they do not know how to reach the right doctors. Most of the medical care he requests is given gratis. It was haRav Firer that helped Kinneret Chaya and my daughter Rachel. A true Hassid. Since his organisation depends upon donations his admirers decided to create a gala evening and Israeli stars of a very high calibre donated their performances. In deference to the Rav’s religiosity it was decided that the performers would be male although the audience was mixed. Feminist groups forced the performance and the gala to be cancelled because there were no women performers and I am furious! The Rav gives help to everyone irrespective of social or religious leanings or indeed religion, why do these women feel justified in causing such pain?


Josh Aronson is the seventh of fourteen children of Rabbi Aronson of Manchester. Nobody could work out why Josh wasn’t doing well in school and clearly had some major learning and social difficulties, but nobody knew how to address them and being the seventh of fourteen did not afford him the attention he needed. At 16 he was sent to Israel to a special course to find out what was wrong. Despite lack of clear diagnosis he began to flourish, only later did his “problems” have a name, Josh has Asperger’s Syndrome. Proving that determination plays a huge part in success, Josh is a journalist for Maariv and the Jerusalem Post and gives lectures wherever he is invited! Zvi and I had the joy of meeting Josh through the auspices of our mutual friend, the wonderful Rachael Risby-Raz at the Biblical Zoo although we were so fascinated by his story that we didn’t really notice the flora and fauna around us! Josh was on his way to the airport to fly to Budapest on a family search with his cousin, the owner of Katzy’s restaurant in Sydney, who is unquestionably Josh’s best friend. Josh’s story of success over all odds proved yet again that we cannot put people into “boxes” and declare them “disabled” because given half a chance they can blossom and become important members of our society.


I changed the order of events today – for a very good reason. Today is my amazing daughter Rachel’s birthday, so I collected Talia from school and we went to choose a huge colourful bouquet of flowers for her Mum for Shabbat. The aromas emitted from their home on Friday are stupendous! When Rachel and her brothers were children they loved the aroma of freshly baked Challot as they returned from school and now it is a reversal of roles as I climb the steps to Rachel’s apartment and collect my Challot for Shabbat!!! She had seared red peppers and aubergines all ready to make scrummy salads; the roast potatoes were all set to go onto the “platter” the Shabbat hot plate; her veggie chicken soup and kneidlach and the big pot of thinly sliced, long stewed beef made a visit to her kitchen a special treat.


The children were listening to Eastern music and Yosef was singing along, karaoke style, oblivious to the fact I recorded him! I popped into the little shopping centre at the entrance to Givat Ze’ev and once again was delighted by the mixture of both shop owners and shoppers – quite the opposite of what you read about “settlements”.  I then drove back home over the hill and the fabulous panorama atop Samuel’s Tomb to our own panorama, the View from our Veranda!!


And so to music.


Yes, I know I’ve played this song for you several times, but I loved the fact it is translated into Chinese! Wonderful explanations on each verse. Shalom Aleichem


Lecha Dodi is sung in the Synagogue on a Friday evening service to welcome the bride of Shabbat. Here are 3 distinct versions. First Mizrachi (Eastern Jews) then American and Ashkenaz traditional  then there’s Shlomo Carlebach!  and the one I grew up with


So that’s it! Zvi is at his parliament in Kiriat Anavim and he will come home soon so that we can go to spend Shabbat with his grandchildren in Tel Aviv. So in the meantime I wish you a beautiful Shabbat filled with family and love.


Shabbat Shalom and love from Jerusalem, the most fascinating city in the world.



We just received the news that Greg Masel has retired as the Chair of Keren Hayesod. I wish him well on whatever path he has chosen.


If the media does not inform us we must inform the media

Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv
Involvement The Yuri Shtern Holistic Center