The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem


September 9th 2011

Shabbat shalom to everyone and especially to my wonderful, adorable and gentle son Daniel. Happy Birthday my darling, I am so proud of you. Zvi and I went for along weekend to Crete. It is just one and a half hours flight which suits me perfectly! On the flight I sat next to Salem, an Israeli Arab, Moslem, who was responsible for all our safety in the emergency exit. Salem lives in Acre and his love of Israel, his sense of togetherness with everyone, irrespective of religion or creed were heartwarming. His interpretation of Islam honours the other and he openly decried the murder of women and children saying that the Koran specifically demands that even in war one must never harm women and children who are not your enemy. Apparently Hamas, Al Qaeeda, Islamic Jihad etc do not read the same Koran. We had a delightful flight and at the end wished each other Shalom and Salaam. On the flight home I sat with Mary, an Anglican from Nazareth who spoke to me about the intense problems Christians suffer. She was so excited I knew Canon Andrew White, he is her hero too! Crete is fascinating but you know me I love to talk to people and find out the lay of the land – Greeks hate Turks!! They are not surprised to find that Turkey is threatening Israel, brandishing their diplomatic arms and including the Greek Islands in their aggressive speeches. Erdogan has chosen sides – he has chosen to go with the extremist Islamic states and leave Europe behind. As Zvi said “The pyromaniac chose to ignite the Middle East last year and cost 9 lives, this year his pyromania will cost far more. Pyromania and megalomania are the norm for Erdogan and he is taking Turkey with him. If Erdogan chooses to accompany the next flotilla with Turkish warships (the same warships that carried out exercises with the Israeli and US navies) then the entire area will burst into flames. Thank G-d he was not taken into the EU!!! The Palmer Report is a clear and honest report of the Marvi Marmara incident in particular and the flotilla in general, thus proving that the United Nations is capable of producing an unbiased document. Erdogan of Turkey claimed that the naval blockade of Gaza is illegal and that Israel acted irresponsibly in the case of the Mavi Marmara. This article also points out Erdogans lemming like determination to follow the extreme regimes of the Arab world taking his country back into pre-Attaturk solitude. Goodbye Golden Rose. Tom Gross told of the destruction of the last remains of Ukrainian Jews as casinos replace synagogues. Tom wrote “It seems parts of Europe are less tolerant now than they were in the 16th century. Last week I watched as bulldozers began to demolish the adjacent remnants of what was once one of Europe’s most beautiful synagogue complexes, the 16th-century Golden Rose in Lviv. Most of the rest of the synagogue was burned down, with Jews inside, by the Nazis in 1941. “ Thanks to Tom’s article the Ukranian Government rethought and stopped the work. Kol haKavod Tom. The power of one yet again. We all love to hate the United Nations – which we pay for dearly – watch this video to understand why!!!! The Israeli Government is the watchdog of democracy. As such they must uphold the law which includes some unpopular action. Migron village was built illegally on private land between Jerusalem and Ramallah. The Arab owners of the land went to the Israeli Supreme Court to evict the illegal squatters and this week the Supreme Court decision was executed and the homes destroyed. The response of the right wing group was to burn down an abandoned Mosque and they then vandalised IDF property, including 17 vehicles, writing abusive graffiti against the IDF. This is a democracy and we must abide by laws which protect the entire community if these criminals want to deface mosques and IDF property let them go to prison and think about their crimes. On September 5th 39 years ago 1972, during the Olympic games in Munich, 11 Israeli athletes were massacred by a group of Palestinian terrorists called “Black September” at the behest of their leader, Yassir Arafat. The Germans botched the rescue attempt and Avery Brundage, President of the Olympics Committee demanded that the games go on despite the carnage. Yosef Romano, David Berger, Ze’ev Friedman, Eliezer Halfin, Mark Slavin, Yosef Guttfreund, Moshe Weinberg, Amitzur Shapira, Kehat Shorr, Andre Spitzer. Killed because they were Jews, in Germany by Terrorists. May their souls rest in peace and their killers rot in hell. Durban III? Rabbi Jeremy Rosen says it all. Honest Reporting decided to be funny!!! This excellent video tells it all. ‘What has Israel ever done for Peace”? The peoples revolution of Israel is almost over. The tents are folded and many of their aims achieved – at least in part, but for some it doesn’t begin to solve their problem of incredibly high house prices. It was a very important demonstration and brought the plight of the poor and the students to the governments attention. Israel’s demonstrations were held in wonderful atmosphere without the violence of our neighbouring countries. Good for them – hope their hopes will be fulfilled in the coming year. I am proud to say that we knew Dan David who died suddenly this week. Dan was an exceptional man, a Holocaust survivor who never took his wealth or his life for granted and gave a great deal back to this world. The Dan David Prize earned great cache in a world of easily achieved prizes. We met Dan when Zvi and the New Jerusalem Foundation entered and then won the Dan David Prize for the City of Jerusalem, and although the Israeli panel chose to split the prize into three – to be politically correct, (Jerusalem, Rome and Istanbul) for Dan there was no question which city was his favourite and his second home. I love weddings. I love Israeli weddings in particular because the informality encourages humour, conversation and of course political arguments…….The daughter of close friends met a delightful young man at university, they fell in love and married two days ago. The ceremony, the clothing, the setting and the catering were presented with humility and taste. The music phenomenal with songs from “way back when” although all the youngsters were singing along! What I loved most of all is that among the elite guests were many who joined the demonstrators on Rothschild Avenue in Tel Aviv. Yes this was the wedding the media chose to discuss in tandem with the demonstrations of the homeless and the students. It had nothing to do with anything except family joy and a wonderful new couple on their way to a fine life. Mazal Tov Elital and Jason!!! Zvi is on his way home from buying Challot and chocolate kuchen from Angel’s – yes the one in the petrol station, before going back to argue the toss and put the world to rights at his Parliament!!! At Angels (pronounced anjells remember) the challot are piled high on shelves and in boxes, round ones, loaf-tin ones, plaited ones, sweet, plain, sesame topped or poppy seed, finally those filled with raisins – each family choosing their favourites! The aromas which rise from the huge Angels bakery near the entrance to Jerusalem lingers long after the ovens cool down for Shabbat! Today one felt the gentleness of autumn creeping in Somehow the weather becomes gentler, the shops take down their “back to school” stock and replace it with Israeli honey. Honey! Clover honey, nettle honey, wildflower honey, citrus honey, just about every type and flavour of honey imaginable. The mall is closing, the customers wending their weary way home to rest before dinner with the family. The bride of Shabbat is on her way bringing with her a sense of calm and peace that is tangible. It is not important if you are religious or not, traditions are what matters, traditions which pass from generation to generation – the joy on a child’s face as the glow of the Shabbat candles throw their warmth; the freshness of a white tablecloth set with fine dishes; the challot, covered so that they will be discovered after we bless the wine; the smells of generations as the food is prepared; the sense of family, family, TRADITION. Some things have changed but so many are the same! Tradition! I wish you Shabbat shalom, a Shabbat filled with traditions that you can hand down to your grandchildren as your grandparents handed their traditions down to you with loving hands. With much love from Jerusalem the heart of our traditions and our world Sheila