The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem

26th July 2013
Shabbat Shalom lovely people! This has been a week of good news in the birth of a future King of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth – and of disconcerting news as Europe decided to blacklist the military arm of Hezb-Allah but not the “political” arm which in fact is Nasrallah and all those who call the shots for the less fortunate to go out and either kill us or kill themselves. Britain and Germany worked hard to reach even this weak and immoral conclusion! At the same time they decided to boycott – yes boycott – any goods or products made in the “disputed territories” or any programmes which emanate from there. Their idiocy will simply create dreadful unemployment for Arabs and Jews who live there. For the Palestinians of the West bank, Israeli initiatives and factories are their only way to bring in an ensured salary. In response Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon has told them that as of now Israel will not participate or assist in any European projects – which of course will fall apart!!,7340,L-4409959,00.html
It’s all the fault of the leaders, we all live together without any problems. A wonderful event just outside the walls of the Old City where Jews and Arabs sit together eating juicy red watermelon with salty cheese – a tradition for both peoples – and watching performances.,7340,L-4410022,00.html
Roger Waters used to be a hero of freedom in his days as a singer with Pink Floyd. His words have turned into an anti-Israel diatribe of late and his hatred unbecoming of one who claims to promote peace. His latest diabolical act was to float a pig with a Magen David at his last concert. Shame on you!
The United States is the leader of the free world, the strongest democracy on the face of the earth, the cradle of human rights and freedom. But these bombastic titles are worthless when the US acts cruelly, hypocritically and displays double standards. The President expects Israel to release hundreds of killers, men with blood on their hands yet simultaneously the US has rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s plea that Jonathan Pollard finally come home.
If we are already talking about double standards – Israel is told she cannot keep any troops in land that is not part of Israel itself yet look at the number of USA troops who are thousands of kilometres from American soil.
Britain also has troops all over the world but both countries feel it necessary to publicly berate Israel.
Last night Zvi and I saw a rerun of the outstanding West Wing (Season 5 – 21&22) which was so real, so relevant to every thing that happened prior to Israel leaving Gaza and the events surrounding terror attacks and the decisions an American President has to make. Must watch
As I told you last week we went to see our friend Allen Gerskup receive the Yakir Maccabi honour. What I didn’t realise is that other, equally amazing people, also received that honour! Adolfo Finkielsztein, David Fleisher, Allen Gerskup, Tom Goldman, Miguel Litchi, Harry Procel, Mervyn Tankelowitz, Jack Terpins, Motti, Tichauer, Victor Vaisman and the incredible Toni Wortman. The ceremony was very moving as each video told the story of how each of these people impacted the lives of hundreds and thousands of young people bringing them into the Maccabi Movement. Toni then stood to give the address on behalf of the recipients. People come in all shapes and sizes, some are larger than life and some are tiny in stature but gigantic in personality and their footsteps on this earth. Toni Wortman comes into the latter category. Toni’s words rang so true, as she reached out and took my heart in her hands speaking about her initial involvement in the Maccabiah, how it drew her in and made her a Zionist – how Israel became central to her life and gave it new purpose through the Maccabi Family. Toni, who in her high heels still needed to adjust the microphone is one of the biggest people I know – she is a giant among a group of larger than life people who were given this high award for their work in Maccabi. Yeah Toni – you go girl!!!
The next day saw us on a bus with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat who guided us around the incredible new projects in Jerusalem. We began in the almost finished CinemaCity which will house a theatre as well as many cinemas, a plaza, a huge fountain and many entertainment facilities then to the renewed Teddy Stadium which now had 12,000 new seats and hosted the opening of the Maccabiah and will host the closing ceremony too. From there we drove to the new basketball arena which will also have an ice rink and soon an Olympic swimming pool. And so to “The Tahana” the great new go-to site in Jerusalem with craft market and restaurants – which will soon have a rollerskate park and a wonderful pedestrian boardwalk all the way to the Jerusalem Theatre!!!!
City Councillor Naomi Tsur has been encouraging Green Pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Naomi has achieved much in this sphere but one of my favourite projects are the Green Globes near the Jaffa Gate. Brav Naomi.
To round our week off we went to Zion ha Gadol last night with old friends John and Adrian Kraus from Melbourne in Australia. It was jam packed in the noisy busy Talpiot neighbourhood and the food was as amazing as always! The conversation was as if I had known them all my life!!!
The grandchildren are back from a short vacation in the North of Israel where the two older ones learned to swim! It was so wonderful seeing them again – I missed them so much! Life for many Israelis is one of families spread all over the world. It is fine for those with money but most of us rely on Skype and telephones to be with our loved ones and a large number of prayers that they will come and visit!!! Anyway…………………. as I said I went to see the grandchildren and took (with their Mummy) some delicious breads and Challot (plaited Shabbat bread) from Bermans Bakery. Even though we got there before 09:00 it was already full of eager and hungry purchasers. Challot are not just the usual tasteless plaited breads or round breads but come in many shapes sizes and flavours! There are plain, semi-sweet and sweet plaited challot, with either poppy seeds or sesame; There are mini challot of every variety too – white and brown and wholewheat and then the best of all, big round multi-flavoured and seeded round challot made up of lots of little rounds! A plethora of rogelech and Danish pastries, Borekas and filo packets with my favourite potato, mushroom or salty cheese inside, baguettes and breads and the aroma – oh the aroma. Never ever go to Bermans hungry!
After seeing their proud videos of their swimming feats I set off for home, back past the highest point at Samuel’s Tomb and the incredible view over Jerusalem. It seemed strange to me, as I neared the neighbourhood of Ramot, that I could clearly see Ramallah and the unabated building frenzy that brings it closer to Jerusalem every day…………… without any censure from the EU and no American Presidents telling them that they are endangering the peace process by building housing for people who don’t even live in the area!!!!! Double standards takes on a whole new meaning in the Middle East!!!! Really – if I hear another ignorant person say “Why don’t you just give it (the land) back and then you’ll have peace” I will spit!!!! It isn’t an issue of giving back – it was Jordan and long before that indeed before modern recorded times it was Jewish and anyway if we really thought it would be a case of peaceful co-existence then we wouldn’t have need the security fence or the guards or check-points or any of the self-defensive systems we put in place after a rash of suicide bombings in the first decade of this century.
I’m sorry – this was already meant to be the happy and “Shabbasdik” part of the letter!!! OK back to form.
So, the table is set, white cloth and best crockery and cutlery all ready for the family. The Bermans Challot are ready under their special cover, Zvi’s fathers wine goblet next to them. The candles are ready for lighting in the candelabra that held the Shabbes candles I used to light with my mother and the prayers tonight s we sit with the family around the traditional table are those that our ancestors read and sang for centuries before we were born – with the same plea “Next Year in Jerusalem”. You see- prayer works!!!!
For your musical delectation this week I was not sure whether to make you cry with David d’Or’s rendition of Amazing Grace for President Obama in the Israeli President’s House or just to show you this amazing country through video or this one and then as if you won’t be proud enough we have
Zvi is at his parliament putting the world to rights and then he will come home to the scents and aromas of our dispersion as he walks in the front door, looks out over the view and climbs the stairs to our apartment. He loves walking in knowing that Shabbat is here…………..
So dear friends I wish you Shabbat Shalom and much love from Jerusalem – the centre of our world and heart of the Jewish people