The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem


17th January 2013.

Shabbat Shalom to you all and a great big Mazal Tov to my wonderful brother in law Melvyn who is 80 years old today.

My time in the UK was warm even if the weather was cold and of course I loved being with my incredible grandchildren. Kinneret Chayas father Moishe calls his grandchildren his “nechasim”  – the Hebrew for grandchildren is nechaDIM and nechaSIM means assets- assets they certainly are!!!!

Talking of Kinneret Chaya – I met Sari Singer through Kinneret Chaya as we both worked to let the world understand what an incredible young woman, a true survivor, Kinneret Chaya is. Through our mutual admiration for KC I agreed to speak at Sari’s synagogue “Temple Shaarei Tefilla” (The Gates of Prayer) and met Rabbi David Greenberg and Ron Myerson and out of those friendships incredible projects have blossomed.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of the USA only one country came to the aid of the ever generous United States and that is tiny Israel through IsraAid . Rabbi Greenberg is always looking for appropriate projects for his community and sure enough, after I made a “cyber shidduch” members of the community set off with their tools and helped IsraAid to rebuild in Sandy Point, repeating the exercise just one week later. Jake, a young man who volunteered with the original group, wrote to me saying how much he got out of the experience and he has gathered a group of young people to help IsraAid again in Sandy Point.

So you see folks, the power of one is strong and living in Bedford, New York. It passes on from one, to one, to one and multiplies in power each time. I talk about it all the time and believe it can change our world. It only takes one person willing to listen, willing to act and lo and behold – one has a movement for good.

Pres Obama thinks that Netanyahu is the problem???? With the entire area falling into chaos and terrorism rife – how can he? Mali, Syria, now Algeria, citizens slaughtered for disagreeing with their government; Christians killed willy nilly for not being Moslems; Bahai banned from Egyptian schools; has anyone noticed that ALL the trouble-spots in our world are Islamic? Israel the problem? Netanyahu the problem? I think someone somewhere has got his priorities wrong.

The situation in Mali became so extreme that the French decided to intervene militarily. Meanwhile, in neighboring Algeria, terrorists decided to avenge the French actions by kidnapping dozens of foreign diplomats as hostages to force the French to retreat. They are holed up in the compound of a colossal gas installation and in an utterly unwise attempt to end the situation the Algerian army strafed the convoy of hostages and terrorists, causing the deaths of most of the hostages and many terrorists. Some of the hostages are being forced to wear explosives, according to French television reports. The situation remains unresolved.

Australia has suffered the worst bush fires for a very long time as vast areas are taken by the force of flames in Tasmania and New South Wales. Apparently the fires began in many different places raising suspicions that it may have been, at least partially, arson. The sheer ferocity of the flames is fanned by searing temperatures and wind. Israel sent her condolences to the victims and prayers for those who lost their homes.

Israel‘s elections are just a few days away and everyone is in a tizz. I have never seen so many Israelis uncertain where to place their X. I am certain that Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party will win but the question is who will be strong enough to be an influential part of the resultant coalition. Voting for the small parties is a waste of time and energy under these circumstances and voting for extremes is too. What will happen after the elections? David Horovitz, probably the most pragmatic of journalists discusses the Obama/Netanyahu relationship.

Dear Ron Myerson – thank you – you caused me to look up the meaning of Loacoon – and I discovered that he was the one who warned the Trojans about the wooden horse. What a shame he isn’t about now to warn the world about the Arab Spring Islamic revolution. It made me think dear Ron, maybe Steve Emerson is our Loacoon with his “Jihad in America” book which caused such uproar and name calling until 9/11 when he was finally believed.

Since my return life has been suitably insane!! Of course the first thing Zvi and I did on our way back from the airport was to stop and hugs my grandchildren who were suitably thrilled to see me as was my daughter Rachel. The next day was my birthday, and no, I won’t say how old I am, but I am thrilled to be that age!!!

Rachel and the children came over to sing Happy Birthday and light fireworks on my cake. It was so exciting!!! Then we went out to dinner with our lovely friends Rosa and Bernardo Romanowsky and Irit Lev – to a terrific restaurant in the German Colony called……….. Roza!!! The food was marvelous and the company delightful and I even got a sparkler in my dessert!!!

The next day Dana and Betty took me out for our traditional birthday lunch to the Botanical Gardens. It was such a beautiful day. The sun shone, the air crisp, the company excellent, the pond shining and the food marvelous. We had so much fun despite our uncertainty for whom to vote which was a major part of our conversations. Here in Israel we are not afraid to discuss such things, especially since it is not a matter of family pride, virtually everyone I know is a floating voter, we do not have the same level of party loyalty……. Probably because few parties stick around long enough to make it a generational choice!

Tomorrow, ah tomorrow is Erev Shabbat. Back to the major decisions in life like……. What should we eat!!! The children are not coming to us this week but we have Tamara, Zvi’s Mexican cousin, with us. Tamara is 18 years old and she is in Israel for a year. The last two weeks were spent in the IDF doing Marva, full basic training with all the hardships and sense of purpose that a new recruit would endure and she loves it!!! It never fails to amaze me how many young people who are used to a very gentle lifestyle come into their own when put under the stringent training of Marva. Rising at 05:00 and doing a full days training including marching with full equipment on their backs, doing drill, cleaning weapons, responding to orders, eating army food (its good here) and creating terrific relationships with other young people.

Anyway, tomorrow I will see Jerusalem slow down, the shopping malls slowly empty and the streets quieten as Jerusalemites go home to cook, clean and prepare themselves for Shabbat. Ah Shabbat. What a sad world it would be without that wonderful day of family, contemplation, battery recharging and enjoyment.

I wish you Shabbat Shalom and lots of love from Jerusalem with this traditional song from Fiddler on the Roof

And a very un-traditional Shabbat Song