The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem

14th September 2012
Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova!
I just heard a joke – Doctor tells patient “I am afraid you have hypochondria” Patient “Oh no not that sickness  as well” Our world is currently very sick and a hypochondriac to boot.
The world has become an upside down place and Nero is fiddling while Rome is burning. Israel was horrified at the news that an American Ambassador had been cruelly murdered in Benghazi in a trail of rage which hit this area because someone posing as an Israeli put a short video (badly made) on the internet lampooning Mohammed. On the one hand I disapprove of derision of anyones religion, on the other hand the Arab countries create cartoons of Jews and Christians which put Goebbels to shame and children’s television programmes which teach entire generations that Jews are monkeys and Christians pigs and we should all convert to Islam or die.
Why do I feel that Nero is fiddling? Read this article which shows that the Ambassador, may G-d rest his soul, was in a temporary facility without bullet proof windows or armed guards and that it took 5 hours to find his body. When his body was found it was discovered he had been sodomised before his death. I am sorry but it is true. Time to rethink the State Department which has constantly given bad advice to the leader of the free world and think about who accepts that advice unthinkingly. Remember the last time that an American Diplomat was assassinated? During the term of James Earl Carter, sadly an Obama advisor.
Bret Stephens on the trailer, yes trailer for an video which caused all the furore, killing and burning of American flags

There never was an Israeli involved, the amateur filmakers are Klein, an Evangelical Christian and “Bacile” is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula a Coptic Christian. Yes, it is the American flag they burned and the American Ambassador they killed. Time for President Obama to admit that Israel is his only ally and not allow petty personal dislikes to change the face of the Middle East. He doesn’t have to love our Prime Minister just stand by his allies when they are threatened with extinction! Today is a repeat of 1939, and, not through evil intent but rather through a decision toward insular policies in an attempt to save the American economy, Americas allies are being left on the sidelines and the USA is fighting the wrong war…. whoever the President.

Condoleeza Rice was wrong about the Syrian nuclear facility and Hillary Clinton is wrong now, Iran is a threat to us all and on the 11th Anniversary of 9/11 we appear to have learned nothing.

Canada, has a strong sense of moral history history, severed diplomatic relations with Iran, closing its embassy in Tehran and asking Iranian diplomats in Ottowa to leave – because “the Iranian regime is providing increasing military assistance to the Assad regime; it refuses to comply with UN resolutions pertaining to its nuclear program; it routinely threatens the existence of Israel and engages in racist anti-Semitic rhetoric and incitement to genocide.” Canada we love you!!!

It is irrelevant to most of the media but missiles are falling on on Southern Israel. No-one cares when it sells more advertising space to show the 18 work-seekers we didn’t let in through the border rather than destroyed Israeli houses.,7340,L-4278748,00.html

Rosh Hashana is around the corner and I am tired of bad news. There are plenty of great things happening in the world.

For instance, Noam Gershony was already an Israeli hero when he wheeled up to the winners podium to receive his Olympic Gold in the Paralympic Tennis. His tears were of joy, joy at beating the odds and surviving and joy at hearing his country’s anthem play.

Another instance is Boris Johnson, Mayor of Greater London who gave this wonderful speech the other day

Last night I travelled to Tel Aviv on the bus, together with my friend Sue. We started at the bustling Jerusalem Central Bus station with its huge shopping mall and happy faces, soldiers and Moslem women rubbing shoulders with priests and religious Jews, climbed on board and rapidly found ourselves in the Tel Aviv Central bus station, and seemingly another world. Dirty, creepy, crime ridden and abandoned shops at all levels. On our onward journey we passed large open areas filled with Eritrean and Sudanese work seekers with nothing better to do than lay around….. oddly enough around the police station. It was so sad to see the local residents tentatively making their way to their homes, both black and white Israelis seemed like frightened deer in the headlights.

We were on our way to a concert in honour of a dear friend of ours who died as a result of breast cancer, at the same time as her daughter suffered the same fate. It was then discovered that of the 5 daughters 3 had inherited the gene from their mother. Lisa, one of the three daughters, has worked hard here in Israel to get recognition of the situation, persuading health authorities and the government to ensure greater screening and awareness in order to save lives. The concert was brilliant. Held in a beautiful building on the renovated Bauhaus Bialik Street, the young violinist who performed gratis, came all the way from Austria. Jaleh Perego, born to a Jewish father,had a difficult childhood but when she visited Israel with her orchestra she found peace and home on a Kibbutz. Her performance was a fitting memorial to Joyce Freed Cohen z’l and the women who were not saved because they did not know they carried the gene. The evening was amazing and as always it was wonderful to spend time with our beautiful Cardiff friends. We left Tel Aviv from the Arlosorof bus station, not risk going back to the Central, but although clean and safe it was deserted by 11 o’clock at night!!! We scrambled onto the bus and suddenly everything came to life! Jerusalemites chattering and snoozing, discussing and laughing and of course when we got back to the Jerusalem bus station everything was lively again. Those Tel Avivim……… they need to come to Jerusalem to discover night life and fun!!!!

The shops of Jerusalem are fast emptying themselves of stock as everyone is out buying clothes, gifts, food and of course honey. There is a wonderful sense of expectancy in which world turmoil is forgotten, or put on a back burner with the Tzimmes and chicken soup on the front. Rosh Hashana – time for new beginnings and family – selichot (atonement) and repairing relationships. These are the days of contemplation and kindness……… wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone in the world spend more time in contemplation and forgiveness than hatred and bloodshed?

The inimitable David Attenborough, zoologist and teacher of nature to the world shows us that everything can be beautiful in his rendition of “What a wonderful World” SHANA TOVA TO YOU ALL

Time to get back to the cooking, this is a long festival. Shabbat will come tonight, with her gentle peace and a chance to catch our breath and spend time resting and praying, talking and laughing before the final “onslaught” of foods!!! What is is about the Jewish religion that imposes vast quantities of food on all of us? It is irrelevant if the air is redolent with Kurdish Kubeh; Romanian Mamliges; Russian peroshkies; Moroccan stuffed vegetables; Bukharian Cholent; Ethiopian Doro Wat Chicken and of course Hungarian Goulash – as Zvi is wont to say, the basic precept of all Jewish festivals is “They tried to kill us, we survived, now let’s eat” However, the High Holy days are different, they provide the answer as to why we survived……..through food!!!!!

Shabbat Shalom dear friends, please please, whatever your religious leaning, pray for a kinder, more aware, enlightened and tolerant world.

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem with a special treat thanks to Yaffa Glass who sent me this beautiful song Hu Yuvarech which literally means He will Bless or “Protect our soldiers”

We will talk before the New Year but in the meantime – remember that Jerusalem is our heart, the centre of the world and we should never forget it.