The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem, Boston marathon aftermath, Yom Haatzmaut

Friday, 19th April 2013
Shabbat Shalom dear friends.
Such horror, such anger, such hatred, such lack of security……….. all of Israel’s hearts went out to Boston and to the families of those who were so cruelly murdered and those who were hurt – and those who saw things that no human being should see. I hope and pray that the reason the names of the perpetrators have not been publicised is because they bring us closer to the organisers and not to be PC. Apparently they were brothers – although the organisation they worked with is as yet unknown.
On TV news I am watching beautiful suburban areas outside Boston – Cambridge, Watertown – where people have been told to stay inside, not to dare open their doors. A policeman was killed at MIT, another critically injured in Boston. The police understand that they have to prevent any chance for these terrorists to kill as many people as possible. The white hatted suspect is on the run after his brother died of what appear to be wounds inflicted when he exploded himself after a gun-fight. White hat’s name is Dzhokhara Tsarnaev, a 19 year old who is either a Chechnyan national. Chechnyans are less suspect, Caucasian (from the Caucasus) or possibly Turkish blend into society more easily – appearing to be Russian. This man won a scholarship to a Cambridge College, studied and it is now suspected that while studying he and his 20 year old brother went “overseas” to learn terror activities.
The reporter compared what is happening in Watertown and Cambridge, the checking of parcels by the bomb squad, to Israel during the Intifada. At least in Israel we know who our enemies are – sadly in the USA you do not.
Boston is suffering Terrorism – The prupose of terroism is to remove all personal security and inflict terror, paralyse normal life. Boston, Watertown and Cambridge, America, our hearts are with you and we pray that these evil terrorists, or the one who is left, will not succeed in his attempt to kill as many as possible before dying as a martyr.
The explosions in Texas are just as evil, through official negligence. Putting a fertiliser factory so close to homes and an old peoples home is criminal. Ammonia is unstable, known to be unstable and the safety precautions were clearly insufficient. Hopefully this tragedy will serve to prevent further even greater tragedies.
Baroness Thatcher was given a State funeral, a State funeral befitting her stature. It is irrelevant whether one recognises the enormous changes she made in the UK, taking a country from the doldrums to huge economic success; it is irrelevant whether one accepts that she managed to stand up to the unions and change the way a country handled its finances; it is irrelevant whether one loved her or not; the behaviour of people who were barely born when she was in power, who attempted to ruin the procession and made up disgusting lyrics celebrating her death shows a lack of respect and pride in Britain which has allowed the distressing changes in society of late. Where is the pride? Where is “I’m Backing Britain” of the 60’s?
On Yom Haatzma’ut we went to two parties. One in Herzliya with our friends Annick and Shuki and one in Jerusalem. The parties were so different one from the other, both fun, both with good friends and both with “mangal” or barbeque………. but one Herzliya , in a beautiful garden with elegant tables and food; the second very Jerusalem – fun, tons of food, meats coing off the mangal before it even made it to the plates, everyone grabbing a chair and chatting to the person next to you.
The Jerusalem party was on the rooftop garden of the Holyland buildings with a view of the entire landscape of Jerusalem all the way to Nebe Samuel (Samuels Tomb) and beyond. The weather was cold and windy but the atmosphere warm and fun. Our friends Motti and Shmulik sang and joked, (Motti is a brilliant mimic at all Israeli accents equally – Moroccan, Kurdish, Ashkenaz, Russian and so funnnnnnny!)- Benny Silman amazed us playing his balalaika and the lovely Ruhama Raz sang. Ruhama sang a beautiful song for us, a song written especially for her daughters wedding and sung by Ruhama. Even without the translation I know you will love it as we did. “Calah” or bride – beautiful bride.
I just came home from my Friday jaunt to Givat Zeev to see my beautiful grandchildren. As always I slowed down as I passed Nebe Samuel, and saw the incredible sight of Jerusalem sprad before me, but today it was so different, not at all spring-like, Nebe Samuel was sunny and bright and Jerusalem was barely visible through the rain!! The weather is crazy, instead of sweltering heat we have rain and even snow on Mount Hermon!!! I am not complaining, I love the fact that the healing rain is keeping the grass green, the flowers blooming in the desert and the Sea of Galilee filling up slowly!
Today we will go to the graves of Zvi’s parents, before Shabbat, to pay tribute and to say the age-old prayers. We chose to do so with family alone this year, making it more personal somehow. It was such a privilege for me to be their daughter-in-law, to know true heroes, to understand the reasons and determination of those who founded this incredible country. Kalman and Alla Raviv, sole survivors of their families who stayed in Poland sure that they were safe. Kalman and Alla Raviv who survived because they were here in Jerusalem fighting for the nascent country. Kalman and Alla Raviv who fought so that we could live in a beautiful, proud, amazing Jewish country – the only Jewish country in the whole wide world. From our contribution to the world one would think we were a hundred times as big!
I tried to think of what song could possibly be relevant to the horrors of this week, indeed the horrors of the last years.
Shmor al ha Olam Yeled sung by David D’Or
Watch Over This World (Child)
Verse 1
Watch over the world child,
There are things you shouldn’t see
Watch over the world child,
If you see them, you’ll won’t want to live
Hero of the world child,
With an angel’s smile
Watch over the world child,
Because we did not succeed
Verse 2
Watch over the world child,
Don’t think too much
The more you know, child,
The less you understand…
And sometimes
Doors will slam shut
And when the love ends
Only you will remain here, wondering
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Let’s pray for a better world in which 8 year-old children can be safe watching a joyful marathon race in a democratic and free country.
With much love