The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem – Bring Back Our Boys, Mohammad Zoabi, La Traviata,

20th June 2014
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. It is a sad letter today, very sad. Yes of course we did some lovely things this week but with a heavy heart.
Three of our beautiful children were kidnapped and are now suffering a horrible existence, if they are alive, at the hands of Hamas. We know they are almost certainly in Hebron, they did not manage to take them elsewhere, but their fate is, to say the least, uncertain.
My heart and mind go back to the last time three boys were kidnapped, that time to Lebanon, and the pain of the families, the uncertainty, the fears and the sleepless nights. Haim and Edna Avraham used to come to us, to our home, to relax a little after fruitless visits to the Knesset and I cannot forget their heroism in the face of a parents greatest terror and dread. Please G-d this time it will end with the boys alive and well.
One Family took the initiative of letter writing to the families. Israel is praying, pleading, hoping and trying to continue normal life but it is hard. These are OUR boys, children, Send a personal letter of support to the families of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach – the letters will be delivered on an ongoing basis,
There are incredibly emotive videos of the brave mothers of these children, showing support for the IDF and their dangerous search for their children, but perhaps the strongest and most incredible is that of young Mohammad Zoabi, proud Israeli. Mohammad has suffered death threats for his video in which he describes Gilad, Naftali and Eyal as “our boys” and says “Am Yisrael Chai”. Mohammad is the nephew of Hanin Zoabi, anti-Israel Member of Knesset who proudly rode the Mavi Marmara.
There are good things even during this awful time it is how Israelis function. Stuart Katz is organising bagels and drinks for the soldiers – just going out and gicing them support and a treat with anyone who answered his FB call. More seriously the IDF and Shabak have succeeded in arresting many Hamas operatives in Yehuda and Shomron, including some of those freed for Gilad Shalit, and a clean-up operation has taken place in Gaza. Sad reason, good result. We will, however, not rest until those boys are returned to their families and to their Israel. In the meantime, while the IDF does its work, we pray. My dear friend Yaffa Glass sent me this beautiful video. 
It is important to note the very small statement made by the Prime Minister that we know much more now than we did a few days ago. I just pray that we find them in time.
Our dear friend Canon Andrew White is devastated that he cannot return to Baghdad, it has become just too dangerous. Carnage, massacres, bombings, sadly these have become everyday existence for the Iraqi people. NOt just in the north where the horrific ISIS have taken control but throughout that forsaken and forlorn country. Iraq does not get the publicity of Syria but the situation is no less dangerous. Iran has offered military aid but that undoubtedly comes with a huge price tag.
Hamas in Gaza reached the ultimate in audacity – 5 Hamas operatives died when their tunnel collapsed and Hamas blamed Israel!!!!!!!
New York, Opera and Art , hardly the usual source of disinformation and foul play but when the New York Opera chose to stage The Death of Klinghoffer they burst through all the boundaries of good taste and fair play. A foul crime was committed when a 69 year old disabled man was murdered, thrown off the deck of a ship twice. The opera suggests that the act of murder arose from the despair of the murderers. The librettist is one Alice Goodman who during the writing of the opera rejected her American Jewish heritage by joining the Anglican Church. The NYO ended the performances due to pressure but should never have considered it in the first place. I ask the Anglican Church to defrock this woman who now leads a flock in the UK. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is a good man and will listen to your pleas to remove this blot on his church.
The reason that the Palestinians hate us so much – indeed the Moslem world – is because their children are carefully brainwashed from year one–Palestinian-style-Chilling-images-children-young-firing-guns-staging-mock-kidnapping-Israeli-soldier.html?printingPage=true
One of the most important aspects of understanding the mentality of those who hate us is to research and try to change their schoolbooks, their curricula of hate and introduce tolerance. One of the only sources of such research is IMPACT-SE, a tiny, impoverished organisation based in the Hebrew University which researches in great depth said schoolbooks and reports to UNESCO, Israeli Government Offices, the USA, UK and others. I am proud to serve on the board, please look at the facts laid before you and ensure your politicians are aware of them.
I often talk about the schizophrenia that makes life here possible – it is a bit like living in LA or Washington and knowing you cannot safely walk in the streets but continue life as if it was normal – except ours is much more sinister – less dangerous but more sinister and personal. So please do not think that I am being flippant if I go on to the lighter side of life.
Friday night dinner was a resounding success and our joy was increased by the addition of Evelyn Shachter to the table. Zvi’s beautiful rendition of Shabbat Shalom, Eshet Chayil and Kiddush were extra special and the food was duly appreciated. Even the moon conformed and made a spectacular appearance.  On Saturday night we met up with the Glesby family and Evelyn Shachter to walk the “line” of the Jerusalem Lights Festival. It was amazing! We chose the white route which took us through the Jaffa Gate, down through the Armenian Quarter and on through the Jewish Quarter. From floating elephants which changed colour to an amazing “circus”display on the old Rothschild House. The Old City was teeming with laughing, happy humanity of the full rainbow of Jerusalem society chomping on Jerusalem bagels with a little packet of Zartar, and simply enjoying the event. Loved every moment!
Sunday and my beautiful grandchildren Yosef, Talia and Ayala came to me from school for a bit of Safta spoiling – I loved it. Zvi was in Nes Ziona with Amit, gili and Ori so we each had our special time.
On Monday we took the bus at Binyanei Ha Uma and travelled the road past Jericho and all the Biblical sites I described last week to the foot of Massada. Yes, we went with Rosa and Bernardo Romanowsky to La Traviata at Massada. The performances were excellent but for me the high point was when, at the very beginning, Maestro Daniel Oren asked the audience to rise and sing Hatikva. Massada was suddenly washed in blue and white and I could not help but cry.
I owe my friend Joy Wolfe a huge apology for not meeting her as promised. Joy – next time we will spend twice the time – I am so sorry.
I had never heard of American Rapper Eppic until I discovered that he made a wonderful video with Daniella Millo and Rudi Baynesay from Israel. The video was initiated by Stand With Us for which they deserve a great big slap on the back and by the  Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel.  I doesn’t resemble my usual Shabbat Music but I love it  Bravo Eppic!!!!
We all have friends that we like, friends that we love, friends that we admire and a very few that we like, love and admire. My friend Rabbi Jeremy Rosen falls into the last category. We go back a long, long way, to Cardiff of course, the place where everything begins. Jeremy and Mickey z”l were our playmates and my goodness how they grew to greatness, including little brother David. I love Jeremy’s eloquently irreverent blog and this week he outdid himself with GEEOHDEE – a taste
It has now become a requirement of Orthodoxy that wherever one writes the word made up of the letters GEE OH DEE in reference to the Holy Name, out of reverence one does not write the name in full but with a dash, to wit: G-D. Now my father always insisted that if we were writing English we ought to write English and not some bastardization of it. Just as when we used the Hebrew language we should be grammatically correct. For centuries, the name in English for the creator of the Universe has been GOD. Or as wags often like to joke, DOG backwards. Should we need to treat the Divine Name in a different language with respect? Should we bury dollar bills because they bear this name in English (or perhaps American)? Times change. My father’s generation is long gone, and G-D has now swept all before it in the religious world, so has Alm-ghty, and doubtless soon so too will Div-ne, and perhaps Cre-tor as well.
I am about to leave for the school pick up. The littlest of Rachels children, Ayala, is Mother Shabbat today and her Mummy has gone to see her and her little buddies with their Shabbat Pinata – yes even that is my daughters speciality!!!!! I will drop Zvi for his parliament, drive to Givat Ze’ev, sing with the children, rush home and prepare supper.
Tonights supper is very special since our wonderful friend Dr Kim Taylor is arriving. Gosh I love him – he is in the category of like, love, admire too. As a special treat to celebrate Kim’s arrival we are having equally special guests for dinner. Ambassador Zvi Mazel and his wife Michelle who wrote my favourite book for years -nearly finished it – The Jericho Enigma Our other guests are Eli and Eva Yaron, Eli sings with Zvi and Eva is a brilliant tour guide (they are in the last category too).
So that’s about it. If I don’t get going there will be no supper, no beautiful Shabbat table, which I will set out on the veranda so that we can enjoy the unusually warm evening after a steaming, searingly hot day. So you want to know which songs I have for your delectation this week.  Somehow, this song by Shlomo Artzi seems sadly appropriate this week although I pray that the ending is happier this time  then “Noladeti le Shalom”I was Born for Peace
My belief in a greater power, whatever your name for Him, in GEEOHDEE, is what keeps me alive, keeps me hopeful, keeps me kind, thoughtful and Jewish. This belief is expressed in the song Ani Maamin – I believe. This niggun – tune, expresses all our longings and beliefs from wherever we come.
With all my love from Jerusalem, centre of the earth and a wonderful Shabbat filled with family, love, laughter, contemplation and hope.

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media

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