The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem – Egypt, Syria, Haredim, Maccabiah, David Romanowsky

11th July 2013
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope this missive finds you well. We have a many news stories today, but I promise you many of them are positive although the media would have us believe it is all bad!
As always I will start with the bad news, for which I will give you a small synopsis and a link so that I can leave you with a smile.
Egypt is imploding, amid a terrifying level of anarchy, rape and racism. The Egyptian Courts have demanded the arrest of Moslem Brotherhood leaders for incitement to hatred Christians are in fear of their lives but even in this diabolical situation there is a glimmer of hope as we listen to this 12 year old a truly incredible wonderful child
Unknown forces” blew up the Hezb-Allah HQ in Lebanon and destroyed the Syrian arsenals of ground to air missiles recently acquired from Russia. As it stands right now one cannot be sure who is worse, the tyrannical Assad or the carnivorous rebels
UNHRC defies logic in their choice of those who set the example of democracy
GENEVA, July 9 — As a United Nations meeting is right now hearing live campaign pitches (webcast link) from the UK, France and other democracies vying for seats on the world body’s Human Rights Council, the Geneva-based non-governmental human rights group UN Watch revealed its“List of Shame”– naming some of the world’s worst abusers who are also running in the Nov. 2013 election, and expected to win seats:Algeria, Chad, China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam. Though unconfirmed, reportedly Iranand Syria may also be running. Click here for full report (PDF).
After years of legal battles Britain finally succeeded in deporting “Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe” Abu Qatada to Jordan to stand trial. Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “absolutely delighted” it was over.”It’s an issue that … has made my blood boil – that this man who has no right to be in our country, who’s a threat to our country, that it took so long and was so difficult to deport him,” Cameron told reporters.
As the question of conscription for those who until now have successfully avoided the IDF and all service to Israel hits every headline the repercussions are harsh. This week a mob of Haredi youths attacked a young Haredi soldier coming to visit his family while on leave in Mea Shearim.
Israeli Christian Arabs have had enough. Rather than belonging to the other Arab parties that are becoming more and more anti-Christian, anti-Israel, even treacherous, they are forming their own political party which encourages enlistment in the IDF. Good luck to them in the only country in the entire area that welcomes Christians with open arms.
Cliff Richard and Alicia Keyes came to perform in Israel despite enormous pressure from the BDS bullies. They had a wonderful time, delirious audiences, great performances and both visited Jerusalem. Alicia Keyes sang with Israeli superstar Idan Raichel and Sir Cliff met with the PM and went to Nazareth for a tennis match
Nah again BDS. Gaza farmers come to Israel to take part in a conference to teach them how to improve their crops of watermelon
This week we went to visit friend Sharon and Ernst Voss and sat out on their veranda…….. which was delightful and then on the next night we went to Zion ha Gadol with Jacobo and Raquel Skolnik – as always a delightful experience, not only because of the food but also because of their determination to learn the truth of the situation here and the history which led up to our current truth. While there I spoke to Uzi, from Abu Ghosh and he told me that the entire village had decided to move on from last weeks idiotic attack by Tag machir yobbos on cars in the village. “We don’t want our children to hold grudges” he said.
Wednesday night found us at the Great Synagogue in the centre of Jerusalem, right next to the beautiful Jewish Agency building to hear our dear friend Talia Carner talk about the lengthy research she did before writing her book “Jerusalem Maiden”. Talia spoke so emotively of her discoveries and I discovered that Yoel Moshe Solomon, bought a plot of land outside the walls and courageously built the first private neighborhood in modern Jerusalem, known as Nakhalat Shiv’a (“the homestead of the seven”).  was her ancestor. Talia spoke of her dismay at discovering that women of that time had no possibility of pursuing the arts and her central character breaks free of the constraints of Ultra-Orthodox women when her family sends her to Paris to study art. “Jerusalem Maiden is a fascinating story and Talia spoke beautifully I strongly recommend this book JERUSALEM MAIDEN
Tisha b’Av is upon us in just a few days. The destruction of not one but both Holy Temples and so much more. Professor Gerald Steinberg wrote this excellent piece about the true meaning of the ninth day of the month of Av.
Jerusalem looks even more spectacular than usual today. The air is clear and while the weather is still summery it is not as searingly hot as last week. Friends who came from Tel Aviv for Talias talk were amazed at how glorious the balmy Jerusalem evenings are as opposed to the humid, sticky Tel Aviv summers.
The city is preparing itself for the Maccabiah which begins next week. 9,000 athletes from all over the world. Just check out the delegations!!! The opening and closing ceremonies will be in Jerusalem at the newly refurbished Teddy stadium right beneath our veranda!
To understand the enormity of this wonderful event watch this video about the 9000 athletes who identify with Israel and their Jewish roots
The history of the games is one of heroism, as Jews were barred from entering so many sports activities the games began in 1932 in Israel with participants vying for a place even back then! Incredibly Zvi’s participation in Maccabi World Union did not begin 30 years ago but it all began in Poland when his beautiful father Kalman Rybak went to the heats in Poland. Those stories, the deep Jewish ties and continuity of the games is why it is conceivably the most important Jewish event in the world.
In just a few hours I will go to Ben Gurion Airport to collect Allen and Maida Gerskup who are coming to see us for Shabbat prior to the main events. I will drive through the new Begin highway passing Samuels Tomb and that incredible view of the entire panorama of Jerusalem, Beit Horon, Modiin and Reut, Zeglembie Martyrs Memorial, Naot Kedumim where they grow all the Biblical plants and finally through the entrance to the airport. I love going there because it always brings surprises whether coming or going! We should get back to Jerusalem just in time for them to sit out on our veranda and watch Jerusalem slowly change from a thriving noisy city to a Jewish city preparing for Shabbat. They will absorb the aromas of Shabbat food of a hundred cultures of Jews who fled oppression in Arab countries, Africa and Europe, of emptying streets and the gentle change of colour as Jerusalem truly turns gold.
I love this city so much, its variety and continuity. Today though it holds a deep sadness as a beautiful soul left our midst yesterday. David, son of Rosa and Bernardo Romanowsky, a true scholar and fine Jew, passed away in the early hours of yesterday morning. David never gave up his fight, never stopped giving and learning and smiling, but there were greater plans for him. David leaves behind four wonderful small children, adoring and devoted parents and siblings……….. and a lot of people who feel proud to have waked beside him even for a short time. May his soul rest in peace and his family find consolation among the mourners of Zion. “Baruch dayan emet,”
I wish you a good Shabbes – Shabbat Shalom – a Gutte Shabbes – a beautiful day of contemplation and reflection.
With much love from Jerusalem, beautiful city