29th March 2013
Shabbat Shalom, Moadin leSimcha, Pesach Sameach and a good Good Friday to all
The food has been both cooked and eaten, the songs sung, the prayers prayed and the story of our Exodus from slavery in Egypt to freedom right here in the Land of Milk and Honey. At least, the food for the first part of Pesach has been cooked and eaten – it is an ongoing trend for the remaining period too!!!
Seder night (we only have one night in Israel) was stupendous. 26 people, lovely family and friends, sang the songs our forefathers sang…………. at least they sang many of them as we did except for Chad Gadya, the song of one little kid, and a cat, a dog, a fire, water, a bull, the shochet (slaughterer), the angel of Death and of course HaKodesh Baruch Hoo, the Almighty who appears at the end to save us all. The song is fun but most fun because when we sing it we make the noises of each of the creatures and happenings but have to stay on our toes because…………. it is in Aramaic and none of us quite understand!!!! It is fun and it wakes the children up too!
Israel’s limited apology to Turkey over the Mavi Marmara affair was intended to secure , or rather restore, military and diplomatic agreements, especially as the Iranian situation becomes more and more dangerous. Turkish air space is essential in any possible defensive action and also because Turkey is a very important NATO base. Erdogan is currently chest-beating and making macho anti-Israel statements but he will come round – he is just trying to extort more from the apparently easy target – he still hasn’t learned!!!
Today is Good Friday, and thousands and thousands of Christian make pilgrimage to Jerusalems Old City. Franciscan Priests lead groups of tourists and some people choose to literally walk in the steps of Jesus by carrying huge crosses through the tiny streets and wearing crowns of thorns. It is a phenomenal religious and spiritual experience as they walk the stations of the cross ending in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, said to be the site of Jesus death, burial and ressurection. Yet again Passover and Good Friday coincide and Jews and Christians mingle and enjoy the wonders of religious freedom.
Tomorrow, the 30th of March, is the anniversary of a deeply personal tragedy and miracle. 11 years ago, on the 30th of March, at the beginning of the 2nd Intifada, a young and beautiful student was working as a waitress in a coffee shop, called “My Coffee Shop” in Tel Aviv’s Allenby Street. She happily approached the young man who came in and asked for coffee but as she turned to make it the unthinkable happened, he self-exploded and the coffee shop went up in flames. When the paramedics came in together with the fire service, Itzik Kohav, the head paramedic with Magen David Adom, scoured the place, gave the all clear and as he headed for the door saw something move out of the corner of his eye. His instinct took him back into the coffee shop and he cautiously moved the bar, which had overturned in the blast. Suddenly he saw an arm and as he struggled with the heavy bar he realised someone was underneath and their situation was not good. He took her to Ichilov Hospital and there the doctors and nurses fought for her life, not believing they would be successful, they gave her a 2% chance of survival. Kinneret had burns on 85% of her body, her left eye and ear were destroyed and one lung and her vitals were very poor, yet Itzik remembers that she chatted the whole way to the hospital – and he stayed with her until her family arrived.
That night her Mother Yaffa asked us to bring an amulet from Jerusalem to the hospital and a Rabbi came and after whispering to her he told the family to change her name to Kinneret Chaya – Kinneret lives. Thus Kinneret Chaya celebrates her birthday – her real birth- day tomorrow. She survived through the strength and love of her family and those around her and I had the honour of spending many a day at the hospital with them. 88 days in an induced coma; I saw her first food – it was a peeled grape and she relished every tiny drop of juice; her first shower, her first steps, her first laugh and her first kiss………… all recorded faithfully for the day she will come to me and say it is time.
Beyond all imagination Kinneret Chaya is married to her wonderful Amir and has three fabulous babies. Incredible miraculous that someone with her extent of burns could be pregnant at all!!! Kinneret Chaya still has the adoration of her incredible family and all who know her love her. She shines. Indeed, the first time I saw her after the tragedy was on a huge bed of green air cushions, her face distorted and raw…….. she turned her head, despite the light coma, looked at me and smiled the most beautiful smile I have ever seen in my entire life! Kinneret Chaya, married lady, Mazal Tov. Mazal Tov on your eleventh birthday – I love you!!!
And so to more mundane things – Yesterday we took Ilana, Eddie and children, Silvia and Avraham and children, Leor and Shiri and children and last but definitely not least Rachel and her children to the Ice City her ein Jerusalem. It is phenomenal and the children loved it although it is freezing cold inside! Zvi and I waited outside and I chatted to the people near me. On one side a family from Haifa down for the day and on my left a family from Ashdod – and of course we began to discuss who eats what on Pesach. Moroccans don’t eat rice but Yemenites do and so do Iraqis and Kurds and of curse Ashkenazis don’t eat any pulses which is very trying! The Israel Arab family at the next table were very amused by the whole discussion of course!!! After the Ice City we went to Zion ha Gadol for a real Middle Eastern meal – and although they are Mizrachi (Eastern) Jews they don’t serve pulses either!!!
Anyway, we changed the clocks last night or I would never have managed to write today. Zvi’s cousins Billy and Ruth Shapiro are arriving later from Mexico and then we have a full week of activities culminating in the Bar Mitzvahs of their grandsons Alan Podolsky and David Fainsod. The Bar Mitzvah will take place at the Kotel and then Zvi organised that the boys themselves will lead the family tour of the Kotel Tunnels and Ir David. Afterwards some 40 people come to us for lunch! Don’t worry – it will be catered.!!!
Last night our little grand-daughters Amit and Gili, slept over and I was able to show the wonder of the moonrise over the horizon – it was huge and round and orange and ………. gosh!
Since the clocks moved forwards I have time to watch Jerusalem slow down, to prepare for Shabbat. The city is already quieter, the matzo stuffed population wending its weary way home from shopping to cooking to schlafshtunder to a beautiful Shabbat meal on a balmy Jerusalem evening.
I want to wish my adored son and daughter-in-law Daniel and Karen and their gift Joshua a very special Shabbat as they celebrate their wedding anniversary, you made me so happy every time I see you together and Joshua, Joshy, Joshposh……. there aren’t enough words!!! I am so proud of them as I am of all my children. I love you all.
Shabbat Shalom lovely people, be it Shabbat, Pesach, Easter or Good Friday, may you be blessed with everything you need and a little bit of what you just want!!
With love from Jerusalem