The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila – Good news bad news – Christians oppressed

27th December 2013
Shabbat Shalom to all my wonderful friends – I hope you had a good festive season and to my Christian friends, I pray that you had a peaceful one.
Tis the third day of Christmas and instead of joy, love and peace the world appears to have gone mad. Killing Christians has become a sport that Christian leaders are allowing through their apathy and refusal to fight back. Indeed in general this has been a bad news/good news week
A rocket lobbed from Gaza fell on Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, thankfully no-one was injured

Bombs on Baghdad Churches. Two churches were bombed on Christmas Day as the worshippers celebrated the Holy Service. 37 Christians died and many were injured on a day that should have been one of peace

The Pope, undoubtedly a wise man, called for peace between Israel and Palestine without mentioning the above situations. It is time to recognise the diabolical oppression of Christians in this area, everywhere except Israel.

The good news. A brave Greek Orthodox priest is proud to stand up and talk about freedom in Israel. Kol ha Kavod

More good news Canon Andrew White sent me gorgeous photographs of the synagogue in baghdad. I wish I know how to add them to this newsletter!!!
As to Iran. Rabbi Jeremy Rosen has it all explained in a nutshell, or according to Jewish tradition, standing on one leg’s+Blog)

The following article is concise, honest, clever and really should be read and spread as a devout Christian puzzles as to why the academic world appears to hate Israel.

This week’s news about ASA’s boycott of the Israeli academy has me asking myself once again why so much of the world despises the State of Israel. As a Christian Zionist, this spite naturally puzzles me. But I think that any logical human being with enough honesty will admit that the animus directed toward Israel is profoundly disproportionate to that country’s size and influence in the world.

The good news is that many American Universities and academics have openly objected to the ASA demand for an academic boycott of Israel and Oxford University voted unconditionally against it. In Oxford University, the highest of Higher Education, the student union voted by a huge majority against the bid by the BDS movement for an academic boycott of Israel.

The amazing news is that the 200th wounded Syrian refugee was brought into Israel by the IDF for medical care at the Ziv Medical Center in Sfat on Monday night. The 21-year-old patient was in serious condition with gunshot wounds to his hip and stomach and underwent surgery at Israels expense and with Israel’s good will. If doctors on both sides of the border can work together why can’t politicians?

So the snow has almost melted, still big piles of the yukky stuff at the sides of roads where it was cleared and stacked and the trees, oh the trees, are being hacked back in an attempt to save the tree itself when most of the branches fell from the sheer weight of the snow. The lorry with the “tree eater” the pulper, has been working overtime trying to clear the huge piles of branches from the narrow winding roads of Jerusalems old neighbourhoods like Talbieh and Rehavia, known for its towering avenues. Hopefully they will grow back even stronger.

Jerusalem is coming back to life as the markets reopened and the happy shoppers enjoy the post-snow sales. It never fails to amaze me how much unnecessary items people are willing to buy because they are reduced!!!!! Israel is no different to anywhere else in the world – we love to shop!

This week Rachel and I went to Shouk Ramle down in the new train station. The shoppers love the yells of “Everything for 10 sehkels” “Come and get the bargains – spectacles for 5 shekels” and especially the one that drives me nuts “C’mon ladies, you know you can’t resist a bargain”!!!! The full rainbow of Jerusalem walks up and down the narrow aisles between the stands – Arabs and Jews, religious and secular, Hijabs and sheitels (wigs), jeans and long humble skirts, blonde and black hair and every conceivable colour of skin……. I love it!!! Rachel and I knew what we wanted and were in and out very quickly, our prizes clutched firmly in the ever growing mass of humanity!! Actually, a thought just ran through my mind, Shouk Ramle is right under the windows of the CNN and BBC offices and studios – shame they never show that side of this multi-cultured, cosmopolitan city!

This week was the birthday of the creator of modern Hebrew, spoken Hebrew, Eliezer Ben Yehuda. Ben Yehuda, (you see it is not just a street) was obsessive and would not allow his children to play with other children lest they speak Yiddisch or English or Ladino or anything but the language he was determined be the language of the Jews of this nascent country. However, the beautiful language which came out of his efforts and obsession has mutated and changed so dramatically that he would not be best pleased. Too many English transliterations and slang expressions have crept into a language that was formed before internet!! As I came back from Givat Ze’ev and bathing the grandchildren to get ready for Shabbat I listened to Yehoram Gaon on the radio. Yehoram Gaon, son of a Hebrew teacher, speaks the most beautiful Herbew and tells the story of his generation and their pride in their language, in getting the grammar perfect and speaking the way that Ben Yehuda would have wanted. Word games were part of the learning process and conjugation was a competition – not like to taday kids who say esser shekel instead of Asara shekalim – mixing but or completely ignoring their masculine and feminine conjugations in their laziness. Yehoram Gaon quoted Bialik who said that “Language is the key to the nation” it is what binds us together and creates communication between the classes and the ages and the more it is misused the less the communication. Our language is above and different to others, it is how we pray and how our forefathers wrote their commentaries, it is the language of King David. Time for the Knesset to declare Hebrew our official language too!!!!

OK now I really have to run, the fish is waiting for preparation and cauliflower cheese souffle barely begun and I have very little time to do it before Shabbat, before the bride of Shabbat pulls her mantle over Jerusalem and as the dusk draws close a nation bows its head and lights the candles to welcome that bride. We will speak the language of our forefathers in our prayers and I promise you the dikduk the grammar will be correct because as Yehoram Gaon said – it is what binds us.

It seems appropriate to give you Yehoram Gaon, the ultimate Jerusalemite, singing a medley of Shabbat songs singing my favourite song “Al Kol Ele” (Above all this) with Naomi Shemer and finally a video I have shown you before but I love it!!! Kinderlach singing Shalom Aleichem – Peace be with you in a deep prayer that peace will indeed be with you, whether you are here in Israel or far far away; Jew, Christian or Moslem may peace be with you.

Shabbat Shalom everyone, especially to my beautiful heroic and amazing daughter who is back home with her husband and children, cooking up a storm and preparing for her special Shabbat.

With love from Sheila, looking out at the view from our veranda, the view of Jerusalem