The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila in Jerusalem

28th November 2014
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Jerusalem is a bit lonely this week since my wonderful husband is in Mexico, San Diego and Miami………………. things are just not the same!
This quote by  Canon Andrew White sums up his heroic attempts at Tikkun Olam and our feelings when defending Israel instead of lauding her achievements.
 I spend too much of my time pulling up thorns, and too little planting flowers
To understand his words, see the debate between Andrew, Melanie Phillips and Rabbi Michael Melchior see the video. It is rivetting.
Thanksgiving. What a lovely tradition, admittedly not if you are a turkey, but really beautiful. As a society we are so busy achieving and demanding that we forget the simple act of thanks. Thanks as a Christian country to the Almighty….. an oft forgotten aspect of what has become a secular event.
There is huge internal turmoil over the current proposition before the Knesset that Israel be declared a Jewish State with democratic rights for all her citizens. I do not see why, at this turbulent juncture, it is essential but on the other hand do not see that this declaration in any way impairs the rights of other religions. Britain is a country of Church and State, the Queen the Head of both State and Church and it does not impair anyones right; the United States thanks G-d for the cornucopia of wealth and good life and no-one believes it offends. I really don’t understand the need or the rejection of this law. Luckily I have my beautiful friend Rabbi Jeremy Rosen to explain in a far more erudite fashion than I exactly what the pro’s and con’s may be.
“Is Israel a Jewish state or not? If there are avowedly Christian and Muslim states, why shouldn’t Jews have a Jewish state? Clearly there are some people in Israel have not considered Israel to be enough of a Jewish state up to now, for they have pushed hard for a recent bill in the Knesset to declare that Israel is a Jewish state. ”
If anyone doubts that Israel, as a Jewish State, cannot also be democratic should watch this video of Father Gabriel Naddaf who declares Israel as the only safe haven for Christians in the entire area.
Ron Prosor, Israel’s exceptional Ambassador to the United Nations spoke of the current choices of the United Nations and of countries that vote to declare the PA as an independent country. First the Text then a video of the speech at the bottom of the page
“Members of the international community have a choice to make.
You can recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, or permit the Palestinian leadership to deny our history without consequence.
You can publically proclaim that the so-called “claim of return” is a non-starter, or you can allow this claim to remain the major obstacle to any peace agreement.
You can work to end Palestinian incitement, or stand by as hatred and extremism take root for generations to come.
You can prematurely recognize a Palestinian state, or you can encourage the Palestinian Authority to break its pact with Hamas and return to direct negotiations.
The choice is yours. You can continue to steer the Palestinians off course or pave the way to real and lasting peace.”
A Hamas terror cell planned a a series of attacks on the Jerusalem Soccer Stadium and, among other places, on the Jerusalem light rail. The attacks were averted because our secret services are brilliant and in a massive operation they succeeded in catching the Hamas operatives who planned the series of attacks. Where are their “gang bosses” based? In comfort and safety in Turkey. I pray that your secret service is as alert because never forget what I said a long long time ago – Israel is the hors d’ouevres, you are the main course.
My dear friend Yitzchok Katz asked if the following information is correct – I added the additional facts.
1. “In Israel Arab Israeli citizens enjoy full rights (including social security, medicine, education, own MK etc)” – Full democratic rights under the law as equal citizens. ​
2. “In the disputed Territories –  Palestinian status – get what you can from your authorities” . ​ That is for those with BLUE identity cards with rights to medical care and social security  – but many with blue ID cards do not have Israeli passports, they have Jordanian passports as per international law.​
3. “East J’lem – invited to become full Israelis’ – few chose to do so”. –  Actually many chose to take blue ID Cards. They chose Israeli status and its benefits without actually being Israeli – they are Jordanian according to International Law. East Jerusalem is the most problematic area educationally they still (by international agreement) use Jordanian schoolbooks – which they now changed to Hamas!!!)  To understand the problem one can read the research and report by the impoverished but essential organisation that I am proud to be part of You can also donate to ensure the research and reports to Governments and the UN continue.
​I was just thinking – it happens occasionally – while I do not want to inflame and already inflammatory situation, I see no reason that Jews  and Christians going to the Temple Mount, whether to pray or not, is offensive to the Moslem faith. Jews and Moslems are invited to the Vatican; entry to Westminster Abbey doesn’t have any limitations of faith; tourists from all over the world go to see the Mormon Tabernacle or the Bahai Temples; indeed every religion is open to all comers…………… so why can’t I go to the Temple Mount? One thing for sure – I would not massacre men at prayer.
So I am cutting it close again. Almost Shabbat. I was going to spend Shabbat with my beautiful daughter, her incredible cooking and of course her family, especially the children. I was going but it would appear that missing Zvi made me more vulnerable to passing germs and I have a cold so I don’t want to infect everybody. I hurriedly made some chicken soup (what else?), the challot are in the oven and the fish already cooking so I have food for tonight and tomorrow. It won’t be the same but at least I can tuck up in my lovely warm bed and drink lemon tea until I am better, probably tomorrow!!!
Jerusalem, indeed the entire country from Metulla to Eilat, was cleansed with life-giving rain this week. Rain? It poured, teemed and rained cats and dogs all together!!! It is so funny because while snow halts the entire area, rain seems to bring people out of their homes to say “I managed to drive in the rain”. The Ayalon “Freeway” in Tel Aviv yesterday was not free and hardly a “way”, it was much closer to a parking lot!!!! The rain pelted and as I saw the train chugging quickly by I was so jealous of all the passengers in the modern double decker, no worries, just going home.
We needed that rain so much. The Kinneret filled beyond its previous low – we had the average monthly rainfall for November in two days!!!! The hope is for a really wet month ahead – time for lots of soups.
The rain seemed to wash Jerusalem’s wonderful white stone, which glisten in the infrequent bursts of sunshine today. Long may it rain, with occasional respite to get out and do what one needs. Children can be bundled up to go to school and even they seemed to be happier in the rain.
One definite highlight of this week was seeing my lovely friend Marcia and her husband Tony in Tel Aviv. Sorry about the rain my loves!!!!
Tonight I will light a special candle to commemorate 51 years, according to the Hebrew date, since my Mother died. I want to wish my siblings a long life, filled with the good memories of a special, magical childhood. It is such a shame my children never met her – she was so much fun.
May you all be blessed by the Almighty, whatever you call Him and however you pray to Him. Pray for tolerance and understanding, who knows he may just be waiting for you.
Tonight I will first light the candle to my Mother, then light the Shabbat Candles and then make Kiddush and break bread alone. Oh well, at least Zvi knows he is missed!!!
For your musical delectation I am spoiling myself. I love Idan Raichel and I wanted you to listen too. Here is a live performance – just listen to his gentleness – although he cut his dreadlocks he is still as sweet.
Finally this joyous Eastern version of the age old Shabbat Song Lecha Dodi
Shabbat Shalom dear friends, Shabbat Shalom

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