The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila -Scarlett Johansson and Sodastream, Kerry plan,

31st January, 2014
Hello, Shalom, Bonjour, buenos dias, Yachi da, g’day mates, Salaam and of course Good Shabbes, Shabbat Shalom

This has been a fascinating week.

A Hollywood starlet proved that she is a moral example to us all when Scarlett Johansson stood up to the BDS and Oxfam after doing the major Sodastream advertisement. Oxfam decided that Johansson, one of their honorary ambassadors, was not suitable as their representative since Sodastream has its headquarters in Mishor Adumim, or “the territories” despite that fact that Sodastream has been cited as the ideal equal opportunity employer of both Jews and Arabs of the area. I hope you are still with me!! Anyway, the extremely beautiful and clever Miss Scarlett decided that Oxfam was not moral enough for her!

Sodastream has decided to invite Miss Johansson to Israel and to their factory – I can promise you that she will get a huge and rapturous welcome here!!!

As you know, I have a pet peeve, actually pet peeve is an overly polite way of expressing my disgust with Christian leaders and their abandonment of their Middle Eastern flock. A Moslem academic has chosen to defend the dwindling Christians of this area. Qanta Ahmed believes that we are what we tolerate

I rarely agree with Bob Simons in his reportage of the Middle East but this time he did a good job about the plight of the Copts in Egypt in 60 minutes.

Martin Indyk is the US special envoy to the peace talks. I don’t know exactly what that means because I thought that was what you pay Kerry for – but he is. Indyk insists that there will be no surprises for either Israel or the PA and that the Kerry plan is fair. It, apparently, includes an exchange of land whereby the vast majority of the Israeli towns and villages will remain under Israeli sovereignty and several Moslem towns and villages will become part of the PA. As to refugees – according to rumours the Kerry plan includes compensation for Jews who fled Arab lands and arabs who fled Israel. Let’s wait and see.

Tony Blair, former PM of the UK said of the current negotiations

“I believe this is a profound moment for the opportunity to make peace, I hope on all sides there is the courage, vision and determination to move forward. We will continue to work very hard to put alongside the political process the economic initiative to improve the lives of people on the ground to give them hope and a stake in the future. It can be done and it should be done but it needs a political wind behind it. We’re all striving very hard and particularly with all the turmoil this is the right moment to create out of this part of the Middle East some sense of hope based on the principles of societies that are open-minded and tolerant and economies that are modern and offer opportunity for our young people.“

Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen is no longer Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs but her influence remains. The Committee passed legislation to strengthen USA- Israel strategic relationships. A hopeful sign indeed

There was a huge hoohah in Israel about Yair Netanyahu’s girlfriend at the Hebrew University – because she is Norwegian and not Jewish. Some deeply unlikable Rabbis (and Sara Netanyahus religious brother) used the foul word “shiksa” – and prompted Rachael Risby Raz to write this excellent response

I agree with Rachael but disagree with those who jumped on the bandwagon and started saying we don’t need full Rabbinical conversion. I disagree. First one has to learn the rules and then choose what path you take. Hey we do it for a drivers licence so why not Judaism? If you don’t know that milk and meat should ne’er be mixed, or how to put on your tefillin, or when to light candles, what you can and can’t do on Shabbat how can you teach your children???

Dr Malcolm Hoenlein has given his entire life to the Jewish people. This week he achieved the ultimate accolade – Haaretz wrote against him!!! Malcolm, dear Malcolm, I congratulate you with all my heart.

Last weekend we managed to meet up with Harold and Rebecca Finger who are here from Australia. Harold and his best buddy Stanley are the leaders of Keren Hayesod in Oz and so much more! W alsoe had the honour of being invited by the Italian Ambassador to the showing of an incredible movie which had its premiere last week in Italy. Brilliant. It tells the story of a young girl who comes to her Aunt after the Shoah. It is unlike any other movie I have ever seen. Anita B a must! see

I just got back from my regular trip to collect Yosef from school, go to buy the Challot for Shabbat and take him home. Once home we bathe the children and get them ready for arest before Shabbat. The table was already set with its white cloth and 16 little challot (home made of course) and my beautiful daughter had prepared her usual incredible feast of Israeli salads and delicious fish for tonights meal with guests.

Leaving her home I thought about the warmth of the Shabbat Shalom greeting from everyone, including Mohammed at the corner store. I hate to repeat myself so I won’t tell you that the white clouds scudding across the azure sky over the panorama of Jerusalem because I tell you that each week, instead I will tell you what made me smile. Every country has hitchhikers but the Friday afternoon hitchhikers in Jerusalem are very special. Today I passed a Haredi man in his full Shabbat finery of big fur Shtreimel (hat), long robe and white knee-socks, thumb out patiently waiting for a ride!!! What a sight!! It is as if the religious community is on the move, each little group of people with their roll-on bags racing for buses or lifts or equally hitching rides. I think it is a singular sight!!

Tonight we will spend with Zvi’s boys and their families – sharing the cooking of course. Why shouldn’t we join the incredible saucepan race from house to house? Tomorrow we have friends coming over. I tis our honour that Canon Andrew White are coming again to regale us with his latest feats – and feats they are. This trip he managed to take a former Hamas activist who he has cultured over the years, and turn him into a peace seeker!!!. Andrew claims he will not eat but it may be just too much for him when faced with my roasties!!!

Tomorrow we have veggie soup, boeuf bourginon and roast chicken, roast potatoes, stuffed veggies, lemon cake, chocolate cake, apple cake and home made pareve icecream. I know it is a lot of desserts but Andrew loves sweet stuff!!!

After Shabbat I go to meet the Doppelts, Steve and Carol, at the Eldan Hotel. Each year they bring a group of volunteers to Rambam Hospital in Haifa and spend a weekend in Jerusalem. I love meeting them since the enthusiasm of the Doppelts is carried on to their friends!!!

See it and believe it! A group of Indonesian Moslems sing the religious song Ha Ben Yakir li – my son who is dear to me –

I am sad. Pete Seeger, truth teller of the ’60’s died this week. I wish we had a truth teller today the words taken from Ecclesiates taking a meaning felt so deeply during the Vietnam war

Perhaps Pete Seeger would have approved of David d’Or’s song Tishmor al ha Olam Yeled. The translation of the first lines is Guard the world child, there are things you should not need to see. Guard the world child because we did not do it well.

Wishing you a special Shabbat with your loved ones. A Shabbat Shalom and since it is also Rosh Hodesh (a new month) – Chodesh Tov – a good month
With all my love from Jerusalem, our wonderful and beautiful city which is the centre of our prayers, the city to which we turn when praying and my home.
With love