The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila

27th July, 2012
Shabbat Shalom dear Friends. I hope this letter finds you well.
So this is it!
Tonight the Olympic Torch will reach its pinnacle, the identity of the final bearer is a State secret! I am certain that the opening ceremony will be magnificent, the security fine, the athletes at the peak of their fitness and the audience very happy. I know that London will do a great job and that Lord Coe (Sebastian Coe the famed Olympian runner) will have done a great job as head of the organising committee. Lord Coe wanted a ceremony to honour the 11 Israeli athletes slain at the Munich Olympics 40 years ago, but he was outvoted in the IOC.

All we wanted was a moments silence for the Israeli athletes, not exactly a huge amount to ask. Most of the Governments of the IOC members asked for a minutes silence but, the IOC knew better. Indeed Mr Rogge, Chairman of the IOC held a surprise ceremony, but it was so quiet and unobtrusive that although Seb Coe and Mayor of London Boris Johnson were there no-one from the Israeli Embassy was invited!!!!!

Mr Rogge paid tribute to the athletes at a ceremony at the Olympic village Monday, attended by Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Olympic organising committee, Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. “I would like to start today’s ceremony by honouring the memory of 11 Israeli Olympians who shared the ideals and have brought us together in this beautiful Olympic Village. “As the event of 40 years ago reminds us, sport is not immune from, and cannot cure, all the ills of the world.”

The thought that the IOC could be so heartless in its very lack of action infuriated many of us. The fact that they feared distressing the Palestinian contingent – which raises the question of how come there is a Palestinian contingent when there is no such country?

Barry Shaw, Ex-Pat Brit, proud Israeli and a very determined gentleman, worked hard to bring this omission to the attention of the world and it didn’t take long before I joined his ranks to ensure everyone we can reach will do SOMETHING to honour the athletes. Zvi and I contacted both the great Maccabi family and Izchak Shtiglitz of the World Zionist Organisation really did their part, contacting communities around the world. There is a list of participating Maccabi communities at the end of this missive. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote a special Yizkor which will be said over Friday night and Shabbat services.

At 10:45 this morning, people will gather in Trafalgar Square and at the dot of 11 o’clock the assembled crowd will stand to attention for one minutes silence in honour of the 11 athletes then sing Hatkiva and G-d Save the Queen and disperse.

WE will not forget, we will never forget – not the athletes who perished from an all to familiar hatred nor those who dishonour their memories.

So many tragedies in the world, the shootings in Aurora, where availability of guns meant a sociopath obtained the means to kill innocent people in a movie theatre. Horrific floods in Hong Kong, Beijing and Macao. The heinous acts of an insane dictator in Syria……. and so many more. We have to reach outt even in our own moment of sadness and fear – reach out to help others. Governmental organisations’s Israel’s outreach to those in need is exceptional. To quote from Lord of the Rings

“Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened. Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

It is so frustrating to see the twisted and biased view of Israel most people garner from media reportage – those too stubborn to come and see for themselves anyway. This fabulous country has so much to offer and is so involved in Tikun Olam and anyway – it is so fun and WORTHWHILE living here!! Nicky Larkin is an Irish writer and film-maker. Nicky Larkin is Irish and as such was anti-Israel in his blood. Nicky Larkin however is an intelligent man and came to see the situation for himself and made a truly exceptional movie “40 Shades of Grey” . Michael Coren interviewed Nicky and it was a refreshing experience to watch the interview

Tisha b’Av is almost upon us. The 3 weeks of mourning which precede the date is coming to an end as we honour and remember the destruction of the first and second Temples; the defeat of Bar Kochva; In 1492, King Ferdinand of Spain issued the expulsion decree, setting Tisha B’Av as the final date by which not a single Jew would be allowed to walk on Spanish soil; finally it was the date of World War One. The laws of the 3 weeks of Mourning and the intensified final 9 days are complex so I give you this link for your perusal.
This week was HOT, and I mean HOT HOT HOT!!! I am not a great fan of air conditioning but this week I gave in when the temperatures reached the high 30’s – or 102 degrees for those who have not yet changed to decimal measurements! Whatever, Fahrenheit or Celsius – it is hot! Jerusalem rarely gets these temperatures and our evenings are always balmy but this week……… phew!
IMPACT-SE was very important this week and took my time, which was given happily to this essential organisation. We are refreshing the website and hopefully printing the newest reports on Iranian and Turkish schoolbooks now that the research concerning their adhesion to the UNICEF educational standards is complete. The service that this organisation provides to the world, governments and educational organisations, facts about the Islamic school world and its tolerance or lack of.
Zvi’s old friend Dr Pablo Nankin found Zvi again recently and we were thrilled to discover that he comes to Israel frequently and indeed came this week. We went to meet him with great anticipation to find that not only is he as tall as Zvi but that he has an absolutely delightful wife! Wanting to show them parts of Jerusalem which they had never seen before (no mean feat since they come every year) we drove up to Gilo to show them the view over Bethlehem and Beit Jallah then coming doen the hill to the phenomenal panorama of the city……….. since it was sunset Jerusalem really wore her Golden Cloak just for us! Food? Ah yes always food and we intoroduced the nankins to Zion ha Gadol which was as delicious as always. I love meeting Zvi’s old friends, they tell me about his childhood and talk about his amazing parents……teachers to a generation, in fact two generations!
Remember the athletes who lost their lives to insane hatred but shout, yell and scream in delight as ISRAEL BRINGS HOME THE MEDALS FROM LONDON!!!
I wish you Shabbat shalom with this beautiful traditional song – Shalom Aleichem – sung by the wonderful group – Kinderlech.
With all my love and hugs from the most amazing country in the world with Jerusalem at her heart, her soul and as her Capital City
Quito, Ecuador: Budapest, Szombathely, Szeged, Szarvas, Hungary: Montevideo, Uruguay: Vienna, Austria: Helsinki, Finland:Panama City, Panama: Asunción, Paraguay: Caracas, Venezuela: Guatemala City, Guatemala: Mexico City & Monterrey, Mexico: Bogotá, Colombia: Santiago de Chile, Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Chile: Buenos Aires, Argentina: Italy: Rome: Torino;Bologna, Milano, Torino, Napoli, San Nicandro,Merano, Venezia, Firenze, Lavorno; Johannesburg, Cape-Town, South-Africa: Great Britain: All”United Synagogue” synagogues (Orthodox), All Masorti (Conservative) Synagogues:Bratislava, Slovakia: USA: Thornhill, The Hamptons. West Hampton, East Hampton: Highland Lakes, Florida, Pittsfield, MA, Snellville, Georgia, Benny Rok Campus Miami; Lisbon, Portugal: Antwerp, Belgium: Lima, Peru; Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Munchen Germany: Ohel Yaakov Synagogue; Turkey: all synagogues in the country; Puerto Rico: Warsaw, Poland: