The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom, Gmar Chatima Tova – Givat ha Matos, Canon Andrew, Kippur

3rd October, 2014
Shabbat Shalom dear friends.
Shabbat Shalom and “tsom kal”. Tsom Kal  is an expression which means easy fast. This evening Jews all over the world will eat a special meal before entering the fast of Yom Kippur. The purpose is not to starve oneself as some kind of punishment for a year of sins – the purpose of the fast is that one is so deeply into the prayers of this Holy Day that one does not need to eat or drink. In principle those prayers ask for forgiveness from the Almighty; one asks forgiveness for just about every sin that one can imagine or not – because we do not only beg forgiveness for ourselves but rather for our world, our people. Don’t think we get a free pass to sin as we wish in the coming year because we don’t – forgiveness comes only to those who truly repent.
Canon Andrew White was interviewed on Fox News concerning ISIS and Iraq.
Jim White is a friend, a musical producer friend Jim loves Israel and wrote this amazing song for Israel. Please tell me what you think of it and how to promote it.
I was thinking about two news stories concerning Israel this week. One is the building of houses in a Jerusalem neighborhood, between Gilo and Talpiot. Suddenly the American Administration and media is distressed about the building of houses within Jerusalem. As if there are no more important issues in this world!!!!
The second issue is connected to the last. Jews legally bought a property in the predominantly Arab Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan and moved in. Their timing was pretty stupid, with the PM in Washington etc, but I fail to understand their sin. I don’t want to live in Silwan but think of it another way, if some Arab families moved into my neighborhood would the Jews throw stones and complain to the international court? It is racism pure and simple to disallow Jews to buy homes anywhere! The owner of the property has a very large Fatwa on his head for selling to Jews – can you imagine if that happened in Sydney, Washington or Manchester? The part that is hardest to swallow that while we are condemned for building houses the PA is building like it is going out of style. Seems like racism takes many forms, whether denying the right to buy a home or condemning only one side in the argument.
I received the following from Adrian Christie, a childhood friend and wanted to share it with you for this special day: Let us take this moment to wish you a Happy New Year.  Next week we Jews will begin our 5775th year on this earth!  Who would have believed this possible?  If anyone had told Abraham that his people would be around this long, he probably would have been astounded.
Imagine, we did this without beheading anyone, without a single suicide bomber, without kidnapping and murdering school children, without slaughtering Olympic athletes, and without flying airplanes into skyscrapers.
We lasted this long despite 400 years as slaves in Egypt, 40 years of  wandering in the desert, the mighty Roman army who nailed us to ten thousand crosses; despite the best efforts of the Christian crusaders, the Spanish Inquisition, Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich, Stalin’s gulags, Arab wars of annihilation, 100 years of Arab Terrorism, and 800 hate-filled UN resolutions!
How did we Jews do it?  We did it by concentrating our efforts on education, love of family, faith, hard work, helping one another and a passionate dedication to life no matter what evil befell us!  We hung in there in hope the rest of the world would one day overcome it’s hatreds, jealousies, violence and join us in a life of cooperation and mutual respect.  We’re not there yet, but we’re still hopeful. And when we enter our places of worship this weekend, this is what we’ll pray for with all the strength  in our hearts.
Talking about new beginnings, there is a rather famous personality who is now looking for work. Not an easy task since he is over 90 with limited technological abilities. Former President Shimon Peres.
I loved this blog written by a young American on her first trip to Israel and how it changed her life.!3-Things-Israel-Confirmed-For-Me-in-One-Day/cmbz/4979D5D4-C924-4E08-BCF6-D131E1C76DB2 
Yom Kippur, Yom ha Kippurim, is different in Israel than anywhere else in the world. I don’t mean the prayers or the rumbling tummies, I mean the silence. Buses stop running at 13:30 and cars before candle-lighting time. White clad families walk to the synagogue to hear Kol Nidre, the prayer which heralds the Eve of Yom Kippur. Silence, pure and forgiving descends over the entire country. Actually, not completely true. Children see Yom Kippur as an opportunity to ride bicycles wildly on every car-free road in Israel whooping noisily and delightedly at the same time! Beit Tsafafa, like most Moslem towns and neighborhoods, becomes a fair, with stalls and fun along the main road to Gilo. After all it is not a Moslem holiday………. wait a minute, actually it is, tonight the Moslem festival of Eid-Al-Adha begins. Eid-Al-Adha, the festival which celebrates the near sacrifice of Isaac by Abrahama when Abraham recognises G-d’s will and Isaac lives. Ah, if only we could celebrate together in peace – blow the shofar (Ram’s Horn) to declare Shalom, Sulcha, Salaam, Peace.
I just walked out onto our veranda, our mirpesset and thought of Stanley Roth! No seriously! The sheer magnificence of the view, the lemons, still green but thriving on the little tree which was a gift from my amazing Cardiff girlfriends; the kumquats, little green balls promising their sweet/sour juiciness; the herb corner – thyme, garlic chives, rosemary, sage, basil, oregano, lemon grass, lemon balm and louisa; the hedge of Hadass (box) which gives of a wonderful scent, the pomegranate tree in the corner and the bright splashes of colour from the hibiscus, geranium and of course my “Valerie” fuschia which survived last winter beautifully. It is difficult to put into words the incredible peace that descends over me when I sit on the garden swing and just………. sit. I just absorb the joy and honour of our home above the most glorious city in the world.
Last night Zvi and I met with two very special people, Robert and Anita Simons, visiting from Sydney. We met at Gabriela, just about my favourite restaurant in Jerusalem. Jacques, the owner, treated us like film stars with all sorts of special treats. “Tasters, just tasters” he said! The meal was delicious, sophisticated and beautifully presented and the company could not be better. There is something special about old friends – no need to prove oneself.  Alan and Bonnie Cohen, in whose home we were married so many years ago, passed by and came in to chat – and discovered that the couple at the next table have many friends in common – from LA!!!
If, over the last year of writing, I have in any way offended, caused pain, distressed or hurt you please accept my deep apologies. I try to be a good person but even those of us who try can hurt unintentionally. I wish you a good Kippur, a day of contemplation and that you find inner peace at the end of it.
My choice of music today is obvious, Kol Nidrei, the central prayer of Kol Nidre, the Eve of Yom Kippur. I chose the Johnny Mathis version, not by chance, but rather to express my deep belief that one does not need to be Jew, Christian, Moslem or any other religion in order to step into the shoes of the other.
Wishing you Gmar Chatima Tova,
With love from Jerusalem, the most special city in the world

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