The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom – Gmar Chatima Tova


Friday 7th October 2011

Yom Kippur is almost upon us. Hopefully we have all spent time in contemplation of our own actions and the actions of those around us to seek ways to make our world just a little better.

This week one Israeli made me so proud I could burst and others made me angry. I will begin with the latter because I want to leave a sweet taste in my mouth and yours.

Some Israeli vandals, nay Israeli hooligans, burned a mosque in an Israeli village which has always been friendly with its neighboring kibbutzim and true to Israel. I am incensed and disgusted. They have been arrested and President Peres and Israel’s chief rabbis are among the Jews in Israel and abroad who have strongly condemned an arson attack on a mosque in northern Israel.
The rabbis made a solidarity visit to the Israeli Arab village of Tuba Zanghariya, near Galilee, on Monday (Oct. 3), soon after vandals torched the mosque. I beg “Slicha” from the villagers and pray that it will not harm their relationship with all of us, normal Israelis who wish them no harm.

Now that is out of my way…….. I am so proud of Professor Daniel Shechtman. Not only for winning the Nobel Prize for chemistry, not only because he brought our tenth Nobel home but because despite being vilified and shunned by his fellow scientists he knew what he saw and he continued with his research until it was proven beyond all possible doubt………. and made them eat their insular snobbery and refusal to think outside the box.
Professor Shechtman won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his controversial discovery of non-repeating patterns in atoms called quasicrystals.

A strange, almost eerie silence is descending on Israel, on all of Israel – no cars, no buses, no trains, no noisy motor bikes, no movement that isn’t by walking. The shops have already closed, families are preparing the “Aruchat Mafseket” the final meal before the fast. Wherever I went today (indeed this week) shopkeepers and shoppers alike called out “Gmar Chatima Tova” Shana Tova – Tsom Kal (Fast easily). Religious and secular alike say these familiar, traditional blessings. Today all over the country people are doing “Kapparot” – few still use a live chicken to dispel their past sins, most use a cloth with money in………. it is more politically correct and less cruel!!

Zvi and I went to shouk Mahane Yehuda this week, to buy in all the root vegetables and non-perishable foods before the insane rush next week. The Arab costermongers, along with the Jewish ones were wishing everyone Chatima Tova.Shana Tova and the colours seemed even brighter than usual, the voices had a sense of urgency as everyone chose the best fruit and vegetables, and of course the freshest fish. When I say fresh fish I am not joking, they are still jumping! Sometimes they jump out of the crates and straight into the path of unwary shoppers!

I asked Israeli friends for their forgiveness for anything I may have done, unwittingly, which may have hurt them as I do of you now. I beg forgiveness and promise to gather strength through my prayers to think a little harder before putting words to paper or opening my mouth!!

So, as I said, the kneidlach are bobbing merrily in the chicken soup – soup filled with the vegetables we picked so carefully in Mahane Yehuda. Leeks, Carrots, Onion, Courgettes, Parsnip, parsley and of course the herbs and spices that make that special aroma and taste……. turmeric, garlic, black pepper, hawiij, and of course a few sprigs of thyme, sage, rosemary and the scent of my veranda.

Almost silent, expectancy – both religious expectancy and the excited expectancy on the faces of the children as they wait for the last car to pass and parents allow them to ride their bicycles up hill and down dale to their hearts content!

Remember to pray for kind thoughts and change – change for positive thinking, different, out of the box thinking to bring about peace and tranquility in our insanely instant world. It took over 20 years of ridicule for Professor Shechtman to receive acceptance – it will take us longer. Think like Mahatma Ghandi and Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr, like Theordore (Benjamin Zeev) Herzl, have a dream and make it come true.

Gmar Chatima Tova

With love from Jerusalem, centre of our lives, our hearts and our prayers.

Not just Shana Tova, Shana ha ba’ah b’Yerushalyim!