The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem


1st April 2011

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Despite the date I promise I won’t tell you I saw a Lirpa Loof prancing around the Old City or that I just planted spaghetti trees on the veranda…… or that the Palestinians decided to condemn violence and accept both the existence and the assistance of the State of Israel.

It could be April Fool’s trick that they seem to have brought the Passover cleaning forward by about a month and taken even more items out of those allowed for Ashkenazim!!!

The 30th March marked the ninth anniversary of a tragedy and a miracle, Kinneret Chaya Boosani. It is nine whole years since that fateful evening, travelling back from a delightful evening with friends, that we received a phone call from Orly to tell us that there had been a homicide bomb attack on “My Coffee Shop” in Tel Aviv and that Kinneret, daughter of our dear friends Yaffa and Moshe was critically hurt and not expected to live through the night. I remember speaking to Yaffa immediately and her asking us to bring a special amulet from a Rabbitsen in Jerusalem. The amulet was placed under her pillow and a Rabbi came to the family and told them to change her name to Kinneret Chaya (Kinneret Lives). The long and tortuous journey from that moment to this is all written in my diary, and close to my heart. When I see photographs of a glorious, married, religious, happy and fulfilled woman and her two daughters I find myself knowing that she is the living proof of G-d’s gentle goodness. She became an Auntie last week too and her big sister Nitzan had a little boy.
The BBC backed down on their coverage of the Fogel Family slaughter in Itamar; thanks to our letter writing but predominantly thanks to Louise Bagshawe, Conservative MP for Corby, who registered her disgust at what she called the BBC’s “inexcusable” failure in her letter to the Telegraph To thank her write to

For those of you who are opera lovers – the Israeli opera is coming to town! Jerusalem will celebrate Opera in Israel in a June

This video is fun, cute and very clever…….. but I warn you, as you enjoy this wonderful, happy, musical experience you won’t be able to stop your feet tapping!!!! Ya’ala Lili is my grandchildren’s favourite!
The Israeli field hospital is set up and working in Japan. The teams, including both medical staff and aid workers are in a fishing town which was destroyed but not close to the nuclear reactors. Yet again Israeli doctors save a child and will continue to save the victims of natures fury

Talking of Israeli doctors, I had cause recently to spend time with doctors and nurses, in the State health system and as it turned out in each case it was with Israeli Arab doctors and nurses. They are trained in the same way in the same hospitals and universities and the care they give is of the highest quality. As you know I love talking to everybody and while being treated I spoke with the young doctor who told me he was a Jerusalemite but had trained in Jordan since the entrance requisites of the Hebrew University were so high and his school not good enough to achieve the results. He spoke of the troubles in Jordan where the educational standards are very high – for the elite. The costs were very high even coming with Israeli money. He is waiting to go to Hadassah Hospital to become an Opthamologist. What is so hard for people outside to understand – we all live in harmony and would continue to do so if not for the Islamic religious fanatics and fundamentalists who make the Crusades look like a cream pie fight – the strange thing is that our zealots go over to their side too – ho hum!.

Pesach, Passover, whatever you call it it gets more complex each year. No, don’t you dare suggest it is just my age!!!! It isn’t the cleaning, spring cleaning is good for the soul; it isn’t the cooking, I enjoy that part although it is ludicrous to clean and scrub BEFORE doing the dirty messy cooking; it isn’t changing the dishes, I love the fact that everything really is different on this night to all other nights; it is the complications of knowing whether food contains “kitniot” (pulses) or not. I know my family is Ashkenazi but why should my neighbours be allowed to eat rice and beans and all the good stuff and I have to be inventive!!!

There is a new Pesach video of an Israeli Robot shame can’t clean the house and change the dishes eh.>

I just came back from my grand-children in Givat Ze’ev. It was great fun as their age was translated into their bicycles! Yosef (6) on his brand new birthday bike with gears, racing like a pro; Talia (4) on her bicycle with stabiliser wheels and little Ayala (2) her feet working like crazy to keep up with the big ones. The drive home is spectacular. As I reach the top of the hill next to Nebe Samuel (Samuels Tomb) I cautiously glance sideways to see the incredible panorama of Jerusalem laid before me as a huge white carpet with its amazing soaring towers. Gosh it makes me proud.

As I came home and climbed the stairs home I revel in the smells of Shabbat. The distinctive aroma of scorched aubergine (egg plant) and scorched red peppers ready to be skinned and made into exotic salads; the odd whiff of kubeh soup, both beetroot and tomato; the wonders of spicy fish and fried fish and finally – across the cultural divide – chicken soup!!!

So the time has come – the table must be laid and Zvi will come home from his parliament in Angel’s Coffee shop – hopefully having sorted out the Middle East, the Far East and South America. He was at a rehearsal at the Jerusalem Theatre this morning in preparation for his choir’s performance tomorrow night.

Be well dear friends. We wish you and your family indeed your country, a peaceful Shabbat and a much better week next week.
With love