The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

18th March 2011

Shabbat Shalom to you all!

What a crazy news week. A still unfolding tragedy in Japan as a natural disaster created a man made disaster; insanity in Libya as Ghadaffi continues his murderous determination to retain power; varied Arab and Moslem states are changing guard and a family was killed in one of the most inhuman acts of terror yet devised and the world of media didn’t care.
THEY HAVE NAMES Ruth Fogel Udi Fogel Yoav Fogel Elad Fogel and baby Hadas Fogel

As always in Israel, each horrific story gives birth to acts of incredible humanity and kindness.

A Palestinian woman was found in distress giving birth to her baby which was born with the help of an IDF paramedic and paramedics from Itamar. The baby was born blue with the umbilical cord around its neck. The soldiers and paramedics worked and saved the mother and child who were taken to hospital in Israel. This story shows the difference in an ideology which glorifies life and an ideology of the glorifies of death. The IDF forces and local paramedics saved the life of a Palestinian woman and her newly born infant near the settlement where the Fogel relatives are sitting Shiva,7340,L-4043536,00.html

Rami Levi is a supermarket mogul who started in Jerusalem and has widened his empire – a very wealthy man. One day last week one of the Fogel family recognised the man who came to Itamar and walked into their kitchen laden with groceries for the family and their guests and began to fill their fridge and cupboards and did so every day of the Shiva. When asked what he was doing he responded that they should get used to his face because he would be coming every week to fill the fridge and freezer until the surviving children of the Fogel family reach the age of 18. Such stories fill my heart with hope and joy when men such as Rami Levi can show such generosity and kindness – such soul.
Where Is The Outcry Against Arab Apartheid? By Khaled Abu Toameh

Mohammed Nabil Taha, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy, died this week at the entrance to a Lebanese hospital after doctors refused to help him because his family could not afford to pay for medical treatment. The tragic case of Taha highlights the plight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who live in impoverished refugee camps in Lebanon and who are the victims of an Apartheid system that denies them access to work, education and medical care.

Ironically, the boy’s death at the entrance to the hospital coincided with Israel Apartheid Week, a festival of hatred and incitement organized by anti-Israel activists on university campuses in the US, Canada and other countries. It is highly unlikely that the folks behind the festival have heard about the case of Taha. Judging from past experiences, it is also highly unlikely that they would publicize the case after they heard about it.

There’s 192 Countries That Exist In The World & We Give Foreign Aid To Over 150 Of Them!” Rep Poe

The Victoria was a ship crossing the Mediterranean Sea – or so it seemed. The Israeli Coast Guard asked the ship to stop and the arms cache they found

Trinny and Susannah started their Israeli season last night. For the first time ever, in any country, they decided to appear at the opening of the season. The funniest moment was when Trinny stood in front of a group of people all of whom wanted to be chosen for a make-over and suddenly shouted “Will you wait for me, I do the choosing here – you Israelis are so pushy!” When asked why they chose to come to the opening and throw a big party Susannah said “I love it here and want to buy a holiday home. Israelis get such a bad rap outside Israel and we love you” They decided that Israel is fun, fascinating and has beautiful women!

Purim is around the corner. Let’s try to bring down the latest Vizier of Shushan with a clever plot eh?
Go on, admit that a smile crept across their face at the thought!!!!

Each city’s “Adloyada” is in the last throes of preparation – Mardi Gras has nothing on this!!!! Ad lo Yada.. until he doesn’t know. One is supposed to imbibe alcohol on Purim so that one cannot tell the difference between friend and foe – not to imbibe until drunk but to prevent vengeance and revenge since one cannot distinguish between Haman and Mordechai. Today it has evolved into a grand parade with different schools, dance groups and choirs taking part. Representatives from many countries march in their national costumes and enjoy the sheer joy of this festival. Purim is truly the story of good over evil – of a woman willing to act as a spy, to use her womanly powers to help a Persian King understand that his Grand Vizier was a megalomaniac and xenophobe (sound familiar?). Queen Esther together with her brave advisor and uncle Mordechai succeeded in proving that Haman was a negative and cruel element in the Court and turned him into a laughing stock paraded riding backwards on his horse through the streets of the city. Mordechai was more than an advisor however, he gathered all the pure souls of Shushan in the town square and they prayed together “Ashrei ha-ish asher lo halach be-atzat reshaim…” (Happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked and in the way of sinners he does not stand and in the place of scorners he does not sit.)

Proof of the fact that the truly pure souls belong to children is seen during the week approaching Purim here on the streets of Jerusalem. Queen Esthers and Batmen; wicked Haman and Bratz; gentle Mordechai, Dora the Explorer, cowboys and policemen; hair of all colours and beautiful shining faces thrilled with their Purim outfits. Tiny children dressed as clowns and ballerinas as they go to kindergarten and school for party after party after party!

Hamentaschen, Haman’s Ears, Haman’s Purse, It really doesn’t matter what you call them what matters is the taste. Once upon a time the were simple tri-corner pastry cases filled with poppy seed or mon, today they have become an epicurean delight filled with everything from chocolate to dulce di leche, mixed fruits, marmalade, crème anglais indeed virtually anything you wish! The stores that don’t have hamentaschen have fancy dress outfits and everyone has a smile!

I am late today – but that gives me the chance to tell you that the shopping mall is emptying, the cars and buses taking everyone home to have a rest before Shabbat. I went out onto the veranda with my little grand-daughter Amit dressed in a wonderful white dress with pink hearts – her cheeks pink with both make-up and excitement her blonde curls dancing in the sun as she happily skipped about. She looked so wonderful – a future Esther maybe? This is a country of many Esthers – Israeli women are strong because they had to be and soft because they want to be – no Persian Vizier will convince us to bow our heads. We are proud and intend staying here in our home forever.

Tonight as women over the world light the Shabbat Candles, add a prayer for the Fogel family, for the souls of those who perished and to console those who survive.

I wish you and yours a truly peaceful Shabbat to celebrate the wonderful things that surround us, by recognising the beauty of what we have we can defeat those who only see evil.

Love from the glorious city of Jerusalem as she goes to sleep in readiness to welcome the bride of Shabbat.