The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

3rd March 2011

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. This week I will give you short introduction to your links to the wider news, but I want space to tell you about the fun things I did this week!

Rebellion and the ousting of dictators rages throughout the Middle East. However….
We cheer the toppling of dictators, but ignore fanatics poised to take their place.

Libya is in upheaval, the cruel regime kills thousands and the United Nations finally decides that Libya should not be on the UN Human Rights Council. I ask “What on earth were they doing on the Human Rights Commission in the first place”

Surprisingly Libyan rebels love an Israeli youtube spoof of Mu’amar Ghaddafi

Amb Yoram Ettinger writes – It was Congress – on both sides of the aisle – which led the Obama Administration to veto its own ideology and policy at the UN on February 17, 2011. Majority leader Cantor, Minority Whip Hoyer, Foreign Relations Committee Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen and Ranking Democrat Berman, Middle East Subcommittee Chairman Chabot and Ranking Democrat Ackerman spearheaded the flood of determined Congressional messages to the White House.

A gunman shouting “Allahu Akbar” opened fire on a bus carrying U.S. airmen in Frankfurt, Germany, killing two and wounding two others before his gun jammed and he was subdued, officials said.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti was gunned down on Wednesday morning, because as a Christian he was accused of blasphemy by the Islamic Movement.

Chavez has ensured that Venezuelan Jews feel very insecure, however there is an unexpected safe haven in a shopping mall, Cafe Hillel!

12 Jews are commemorated as heroes in the fight against South African Apartheid in a special issue of stamps by Liberia, Gambia and Sierra Leone. The part of Jews in this noble battle is oft forgotten in todays rhetoric.

Pope Benedict XVI made huge strides this week in declaring finally and at last that the Jews did not kill Jesus. En retard yet somehow very timely as he recognises our commonality in these very dangerous times.

Autism is a diverse and terrifying malady which affects everyone surrounding the child or adult, diagnosis is complex and treatment uncertain. Joshua Weinstein decided to follow his heart and find a way to bring all the research together under one roof in the World autism centre, choosing Jerusalem as the heart of the research and treatment since Jerusalem is after all the heart of the world and the one thing that autistic children and adults need is heart and lots of it.

Definitely one of LATMA’s best! I just want to know why “lirot otchem al ha mangel u lenafnef” was translated to “See you on a rope”?

I finally met the Chilean Miners in Beit ha Nassi (Presidents House) in Jerusalem. When President Peres came into the room he wove his way from row to row, not missing even one miner or spouse, shaking hands with each and every one and giving a word of encouragement and a smile. As we sat down Lt Col Shai Abrahamason, the Cantor of the IDF, sang Birkat ha Gomel, the prayer one says after emerging from danger, each miner had a headset with translations and they teared up at the beauty of Shai’s voice and his words. President Peres spoke to the miners of his emotions at seeing them sitting before us and their heroism. Coming to Jerusalem is a miracle from heaven and proof of man’s super human power when it is needed. I spoke to their translator and asked her what was the most emotive experience for the miners, expecting to hear Via Dolorosa, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but no, it was the Kotel. One miner, Samuel said that reaching the Kotel (Western Wall) gave him time to contemplate on reaching this Holy place which made him understand that there really is light at the end of the literal tunnel. As we sat in the hall I looked around at the glorious artwork, the sculpture garden and the beautiful flowers… and this time I walked out on my own two feet!!! Actually I walked out and then strode the 2 kilometres to Alan and Bonnies house, much to my husbands amazement!

The next day we met the Oppenheimers for brunch in Caffit in the Botanical Gardens. I love meeting with the Oppenheimers because they are so positive and warm. This time Zvi and I had the beauty of the lake and the gardens, Marc and Elaine and their daughter Amy who is a wonderful young woman who with her husband travels around the States talking and teaching about Judaism, Israel and life. I loved the clip she sent me of her latest production.

St Davids Day, March 1st, the Saints Day of Wales and you will find about 100 Ex-Pat Welsh people gathering in Netanya. Kippa (skullcap) clad gentlemen singing the Welsh National Anthem with gusto and speaking verse in Welsh is a sight worth seeing!!!! Old friends, many of whom haven’t seen each other for 40+ years recognise one another with difficulty each telling the other that they haven’t changed at all!!! It is strange that while all of us are proud Jews, even prouder Israelis we will forever find a welcome in the hillsides!!
Even Google honoured that day with a Welsh Google Doodle

Sammy and Debby Bettsak are here in Israel and lucky Zvi spent the day with them. Sammy and Debby are frequent visitors but just didn’t have time to come and see me in Jerusalem. Next time for sure!!!
Today I went to Shouk Mahane Yehuda with Rachael and her lovely Mum Linda who is visiting from Australia. I loved Linda’s reactions to the bustling throng in the market as we sat and ate a delicious Israeli breakfast in the chic coffee shop, of course accompanied by Cafe Hafuch! After our hunger was sated we set off to show Linda all my favourite spots, the incredible fruits and vegetables, still tasting of the fields in which they grew under the gentle Israeli winter sun. Home grown strawberries were piled high, sold by the kilo and the heavy aroma of ripe passiflora called to me! I bought leder (rolled out fresh dried apricots) and unsweetened, pure, sun-dried pineapple slices which burst with flavour at the first bite, for Linda to taste. We marvelled at the sacks filled with every herb, spice, tisane, seed and bean imaginable. Pickles at Tsidkiyahus; juicy and crisp root vegetables at Moshe’s; carefully displayed bunches of fresh green herbs at Mohammed’s and of course fish at David’s shop where customers vie for his attention to acquire the freshest of fresh fish, some carp so fresh that they are still jumping!!!! The scents and sounds excite me, the variety of produce and the bustling rainbow of people represent the very essence of Jerusalem.

Amit and Gili, our little grand-daughters are asleep, after an evening of fun, baths and new hairstyles and I sit beside the computer with a glorious view of Jerusalem at night before me, lights twinkling as far as the eye can see. I bid you farewell, adieu and lehitra’ot. See you next week,
Shabbat Shalom and love from Jerusalem