The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from jerusalem

18th February 2011

Shabbat shalom from Jerusalem!!!!

This has been a very busy news week so I will fill you in on the world news, the local news and then our journey home and the days since.

Our first paragraph is dedicated to the Palestinian Authority. Mr Abbas dissolved his parliament last week, dissolved and reinstated a new one without any elections – and without the media yelling “Democracy” at him! In addition Saeeb Erakat, chief negotiator with Israel, resigned his position after Wikileaks proved that he is far more pragmatic than his rhetoric suggests. Finally, despite the fact that Turkish Moslems massacred one and a half million Armenians, who then fled to Jerusalem where they found safe haven, Mr Abbas decided that the Armenian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem is Palestinian!! I have a feeling that he takes into account the many, many buildings in new Jerusalem owned by the Armenian Church as a good start on further ambitions!

The media has said little of the massacre of Christians in the Sudan, prompting the division of that country into two- North and South – one Moslem and one Christian and other faiths. Many persecuted Sudanese fled on foot and faced a huge trek through Egypt to Israel, where they learned they could live in peace. Those who survived the trek were then heinously abused by the Bedouin of the Sinai to the almost silence of the foreign press. Egypt shot those who reached the border and now Israel must find a solution to the ever increasing numbers of refugees.

The Daily Mail, a British, middle class, tabloid newspaper has always been conservative with a small “c”, pro-British, pro-Israel. The newspaper has often bewailed the loss of British standards with the ever growing demographic threat of Pakistani and other Moslem immigrants, This article proves their fears of a school, a Madrassa, one of many where corporal punishment is used regularly and anti-British sentiment the general leaning.

Lara Logan is an American journalist with ABC. Blonde, beautiful, clever she confidently stood among the jubilant crowd in Tahrir Square, Cairo; reporting the scene when she was surrounded by a group of men who taunted her and her crew, then grabbed her and separated her from her crew, sexually abusing and raping her, as they did so they screamed Jew Jew Jew before attacking her. The silence and lack of fury is inconceivable.

The Independent newspaper claims no responsibility for its blogs (!) This one goes far beyond the pale in its denigration of Israel. Please write in and respond.

Lt. General Benny Gantz is the 20th Chief of Staff of the IDF. He is the ultimate Jewish story – his Mother was one of the few survivors of the Bergen Belsen death camp, a survivor whose son grew up to be a fine soldier, defending his Jewish country which led ultimately to his becoming Chief of Staff. He is married and has four young Sabras (Israeli born), his children – surely the greatest revenge upon the lunacy of anti-Semitism of all. I met him last year when, as Deputy Chief of Staff, he gave a presentation to the Conf. of Presidents led by the wonderful Malcolm Hoenlein. We were deeply impressed by this highly personable gentleman and the obvious devotion shown by “his” soldiers. We wish him Mazal Tov and love from his people and success as the leader of his soldiers – our boys.

I love this article. Kosher food can be gourmet, just like treif it simply depends on the chef!! I remember when Chef Shalom Tsadok brought a dozen world famous chefs to Jerusalem for the King David Feast; they cooked a totally kosher super duper gourmet meal of 12 courses (one per chef) and no one had difficulty!

So here we are, back in Jerusalem. Our last few days in Miami were fabulous, spending time with people we love, but I have to admit that as we climbed the Jerusalem hills my heart skipped a beat of joy!! We were collected from the airport by my daughter Rachel and amazingly the suitcases fitted in! We stopped to kiss the grandchildren in Modi’in and Givat Zev before heading for home. Walking in the front door I ran straight to raise the electric blinds to see our veranda, somewhat neglected and wind tousled, but the view, ah the view! The sun was setting and the pink light hit the white stones in the familiar glow that told me that the apartment would soon warm up and welcome our homecoming because Jerusalem lay before us. The first days flew by in a flurry of friends and tours of the Old City and new and even squeezing in a trip to Tel Aviv and another to Modi’in to see my girlfriends. We both spent time with the grandchildren who received most of their presents, about two suitcases were dedicated to them!!!!

And so to Shabbat. The apartments beneath me are producing familiar aromas of international delicacies; the shoppers are wending their weary way back home and the shopping malls closing; the buses roar their way up the hills to their weekend garage; the men sit in cafes at their parliaments, putting the world to rights and many women too. Newly washed tiled floors gleam and tables are set with white cloths to receive the families who come to eat the Friday night supper with their parents, aunts and uncles; each guest carrying a large pot of favourite dishes. Tonight, as always, we will go to Zvi’s amazing mother Ala, Headmistress Ala who touched the lives of so many young people, giving them purpose, confidence and a complete education. She doesn’t cook any more, I do, at 97 she is entitled to be served, and we will be joined by Zvi’s boys and grand-daughters – four generations around a tiny table. Zvi will sing the Kiddush (blessing over wine) in his mellifluous bass baritone and his Mother will look at him with adoration knowing that he absorbed his Jewishness from her home with the wonderful Kalman, as Zvi’s boys and little grand-daughters do from his.

Jerusalem, heart of our hearts, centre of our world. Each and every day I thank G-d for letting me live here.
Shabbat Shalom dear friends, Shabbat Shalom and much love