The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem


13th May 2010.

Shabbat Shalom Dear Friends

Last week I wrote about lunch with our dear friends Keith and Dee Beville from Australia and of their lifes work within the Australian Jewish Community. If my words suggested that they were dissatisfied with any of the institutions or organisations, please know that it was unintentional. Their contribution should not be tainted by my poor choice of words which was meant to indicate their excitement for the future rather than a criticism of the past or present. My apologies.

Israel has joined the prestigious OECD which sounds more like a psychological problem than a monetary organization!!!!!

Prof. Gabby Barkay spends his life sifting through history, digging up proof of every aspect of our time in this amazing Biblical Land. In celebration of Jerusalem Day he was joined by several Members of Knesset to work on the mounds of rubble he saved from extinction from the Temple Mount

Dr Barkay not only received permission to redeem the 700 truckloads of our history as reported in this article – he initiated it, went himself to dangerous sites deep I the PA to ensure its return when others claimed the earthworks dug out by Sheikh Raeed Salah were lost forever. He worked tirelessly on the first several truckloads with virtually no funding. An outstanding speaker who inspires all who listen to his “adventures” with the past, Gabby is an exceptional specialist on Jerusalem. Thank you dear Gabby for going where others fear to tread!

A short while ago I became aware of rumours that Ezekiels Tomb in Iraq, south of Baghdad in the village of Al Kilf had been severely damaged. My information came trough the Julius family in the UK. I wrote to Canon Andrew White who spoke to the locals who claimed it was not true. Unwilling to accept hearsay evidence, upon his return from a lecture tour of the States, Andrew drove 3 hours with 30 bodyguards to check out the site for himself.

On Tuesday, as I was sitting in one of Jerusalem’s interminable traffic jams I received a phone call from Canon Andrew White at Ezekiel’s tomb!!!! I could barely see trough my tears and nearly bumped the car in front of me. He was shouting down the phone that everything was perfect and the Hebrew letters intact and he managed to obtain a promise from the local Mullahs that the site will not be touched and all will be well. What a man!!!!

On that same Tuesday Andrew was awarded the prize for the best Christian book in Britain “The Vicar of Baghdad” and on Wednesday he received the first ever Iraq Peace Prize presented by Grand Ayatollah Hossain Al Sader. The Grand Ayatollah said that “nobody had served Iraq like Canon White, the fact that he has been in Iraq for so long searching for peace is an encouragement to all Iraqis of all faiths”.

On Tuesday we celebrated the 43rd Jerusalem Day, a multi-faceted celebration of the re-unification of the City of Jerusalem after 19 years of division between Jordan and Israel from 1948-1967. On that fateful day the tearful voice of Motte Gur “Har habayit beyadenu” the Temple Mount is in our hands fulfilled Nomi Shemers prediction that the shofar would once again be blown on the Temple Mount. Little did we know that the Temple Mount would be retaken within Israel by those who try to remove evidence of our history from the holy site.

The day was also a memorial for those who fell in the Six Day war to free Jerusalem for all faiths as well as a celebration of our City of Gold, Capital of the State of Israel. The Veterans March in the centre of town was joined by scouts and young soldiers and representatives from amny union and organizations; the ceremony on Givat ha Tachmoshet and a

Jerusalem is an exquisitely beautiful, fascinating mosaic made up of a rainbow of colours and creeds. Jerusalem is also Israel’s biggest city with over 774,000 residents

The Ethiopian immigration to Israel has a romantic ring but it was a tortuous journey for a people who suffered horrific anti-Semitism, exile to a remote mountain region – even branding, yet throughout their suffering they prayed to come back to Jerusalem. A Ceremony on Mount Herzl in recognition of the struggle of Ethiopian Jews to come to Israel and to commemorate those who died on the walk to Sudan,7340,L-3888718,00.html Shlomo Gronich and the Sheba choir tell the story of the “Masa” the journey from Africa to Israel, of the moon in the sky over the desert as they walked endlessly and painfully toward their destination “One last push and we will be on our way to Jerusalem” and Zahava Ben gives us an Eastern hue to the Golden City

What is a Jew? How often have you heard the question without getting an acceptable answer? Kobi Oz produced this wonderful recording of “I am a Jew” Ani Yehudi which includes the full scope, ambit, range and rainbow of Jews. I love it!!!!

Last week I forgot to write about the highlight! Maccabi World Union opened its congress with an outstanding evening at the Cameri theater in Tel Aviv. We took over the theatre for an extraordinarily exciting rendition of Fiddler on the Roof with Natan Datner. Phenomenal evening and gorgeous crowd of people. Well done Eyal Tiberger – Kol ha Kavod and Chazak ve-Amatz!!!!

This week has been a joy. My sister Eddies close friends Andrea, Larry, Nici and Sol flew all the way from Toronto to learn about Israel for themselves. They went North and South and then settled to a few days of the Sheila Tour of Jerusalem. We did just about all the places I talk about including Gilo, Beit Safafa, Ben Yehuda, Mahane Yehuda, shopping in the Old City, the new city and the mall (!), the Herzl Museum, the Supreme Court and so much more and they were so excited about every place that it was a joy for me to spend time with them. Of course we ended up wit a celbratory supper at “Zion ha Gadol” wit my jet-lagged husband!

Zvi came home from a wonderful trip to China with the Hora Jerusalem Dance Troupe where together with David D’Or they opened the Israeli Pavilion at Expo Shanghai. David d’Or’s most famous song is “T’shmor al ha Olam Yeled” (Take care of the world my child) where he bewails the fact that we didn’t do a good job of watching over our world and it is now up to the children – with the wonderful line “If all the love in the world ends only you can keep it going”

I pray that our children will understand to keep our world from harm and notice that we didn’t do a good job. I pray that their rebellion will be to prove that they can do better.

I want to wish my cousin Hannah and her new husband a wonderful marriage and apologise for the fact that I didn’t manage to go to the sheva brachot. I hope that next time they will all come to our veranda and have a celebration together. Mazal Tov Bobby, Eleanor, Jean and Stuart!!!

Shabbat Shalom to you all from Jerusalem. Jerusalem which has blossomed, grown and become open and free for 43 out of her 3,000 years, becoming more beautiful by the day. Not bad eh?

With much love