The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter. Purim,standwithus, David Cameron in Israel,missiles on sderot, London


13th March 2014

Shabbat Shalom everyone. Shabbat Shalom from ……………… London!!!

I came on the spur of the moment to see my beautiful London family and pop down to Cardiff to see my siblings. I will probably go to my parents graves at the same time, to honour their memories although they are with me every moment and have been all my life it is Jewish tradition to go and “talk” to them.

Things have been tough in the South of Israel as missiles rain down on the residents, as the fury of hatred falls from Gaza. It never completely stopped but this week anything from 40-60 rockets landed on Southern Israel, and we have to thank Heaven and the amazing young people of the Israeli Navy that we captured the long range “gifts” from Iran in the recent IDF action, stopping the ship laden with weapons bound for Hamas. Of course, the Iranians say the ship never existed, Hamas says it wasn’t bound for them and Israel knows the truth!!!

Anyway back to the horrific barrage from Gaza – after the cruel salvo Hamas announced that it was halting the “cease fire” because Israel targetted the ringleaders. Isn’t it a case of “The fight started when he hit me back”? Prime Minister Netanyahu said “If it is not quiet in southern Israel, it will be very noisy in Gaza,”  and he was true to his word.

Remember the importance of 15 seconds

A Norwegian cruise liner stopped in the port of La Goulette in Tunis and the Tunisian Authorities would not let Israeli nationals disembark. The immediate reaction of the owners was to stop all further passenger visits to La Goulette. See that’s what happens when you exercise racism.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was in Jerusalem this week on an official visit. Mr Cameron spoke in the Knesset Plenum, reiterating his support for Israel. Mr Cameron said the Knesset is a “beacon of democracy” and pledged, “with me, you have a British Prime Minister whose belief in Israel is unbreakable and whose commitment to Israel’s security will always be rock solid.” He acknowledged Israel’s vulnerability and commented, “I will always stand up for the right of Israel to defend its citizens. A right enshrined in international law, in natural justice and fundamental morality.” “I have a clear message. Britain opposes boycotts,” in all forms, emphasising that “Israel’s place as a homeland for the Jewish people will never rest on hollow resolutions passed by amateur politicians.”

Just in case Cameron, Obama, Merkel or anyone else has doubts as to Iranian intent read this

International Womens Day came and went without addressing the horrors of FGM. More than 90 percent of Egyptian women have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), also referred to, misleadingly, as female circumcision. A 14 year old Egyptian girl just died from it. Surely this horrific practice must be stopped? It is barbaric and cruel and changes the child forever. Maybe the European countries should stop worrying about Brit Milah and begin fighting this diabolical practice. President Mubarak was partially successful in eradicating this practice but the moment the Moslem Brotherhood returned to power it returned too.

Standwithus is a truly magnificent organisation that educates and strengthens our young people to go out into the world and tell the true story of Israel, be it  debating ignorant BDS activists on US Campuses or talking to audiences in South Africa. They are such amazing young people and make us proud. See these beautiful Israelis going to South Africa to take on those who dare to claim Israel is an apartheid state. and to understand the work of Standwithus Join Michael Dickson on Facebook to get all your news.

For anyone who still has doubts – listen to this amazing talk on Dr Martin Luther King – my hero

Modern technology meets ancient scrolls. A new method of unravelling the tightly rolled parchment of ancient scrolls has enabled archaeologists to reveal the wonders of 9 ancient Dead Sea scrolls in Jerusalem.

My very special grandson Sammy’s school held a religious assembly today. Two Rabbis came to talk to the children, of varying degrees of disability, about Pesach. They loved the singing of Chad Gadya but sadly the Rabbi didn’t know my version!!! My family does the sounds of each animal in the song, the kid, the cat, the dog, the bull and of course the sounds of a fire engine for the fire, a sloooooosh for the water, a slice across the neck for the abbatoir worker, a big huge BOOOOOOOOOOOO for the Angel of Death and a huge cheer for Ha Kadosh Baruch Hu – the Holy One Blessed be his name. It would have been fun!!  Yes I know it isn’t even Purim yet but the children ate Matza and charoseth and drank grape juice – even the ones in Ra’alas!!!!

Anyway back to Purim, to bravery from unexpected sources and just retribution. For the children it is a simple matter of fancy dress, loads of sweeties and being able to make a huge amount of noise in the synagogue as greggers (noisemakers) are whirled, feet are stomped and whistles blown whenever the name HAMAN is read from the Story of Esther. In truth Purim is so very much more than that and very far from being a childrens story. Purim is an example to us today. It is the story of simple people who stood up for justice for their people; it is the story of false accusations for personal gain; it is the story of hatred for hatreds sake; it is, above all the story of intolerance toward the “other”; it is the story of corrupt use of power. Familiar isn’t it?

This Shabbat I will not watch Jerusalem prepare for the bride but rather my grandchildren will sit by the table with my son and daughter-in-law. They will chant the age-old blessings and their faces will shine as they light the candles. No matter where we are our traditions hold us together as a people. We have been exiled, dipersed and enslaved yet we still rejoice. Today we have returned to our homeland despite all indications and predictions to the contrary. We came home. Medinat Yisrael – the State of Israel.

Yaakov Shweky is a phenomenal Israeli singer. I want you to hear his music

First If I Forget You Oh Jerusalem

Judaism honours its women above all else. Each Friday night, before blessing the wine and the bread (challah) the husband blesses his wife. “A woman of worth……above rubies”

Finally, a song in English and Yiddisch “Tatte” which is that most Jewish of songs and Shwekeys beautiful voice tells the story of every Jew

Tomorrow, Friday morning, I will meet up with my lovely friend Yaffa. Yaffa will talk of her yearning to return to Israel and I will encourage her!!! In the meantime it is Hendon, Middlesex and talk of Jerusalem, Jerusalem Israel’s capital city and the heart and soul of the Jewish People.

One thing the Rabbi did not say at Sammy’s special assembly was that our prayer, history and identity are expressed in the song of yearning that ends the Passover Seder service .   “Next Year in Jerusalem” – le Shana Hab’ah b’Yerushalyim

I am one of the luckiest persons on this earth – for me it is Next week in Jerusalem………….. I just wish my children were beside me.

Shabbat Shalom to you and yours

With love


PS I just thought you would be amused since you tend to describe me as some sort of culinary expert. Well, having finished preparing the chicken soup for my beautiful family I decided to cook the apples (incredible Bramley Apples) ready for the apple crumble of tomorrow. As my daughter Rachel is always warning me, I really should wear my reading glasses when doing………….. anything! I put the sugar into the apples only to realise that it was couscous!! I tried fishing it all out again but we now have a very unusual base for tomorrow crumble. Do you think they will notice????