The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter- Syria, UK, Vancouver Transit

30th August 2013
Shabbat Shalom dear friends.
Syria is on almost everyones lips. What should be done now that the West, the policemen of democracy, have waited too long? Had something been done a year ago, whether through sincere warnings or financial reward to the Assad government to stop the diabolical killings could we have stopped it? There are so many powers pulling those poor unfortunate civilians apart at enormous cost. Iran is obviously a big player, supporting the “evil” rebels; religion is another huge and negative issue in the entire Middle East which has acted as a fermenting agent of war – Shi’a, Sunni and in Syria Alowite. One question on the lips of the naive West is”How could two people, Assad and his wife, who received the best of Western education, possibly commit such foul crimes.” The answer is quite easily. Perhaps the answer is in the words of William Pitt the Elder, Earl of Chatham and British Prime Minister from 1766 to 1778, who said in 1770: “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it”
Despite the strong efforts of British Prime Minister Cameron the House of Commons yesterday voted against action until such time as absolute proof is found as to who used the chemical weaponry. According to Israeli reports citizens were told to go into their bunkers or shelters before the chemical weapons were dropped – not to protect them but because the chemicals work better at ground level. A further report in a British newspaper shows evil beyond words as buses filled with prisoners are moved to military targets in case the allies attack,7340,L-4424180,00.html
Could it be true? Could a leader seriously do such things? Could they be Iranian weapons to detract from their urgent determination to produce a nuclear weapon? Anything is possible. Should Assad be stopped? Of course but then we knew that when he “just” killed a hundred thousand of his citizens. Should the threats of annihilating Israel if the USA attempts to stop the killing be taken into consideration? Actually that is the only one that has a clear answer – no – we can take care of ourselves.
Ex-Pat Brit Michael Horesh wrote a very interesting analysis
What amazes me concerning the Syrian/Iranian/Egyptian/Yemen/Iraq/Afghanistan situation is that it does not give cause to stop the BDS movements denigration of Israel – but then dehumanisation of the Jewish State never needed cause! In Vancouver, Canada, yes even in Canada, the mass transport system Translink decided to accept advertisements from an anti-Israel group to the dismay of Vancouvers citizens.
Israel had a problem. It sounds like a non-PC problem on the surface but it is very real nonetheless. Until about a year ago, illegal work-seekers were pouring over the border from Sinai emanating from Eritrea, Sudan and other countries in that region. Almost all were Moslem and very, very few were genuine asylum seekers. Most had paid thousands of dollars to the Sinai Bedouin who brought them across Sinai (beating, raping and killing many en route) despite the abject poverty of most which suggests that they were “helped” on their way. They settled in Tel Aviv and Eilat predominantly causing a collossal rise in theft and personal crime. Eritrea agree to take back their own citizens but not others. Finally Uganda, at huge financial cost to Israel, has agreed to take these unfortunates in. Only when you understand how tiny Israel is and how hard it is to keep our own diverse population employed you understand. It clearly is not a matter of skin colour since two days ago we celebrated the last official Aliya of Ethiopian Jews.
Rabbi Jeremy Rosen has yet again given us pause for thought on Rosh Hashana. You really should read and absorb his words.
Israel wins gold in Judo!! Yarden Gerbi became the first Israeli woman to win gold at the World Judo Championships on Thursday night.
I knew this week would be special and it was. Beginning with a beautiful “mothering” ceremony at my friend Danby’s home – for her daughter Talya who decided to become a Mum and brought her husband and tummy to Jerusalem to listen to the words of her Mothers friend on their pregnancies, births and raising babies. It was really amazing.
We babysat Zvi’s baby grand-daughter in Tel Aviv on Sunday and she was amazing. I love watching the first stretching and squirming of a little one preparing to walk! From there we drove to Nes Ziona to pick up three more little girls, aged 1 ½, 4 and 6 who came back to sleep at our place and they were angels. Next morning, after breakfast we set off for Shouk Ramle where they were amazed and enthralled by the variety of goods and the throng of diverse people.. and of course they chose their gifts. After Shouk Ramle we went to Kibbutz Tzuba where they hold a “ Chocolate course” for children at Galita. They chose to make a very complex chocolate house but had great fun. Obviously the little one didn’t make anything but she loved the movie about how chocolate is made.
From Kibbutz Tzuba we drove back to Jerusalem to meet with my daughter Rachel’s children in Hedgehog Park where they had a marvellous time climbing all over the huge spikey hedgehog and running in the grass, swinging on the huge tyres with rope webbing. I love seeing the children playing so beautifully together – a real his and mine situation without the ours. We each have children but happily share our grandchildren!!!!
Talking of grandchildren, we have a new one!! To his absolute delight 6 year old Joshua has a new little sister called Callie, in New York. Callie, born just two days ago has brought so much joy to the entire family and Joshua’s prayers are answered……… he desperately wanted a little sister! She is absolutely glorious and I can’t wait to hold her – which I will do on September 8th. What a wonderful gift for the New Year – nothing better.
So dear friends, after announcing Callie’s arrival I really cannot think of anything to add! My joy is complete!
Yesterday I went to visit the Yuri Shtern Foundations amazing clinic again, this time with two friends, Andrew and Rosa. Rosa is currently enjoying the therapies of the centre and Andrew is part of an international organisation for medical information both in the UK (DIPEX ) and at Ben Gurion University detailing the efficacy of complimentary medicine on cancer patients and their families. It was as enlightening as always spending time with Lena Shtern and Roni Gilboa.
The lateness of this weeks missive means we can see the beauty of Shabbat’s arrival is descending on Jerusalem. I popped down to Shoshana to show her the photos of Callie only find her busily preparing the “Marak Kubeh” for her children all of whom arrived for lunch then crossed the hallway to show the pictures to the Mor family – who had not yet cooked but had a house-full of shopping in preparation! As promised last weeks Shabbat meal at Shula and Moshes was everything and more than I wrote to you. The Chamin was amazing, the meat falling apart in delicious gravy, the eggs, peeled not in the shell, were brown and amazing, the kasha and lentils absolutely amazing and every one of the salads as delicious as expected. This week I am making lots of different things – to satisfy the tastes of each member of the family. We will start with chicken soup and kneidlach followed by ribs, long cooked in wine and mushrooms; chicken patties for the children sweetened slight with a touch of apple as per Stephanies recipe; meatballs in sauce and of course red rice and vegetables. Dessert will be a medley of wonderful local fruits.
The sun has gone behind our building and the wonderful white stones of Jerusalem are beginning to change colour to pink, then red and then the wonderful gold that gave modern Jerusalem her name. Jerusalem, what a wonderful name.
We enter a new year of uncertainty but most importantly we must look at the beauty around us and remember that we are strong, that Israel is real.
Talk to you soon, before Rosh Hashana I promise
With much love from Jerusalem, heart of our world, Ir Shalem, Ir Shalom, city of peace.