The view from my veranda

150409 Chag Pesach Sameach, Shabbat Shalom

9th April, 2015
Moadim le Simcha, Chag Sameach, Shabbat Shalom, hope your Easter was blessed.
Lent and the Counting of the Omer . For Christians it ended at Easter for Jews it began with Pesach (Passover) and ends with Shevuot, penitence, atonement,  the holding back on music and feasts, the recognition that giving up certain celebrations and fancy food helps us think of more important things. The similarities are endless.
Pesach was wonderful. Seder night, the night on which we tell and retell the story of the journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Land of Israel. We tell the story with very important sidetracking. We begin with blessings and symbols and then traditionally the youngest child at the table asks the four questions, but little Ella (2) needed help so we all became the youngest children!!! Ma Nishtana – literally what has changed but known as Why is this night different to all other nights? We then continue by answering the childs question.
Perhaps the most relevant to todays life is the comparison between the four sons – the four types of Jews. The Clever son, the one who has asked the questions of himself and others and searches for answers. The Wicked son, the one who has knowledge but mocks and denies his traditions. The Simple son, the one who hasn’t thought to question or seek answers. Finally the one who is too young to ask, the one who needs to be given the means to seek answers. How true that is of us today? Totally!!
Israelis go out on Pesach! We go to parks and funfairs, Nature Reserves and into the desert, each with their own cold box full of food. There is no park without picnic tables and the crunch of matzos must have reached up to the heavens as lunchtime neared! Israelis love to travel and find new places and our family was no different. Whether Superland and its swings and roundabouts, including ones that bear no resemblance to the ones with horses or the brand new and wonderful Ariel Sharon Park which was everything we expected and more. Shiri, Zvi’s daughter in law is one of the senior project managers of the park so we got a wonderful guided tour. Zvi and the children went South to the Salad Path which is beneath Gaza and before Egypt. There the children got to pick purple and white carrots and every kind of delicious vegetable while Rachel and the children headed North to Auntie Hannahs kibbutz where they got to ride a tractor and feed the animals. Indeed, it is a week of wonderful family events and happy thoughts of our freedom in this amazing and stunningly beautiful country – Israel.
While we were enjoying Passover, thousands and thousands of Christians were visiting Jerusalem for the Easter and Pascha festival. Here are some videos of the celebrations. and a tour with CBN
We were worrying about the potential agreement with Iran, about the attempts to form a coalition government and what about the strained relationship with the USA and the horrors taking place in Nigeria and Kenya, the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Yemen situation, the Houties and so much more but equally we chose to escape, to take the opportunity to spend time with our families as most offices closed for the entire week – or actually 10 days including Shabbat.
When I called my girlfriends the immediate response was “I would be happy to never see another supermarket or to get out of the kitchen for a few hours and do nothing” That is one aspect of Passover that does not seem to have an equivalent in other religions – 7 days of cooking in unfamiliar pots and pans and simplest of utensils that are used for just one week in the year!! The limitations on the ingredients are intense and really bring out the inventive side of the cook, especially if you happen to be Ashkenazi!!!!
Tonight is again Chag (festival). We decided to take it easy tonight with just Eva and Eli coming to join us for supper. Tonight we will light the candles again, the candles of the festival, and use matza instead of two Challot to represent the Manna from Heaven. We will drink our wine after the blessing and our meal will be traditional, gefilte fish, chicken soup with kneidlach (yes my family eats kneidlach on passover) roast chicken with roast potatoes and a great big green salad. To follow………. pears poached in apple juice with cinnamon sticks.
Tomorrow we see the children and grandchildren in the morning then we are thrilled to have Zvi’s Mexican cousins Jorge and Gina Kershenovitch with three friends for Friday night supper. The candles will again be lit as the festival goes out and the bride of Shabbat comes in. What will they eat? Well, we will begin with antipasti of local vegetables, incredible home grown whole fish and salmon fillets in lemon sauce with baby new potatoes that Zvi picked in the Salad Trail, and a myriad of salads ending with chocolate cake!!!
I chose to concentrate on the family aspect of Passover rather than the awful tragedies that this world suffers each and every day. I almost managed to avoid the diplomatic attempts to cure an incurable ailment, barely mentioned the diabolical killings of children and families in the name of religion – almost but in the end, our struggle for freedom and the tale we tell at the Passover Seder (s) is our specific story but it is a never ending story.  Here are a few articles that I could not leave out.
U.K. May Fire 100 Islamist Educators in “Trojan Horse” Scandal 
Report: Internal French Document Shows Troubling Discrepancies With US on Iran Deal
Listen to journalist Alon Ben David on the assurances Israel must have when dealing with Iran
Finally the amazing Maurice Ostroff with 10 things you must know about the Iranian Nuclear Deal
And so to the songs. What songs are most appropriate to this week?
Shir Israeli – Israeli song- by Shlomo Gronich and the Sheba Choir tell the story of who we are and where we came from
and finally, to remind us that our freedom comes at a price, that we need protection as a tiny, truly minute dot of Judaism surrounded by most nations that want nothing more than our elimination from teh face of the earth. Mark Knopfler wrote a beautiful, wistful song, thinking of the IDF and it was put to a truly moving video presentation that brings me to tears every time I see it. Brothers in Arms, we thank you, our boys, our sons, of the IDF
Zvi will be back from his Parliament any minute and then we will go to rest, that all important rest before the arrival of the festival or Shabbat. The table is laid with a white tablecloth, the food cooked, the candles ready to light and our hearts ready for the festival.
Chag Sameach, Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem, so beautiful even as the weeks sunshine gives way to clouds. Nothing can take away from her 9/10ths of the worlds beauty.
With much love from our blossoming veranda and Jerusalem, lying before me.

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media

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