The view from my veranda

160609 Shabbat Shalom Shevuot Sameach from Manhattan

9th of June 2016, New York City
Before anyone gets upset, we are here in New York for a very limited period (made shorter by Deltas overnight delays and Lufthansa breaking our suitcase) and my grandchildren come before anyone else. I wanted to see lots of you but life ran away with us for a change.
Yesterday I learned how difficult it is to be away from home when a terrorist attack takes place. When I am in Israel every channel carries news, minute by minute – we can call our friends to check on them, learn the situation etc – here in the USA I went totally crazy! CNN reported on a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv and blamed it on the “occupied territories” Occupied Jerusalem”  ad nauseum and I thought I would smash the telly! Two terrorists, in business suits and speaking English, sat in a coffee shop, slowly sipped their coffee, ate a cake and paid then ran amok killing and maiming those around them. When they were refused entry to the main part of the Serona Market in Tel Aviv they headed for an area where people sat relaxing in a restaurant and opened fire killing 4, maiming many and terrifying far more. Despite their heinous crime the surviving terrorist was taken to Ichilov Hospital and underwent life saving surgery. For me, what added insult to injury to pain……… Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Hulda’i also blamed the “occupation”. Is he insane? Did we occupy Syria? Yemen? Iraq? all the other places where terrorism is far worse than ours? Shame on him.
Did you know that my name is (((Sheila))), my husbands name is (((Zvi))) and chances are that your name is in triple parentheses too. It is the new code for a Jew. It is a foul anti-Semitic way to indicate a Jew, famous, political or just a Jew, without actually saying so.
Another, much more serious – did you know – is something I saw with my own eyes. Did you know that in the USA and Canada, someone who was born in Jerusalem Israel cannot have Israel on his passport? That is he cannot have Jerusalem, Israel on his passport as the site of his birth. You can have Paris France; London, United Kingdom; Amman Jordan; but not Jerusalem, Israel. I was flabbergasted and horribly disturbed. Time to get writing to your representatives North Americans.
Dame Helen Mirren is a brilliant, accomplished actress, a truly magnificent woman who does not need plastic surgery to be beautiful at 70+. Helen Mirren is also a fine spokeswoman for Holocaust survivors as she stood before Congress urging them to help the families of Holocaust victims recover their art stolen by the Nazis and held in museums and homes all over the world.
I really want to tell you about the last two weeks, but will start in reverse.
Two nights ago Zvi and I went to Sha’arey Tefillah Temple in Bedford, NY to speak to some amazing people. Our gracious hosts were Rabbi David and Cindy Greenberg and their guests included our dear friend Sari Singer and many of my pen pals, my readers. I won’t mention names in case I forget someone! Zvi covered the political issues with great aplomb and I took the emotional ones – with a little bit of stand-up in between! It was great fun and we were surprised and delighted to discover a very Israel educated crowd. One person approached me with a brilliant idea to link Israeli children and children around the world – specifically his 4 year old grandchild. Classes can communicate so easily today, through specific Facebook pages (closed to the public) Skype, emails and WhatsApp and classes in Israel can communicate with classes elsewhere. Language isn’t always a problem because they can sing to each other etc. It is a brilliant bridge builder. Stuart and I would love to hear what you say.
We met with Joyce Claar who gets younger every day, and with Josephine Linden. We met through our lovely friends the Gandels from Australia. Avi and I listened enthralled during a delicious lunch as Joyce had diligently made notes from the Washington National Conference of the American Jewish Committee from which she had just returned.
OK my head is spinning so I need to go back and start from Colorado, although I think I told you about our hostess Monica Minkoff her wonderful husband and their generosity and wonderful tour of the beauty of Denver, Vail and the Colorado National Monument. From Denver we flew to Edmonton where we had a lovely weekend with Barry and Cristine and relaxed……… Then the fun began!!!!
In Edmonton we got on Barry Charter to Helena Montana when seated we were  greeted by a pilot with a wall-eyed mask and upon arrival at the hotel everybody received crazy bags full of Montana goodies including plastic bows and arrows and toy guns…… and wondered why. Zvi and I were on bus number 3 (of 3) which became known as the fun bus. Over the next 6 days we refought the Battle of the Little Big Horn (using aforementioned guns, bows and arrows) and I was waiting for CNN to report 140 Jewish settlers attacked the indigenous people of the Little Big Horn led by (((Custer))); ate supper in a ranch cookhouse; wondered at Mount Rushmore; went into an old mineshaft and dipped our feet in Radon water (!!!!!) and discovered that Deadwood was founded by Jews!!!! we heard talented cabarets and in general enjoyed the incredible generosity of our host. We found that at some time Barry had helped or been unduly kind to every one of us – all 140 – and we fell in love with him anew at Barry’s 70th Birthday Bash. Cristine, his beautiful wife managed to join in all the activities despite being 8 months pregnant. A true hero.
Our bus became a Standwithus outpost as wonderful people wanted to know more, hear more, learn more about Israel. I have to mention two people here – Wayne and Harley both of who are ardent Zionists who cannot bear what is happening in our world and want to do what they do best – stand up and be heard.
So we were in Colorado, Alberta, Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming and possibly somewhere else but I have no recollection!!!
Although having fun in New York, my main, perhaps sole purpose is to spend time with my family, my Daniel, Karen, Joshua and Callie and Karens Mum Ellen. Last night I had the privilege of babysitting – a great privilege when you live thousands of miles away from them. I was extra proud of Joshua who, when asked to bring a special food to school decided he would bring an Israeli Salad and gave an explanation which ended with “I like Israeli salad and I love Israel”  Tonight we will all have Shabbat dinner together with them and with Martin, our lovely friend, host and kinda brother!
I know I have to return to yesterday, the third day of Ramadan, just a couple of days before Shevuot, a time of prayer, thanksgiving and contemplation, the end of the counting of the Omer, remembering a time when we were given the 10 commandments – of which the one we all pray for is “Thou shalt not kill”. To take anothers life is to steal from him, his family, of children unborn and lives unlived – it is heinous.
We fly home on Tuesday – home to Jerusalem, to my city, to our city. I hope our veranda is as beautiful as when we left and I am sure the city, the Golden city is just as exquisite as ever. I will go to Mahane Yehuda and buy freshly picked fruit and vegetables, a veritable cornucopia of natural delight…………. all seasonal and tasty. I will call my friends to make sure they know we are home so our salon can ring with tales and laughter.
I am writing on Martins computer which is a Mac and I don’t know how to copy the links for music videos so you will have to imagine me singing you Shabbat Songs and you’ll get double portions next week!!!!
I with you a Shevuot (Pentecost) filled with more than cheesecake and blintzes –
With all our love from Manhattan