The view from my veranda

160916 Shabbat Shalom from London


16th September 2016

Shabbat shalom dear friends. Shabbat Shalom from rainy London. It has been glorious weather both here and in Wales, but today is raining cats and dogs and I love it! I don’t need to come to the UK for temperatures of 30 degrees C! This has been a truly wonderful trip, but more of that later.

Brexit is still on everyones tongues, it is still cause for discussion although a fait accompli. The pessimists believe that the British economy will never recover while the optimists insist everything will be fine within a few years. The reasons are many for both sides of the argument, interestingly the migrants being the lesser of those arguments. Euro bureaucracy and the imposition of ridiculous laws and sub-laws are almost always the reason given by the pro-Brexits and fear for the British economy and jobs for the anti-Brexits. Whatever happens it is going to happen and the process could take anything from 2 to 10 years to implement.

Former President Shimon Peres had a massive stroke this week, the man who represents so much of Israels history, and I know that those of you on  the far right have something to say about my admiration for this great statesman, but his career spans almost 70 years and even the greatest make some errors during that time – indeed every leader who dares makes mistakes. Despite his name as a left winger Shimon Peres was a pragmatic leader, as he was when he initiated the settler movement after 1967, as he was in his quest for peace. I wish him better, I wish him well. His incredibly alert mind, his ability to act on his instincts and his sheer eloquence would be horribly missed. One quote of his is perhaps most apt to Israels situation If a problem has no solution, it may not be a problem, but a fact – not to be solved, but to be coped with over time.

President Obama has signed conceivably the best military deal for Israel. Understand please, Israel doesn’t receive aid per se, Israel receives military aid, that is we “buy” American armaments , planes and helicopters rather than other countries which receive cash money. Israel has no problem with this distinction, indeed it is to her advantage most of the time. President Obama, as his predecessors, chose to ensure the arms deal with Israel before the next Presidency. I hope you have noticed that I refrain from mentioning the American leadership race – I am too confused, too concerned and don’t believe that I have to right to put forward an opinion. I want a healthy, thoughtful, seasoned American leader who is ready to have wise advisors and listen to them………….. and right now am very glad I don’t have to make that choice!! Israelis want the United States to have a leader who is good for America – because a good American leader will do what is right for the world. The current situation in the world demands very strong leadership, unafraid of being unpopular.

So, I arrived in London last Tuesday night, spent Wednesday loving my children and grandchildren, then Thursday morning went to Wales. I was met by my sister Doreen and spent the weekend reliving my childhood, with my brother Ronnie, sister in law Sandie and their children and Doreens son Stephen, Claire and family; a whole slew of lovely friends who came for a delicious dinner put on by Doreen on Saturday evening………. Gosh that was amazing. On Sunday Ronnie and Sandie, together with their daughter Sophie, took me to St Fagans Castle to a Food Fayre –amazing Welsh cheeses, wines, ciders (in Britain cider is a highly alcoholic apple drink), .  indeed fabulous herbs and vegetarian dishes and fish and chips of course. Walking on the “Green Green Grass of Home” is always special. It was so much fun and I love St Fagans Castle

Sunday evening and Eileen and Norman Berg came to Doreens to see me. It was wonderful! Eileen is a fantastic supporter of Israel, fighting the good fight on Facebook daily and Norman, well Norman, when he was our Madrich in the youth group Habonim, Norman formed an entire generation of Zionists in his quiet and humble manner. He helped a group of callow youth to be the leaders they became.

For those of you who think Wales is part of England – think again – it most certainly is not.


Cardiff Castle

The train ride back to London was special. Since the Severn Tunnel, which runs underneath the Bristol Channel which divides England and Wales, is closed for modernisation the train travelled the long route through Gloucester, the Mendips and the Chilterns, soft rolling hills known as the Downs. The green of the lush fields is vibrant, the trees forming dark, leafy clouds along the track. I had forgotten how fertile the land is, the sheep and grazing cows fat with the richness of the grass in their undulating meadows.

The ride back to my childrens home was as fascinating as always, I have come ot enjoy the tube, Underground, over 100 years of use has given it a truly special character. I love to try and work out where fellow passengers come from, mostly Slavic countries, Romania and Poland.

Since that time I met with Carol Gould, conceivably the bravest proponent of Israel, going on in the hasbara world for Israel is Stephen Ryde and his partner and love Gaynor. I knew Stephen as a child and he absorbed his love of Israel by osmosis from his parents, Jaqui and Victor. I was doubly thrilled to discover that Stephen and Gaynors daughter Beanie has inherited their determination to stand up for right. Stephanie, Jill, my dear friend, and I went to St Albans, a lovey small town nearby and enjoyed the market.

Travelling around London with my daughter in law Stephanie, who I simply adore, I see such a different world to the one you all talk about. I see a very British country, with exquisite architecture, fabulous museums, amazing gourmet food, beautiful parks and friendly people. Yesterday we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum for an exhibit on underwear (yes really) and as we stepped outside the phenomenal Natural History Museum building was beside us – we walked through to the station – and a street of small restaurants and patisseries – loads of French people and a wonderful atmosphere.

On Tuesday night I will fly back to Jerusalem, to my Zvi, to Rachel and the children and my heart, as always will be torn between my children in London, my siblings in Cardiff and my love of Israel. Modern families are spread all over. My love of those in Manhattan, London, Cardiff, Toronto and Jerusalem is equal but my time with them isn’t.

Since my lovely Stephanies computer is driving me insane, leaping and jumping because it hates Word 10, I will find this weeks music and love you and leave you!

Synagogues around the world with Oseh Shalom – Yaaseh Shalom – He will make peace.

This song is for my beautiful son Gideon, I am so proud of him, as I am of each of my children. As a child he love the song Tumbalaika, which I sang for him as one of two favourites

Shabbat Shalom to each and every one of you. Tonight we will make Shabbat just as we do in Jerusalem. The candles will glow, the challah will be cut the wine blessed, the traditional foods eaten and another tradition passed on to the children, generation to generation. That is what we are about, giving our children the gift of tradition that our parents gave us.

With much love from London, next week in Jerusalem.


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