The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom – Boston Bombers Mother, Hagel, Lag b’Omer

Friday 26th of April, 2013
Shabbat Shalom lovely friends! I hope this missive finds you well and if not then I hope it will cheer you up.
I have to start with the “difficult” news and then I promise to lighten the mood and move on to the part you all love best – Jerusalem stories!!
The Boston Bombers have monopolised the front pages of the world, and not surprisingly so. The younger baby faced brother is being tended in hospital, strangely enough by an Israeli doctor, and he will talk, of that I am certain. In the meantime his mother, in her initial interview by telephone, yelled out that her eldest son is dead, her younger son will die and she is ready to die………. Allahu Akbar. It was eerie to hear her insane fury – which should have been desperate sorrow.
In a later interview she said that it was a mistake, her sons would not do such a thing and blamed their actions on the USA for not protecting them! As a final sting, Mayor Bloomberg released the news that had they survived they planned a series of bombings in New York City starting with Times Square. It is too much information to absorb – it is so beyond our understanding that two young men who fled oppression and war, who found a new life and the chance for excellence in education would turn on the very country that harboured them – that gave them safe haven.
In the meantime Britain jailed the plotters of a terror attack even greater than the devastating London bombings. They were jailed for 51 years after their foul plans were discovered by a very alert Secret Service.
Hezb-Allah decided to remind us of their existence since the worlds eyes are turned on Syria. In a rather dramatic action they sent a drone, an unmanned aeroplane, over Israel. It was quickly disposed of by our Ari Force and the Prime Minister, who was touring the north at the time, simply landed and took another route.
Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel is speaking out. This week he stated that Syria is using chemical weapons – or Sarin gas – on its opponents while others chose to be overly cautious about the obvious.,7340,L-4372542,00.html
It may seem a strange combination at first but when one recognises the real enemies in this region one learns that it is not a matter of Arabs against Jews; the entire Arab world, indeed the entire Moslem world is riven by enmity between Shia and Sunni Moslem……… so the plane and arms deals that the USA has made with Israel, the United Arab emirates and Saudi Arabia actually make sense. The Emirates and Saudi Arabia will pay for their planes and Israel will, as usual, receive hers as part of the military aid. Israel also would receive anti-radiation missiles which are launched from a warplane. These missiles are launched and can home in on an adversary’s air-defense radar signals and destroy those sites. New, advanced radars for Israel’s military jets also would be in the package.
Yair Lapid has discovered that life is much easier criticising the government as a reporter of the news rather than as a creator of an economic plan inside the government! His fiscal plans are now entirely pleasing to the masses and have already caused the threat of widespread strikes. Working with the Unions is much easier when you don’t have the heavy responsibility of the national Debt on your head!! El Al struck at the thought of “open skies” reforms to include allowing the European Airlines free access to Israeli air space and vice versa in order to create competition and lower the cost of flying into and out of Israel.
There is good news too! Keren Kayemet has completed a donation of half a billion shekels to theCompany for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims’ Assets, a government- owned corporation established “with the goal of doing historical justice for the victims and reinstating the assets of Holocaust victims located in Israel to their rightful beneficiaries.”
On the subject of Holocaust Survivors, our wonderful friend Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinenis promoting the Tom Lantos Justice for Holocaust Survivors Bill against the wishes of the Dutch insurance companies that are still holding Jewish money from the time of WW2. I pray that Ileana will succeed in her fight against this disgrace.
So here I sit, having been to visit the grandchildren already. Actually I collected Yosef from school and in that religious area the bonfires are built and many of the men have already gone to Meron and the tomb of the great Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai before Lag b’Omer and the anniversary of his death. Religious, Traditional and secular children alike are building huge bonfires in preparation for Lag b’Omer all busy finding logs and old furniture, twigs and planks, indeed anything tha tmoves and will burn!! Lag b’Omer is the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer – the 49 days between Passover and Shevuot. During this time one doesn’t hold joyous occasions, parties, get haircuts or wear new clothes – indeed it is to all intents and purposes a time of mourning, but on Lag’ b’Omer one celebrates. One reason given is that Rabbi Akiva was desperately disappointed in the “sinat chinam” the unwarranted hatred between his students and during this period thousands died but on the 33rd day they resolved their differences and so the theories continue. However to Israeli children of all shades of religiosity it is a time of fun and bonfires, food and friends and an all night vigil beside aforementioned bonfire.
It is a beautiful day. The sun is shining and the searing heat of summer is still in the future. Sweet spring sunshine is kissing the white stone buildings of Jerusalem and our veranda. The orange blossom has fallen leaving hundreds of tiny fruits which will thin out as they decide which will give us our sweet citrus fruits in the autumn, the lemon tree is now covered in wonderfully fragrant leaves and the herbs are all giving off their incredible aromas in the evening. The traffic is thinning out and the shops closing at the mall………… Jerusalem is readying herself for Shabbat.
This was a great week – meeting childhood friends, making new friends and spending time with a couple who really know how to spend their lives in creative ways that satisfy their love of anthropology too. Sounds odd? Well that’s because you don’t know Andrew and Judy Rogers of Melbourne Australia!!!! Andrew works are all over the world, some can only be seen from above in the skies while some are mad eof stone, others are made of human beings! You really should see what they do together – amazing!
The food is cooked but I haven’t set the table yet – how can I until I put this computer to bed? We have friends over this evening and then tomorrow the children all come for lunch. I know that Shoshana has her children over because the incredible aroma of Kubeh soup is wafting up and over our veranda – and Daisy and Chaim are eating a Tunisian dish while the Memos are making traditional Moroccan food and the Zarurs are sharing the cooking and making all kinds of amazing Kurdish dishes!!! We will have our home made Challot, pumpkin soup, cholent, turkey breast in a wine sauce and spring chicken in mushroom sauce – followed by nectarine crumble, baked apples and orange sorbet…………………. hopefully there will be enough left for tomorrow!!!!
I bet you received an incredible email this week – most of us did!!! The email contained photographs of a truly amazing teapot which represent a Jewish life kit! Really beauty and wonderful practicality mixed up in a beautiful piece of art.
Time to set the table, to take one last look at Jerusalem calming, slowing, preparing for Shabbat and then I am going to rest before our guests arrive.
I wish you a beautiful Shabbat wherever you may be
and finally a little Shabbat edification!!!
With much love from the most beautiful city in the whole wide world…………….. next week I am going with Judith to Mahane Yehuda so you will all be happy!!!!