The view from my veranda

Shabbat shalom from Jerusalem


23rd September 2011

Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova (Happy New Year) to all of you, each and every one, whether near or far, t our friends and family, we wish you a joyous year and for Israel a little taste of the honey without the inevitable sting. Last night I flew back from a glorious visit to my grandchildren (and their parents) in the UK. Family is so essential to our well-being, especially when as cute as Sammy, Olivia and Zachary! I travelled to South Wales to see my family there too, which was wonderful. I will honour my children’s request not to make them famous but……………… gosh those little people are amazing. Watching Olivia head off to “big school” in her school uniform and taking her to ballet; Little Zachary deciding that he is too big for nappies and applauding himself at every um er – creation! Sammy, gosh Sammy is our little miracle boy, a joy. Hugging and kissing them was all so much better than Skype!!!! I am proud of all my children, and my children’s children and my heart breaks when I am not with them……….. and heals when I see them. When I see the services for the special needs world that my former home provides I am proud, when I see the changes in that wonderful proud country my heart breaks. My favourite part of travelling is meeting new people, chatting and getting to see the world from another perspective. On the way to South Wales I met Bronwen, a Christian lady who had spent time I Israel and was excited to hear I was from Jerusalem. Of course she was even more excited when we discovered our mutual admiration for Canon Andrew White! Upon my return from South Wales I was so tired I decided to take a short cab ride from Barnet Station home. The driver of the immaculate mini-cab was a gentleman called Sylvester, and guess what…. Sylvester, who hails from Nigeria, also spent some time in Israel with his church as a young man and wanted to do his Masters in Criminology at the Hebrew University but chose London instead. He had just lost his position and was working as a taxi driver while sending his CV around London. Sylvester understood Israel and her misrepresentation in the media, it was such a pleasure to meet this highly intelligent young man who was willing to drive taxis rather than be idle. At Olivias ballet class I met a beautiful young Lebanese Christian woman and we swapped so many stories!!! The final leg of my journey, homeward bound, was shared with a lovely young couple returning home and a marvellous lady, Judith, who knew almost all the same people I did!!! There is something so special about flying El Al, flying the flag, flying Israel. The stewards and stewardesses are the best in the world. Britain has several problems right now. Whether to simply pull down illegal housing built by Travellers/Gypsies/ Romanys in a town north of London. The same bleeding hearts that throw themselves in front of the IDF now sit and throw themselves before the poor British Bobby who just wants to abide by the law and move these interlopers on. It sounded so familiar – and the BBC pretty much sided with the Romanys as they do with the Palestinians!!! My son Gideon does not allow me to listen to the BBC news for fear of apoplexy!!! I watch Sky and got the basics of what is happening concerning the Palestinian ploy to achieve statehood through the back door. It seems so ridiculous to make this big performance when all they have to do is accept our existence! If they would just accept that Israel is here to stay and that the Jews are here to stay – back where we belong – they could be independent – can’t think of anything better!!! The most crucial aspect of Palestinian statehood that distresses me, or rather the aspect which seems almost acceptable to the world but not to me, is their insistence that the new country be Judenrein – ethnic cleansing to all intents and purposes. The world is up in arms at the idea of transfer, the plan for which Foreign Minister Lieberman was lambasted, they want only one way traffic – us OUT! The plan the Palestinians have in mind includes all of Israel – just so that you understand. We have never been against a Palestinian State – but where, how and when………….. As Barry Shaw wrote in this weeks article discussing the Bible reading for this week VeYelech Choose life. Love God. Listen to His voice. Read His words. For it is His Covenant that we will dwell in the land that is west of the Jordan that God swore to our forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as an inheritance. And this is where we are today. Prime Minster Stephen Harper of Canada is a man true to his word and his moral backbone when it comes to Israel is astonishing – just when I thought that an ethical politician was an oxymoron . President Obama left me surprised and relieved when he spoke at the United Nations this week. The American President stated that there are no shortcuts to Statehood through UN resolutions. “Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians — not us — who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem,” he added.,7340,L-4125565,00.html Coming home is wonderful. The hub-bub of the ultra-modern airport, the sense of belonging when one doesn’t need to stand in line for passport control but just go to the “hand machine” and out – I swear that Ben Gurion Airport has the most efficient baggage handlers in the world – cases begin to go round before one can race to the belt! The scent in the air as you step outside, a mixture of airport, citrus and fir; the tooting of horns; the laughter of the cab drivers; the knowledge that Zvi is there, waiting for me; the incredible climb up to Jerusalem; the familiarity and warmth of my chosen homeland. I loved the British Autumn and walking through the nature trail with Gideon and the boys or having afternoon tea with Stephanie, but this is home, this is Israel. This morning we went to a 60th birthday party where the birthday boy ran 60 kilometres for charity., then on to a “brita” for the first grandchild born to good friends. I thrill to the sense of joy in Israel; joy for the birth of all babies; joy for the grandparents; joy at family; joy at the festivals; joy for everything and anything – we celebrate life loudly and enthusiastically!!! After the two parties I drove to Givat Zeeve, out through Ramot and over the highest point at Samuels Tomb, coming down to the sprawling town. After kissing my Jerusalem grandchildren, Yosef, Talia and Ayala, who insisted they loved me with or without presents (but Safta what did you bring) I read them my childrens favourite “Flat Stanley” and drove back to Jerusalem, passing Samuels Tomb again, opposite the incredible vista of Jerusalem before me as if a relief map of past and future. How lucky I am. So Jerusalem is asleep, preparing both for the Bride of Shabbat and for our first blessed rain of the autumn. Our table is ready, the food not yet placed but certainly prepared. White cloth, white plates, plaited bread, wine glass for the blessings, just awaiting the perfect addition of family. Almost a new year, time to think, time to really delve deeply into our thoughts and ensure we have not hurt others, that we give only sweetness to a world which is overflowing with bitterness. One drop of kindness can change a million lives. Never sit on the sidelines, always fight for justice and remember to sweeten lives. Shabbat Shalom dear friends With love from Jerusalem, heart and soul of our world. Sheila