The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Royal Jerusalem


June the 29th 2018

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Where do I begin?

A Prince called Wales came to Israel to see the people while a Princess went to Wales to see her family!!!

I know that a newsletter should start with the news so let’s begin with the incredible Royal visit to Israel. Prince William arrived in Israel to great excitement and he most certainly did not disappoint. He visited the Prime Ministers home and the Presidential home where he nodded in agreement when President Rivlin asked him to convey a message of peace to Mahmoud Abbas; he visited Yad Vashem where he laid a wreath at the Eternal Flame in the Hall of Remembrance; the Western Wall, where he prayed and put a note into the cracks of the ancient stones; he paid tribute at the grave of his paternal great-grandmother on the Mount of Olives – Princess Alice of Greece was a Righteous Gentile; he laughed with Netta Barzilai, walked on the beach in Tel Aviv where he learned about beach ball and Matcott; he shook hands and smiled, and smiled and smiled clearly enjoying every moment. Perhaps most importantly he made a beautiful speech at the British Embassy event in Tel Aviv.

The Jewish Agency is an essential part of Israel and Diaspora society working in areas that encourage Jewish communities, teaches about Israel and provides education and emissaries all over the world, ensuring the continuity of threatened communities and bringing communities under threat for being Jewish to Israel. The extent of the work done by the Jewish Agency and its subsidiaries is enormous but too few know about it. A new and excellent leader for the Jewish Agency was chosen this week. Isaac “Bougie” Herzog understands the Diaspora, is not obsessed with self-promotion and truly cares for the future of the Jewish people and Israel. Do not be fooled by his quiet manner, he is a mover and shaker!

Each and every day at least 20 fields are burned, up to a distance of 40 kilometres from the Gaza border. Why? Because destruction has become the way of life for young Gazans who have been taught to hate not to live. This is a war of attrition, a determined attempt to wear down those farmers who live near the Gazan border. The strange part is that the “Salad Belt” a particularly fertile and productive stretch of land along the Gazan border, was offered to Yasser Arafat to provide more land for the Palestinians in Gaza. His “people” went ot investigate and told him the land was unworkable and he became very angry that Israel was cheating him. He clearly refused the offer. Today the best salad vegetables of Israel are grown there. “Tseva Adom”, the eerie sirens announcing incoming missiles has broken many and nights sleep on the kibbutzim. Attrition – wearing down, disintegration, erosion, grinding down, a cruel and inhuman determination to break us. What they do not understand is that they caused a broken society with no money to feed their own people or provide a secure future. Hatred has broken them.

Several items of news concerning the IDF!

The first female tank commanders had their passing out yesterday. Strong and beautiful young women who have taken on the most difficult of tasks to defend our country. Women fighter pilots are not new here and at the passing out in the Hatzorim Air Base three more came through this week. While Saudi women have gained the right to drive – with the written permission of a male relative – Israeli women have always played an essential role.

Former Chief of Staff Benny Gatz, a fine man and future politician, has put forward a proposition to encourage, perhaps to enforce, enlistment of both Haredi and Arab Israelis into the IDF. The par in our society is glaring and must be closed, from both points of view. Polarisation in both societies is negative to both their future prosperity and a society of equal rights and equal contribution. If they don’t serve in the IDF they will not be chosen for prime jobs and will be resented by those who served and lost dear ones. We must change the essential parts of David Ben Gurion’s declaration that have allowed sectors to avoid responsibility.

Charles Krauthammer passed away this week. A man of integrity and acute intelligence who didn’t just fight his physical disabilities he ignored them. Whether he was in a television debate, always polite to his adversaries, or writing deeply thoughtful articles each Friday, he was strong and able, never complaining. His example to a world that gives up at the smallest curveball was immeasurable. His wisdom will be sorely missed.

And so to my incredible visit to the UK. I had two good reasons for going, actually three, or four……. Okay many!!! The original reasons were the wedding of my lovely nephew Adam to the love of his life, Joanne. The wedding took place in the glorious setting of St. Donats Castle and the 80th birthday bash of my sister Doreen held in the equally beautiful Guyers House

I began with my lovely London family, my son Gideon, daughter-in-law Stephanie and of course Sammy, Olivia and Zachary. Shabbat dinner with them is always special and not frequent enough. I am so proud when I hear Gideon sing Kiddush in his strong baritone with everyone joining in. Steph makes me so welcome and I cuddle the children as often as they let me, especially Sammy. I got to see their latest projects and do lots of catch up. Gideon Stephanie and I then drove down to Wales and to the wedding where, quite apart from the celebrations, a rare and wonderful occurrence, all four Silver siblings together. Eddie and Ray from Canada, me from Jerusalem, Doreen, Ronnie and Sandie from Cardiff plus the extra joy of seeing Adam’s sisters Sophie and Rhys and Deborah and our cousin Lynne and her husband Mike. Very emotional. The wedding was terrific, the scenery amazing the couple happy and the celebrations exciting – and then I went back to Cardiff, to Claire and Steve’s home for a week of sightseeing with all the family – Penarth, St Fagans Castle and Museum, the Cardiff Bay Complex, seeing old friends like Martin Greene and Truda Bell and loads and loads of family time, especially with Alice and Seb, Claire and Steve’s grandchildren. I have to mention Claires incredible desserts. She works full time, cares for Seb and Alice most of the time and still managed to produce an amazing Friday night dinner and the dessert was to die for – a chocolate bombe, meringue filled with vanilla ice cream, strawberry slices all set out beautifully on a slate for the delectation of eye and appetite.

The week flew by until the next big event. I cannot believe that my slim, beautiful and lithe big sister is 80! 4 children, 9 grandchildren and one great-grandson. We all set off for Guyers House where the screams and shouts of delight greeted all of Doreen’s children and grandchildren who came for the dinner and overnight. Games on the lawns and photos, exploring the grounds and photos, sitting and enjoying each other and even more photos and meeting the new members of the family was, hmmmmm what was it? Family!!! It was amazing.

Back to London with Gideon and Stephanie for an overnight then off to Luton airport and home!! I managed to arrive before the hullabaloo of Prince Williams arrival and was thrilled to see my beautiful husband waiting to take me home. He didn’t even mention that I was away for our 22nd wedding anniversary!!!!

So that was my fortnight and now you know why I didn’t want to sit at the computer and break the joyful family time.

Music music music.

Joy Wolfe sent me a wonderful video of Japanese tourists in a Jerusalem opticians shop singing Jerusalem of Gold. Amazing.

If you don’t mind I want you to hear a Welsh song. I used to sing this one to my children when they were babies because I loved its melody and meaning. The translation of the Welsh is

I do not ask a life that’s easy,
Gold and pearls so little mean,
Rather seek a heart that’s joyful,
Heart that’s honest, heart that’s clean.

From Britains Got Talent – Boys Aloud  Wales, the Land of Song.

Finally, for Shabbat, The Revivo Project and a Shabbat Medley starting with Adon Olam

In an hour we will travel to Tel Aviv to meet up with another family, a wonderful famioy, the Gandels from Melbourne. We will visit the Tel Aviv Museum together, eat lunch and exchange news and then Zvi and I will climb back to Jerusalem, that emotive Aliyah to the City of Gold, for Shabbat at home.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends, Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem. Winding our way back to Jerusalem gave me the same thrill as it did on my first visit in 1963, Jerusalem closer every metre. As I walked in the door from my UK sojourn, I opened the blinds and saw Jerusalem before me in all her glory. Tears welled in my eyes at her beauty. The View from Our Veranda is and always will be my joy.

With love from us to you