The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila – Kerry, Haredim, Sodatream and Shkediot

The problem is complex; it is not as simple as it appears on the surface. If you have spent your life in a Yeshiva, not learning mathematics, sciences, civics, history, languages etc, how can you suddenly go out into the workforce? True that the Torah study sharpens the brain but it hasn’t widened it to cope with a job. In addition, one cannot get a good position because one of hte first questions on your CV is “What did you do in your IDF service”? It is a Catch 22 situation. If any of these people, who have good brains and healthy bodies, lived in another country – a country with army conscription would have put them in jail – they would not get social security wither. We, as a country have allowed this situation to reach a social explosion. I am not talking about the foul Neturei Karta who kissed Ahmedinejad and work for the downfall of this country.
Many Haredi women already work and the men have the tradition of “Gemach” helping others which leads us to the most logical solution “Sherut Leumi” – Social Service. We have to become a united society because as we all know – divided we fall.
Telegraph journalist Jake Wallis Simons discovered that the world is not as stated by Oxfam “..In truth, Oxfam channels charity funds to political groups which follow deeply partisan agendas, and support the boycott of Israel. …..Oxfam Novib, which receives tens of millions of Euros from the Dutch government, is also a substantial supporter of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PHCR), the organisation behind many “lawfare” suites against Israel, including attempts to arrest Israeli officials abroad.”

Ex-Pat Brit Simon Plosker decided to see for himself and visited Sodastream and its 500 Arab workers

John Kerry has the best intentions. He really believes he can change the history of 1500 years. History was written the moment Hagar sat under a tree and told Ishmael that they were homeless. When we refused to recognise Mohammed as our god it became written in stone. It isn’t about whose name is on what piece of land it is all about the rights of those who live on that land. If we were all given freedom of prayer, social and electoral freedom then borders would be irrelevant but when one group denies the right of another to exist, when one group commandeers the history of another and supplants it with their own, then we need defined borders and clear boundaries. Even if John Kerry were as wise and well-intentioned as he thinks he is it will not work. It will not work because the demands are unequal and unjust and the intentions diametrically opposed. If only………… Kerry insists we must honour the memory of Yitzchak Rabin by following his framework. Maurice Ostroff points out that Kerry’s plan is nowhere near Rabin’s framework for peace.

Canon Andrew White has returned to his beloved Iraq. It was not a happy homecoming, despite the love of his non-denominational flock. Andrew was greeted with more and more killing and the friends of his adoptive son were killed. It is horrific, done in the name of religion, of internecine fighting between Moslems.

Hirsch Goodman raised an issue that has been on my agenda for a long long time. Israel’s hasbara. It isn’t working and we are not doing enough or if we are the media is not buying it. He writes

“ON Feb. 4, 1965, as a teenager, I left South Africa, the country of my birth, for a new home in a place I’d never been — Israel. I loved South Africa, but I loathed the apartheid system. In Israel, I saw a fresh start for a people rising from the ashes of the Holocaust, a place of light and justice, as opposed to the darkness and oppression of apartheid South Africa. Now, almost 50 years later, after decades of arguing that Israel is not an apartheid state and that it’s a calumny and a lie to say so, I sense that we may be well down the road to being seen as one. That’s because, in this day and age, brands are more powerful than truth and, inexplicably, blindly, Israel is letting itself be branded an apartheid state — and even encouraging it.

As Lewis Carroll said in the Jaberwocky – “The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things: Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax, of cabbages–and kings-

Last Shabbat was a mite insane! We had a crowd of friends for Shabbat lunch and we were joined by Canon Andrew White and Hana, which brought us all together with Prof. Gabby Barkay again. I love the fact that Andrew is au fait with all the Jewish laws, having studied at the Kaliner Yeshiva for a year, and ensures we stick to them! As we finished clearing the dishes away I ran off to meet Carol and Steve Doppelt and their 2014 group from Boston who volunteer in Haifa for many different causes. The group chose a question and answer session which is my favourite. Through the questions I find out what you, those of you who are such staunch supporters of Israel, what your concerns and queries are. Of course Iran, Haredim, Kerry all came up and I tried to answer as best I could. Wow, they say there are no coincidences in life………… the door bell just rang and a simply colossal and beautiful bouquet of thank you flowers arrived from the Doppelts!! Thank you so much Carol and Steve – they are absolutely amazing and brighten up the apartment for Shabbat.

Talking of flowers and Shabbat it fascinates me to see the number of young people sitting by the side of the road buckets and buckets of beautiful flowers, cheap, cheerful and bunched ready for the passing trade. Of course they are not like the bouquet I just received but it always amuses me to see the parked cars choosing between roses, gerberas or tall white gladiola.

I am about to leave to drop Zvi at his Parliament in the coffee shop of the Hebrew University and then collect the children from their various schools. Yosef is always out first, waving and ready to jump in the car and hug me. Talia looks so cute in her blue school uniform and enormous schoolbag – and little Ayala runs out after Talia goes in to get her. I love to hear their stories as we drive over Nebe Samuel (Samuels Tomb) collect the Challot from Nehamas bakery on the way and get them bathed and dressed for Shabbat. There is a sense of expectation, the table laid and the wonderful array of food that my daughter prepares. I manage to taste most of it before wending my way back home!!

Spring has sprung despite the definite nip in the air. The sun reflects on the blossom of the Shkediot (Almond trees) on the Jerusalem hills. I love this time, although still chilly the weather is gentle, the anticipation of Purim and Pesach (Passover) are in the air and the soft pink clouds of blossom makes us all smile. We look forward to the joys of being Jewish in a Jewish land.

The shops are full of Purim treats and fancy dress for the children. Gone are the days when they are all either Queen Esther or Mordechai – today they dress as modern-day heroes and heroines, just as long as they remember or are reminded that Esther and Mordechai saved our people from a dire enemy because they used their minds to overcome danger and succeeded because they dared. We should not fear Kings or their Viziers, as long as we stay strong.

Tonight we will have Shabbat dinner with Alain and Martine Carnel then tomorrow we walk down the road to our friends the Zakens, taking our contribution for Shabbat lunch with us. I will take stuffed vegetables (stuffed peppers, aubergine, courgette and potatoes) filled with rice and Tivol meat. I like to cook for vegetarians too! Chocolate cake will be my contribution to dessert and I know that Shula and Nadav will have prepared a table laden with goodies – salads, hamin, vegetables and a myriad of Kurdish traditional dishes.

Time to go, I wish I could tell you more about the food, Carol Doppelt’s favourite part, but the children will be waiting – I never, ever keep them waiting!

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Shabbat Shalom however you celebrate it. I love you for who you are not for what you are

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem, Jerusalem of King David and of Jesus.

With love