The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom from Sydney

29th November 2013
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Shabbat Shalom from Sydney Australia
This week Zvi and I received some very sad news. A dear dear friend, Guiora Esrubilsky,  passed away suddenly and prematurely in Florida. The official obituaries will tell you that Guiora was the President of Maccabi World Union, Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress, Member of the Board of the Latin American Jewish Congress, Member of North Dade Committee AIPAC. For Zvi especially Guiora was an old and beloved friend alongside his wonderful wife Marta.  Born in Argentina Guiora, came to and loved Israel. He spoke a wonderful, musical Hebrew, with a strong Argentinian lilt, and promoted Israel and Maccabi in his every thought and word. There is an old Jewish saying that a man has three names; the one he is born with, the only his friends call him and the one he leave behind. Guiora left a fine name behind him. He will be sadly missed, personally and most certainly in the Jewish World where his determination to put forward Israel’s case was unmatched. Baruch Dayan Emet
We wish Marta and their children the ancient Jewish Blessing.  “May God comfort you among the  mourners of Zion and Jerusalem” (המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים, transliterated HaMakom yenachem etchem betoch sha’ar aveylei Tziyon viYerushalayim) May the family know no more sorrow.
David Horovitz has written extensively on the Iranian-USA-Western situation and its intricacies, here he elucidates on a complex situation made infinitely more complicated.
I fear that the talks promised a great deal but ultimately led to a return of the “overseers” of the Iranian nuclear ambitions – just as we had before when Mohammed El Baradei led the watchdog team that ignored the nuclear facilities built in underground bunkers – and El Baradei turned out to be a front for the Moslem Brotherhood. Who will be todays watchdogs? I pray that my cycism is unwarranted yet somehow the words of Winston Churchill keep ringing in my head – when virtually alone 75 years ago, he warned of the follies of Munich, his words are frighteningly relevant today “We have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us in history. Do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup” Thanks to Tom Gross for posting it.
Perhaps the most disturbing statement on Iran came from that well known democratic leader, Assad of Syria who said that Rouhani has succeeded in enshrining rights of developing countries to pursue nuclear energy.
Our dear friend Dr. Kimball Taylor’s Children of Israel Foundation has a brand new website. I am so honoured that he has chosen to include the video of me showing you my veranda  – when scrolling down to my photo, remember to read of the incredible work of the Foundation.
We left Melbourne for Sydney and I must tell you of our incredible adventures down under where we saw everything except Ned Kelly!!!!
For starters, as we headed to the hotel breakfast room we bumped into our dear friend Robert Simons! Robert, who like many of our Australian friends, was one of Zvi’s original UIA young leadership which Zvi set up in 1974. Robert was in town for the meetings of the Australian Friends of the Hebrew University of which he is the President.
On Friday night we went to the home of Saul Same for Shabbat Dinner. Saul, who celebrated his 96th birthday at our home this summer is one of our very favourite people in the world and it was a joy to spend time with him, his sisters, sons and grand-daughters. Saul Same – mensch.
Our next stop was a visit to the Country. Rolling hills, exquisitely manicured vineyards, amazing natural landscapes and a view that only Mother Nature could have created. The ocean, Phillips Island and most incredibly…….. kangaroos (roo, jack, buck, boomer, Jill, flyer and of course the baby Joey) About ten in a field among the eucalyptus, the big Boomer standing to attention, watching his ladies and babies.
The next day we visited the heritage town of Maldon – created during the Gold Rush of Australia which lasted from 1850-1915 when all the men went off to war and there were no miners left. This is a particularly Australian situation since they have supported their allies in every battle and war, never reneging on their duties.The Union Hill Mine is in Central Victoria and we drove down into the belly of the earth and right under the town of Maldon. I particularly loved Ians pride in the fact that his mine will soon contribute to Australias impressive production of gold. We had an amazing time and were so impressed with Ians knowledge, then my delight was complete as on our way back to Melbourne I saw an entire flock of white cockatoos dipping and playing above a field.
Our visit to Melbourne ended with breakfast with Dr Paul Zimmet, who is hosting a 10,000 person conference on Diabetes this weekend and a delightful dinner at a vegan restaurant with Deidre and Keith Beville. Again the topic of the conversation, after our mutual grandchildren bragging, was the poor hasbara of Israel.
From Melbourne we flew to Sydney and to Kitty Hammerman’s welcoming smile beside the baggage reclaim! We took the spectacularly scenic route to Peter and Kitty’s home in Double Bay.
We had lunch with Rabbi Jeremy and Mandy Lawrence who I have known since we were all  much younger, and now they are the Rabbi and Rebbitsen of the Sydney Great Synagogue and parents of 4 children! I am so proud of their incredible contribution to their community. Kol ha Kavod
Wednesday evening was very special. In honour of the first night of Chanuka, Kitty and Peter invited dear friends from the former UIA (Keren Hayesod)  Trendsetters and Young Leadership that Zvi established in 1974. Most were spontaneous invites and Stanley and Harold were there to represent the “younger generation” who today have risen to major leadership positions in Australia and in Keren Hayesod worldwide.
The talk of old times was truly heart warming and Bobby came armed with old letters between himself and Zvi. Old photos of Zvi sporting a Viva Zapata moustache leading the “Yachdav” mission to Israel that bonded so many friendships. Fond memories of outstanding work and a time when it was easier to fire people up into action or maybe it isn’t the times but the lack of impetus from head office to excite todays youngsters. In those days Zvi motivated people to be as excited as he was about Israel, Aliya and education, through his ability to convey his love of his country. It never fails to amaze me how a shared love of Israel draws people together and creates lifelong friendships.
Few people within the powers that be in Israel understand the deep concerns of Israel lovers worldwide at the apparent lack of positive hasbara. In general it seems to be left to people like me, people who write newsletters and blogs; ordinary Israelis who “adopt” foreign journalists; writers who receive information that bypasses the official press office. Nonetheless, it is fair to say that the press office puts out excellent information mailings that are never picked up by an antagonistic media. I just miss Danny Seaman.
My gorgeous nephew and niece, Claire and Steven Bloom, are going to Buckingham Palace – just like Christopher Robin and Alice! An invitation to the Royal Garden Party depends not on aristocracy or wealth but rather on exceptional charitable and community work. Well done Steve…… I am inordinately proud of you and Cardiff is a safer place with your taking great care working with the local Welsh police.
Israel lost a great singer/composer this week. Arik Einstein was more an institution than an entertainer and his beautiful songs will live for many generations to come.
Ani ve Ata – You and I will change the world. and  Ouf Gozal – fly fledgling (the story of children leaving the nest)
The phenomenal generosity of the Aussies, the glorious scenery, the flora and fauna have made this visit wonderful, but I must admit I miss my view! I miss collecting my grandchildren from school and driving past the panorama of sparkling white Jerusalem from the Prophet Samuels Tomb and the hug at the end of my journey as I reach Rachel. I miss the scent of ethnic Shabbat dishes of our neighborhood; the garbage collectors, road sweepers, shopkeepers and passers-by wishing me “Shabbat Shalom” and the ever present aroma of freshly baked Challah. I miss our little grand-daughters blessing the Candles and Challah and Zvi’s beautiful voice singing the Kiddush- the blessing over the wine- as we all admire the view from our veranda.
Talking of Zvi, he and Peter “did an Oprah” and climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I wonder if the Bridge developed a new height record when Zvi stood up  up! Tonight we went for dinner with Charmaine and Stanley Roth, Harold and Rebecca Finger and Robert Simons to put world to rights, feed the hungry, solve all Israel’s problems and decide what to do about the Iran situation… and enjoy a giggle and chatter.
Today we are going to the Jewish Museum and then take a yacht ride in the harbour to absorb the exceptional aesthetic beauty of this city, thanks to Ian’s unending generosity we will do so in comfort, well fed and cared for and with dear friends. Then it will be Shabbat again – even though here in Oz it is more likely to be called Shabbes!!! Shabbat dinner wherever we are in the world, candles, kiddush, challah and calm, friends and tradition.
Chanuka, each day brings a new story and another candle. Chanuka – the time of miracles, lights, heroes and chanuka Gelt! By the way, do you know why we give Chanuka Gelt (Chanuka coins)? Apparently as an act of triumph the Maccabees minted a new set of coins, thus we commemorate their victory. Interesting eh? Here are 8 things to do in Israel for Chanuka
So it is time for me to choose a few songs for your delectation
We start with Nefesh b Nefesh Chanuka
Wonderful children of Kinderlech
We wish you a joyful Chanuka, a happy Thanksgiving and a peaceful and contemplative Shabbat, remembering our blessings and forgetting our grudges. My prayer is that we will not need to be heroic yet again but rather that we will simply be accepted.
Happy 60th  birthday to Martin Lindenfeld – it was just a bit too far to come to give you a kiss! Martin received the best birthday gift in the world – a new grandson!!! Love you Martin – Ad 120
Shabbat Shalom, thinking of Jerusalem and that amazing view from our veranda
With love