The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter


13th January 2010.

Shabbat Shalom

Today I choose to talk of cabbages and kings not of terror and anti-semitism. After the first paragraph this is a GOOD NEWS bulletin!!

I have to begin with the sad but inevitable news that Hamas has chosen to insist upon the raised bar and the talks to release Gilad Schalit are at an impasse. They demand the release of prisoners who have wreaked slaughter; planned and caused the deaths of Israeli citizens. The Israeli definition of these prisoners is those “who have blood on their hands”. We cannot take the decision which creates such an enormous risk to the safety of all Israelis. As I told you, this is a Solomonic choice and we can only pray that a solution will be found and the family will be reunited.

I am thrilled, excited and delighted to report that George Galloway, the nauseating anti-War politician who was barred from the British Labour Party and walks around with a kaffiyah around his neck, was unceremoniously kicked out, expelled and exiled from Egypt after he took part in a demonstration against the Egyptian Wall along the border with Gaza. Galloway, in his blind defence of Palestinians, believes that Israel is guilty of ethnic cleansing. Israel should take a leaf out of Egypt’s book and expel a few of his ilk!

The Tel Aviv Cluster by David Brookes is an Op-Ed in the New York Times. It is a marvelous analysis of Jewish achievement against all odds. You will notice that in addition to his gathered information and research he refers to Saul Singer and Dan Senor’s bestseller Startup Nation

In a scene which befits the Keystone Cops, runners in the marathon around the beautiful Lake Kinneret were somewhat surprised to meet a full-grown crocodile in the road! At one point the fierce-looking but somewhat inert creature was guarded by policemen as the runners leapt to the sides, only to discover that it was a stuffed crocodile a somewhat inappropriate publicity stunt for the crocodile farm of Hamat Gader!!

As I sit here at my computer I can hear the loud music of the “Torah-mobile” as a family in the parallel road beneath us is clearly celebrating a brit-milah, a bar-mitzvah, engagement or wedding with the gift of a Sefer Torah to their synagogue. The torah-mobile, festooned with brightly flashing coloured lights and very large speakers, wends its way slowly from the home to the synagogue—followed by dancing children and adults carrying beacons on sticks to light the way. It is so joyous.

This is my favourite time of year in Jerusalem. The weather is always special and even when it rains we have the promise of sunshine on the newly washed sparkling white buildings. To celebrate my imminent birthday Dana and Betty took me for lunch at a wonderful restaurant in the village of Nes Harim where we ate on a deck suspended high above the Jerusalem Hills. The view was breathtaking as the hills hung like so many horizons in the mist with Jerusalem visible in the distance.

The view was so spectacular that the very next day, after dropping Zvi off at Hadassah Hospital for tests, I took our dearest friend Kim on a trip back to the Hills to see the pink clouds of wild almond blossom (shkediot) amongst the green fir trees as the hills rose majestically above us. Kim who came to Israel to see us, refresh his soul and escape the horrific cold of Western Canada – in that order! I pulled over to the side of the road beside the hikers trail up to Sataf when I saw the ultimate prize…. a group of beautiful wild cyclamen (rakafot) seemingly growing out of the rocks. From the beauty of the rakafot we went to have lunch in the Caffit restaurant in the botanical gardens of the Hebrew University. As we sat in the gentle winter sunshine beside the lake life seemed complete.

Kim managed to pack a great deal into this visit! I took him to see Shouk Ramle which he loved and he went with Zvi to the Old City to see old friends. He had meetings and made arrangements for his next visit – just a few months away this time!

This letter is an early Shabbat Shalom since tomorrow is both my birthday (not saying how old I will be but the Beatles wrote a song about it asking if you will still love me!!) and the day on which my lovely husband undergoes elective surgery which will hopefully change his life and health for the better. Please G-d it will all go as planned and he will be home safe and sound by the next letter. Zvi ben Leah Raviv – please.

In the meantime – Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem with love.