The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem


8th of April 2011

Shabbat Shalom dear Friends

cal·um·ny (klm-n)
1. A false statement maliciously made to injure another’s reputation.
2. The utterance of maliciously false statements; slander.
MK Danny Danon initiated a lawsuit which will be submitted to US District Court in NY: “The distorted picture of the State of Israel that Goldstone generated harmed, harms and will continue to harm Israel.”

Maurice Ostroff has known Richard Goldstone for many years, from their days in the South African Jewish community. Maurice gives an entirely different perspective to the “Goldstone Affair”.

Two of the people killed in the air attack on a car in the Sudan were Hamas senior operatives responsible for armament shipments to Gaza…….. their lives wreaked havoc with the lives of two peoples, their own and ours. Now they answer to a greater power than oil money.

Ironically after killing the men who masterminded the arming of Hamas in Gaza, an Iranian missile of greater strength and accuracy then previously known was directly aimed at an Israeli schoolbus, badly injuring the one child remaining on the bus. The boy, aged 16, was not a regular passenger on the bus, which had already safely delivered children to their homes, but asked for a lift to go and see his grandmother nearby. His injuries are serious but the schrapnel which pierced his brain is considered less invasive than originally thought. We wish him a speedy return to visit his grandmother.,7340,L-4053704,00.html

While the South of Israel suffers constant bombardment with rockets from Gaza the “Iron Dome” rocket defence system showed its mettle yesterday as iit successfully halted a rocket aimed at Ashkelon while it was still in mid-air.,7340,L-4053837,00.html

Alexander Mashevich intends creating “an Israeli Al-Jazeera” 24 hour news channel which will “represent Israel on an international level, with real information.” At last – at last.

The Toronto Star, not known for open reporting, this week gave a wonderful report of the Israeli field hospital in earthquake torn Japan. The reporter was amazed at the speed and efficiency with which our tiny country came, once again, to the rescue – giving of herself with generosity unknown in far richer and certainly bigger countries.

“Forty countries around the world approached Japan and offered their (medical) assistance. We were the only ones to come,” said Dr. Ofer Merin by phone from the remains of Minami-Sanriku, seven hours north of Tokyo. “It’s a real privilege.”–porter-israeli-field-hospital-carries-on-inspiring-work-in-japan

Pesach is nigh!!! the constant sound of vacuum cleaners, the beating of carpets on verandas and of course the air redolent with various cleaning fluids herald the festival of spring cleaning. I went to the supermarket the other day in search of specific items. I did very well in the well stocked fruit and vegetable department and the cleaning materials department seemed to have grown but when I got to the main supermarket I found a flurry of activity and empty shelves! The shelves were not only empty but were being carefully taken apart and scrubbed by energetic young men! Neither biscuit nor cereal, chocolate nor candy……….. all had disappeared into the great “Hametz” in the sky!!!! Gosh it was wonderful.

When I lived in a small community and Valerie and I would travel up to London to do our big Pesach buy – everything had to be bought at once or do without! Here everything is ready for us – even if you don’t cook you can order in or supermarket buy just about everything. On the other hand you have to watch for the pulses, no not heartbeat, pulses as in rice, beans and lentils!!! Ashkenazi Jews do not eat pulses in Passover but Eastern Jews do! I guess I am back to label-reading again!!!

This year Zvi’s lovely cousin Becky is here from San Diego and yesterday Zvi took her to the Jerusalem Municipality to see the incredible view of Jerusalem set out before her on the 360 degree balcony on the 6th floor. From there they went to the Knesset, our centre of government. Next week Becky will go to the Kotel, the Tunnels and of course the Generations exhibit – and theDavidson Archaeological Park.

Most importantly Becky will be part of our Pesach Seder together with her son and his family who live here in Israel. I love the night of Passover; I love the retelling of the story of our fight for freedom from slavery……… and I love relating it to today. Today our slavery is a different one – we are not slaves to people but rather to society. We are slaves to PC, slaves to earning; slaves to excelling; slaves to academia; slaves to gadgets; slaves to everything except real honest time with our family and with ourselves. Passover is family. Passover is sitting together and speaking of our common history and future. Passover is a night when we accept that this is a night different to all other nights. Let’s make it a year that is different to all other years – not by eating kneidlach soup but rather by moving away from things and returning to people.

Just in case I am up to my ears in cleaning and cooking next week I will wish you a truly wonderful Passover. Jerusalem at Passover is even more beautiful than any other time of the year – after all G-d sent rain to clean the outside of our buildings and make them as sparkling clean as the insides!!!!

Shabbat Shalom dear friends

With love from Jerusalem