The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem


29th October 2010.

Shabbat Shalom! How are you? I hope you are doing well. I am now doing so much better and beginning to move around and cook although the family calls me Hopalong Cassidy!!!!!

Today is a very good day in Jerusalem, it looks like rain. After the searing heat of this seemingly unending summer even a few drops of life giving rain will be welcome.

Nigeria’s secret service intercepted 13 containers of weapons from Iran on Tuesday in what Israeli defense sources believe may be part of a new smuggling route from Iran to Hamas in Gaza. Rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives camouflaged as building material were seized in the Nigerian port of Lagos after being unloaded from an Iranian ship. A friend, a Nigerian diplomat wrote and told me that her country is with us and that she knows that G-d is with us even through the difficult times.

While the world sits back and vaguely remembers the Haiti Earthquake Israeli medical teams are again the first back on the ground to deal with the Cholera outbreak. I wonder how many doctors the Palestinian Authority sent……or Saudi Arabia……. or Dubai…….?

Bishop Desmond Tutu chose the very last moment after years of organisation to condemn the Capetown Opera Company for their planned visit to Israel. He called upon the Opera to cancel their trip but they chose to ignore his protestations recognising them as political and ill-founded. Please contact the Cape Town Opera to show your support!

We are a people of survivors and we survive as a people while other greater nations fall. Why? How? What is the inner strength that raises us each time from insufferable obstacles and causes us to thrive. Alice Sommer Herz, at 106 the oldest Holocaust Survivor give the answer. Her love of life, her determination to continue playing the classical music which saved her life, to play Scrabble with her constant visitors and to throw a big 107th birthday party!!!! Read and watch and learn from her nature what it means to be a Jew. Thank you dear Andrea for sending me this story – it is lifechanging.
Do not miss one second of this video – not a second.

Isi Leibler is a fine writer, a religiously observant Jew and determined Zionist. Isi does not kowtow to authority and has a penchant for Tikkun Olam which brings him to reveal cracks in the system which need attention. Such is his letter of this week. Isi addresses the problem of the need to dismantle and re-form (or reform) the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. A fascinating read.

I am lucky enough to have more than one erudite friend and another outstanding piece this week from Rabbi Jeremy Rosen, who like Isi oft reveals the feet of clay in institutions. This week Jeremy approaches the question of the founding of the Jewish State and the demands and questions that surround it today. Der Judenstaat’s+Blog)

I had to check Snopes to see if this next item was a hoax………. Iran is to sit on the United Nations Committee for Women’s Rights!!!!!! Paradox? Anathema? Insanity? the height of stupidity? or all of the above?
Barry Shaw writes “IRAN is a leading Asian candidate to be elected to the new UN WOMEN’S COMMIITEE. Also SAUDI ARABIA.With the shape of the current UN don’t be surprised if Shariah Law is adopted and stoning for adultery becomes the standard punishment.
This should appeal to those liberals who have supported the campaign to delegitimise Israel while ignoring the abuse of women’s rights in Palestinian and Arab society.”,7340,L-3976083,00.html

Our wonderful friend Kim came all the way from Cardston, Alberta, Canada for the Jewish Agency meetings. Zvi is on the Board of Governors and when I watched the two of them head off to play their part in such an important organisation I felt that we are in good hands. Next week I will be in a position to tell you of any important motions that were passed but since I was unable to go to the meetings this year I will have to wait for a report. I can assure you that our future is in good hands and those who decide about the Jewish world have come to the understanding that we must reach out and teach out, which was not done sufficiently in the past. The Government and the Jewish Agency have woken up to the fact that University campuses are a breeding ground for anti-Semitism and Islamic movements in Europe and now very strongly in North America.

Apropos nothing….. did you know that all refugees lose their refugees status after two years with the sole exception of Palestinians who are still designated refugees by the international community after 63 years……just because their own societies are inadequate and unable/ unwilling to absorb them.

Our Shabbat guests were Harvey and Riva Same from Melbourne Australia, Harvey is the son of our dear friend Saul, who came for Shabbat Lunch (have freezer will feed) and then Yehuda and Lea Ressler and journalist Sleman al Shafhe (who has written a book on Gilad Shalit in Hebrew) popped in for coffee. On Wednesday Wayne and Cheryl Shur and their well travelled relation came to make certain that I wrote the truth about our veranda and the phenomenal view and agreed that I did not even remotely exaggerate! As we sat Wayne saw the oranges on the tiny tree now turning colour, the last reaming pomegranate after the grandchildren picked the others, the herbs, kumquats and beautiful little hadass hedge…….. and the view. We explained that on the right one sees the nearside of Gilo atop the ridge, the next hill top is Ramat Rachel of such colourful history with Beit Tsafafa nestled in the middle, then Baka, the German Colony, and the Old City hidden by the tall towers of the Holyland Project. The moon rose eerily, huge in the sky and striped by cloud as we discussed many subjects “of Cabbages and Kings” but mostly of Israel’s appearance overseas and in particular of combatting the negative hasbara on campuses worldwide.

From my still static viewpoint I see the last rush to the shopping mall, it gives Israelis the opportunity to have lunch at one of the multitude of restaurants after shopping for Shabbat, before cooking and then the Friday afternoon “shloof” (siesta). Soon the familiar and reassuring quiet will fall as the city prepares for Shabbat. Last week I was not in a position to cook for myself so one neighbour brought me Kubeh Soup based on tomatoes, cilantro and celery, another fragrant rice and Kurdish meat balls and another a different type of Kubeh soup based on beetroot! Kubeh are different depending upon the country of ones origin, Iraqi, Moroccan, Syrian, Kurdish, Egyptian…… all delicious all reminders that 900,000 Jews fled oppression and persecution in Arab countries. Their food and traditions came with them but they were refugees for a very short time because they came home rather than being stranded at the mercy of political blackmail for decades.

I wish you Shabbat Shalom, wherever you may be in the world. I wish you a strong heart and a determined prayer for the softening of our enemies hearts and a love which is turned to Jerusalem…………. Shalom, Salaam, Pax , Paix, Peace, Paz