The view from my veranda

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

7th September 2012
The seventh of September is a very, very special day for me because it is the day I became a Mother. 7th of September 1969 my incredible son Daniel was born and he has been enriching and warming my heart every day since. Happy birthday beautiful man.
Now that I have warmed my heart, and yours, by talking of my son, a just and kind man whose aim in life is to heal the bodies and minds of children, I must, unfortunately move to the unjust and unkind world of journalism. A war is raging against the ordinary people of Syria, Sunnis are killing Shi’as and both are killing Copts in Egypt……earthquakes hit China, floods hit the Southern states of the USA, indeed tyrants wreak havoc everywhere including Ahmedinejad the puppet of the Ayatollas of Iran and who do the media choose for their “shocked” headlines? Israel, of course! Why? Because we built a fence between Egyptian Sinai and Israel because they are two separate countries and after being inundated by work seekers from Eritrea and Sudan we did not break the fence to let another 18 in. We gave them food through the fence, we gave them water but we said enough. British police put illegals into holding cells at the airport before returning them; France – well the French send them to the UK; The USA patrols their fence and shoots at those who climb over or under; indeed every country worth its salt has a problem of people trying to come in illegally and after some 40,000 already came in we are singled out for sending them back home and now for not letting them in. Double standards at their worst.
Another case of double standards is of refugees. Many years ago when Jews who lived in Arab countries suffered terrible oppression we brought them home. We did not claim compensation or rights, we absorbed them into society, just as forlorn and ragged as any picture of modern refugees. Their plight was just as dreadful and their need for succour and a home just as real. 900,000 Jews had to leave Arab lands – time to recognise their right of return and compensation maybe?
Last night Zvi and I saw an investigative programme “Kolbotek” which the State Prosecutor tried to ban – and the Supreme Court allowed it to air. It has long been known that the entire case against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the “Holyland” building project was built upon the testimony of a known liar but the programme revealed the fact that the States Witness is not only a pathological liar but that Scotland Yard has a series of fraud cases against him and that he fiddled money from the rich and famous claiming to be dying from just about every serious illness and is a totally unsavoury character. This is the basis of the case which forced a Prime Minister to resign. For those of you who understand Hebrew (there are sections in English too)  Go to the video with “Ed ha medina”
Raphael Shore made a film several years ago, a film which told the story so clearly that it is still utterly relevant. It is the story of Israels relentless search for peace. Relentless

Danny Adeno Abebe was born in Addis Ababa but today Danny is a highly successful journalist. His head is not turned by his success however and he chose to do everything he could to set up an NGO to encourage young Ethiopian Jews to find their way into journalism too. Kol ha Kavod Danny. Proud of you.

Alan Dershowitz expressed his anger at the current trend in Germany to ban circumcision of baby boys. They took a poll – I wonder who they asked and what.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer was very surprised at the Democratic Convention at the omission of Israel being the US’ greatest ally in the ME and Jerusalem being the Capital of the State of Israel. It was partially rectified and while I believe that the Democratic Convention and all things pertaining should be about the USA not Israel – to specifically remove such mentions is somewhat ominous. Glad we are back in.

1984 in 2012 United Nations a must watch –

Last weekend Zvi and I met with Anne and Rafi Behar and Orna and Nir Baroz at the Lavan restaurant, sitting on the veranda of the Cinemateque overlooking the walls of the Old City eating outstanding food, great conversations and the inevitable cafe hafuch to finish it off. Who could ask for anything more?

This has been a week of visitors, the most important of all was my nephew Adam who came ot Israel with Birthright and then came to see “Auntie Sheila” and Zvi. It was so much fun!!! We started his visit with a car tour of Jerusalem through Gilo, Beit Tsafafa and then coming down the hill to the phenomenal panorama of Jerusalem from the South. We went to the Botanical Gardens and Caffit for lunch with Becky Guttin and her father Rafael Marena after a “train” ride around the gardens to see the various continents foliage and flora – stopping for a quick and very hot look at the Tropical House and its orchids.

In the evening we all went to the Bloomfield Museum of Science at the invitation of Gideon Sellingerof the Hebrew University. We wen tot a truly riveting lecture by Re’em Sari, a returning scientist who is part of the reverse brain drain. The lecture was , as I said, rivetting, although Sari is a professor of Astro-Physics we all understood every word of his lecture and even found it amusing!

From the lecture we made our way to the Ron Arad installation at Israel Museum. It was truly incredible. The 720 degree exhibit (360 within and 360 without) was extraordinary, the Jerusalem sky above us, the view before us and the reflective plastic fibres which form a curtain of pictures, cartoons and music all around us.

The next day saw us at the Herzl Museum where any cracks in information are filled in a truly entertaining manner followed by an introduction between Adam and his first cousins – my grandchildren. Happy to report they adored their cousin and wouldn’t leave him alone!!! Adam and I spent most evenings sitting out on the veranda waiting for the moon to give us a spectacular show as it rose over the horizon and for the geckos to make an appearance for his photographic delight. The moon gave us the usual delight but the geckos stayed indoors!!!

I made two visits to Mahane Yehuda this week – one with Adam to buy fruit and veggies and one with Becky and Rafael. The sounds and sights thrilled them as they thrill me. The noisy fish shops, the fragrant spice shops, the colourful fruit and veg and of course the herbs which emit their aromatic scent over the whole market. On both occasions I went to Cafe Mizrahi, once for coffe and brioche with Adam and once for lunch with Becky and Rafael. The atmosphere, the people-watching opportunities, the hubbub of humanity passing by as one eats a veritable feast of local flavours. Amazing.

Becky and Rafael (Fayo) are here to put the finishing touches to the plans for a beautiful amphitheatre which Becky has designed and her parents are giving to the children of Jerusalem, right opposite the Efron Dance Centre for Hora Jerusalem. The dancers will have a beautiful setting for their performances in the Magen David shaped amphitheatre. Thank you.

I am late writing today because I decide to finish my cooking first. Chicken soup of course, kneidlach, home made challah, real British fried gefilte fish, herby, spicy potato and onion roast, chicken paprika, green salad, chopped salad, courgette salad and beautiful baby aubergines seared, skinned and served with home made tehina sauce………. and of course a great big bowl of grapes, watermelon and peaches to finish.

Having whet your appetites I looked over the view from my veranda. The mall is already empty and the roads are following suit, the neighbours have finished their Shabbat cooking, the Kurdish neighbours have already eaten their Kubeh soup and gone home to a pre-Shabbat siesta… and so must I.

I wish you a Shabbat shalom from Jerusalem, beautiful, spiritual, contested and oh so Biblical Jerusalem. Our Capital city.