The view from my veranda

Shana Tova 5773


27th September 2011

Shana Tova dear friends This has been a strange year of wonderful achievements and unbearable lies. It has been a year of revolution, rebellion and renewal, but little sign of democracy in those countries where the people reached out for it. Riots in the East and the West yet it seems that the only civilised and democratic revolution took place right here in Israel as the students and the disenfranchised joined hands and pitched their tents to change their lives and bring Social Justice. The Trajtenberg Report on Social Justice, formed at the request of the PM, praised the demonstrators and gave their findings. There will be changes – maybe not everything they asked for – but changes nonetheless. Israel’s Prime Minister yet again held out the hand of peace to the Palestinians, despite the vitriolic rhetoric in the United Nations General Assembly in New York. As we in Israel watched both speeches in rapt attention the people of Ramallah were denied that right – as soon as Abbas finished his speech their screens went blank lest they should see the Israeli PM offering peace. If you haven’t seen the speeches take time to watch Prime Ministers Netanyahu’s speech in particular. President Ahmedinejad was invited to the UN again, but not exactly top of the social attendees list, his fellow diners had to be paid to attend. Yes $1,500 for the “pleasure”. And now to the news befitting Rosh Hashana, befitting a time of penitence and atonement. Israel has changed the world in which she exists by reaching out. Israel reaches out through MASHAV through IsraAid through Save a Child’s Heart and through so many other amazing organisations who reach out to third world countries and of course to the sick and troubled in the Palestinian Authority. Israel has little to apologise for at a time when even the best of us has. Tikkun Olam indeed. One fabulous innovation is the first Israeli Dragon Boat Race to be held on the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) in May. Form a team and come!!! Well done UIA Canada. And so to me. I pray that I have never hurt you, or written anything that has offended you. If I have in any way, shape or form I apologise and promise to try and have more patience and less anger in future. My prayer this year, the 5773rd year of Jewish life is that we gain strength and pride in what we are and our incredible heritage, that we end the practice of hiding behind the social acceptance of a comfortable western life, using it as an excuse to ignore from whence we come. My prayer is that convenience and bias will no longer be an excuse for the press and media to tell half truths which hide the truth of our world and our region. My prayer is for a gentler world, a world of tolerance and acceptance of the “other”. I will fight for this tolerance by sitting on the Board of IMPACT-SE to ensure that the child abuse of hatred ceases as an educational tool. My prayer for Israel is that she will be recognised as the wonderful, vibrant, giving democracy, an example to the world and a light unto the nations, that she truly is, and that we will continue to be a thriving, living, bustling, noisy, rambunctious nation that is proud of her achievements. My prayer is that the next generation will understand the past and how their ancestors prayed and fought to return to this land. I pray they will no longer take Israel for granted. My prayer for you is a joyous year filled with hope, love and family, fulfillment and generosity and very good friends. I pray that you will come and visit Israel and visit me as Anne and Rafi Bechar did yesterday. We sat eating a delicious lunch in the Botanical Gardens discovering how many things we have in common, our great love of Israel being the initial glue and our common ethics followed. By coming here you make an unambiguous statement of your loyalty and your belief. By coming here and understanding why we are surrounded by a jealous people you will recognise why this minute tract of land is worth fighting for. To come here is to fall in love, with a country, a people and your heritage. Shana Tova, may your good deeds be written in the book of life and all your troubles fly away as the new year begins To my incredible children I wish you everything you wish yourselves and pray that you will continue in your path of tolerance and teaching your children to love the other – every other – irrespective of belief. I love you arms and legs and up to the skies. To my amazing husband, I wish you a year whereby you receive the recognition you so deeply deserve for giving your heart and soul to the Jewish people. From 1969 when as a student with Chutzpah you changed a Prime Ministers mind, to your years with Keren Hayesod, Jerusalem 3,000 and the NJF. You continue as a volunteer with the same vigour and I am so proud to stand beside you. With much love from Jerusalem centre of our world, our heart, our dreams and our prayers. Remember, we cannot all be Alan Dershowitz, Irwin Cotler, Itamar Marcus or Dore Gold but we can be strong and independent……….. and unafraid to say who we are and fight for justice. Sheila