The view from my veranda

Thanksgiving Shabbat shalom


24th November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! I wish you many reasons to give thanks and the ability to find joy in all you do and see.

Happy Sigd. Sigd is the Ethiopian Jewish festival officially celebrated today.

Sadly one institution that we certainly have no reason to give thanks for is the United nations. Their latest insanity? Syria has been accepted to UNESCO committees dealing with human rights!!! Want to know what is even worse? The USA, UK, France and other Western countries unanimously elected Syria to a pair of committees. Syria will serve a second two-year term on the 30-member Committee on Conventions and Recommendations, which examines “communications … relating to the exercise of human rights,” according to UNESCO’s Web site. Syria also joins the 23-member Committee on International Non-Governmental Organizations, which is mandated to encourage approved activist groups to help further UNESCO’s overall goals.

CNN did an excellent report on the treatment of Sudanese and Cambodian refugees fleeing to Israel and their diabolical treatment at the hands of the Sinai Bedouin. A young man by the name of Aron Adler wrote of his experiences as a reservist on the border. A must read.

Ron Paul was wrong (actually the man is a fool) when he announced, at the Republican Candidates Debate that the USA doesn’t have to defend Israel. He just doesn’t get it. Israel is the only country in this entire area that would defend the USA from the very long-range missiles our neighbours will probably launch future. Don’t worry about us. Israel defends herself; not through attack but through intelligent defence. My thanks to Tom Gross for sending this excellent article

A bill is before the Congress of the United States to designate the “Human Rights” Flotillas to Gaza as acts of terror for encouraging a Hamas based terrorist state designation-for-flotilla-groups

Something for your interest – the International Child Day Israel Israeli statistics – fascinating.

The American expression is to turn lemons into lemonade – here in Israel we turn Rockets into Roses.
We do it through medicine We took the broken heart of a young man and gave him a new life.
We do it through art. We take destruction and build with it. This beautiful Chanukia was made out of Kassam schrapnel
We do it though song – 12 year old Avishai Rosen sings “thousands of children will be happy and change the world – let’s demand joy, that’s what brings light to the heart”
We do it through dance. The Hora Dance Troupe of Jerusalem did a flashmob in the Mamilla Mall – Happy!!!
We take shards and turn them into a Mosaic Chanukiah. Roslan Sergeeyev is a Russian, Jerusalem artist.

Sir Martin Gilbert is conceivably our generations greatest historian. He wrote a wonderful treatise about Israel called “AN OVERWHELMINGLY JEWISH STATE” – FROM THE BALFOUR DECLARATION TO THE PALESTINE MANDATE” This link will take you to a chapter of this fascinating and infinitely informative book.

November 22nd 1963 means just one thing to most of you, the Assassination of President Kennedy – to me it has an even deeper meaning. It is the day, the hour which coincided with my own Mothers passing. Regina (Betty) Silver z”l beautiful and elegant, clever, funny and kind. 48 years and her teachings, love, warmth and Jewish traditions still walk me through life. She taught me to love Israel, my parents came to visit in 1953. They came for a family wedding, no small feat in those days, travelling on the Israeli ship “The Artza” from Southampton. That taught me that family is worth travelling for; it taught me that Israel is the Jewish home; it showed me the enormous differences from my fathers movies of that time to the amazing modern State of today; it showed me that the King David hasn’t really changed!!!! My parents taught me to be proud of my Judaism, proud enough to accept others and expect to be accepted, their marriage taught me what a marriage should be.

The rain fell, and fell and fell – it was wonderful!! It may sound strange to most of you but this is the most exciting time of the year for me. Rain, the rain that will make the desert bloom, literally, as the apparently barren sands burst into colour after receiving life giving nourishment from the grey skies and flash floods. The sky today cannot quite decided whether the clouds are rain clouds or just giving us a rest from the sun. I just looked out and saw a rare sight. The skies are grey, the rain is falling yet somehow there must have been a small break in the cloud cover to allow the last glimmer of the setting sun through to throw a red glow onto the buildings of Katamon. Almost a perfect circle or warm red as if G-d was smiling “Goodnight”. The flag, flying at the corner of our veranda, is happily playing in the breeze, waiting for Arlene to come and stand beside filled with emotion as her Jerusalem lays before her. Arlene, my beautiful friend will stand up in her synagogue tomorrow night and talk about her life – or rather talk about Israel and her family – her family and Israel. Arlene is celebrating a special birthday this weekend, her 75th. Arlene is a true Zionist, a true Eshet Chayil who is a natural and innovative leader for the task at hand not for the power or kavod but rather because she is a leader by example – and what a fine example she is. Happy birthday wonderful woman!

Finally Shabbat Shalom to you all. Zvi and I are off to Kibbutz Degania Bet in the north, near the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee. We are going with Zvi’s choir to sing our hearts out! I have a question for you….. who was the first child born on Degania Aleph, the first Kibbutz?

Wishing you a peaceful and happy family Shabbat.
With love from Jerusalem, centre of our prayers and our life.