The view from my veranda

That Was The Week That Was

30th day of the 10th month of the 20th year of the century!


Shabbat Shalom, Happy All Hallows Day and happy Breadstick Day (really!) Despite the title this has nothing to do with David Frost!!!


“To write history one must be more than a man, since the author who holds the pen of this great justiciary must be free from all preoccupation of interest or vanity.” — Napoleon Bonaparte


I decided that today’s newsletter was going to talk about everything except politics, Corona and closures! Well almost, after all it is a NEWSletter!


The “almost” is that the British Labour Party, after deposing Jeremy Corbyn from the leadership of the party has now taken away his “whip” which means he cannot vote and is basically removed from the Party. He is still denying, denying, denying but someone wrote this which is appropriate for all anti-Semites. “If a person of colour told Corbyn that something he said was racist, Corbyn would believe that person and apologise. If a Muslim told Corbyn that something he said was Islamophobic, Corbyn would believe them and apologise. If a woman told Corbyn that something he said was sexist, Corbyn would apologise. If a Jew told Corbyn that something he said was anti-Semitic, Corbyn would not believe them and say that he is not an anti-Semite. He doesn’t understand that that behaviour of itself is anti-Semitic. The Labour party has done the right thing.”


Here are some of the important events of the week


On the 28th of October 1948 the basic design of the Israeli flag was chosen. A Star of David with another symbol of the Jew, the Tallit or prayer shawl in a very important colour blue, on a pure white background.  The colour is “Tchelet” which some scholars translated to hyacinth and which became identified with the Radziner Hassidim, to which my father’s family happened to belong!


The Ontario Parliament passed a law recognising the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, the first Canadian Province to do so.


Israel is signing a treaty with the Sudan, a truly unlikely ally. The reason we would sign with a country that has slavery and perfunctory death sentences? They also have advanced nuclear facility which we don’t want the Iranians to obtain.


I’m sorry but the next item is so overdue that I find it hard to believe. An Israeli, born in Jerusalem, taking out an American passport could not have the fact that he/she was born in Jerusalem, Israel, on his/her American Passport. Honestly! Anyway, it’s happened, If you were born in Jerusalem it can now say that Jerusalem is in Israel on your American passport!


Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat has Covid-19. Last year Erekat underwent a lung transplant and his situation was critical last week when he was moved to Hadassah Hospital. Since that time Israeli doctors, both Arab and Jews, have been fighting for his life. We don’t do it for political gain, we do it because that is who we are.


Three Christians at prayer in Notre Dame Church in the French coastal town of Nice were killed by a Moslem shouting Allahu Akbar, one woman was beheaded. Sadly Pastor Niemoller was right.


An Israeli Arab couple from Umm el Fahem, Riham and Anas Aghbariya, were going to have a big wedding with 450 guests but then realised that it would be irresponsible to have big wedding because of the spread of the Corona virus, so they made up 450 food parcels for poor people and gave them out instead. She is a doctor and he is computer programmer –and we wish them a long and happy life together.


A dear friend of ours Yossi Dagan, introduced me to the Foreign Ministry organisation called Izkor . Izkor searches out the families of those who died fighting for this country but have no known family to say the prayer for the dead – Kaddish. I spent a fascinating week searching for a family of a young British woman, named Sylvia Beyrach or Beyrack, who came on Aliyah with Habonim in 1946 and was killed by a bomb in Jerusalem in 1948. We have not found her close relatives yet but who knows? We are following all leads and if anyone in the UK knows Steven Sands who wrote a letter to the Jewish Chronicle saying he was her cousin please please let him and me know.


Incredibly it is 25 years since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. Do you believe we have learned anything from that tragedy or are the words of hate and incitement continuing? I didn’t vote for the current Prime Minister, am more than willing to criticise his policies or another leaders preponderance for orange make up, but never, ever would I use words of hate. Freedom of speech has taken on a life of its own and could well cause someone to kill again. You all know how much I loved Yitzchak Rabin and how my very last hug from him was in the Rotunda in Washington, but today I want to know why I still hear even close friends talk of their leaders as the greatest enemy of the people. They aren’t, they may be the antithesis of what you deem great leaders but that’s the problem with democracy, you get what the wider public cotes for. All I ask of you is to discuss politics with intelligence and not the media presentation of them, use your words carefully and accept the results of an election, decision. I don’t want another country to go through the earthquake of another Rabin or Kennedy and I’m afraid to say that the extremism today could lead to that. After all, it was not a knife wielding extremist shouting Allahu Akbar, it was a Jew, a Jew killed my friend Yitzchak and I’m horrified to learn that he has a following here in Israel.


Gosh I didn’t mean to be that serious today, but it had to be said. The posts on Facebook, even posts from friends, have disturbed me beyond belief. For me the definition of democracy is accepting the results of an election even if your side doesn’t win.


Zvi was very involved in Zoom meetings this week too, especially with the Zionist Council. It’s hard to keep up with his activities in the Jewish World….. and I thought I was active! As you can well imagine, Zvi doesn’t just sit and watch webinars and Zoom meetings, just as he always took an active part in the various conferences; Zvi is a mover and shaker always going back to what happened in history which can help us face a very insecure future.



OK now to the fun!!!


I made it to Mahane Yehuda this week!! Really! I took Zvi into the centre of town for some x-rays (nothing serious just regular checks) and parked in the Shouk Car Park. Despite having no intention of leaving the car, my emotions got the better of my Covid sense and I decided that I would just have a peek and breath the beloved air. I peeked and as if by magic I found myself saying hello to Yaron and Boaz Tzidkiyahu at their world famous “hamutzim” (pickles) stand. Well, after all, if everyone is wearing a mask and there aren’t many people so why not go in further and inspect the fruit and vegetables? 3 huge shopping bags later (all stored with Yaron for collection and lugging by an ever helpful Zvi) I felt what can only be described as a huge emotional release! The fruit was even riper and more beautiful than I remembered, the vegetables fresher, the aromas sweeter and the faces friendlier. Mahane Yehuda was given special dispensation from the government to open earlier than other places. It is virtually open air and clean as a whistle. This video is from better days but my only complaint is that he doesn’t take us to visit the Pickle King!


Our friend Valeri, who came on Aliya with his wife Ira 29 years ago, just one year after I made Aliya, became our family and have given us Tomer and Shelly as pre-grandchildren, came to visit! It helps that their surname is Silver. Of course we sat out on the veranda but it was so lovely to have a visitor! We spoke of misconceptions induced by the manner in which the media presents a valid issue making the readers or viewers believe it is a general problem rather than a rarity. In particular, we spoke of the more recent Russian immigration, almost all of whom come to Israel out of love for the country they haven’t yet seen rather than the rarity, the oligarch who uses his money to get immediate nationality and passports – passports because an Israeli passport allows free passage to almost all countries. Remember that the media is interested in people biting dogs because dogs biting people is a regular occurrence.


I look forward to my calls from London every morning – they brighten my day! Each morning, Gideon, on his way to Chambers, calls just to tell me about his day and to check on us. This week I also managed to speak to all of the New Yorkers! Callie, who jumps during the entire WhatsApp conversation….. I finally suggested a game of I Spy which any 7 year old loves, and then I got to speak to Joshua for all of 3 uninterrupted minutes. Karen called me as she waited in line (a 3 hour queue) to vote and we managed to catch up on so many things, it was such a pleasure.


Last night, last night was memorable as my incredible daughter succeeded in making a fabulous Bat Mitzva party for Ayala, despite the pandemic – or as I call it “Memories in the world of Corona”! Of course we were less than the 20 people allowed outdoors, grandparents, Aunts and cousins, oh and the dog, but Rachel really made it fun! We played games like pass the parcel, get the candle into the bottle, pin the tail on the donkey and so on and Ayala’s Saba Pinchas (aka Philip and Barbara) sent her a huge balloon bouquet – since they are in Leeds, UK we made sure they saw all the fun by calling them on WhatsApp video. The food was incredible, Ayala’s Safta (grandma) in whose garden we celebrated, made a million salads and her own, home made falafel. Oh my goodness, I can promise that you’ve never tasted falafel like it! Gideon, Stephanie, Sammy, Olivia and Zachary sent Ayala a bouquet of flowers all the way from London, she was so thrilled “I’ve never been given flowers before”


On our way to Ayala’s party we stopped in Kiriat Moriah to give Zvi’s Mexican cousins, Jessica and Alex, some rogelech, fresh from the baker’s oven. They are here on a year’s programme through Maccabi Mexico and are having a ball! They isolated when they first got here and are only now beginning to leave Kiriat Moriah. Tonight we’re taking them with us to Amiad and Noga’s for Shabbat Dinner and tomorrow Zvi will take them to be with Leor and Shiri and the girls. They are probably the most watched over young people in Israel at the moment – in terms of Corona anyway.


That’s about it!


The first song has a wonderful story behind it. This is the song that Victor Solniky‘s parents used to sing to him when he was a child and his son Gaston made a film about him and his family called Papirosen like the song . Believe it or not the song is all about cigarettes in the Jewish community


Biglal ha Ruach – because of the wind or spirit – is a beautiful song, sung by the IDF group, and one of my favourites


Aretha Franklin and I Dreamed a Dream. This song made the tears flow as I thought of our world today and the dreams we had.


I pray for the United States, that whatever the outcome of the elections, you will accept it. If it isn’t what you wanted don’t ever say those terrifying words “He’s not my President” because he is, just not the one you wanted.


Good Shabbes, Shabbat Shalom and here’s a word or two from Rabbi Jeremy Rosen about Halloween, All Hallows, whatever you call it or you just love dressing up and having fun!


With all our love from the most beautiful city in the world – especially since the huge oranges on my little orange tree are ready for eating!!