Wednesday, 1 July 2015

150701 Syria, Sinai, ISIS, London Metropolitan Police are great!!The week after London

1st July 2015

I hope you are having a good week and that you will have a good Shabbat. We leave for Greece tonight, yes we are taking plenty of cash not relying on banks, and will celebrate Shabbat in Kapernisi. It is always special to hear the entire choir sing Kiddush...... beautiful.

So you guessed why I am writing now, I intend resting in Greece!!!
Ramadan, Holy Ramadan, Blessed Ramadan, a time for introspection. That's how is should be, but here in Israel and the disputed territories it is a time of racist incitement as Imams take advantage of our freedom of prayer. As a result there have been individual killings - attacks call it what you will, as young people carry out the wishes of their religious leaders. So sad, so sad.

In Sinai nearly 50 Egyptian soldiers have been decapitated Such barbarity Such cruelty.
Syria and the slaughter continues, if not by ISIS so by the rebels. It never ends. Indeed slaughter continues all over the Middle East and Africa and to top it all ISIS has taken to decapititating women for sorcery, witchcraft - we really are in the Middle Ages!!!  What does the UN do about it?  They censor Israel!!!!

Not everything is bad however. The Metropolitan Police in London were determined to find a hook on which to hang a legal basis to stop the horrendous Neo-Nazi demonstration at Golders Green Station on Shabbat. (Golders Green is a very Jewish neighborhood) Well they succeeded!! The Chief of Police has retracted their licence and moved them to the middle of London, restricting numbers and times. I love this picture because it tells the truth of London not the imagined situation.

This article tells it all - this is Israel
Dr. Qanta Ahmed, a physician and Muslim intellectual:
"I found myself on one of my visits at Hadassah hospital [in Jerusalem]. I have visited many hospitals, but the most exciting thing was actually when we were in an elevator in Hadassah. I was with a very busy doctor, and I looked around the small, packed elevator. What I saw around me was a Muslim lady in an abaya and hijab, next to her a man who looked like he was from the 18th century with a striped jacket, white socks and a special hat, next to him was a man with payot. In front of me was the busy modern-Orthodox doctor, and I am the one who is the Muslim who looks like she is secular...And I realized that...all of my worlds collided in this elevator. And they don't collide anywhere else. It is little moments like that in which you can't help but become a Zionist."

And another, Israel helps California with its constant drought problem - even though some Californians tried to boycott us!!!

Wonders will never cease - a pro-Israel article on BBC!! All about our very real fears of a nuclear Iran

I hit the ground running when I arrived from London. We have had wonderful guests who chose to go out rather than make me work!!! They did their visit to the veranda then we left. The Claars came with us to the Opera in Sultans Pool - amazing. I love them and their determination for Tikkun Olam.

We visited Zion ha Gadol with the Gandel family, Linda, Ian, Nicky, Steven and the newest member of the family, the lovely Jo-Ann. Our guest was Professor Gabby Barkay and we went to his sifting site (together with Jacobo Eizen) and after Gabbys rivetting tales and explanations Jacobo found a piece of Byzantine Glass!!! 

On Friday we went to Kibbutz Beerot Yitzchak for Nitzas birthday party (that's where I left you I think) and it was really wonderful. I also managed to catch up with Tsippi, a dear friend of Jill - and mine!!!

We also managed to touch base with David Efron who came to Israel for two reasons. One is to help his daughter Libi to pack for her years MA course in the States and the other was to collect his papers as Israels Honorary Consul to Puerto Rico. Mazal Tov David.
In the meantime we packed, Zvi has been working with Eli Yaron and others to put the finishing touches to their video and amazing choir disc made in the Hariton Music Centre - I'll send it to you when I have the link.

Finally today Julio and Monica Jarak came for the day and wanted to go to Mahane Yehuda and the Kotel - and we managed to fit it in between packing, organising our insurance, seeing my grandchildren, and preparing the inevitable pills which tell our age!!!!

So that's it. I am sure I left so much out but it is hard to speed type!!!!
I may not write on Friday but then I just may!!!

With love from the ever beautiful Jerusalem. I hate leaving her but each time I come back I am astonished and excited anew.

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv

Friday, 26 June 2015

150626 Muhammad and Sarah Zoabi, London, The 43 Group, Claars, Opera

26th June 2015

Shabbat Shalom from beautiful Jerusalem!! Yes I am back home.
My sojourn in the UK was absolutely wonderful. Family, friends and walking in the green, green parks and playing fields; eating the best food imaginable; going to Sammy's school fete and dancing with his wheelchair; watching Olivia and Zachary run in their school sports; going to eat a delicious fish meal with Catherine in the local pub; visiting the childrens cheder (sunday school) with Gideon and seeing the hundreds and hundreds of children happily learning of their traditions and commitments as young Jews. While the little ones learned Gideon and I went to visit Nicholas Pelmont, Gideons childhood friend, a special treat.  I went to South Wales, sitting on the train watching a strangely familiar landscape passing by, eagerly anticipating my arrival and hugging my beautiful sister - all fulfilled - spending time with siblings, nieces and nephews, and even the next generation. Making morning tea for Stephanie as she raced around, in incredible good humour, preparing everyone for school, was an especially delightful task, particularly when Gideon joined us before heading off on his bicycle. Actually bicycle is hardly the right description for this shining example of modernisation!!!
I managed to see everyone who called me - including Yaffa, Eleanor, the Rydes and enjoyed every second.

Gideon, like his cousin Steven, is very aware of the rise of anti-Semitism in the world. They can't do anything about other countries but Britain is another matter. I heard stories of Oswald Mosley's neo-Nazi thugs from my father, because they appeared in Cardiff too, but didn't know the full story of the Jewish rebellion to his fascist activities. Gideon told me about The 43 Group, and its founder Morris Beckman, describing his admiration for this group of men and women who had fought in the Second World War, knew the result of fascism, and were not willing to sit back and allow it to happen again. After his recounting of the story I found Morris Beckman's book about the 43 Group, no longer on the shelves, on Amazon and bought it for Gideon's birthday, only to find that the book I bought has a dedication in the hand of Beckman himself. The subject came up because on July 4th, a Shabbat, a fascist group intends demonstrating outside Golders Green station (Golders Green is a very Jewish area of London) and a large number of Jews and other morally bound Brits, intend to face these thugs off. Take note of the 43 Group, they brought down Oswald Mosely and they can bring down his modern-day emulaters. This video records the original events and this one the memories of those involved 

Last night we met up with wonderful friends Joyce and Fred Claar, visiting Jerusalem for their annual intellectual stimulation at the Hartman Institute. Both are very involved in Jewish Education. Over dinner I recounted the above story and Fred said that in modern day New York you suffer the same problems but too many people are so PC that they consider incitement to hatred (a crime) as freedom of speech. We should all read the Beckman book I bought mine from Pennine Books, and when my order was received they wrote to tell me how thrilled they are that people still buy the book - since they spent their lives fighting fascism.

Muhammad Zoabi is an Israeli Arab, and Israeli Moslem and most of all an Israeli. Last year Muhammad put a video on Facebook, on Israeli Independence Day, giving absolute support to the State of Israel. He received death threats and found safe haven in the home of Kay Wilson, who herself was the victim of a macabre machete attack while walking in the Jerusalem Hills. While recognising Muhammads bravery I wondered where it came from, after all he was barely 16 at the time. Well here it is. His Mother, Sarah, entered Israel's Master Chef and chose to speak out about the situation of Moslems in Israel - and surprised the world.

Last night, as we sat in the Sultan's Pool, beside the magnificent walls of the Old City of Jerusalem watching and wondering at the Israeli Opera production of L'elisir d'amore in that magical place, I noticed Zvi surreptitiously checking his cell-phone, not his usual behaviour at operas, even open-air ones. Why? Because HaPoel Jerusalem basketball team was in the national final!! It took place in the spanking new arena. HaPoel Jerusalem won!!! The National Champions kissed each and every one of the opposing team, Eilat, upon winning. When Mayor Nir Barkat held the cup high above his head, one of the journalists asked how Jerusalem was going to celebrate las tnight. "Not just tonight but all year" laughed the mayor.

So much has happened this week but I haven't time to tell you!! I will write on Sunday if I can. We are on our way to a friends 70th birthday party and I don't want to be late. So I will leave you with a few videos to bring in the Shabbat mood. This video of Jerusalem from a drone is gorgeous

Somehow the Mizrachi (Eastern Jews) religious songs have so much joy and I love this Lecha Dodi! Mizrachi Lecha Dodi

Hatikva - Hope. The world is looking grim - too near to the world of 1939. Hatikva at Auschwitz

I have to love you and leave you. I wish you a fine Shabbat filled with wonder and joy. Shabbat, day of Torah and Traditions, of family and prayer.
I ask you to pray for Ezra Dov ben Iska who is undergoing a heart transplant today. pray for him and his Reizele
Moshe ben Rachel, just because I love him and he is going through tough times. For him and his Devorah Leah.

We'll talk on Sunday about the dreadful situation with Iran, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and so on after Shabbat, after all it is a day of rest!

With love from my beloved Jerusalem and the magnificent view from our veranda.

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv

Thursday, 18 June 2015

150618 Baruch Ivcher, Denis MacEoin, Syrian Druze, London, Wales

18th June 2015
Shabbat Shalom from sunny London! Yes it is sunny! Not only is it sunny but I have had the best food in every restaurant and pub and of course my daughter in law cooks the yummiest meals. Pub food is always the best, fresh, sometimes simple but always delicious and sitting outside in the gardens with the gentle British sunshine is a special treat. I am not comparing anything with Jerusalem, just telling you that British food is terrific!
I travelled down to Wales to see my siblings and families. Wales, “How Green is my Valley” is the most evocative of Welsh stories because the green if the fields is so bright, the frequent rain creates its own miracles.
And so to news, we’ll get back to my trip later.

Denis MacEoin is a lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University in northern England, and an expert on Islam and Shari’a Law. Fluent in Persian and Arabic, he has a PhD in Persian/Islamic Studies from Cambridge University. Denis is also a strong proponent for Israel. He wrote this fascinating article concerning the dreadful situation in the worlds university campus’  The Upside-Down World of University Human Rights - Open Letter to the UK National Union of Students

I am deeply distressed, offended and angry at the desecration of the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes at Tabgha, President Reuven Rivlin with Father Gregory Collins, head of the Order of Saint Benedict in Israel. “I was shocked and saddened to learn this morning of the fire at the Church at Tabgha. Such terrible desecration of an ancient and holy place of prayer and an attack on the very fabric of life in our country, where people of different faiths seek to live together in harmony and mutual tolerance and respect.”  I sincerely hope that those responsible will serve many years in jail.

The current situation in Syria and the fact that the rebels are closing in on the Syrian Druze villages has aroused old fears in the hearts of Israel’s Druze community and the Israeli government has responded by preparing to absorb those fleeing their imminent death by Islamic rebels. Of course the Telegraph had to write that Israeli Druze and those on the occupied Golan Heights – afraid of a compliment to Israel are they? Even this apparently level headed report form India mentions it. As if every other country immediate gave back land won in war!!!!

I was involved in a rather hot discussion on Disqus concerning the Israeli cartoon mocking the foreign press coverage of Gaza. The incredibly racist comments about a short and funny, incredibly truthful little video were of course what I expected. It is quite acceptable to be racist if it is anti-Semitic! In fact, when fighting these comments, or journalists, don’t way anti-Semitic, call it what it is RACIST, RACIST not politically correct.

There is lots of good news too!
We have a friend, Israeli, who went to Peru and in addition to a bedding business, set up a radio station. Nothing special in that, however, Baruch Ivcher is no ordinary man and his story is not either. Baruch believes in free speech and despite the radio/ TV station being blown up and his life threatened when he revealed that both the President and the security services were involved in drugs and corruption he refused to hold his silence. Ivcher is so much more than a businessman, more than the owner of a TV station he is a fierce and determined fighter for free speech and the freedom of the little man. Baruch never lost his love for his homeland and this week Baruch and his wife Neomy dedicated the Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Centre. The plethora of dignitaries at the ceremony were well deserved, recognising his generosity and love for Israel.  Zvi was thrilled to be there and to cheer his old friend on.

A Swedish chain of supermarkets has backed out of an attempt to boycott Israeli goods, fighting back against a major newspaper campaign. The Israeli Ambassador to Sweden chose to fight back by stating it was wrong to pick on one country.,7340,L-4669991,00.html

Matan Ben-Canaan is a young Israeli artist and won a major award this week – from the BBC no less.

Israel hosted a plethora of major stars recently, wonderful performances, fantastic shows.  The most recent to announce a visit is Bon Jovi. Jon Bon Jovi  dismissed as utter lies reports in the western media that the group considered boycotting Israel, saying Israel is “the one place they want to play” and they “couldn’t care less about boycott calls”; The star is looking forward to their Tel Aviv concert.
American comedian Jay Leno returned to Israel and quipped “President Obama has declared the month of May Jewish American Heritage Month. He is calling it an opportunity to renew our ‘unbreakable bond with the nation of Israel.’ And he knows it’s unbreakable because he’s been trying to break it for the last several years.Well I thought it was quite funny!

Back to my trip. I came to be with family and have seen very few friends, and thoroughly enjoyed my time with family. Since I don’t have a car here those I see came to visit, except for my foray into Wales. This trip down memory lane was enhanced by our newest family member – Sebastian, son of Carly and James and grandson of my nephew Steven and Claire. Little Sebi is the fourth generation Welsh Silver and he really does us proud! Wales,Jews who were not seduced by the “Goldener Medina” (the Golden Country as America was dubbed) or the metropolis of London, came to Wales because of its similarity to their native Polish villages. They began selling household goods “on tick” (payments) and many built themselves up to big business so that their children could enter the professions. These small communities then died out with the fall of coal mining and moved to Cardiff, the Welsh Capital city which became the springboard to greatness for a surprising number and its innate Zionism meant that out of the 3,000 Welsh Jews 500 made Aliya to Israel.

Wales is known as the Land of Song and I couldn’t decide which song best portrayed that love but Rugby had to win. Just absorb the beauty of the Welsh Voices  of course it was just before a game where Wales beat England 30-3!!!!

Apart from Wales, my lovely cousin Lynne and Mike came up from Oxford, Valerie and Martin from Reading and the Ryde Family who used to be from Reading by now live nearby. It is always fun recounting the past and learning of the present and of course we did that, but I have to admit that my conversations with Stephen Ryde give me so much pleasure – I love Victor, Jacqueline and Gaynor too but Stephen is such an enthusiastic and passionate proponent for Israel, he makes me proud.

Tomorrow I will see my Jill, to hug her and remind her of the wonderful love she and Victor z”l shared.

Other than that, I am enjoying every single second with my children and grandchildren Sammy, Olivia and Zachary and relish their antics and excited stories of school, tennis and running club. Of course I am thrilled to realise time and time again what an excellent Barrister (no not Barista) my son Gideon is.

It is good to remember how good, delicious and healthy, food is in the UK although I am horrified at the cost of fruit and vegetables, although I found greater appreciation of the abundance of seasonal fruit at home. The trouble with this modern family, spread over the world, is that while  loving the ones I am with I always miss the ones who are not beside e. This week I won’t be collecting Yosef, Talia and Ayala from school nor will I get my freshly baked challah from Rachel, nor see the panorama from Nebe Samuel, however, tomorrow I will watch the children as we light candles, Gideon will sing the Kiddush and we will all break bread together as we say the blessing over the challah.Tradition eh?

Here the Kinderlech – Children, sing Shalom Aleichem to welcome the Shabbat.
Shema Yisrael from Micha’el Ben David

I want to wish my Moslem readers a blessed Ramadan, my Christian readers a blessed Sabbath and Jewish readers Shabbat Shalom.

I leave you with Bless This House by Welshman Harry Secombe – a fine man indeed. May your house be blessed
Shabbat Shalom

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv

Friday, 12 June 2015

150612 Orange CEO, Dersh on BDS, Kay Wilson TED, Tosca, London

12th June, 2015

Shabbat Shalom from London!! Yes I am in Blighty, land of my birth, to see my gorgeous grandchildren, children siblings and cousins with a dose of friends thrown in. No I don’t go to shows or do the  tourist things, I just immerse myself in the grandchildren.

We are all agree that BDS is idiotic, self-destructive and causes unemployment in the Palestinian Authority and the disputed territories but this week the sheer idiocy of those involved in BDS came to a high point, acme, apex, peak all together in one enormous act of stupidity!!! How? Well, California is in the middle of a horrific drought and Israel has offered the technology to prevent such droughts in the future. That’s good isn’t it? Well the California BDS people don’t think so – they want to ban Israel’s assistance!!! Oh dear, such ignorance, such foolish racism. \here’s the good news.

Professor Alan Dershowitz spoke beautifully concerning BDS

Professor Dershowitz also spoke about the American Supreme Court decision which stated that a child born in Jerusalem cannot claim his place of birth as Israel. Are they insane or inane – I haven’t decided. Ignorance is not likely, insanity is unlikely, so what is likely that any group of exerts I jurisprudence could come to such a decision – and more importantly, why should or did they?

There was a huge Brouhaha over the statements of Orange CEO Stephane Richard in Cairo. He claimed that what he said was that Orange, a major cell-phone company, was retracting from its concession companies, which include Switzerland and Israel, and everyone jumped on his words and his apparent singling out of the Israeli subsidiary Orange/Partner. Monsieur Richard then visited Israel to sort out the faux pas, which became a diplomatic incident causing Prime Minister Netanyahu to demand Richards castigation by the French Prime Minister. Indeed the positive aspect is that the unlikely alliance of Haim Saban (major shareholder in Partner) and Sheldon Adelson came together to fight any smell of BDS.

Kay Wilson is an exceptional person. She suffered a horrific machete attack, an attack in which her walking companion was slaughtered, and lived to tell the tale with incredible humour. Her TED talk is entitled “Step By Step: The Idiot’s Guide To Surviving A Machete Attack” Kay endorses Kinneret Chayas statement that she is not a victim, she is a SURVIVOR

If you are either confused or fuming about the case in the USA of the Belz Hassidim banning women from driving  then read this excellent explanation (?) by my friend Jeremy Rosen. Jeremy also reminded me of a famous quote, which he certainly got  right and I simply approximate, “ Countries don’t have loyalties, countries have interests” It is undoubtedly true, however, (hey this is me so there is always another hand) I cannot see how the interests of the great United States could be enhanced by an alliance with Iran. It has been said that the American President would  prefer to have Iran on our side than against us. What? I fail to comprehend a policy that romances the loyalty of countries that burn ones flag and swear to ones destruction! Surely Americans natural allies in this region are Israel, Jordan and Egypt. Am I being unreasonable? I understand that the Allies prefer to allow the foul and detestable President Assad to continue slaughtering his people rather than the Islamic Rebels (as opposed to the good rebels) who, if they defeat Assad would wreak unimaginable havoc in the region.

I cannot forget the words of King Hussein, that if the West causes the fall of Saddam Hussein it will open the Pandoras Box of radical Islam. At the time it was al Qaeeda, now Al Qaeeda seems almost tractable and submissive in comparison to the horrors of ISIS and others of that ilk. King Hussein was right and now his son is fighting for his reign, his only ally being Israel.

I am thrilled to tell you that Roger Waters is feeling very upset and disappointed. The stars visiting and holding concerts in Israel is increasing, escalating, nay proliferating!!!! Art Garfunkle was there this week and every week someone else comes and has a ball to the delight of their Israeli audience. The latest to announce a future concert is Jon Bon Jovi, who I love
That announcement was closely followed by Pharrell Williams - Happy!!!!  This video is the very best version – the very, very best!!!

The week began with a delightful Friday night dinner at our home with Julio and Monika Jarak and their lovely friends. You are already familiar with our traditional Shabbat Dinners and they loved it. By the way, Zvi did sing Eshet Chayil, gosh it is such a beautiful prayer and blessing and since I told you I wanted him to sing it he had no option!!! During Shabbat we had a lovely visit with Zvi’s cousin Elizabeth and friend Sylvia who were on a Mediterranean cruise and came with an entire shipload of passengers on a day trip to Jerusalem. I found it fascinating and while Zvi spoke Spanish with Elizabeth and Sylvia I spoke with an Australian at our table, originally from Germany. He knew quite a lot but had a thousand questions which I was thrilled to answer. He understood the full horror of the rhetoric and propaganda against Israel, perpetrated by the PA and executed by the media, when I explained that the PA uses the methods of Goebbels. Oh yes he understood.

Saturday night we set off with Amir, our lovely driver, to Massada. Julio, Monika and friends, and us in a very comfortable mini-bus. Why Massada? Because we were on our way to the annual opera festival at the foot of Massada.This year it was Tosca, not my favourite but somehow, sitting in that historic and exquisite site, surrounded by so many places mentioned in the Bible, everything is wonderful
We were thrilled to see many of our beloved Tel Aviv friends at the pre-show reception, and as we sat down in our seats I looked up and the view took my breath away. Above the gorgeous stage set, Massada stood, lit from underneath with an eerie wash of light, a constant reminder that we have always been persecuted, have always fought back and all those great empires that sought our destruction are long gone.

I then packed my bags to leave for London. Please, do not be cross if I don’t call. I immerse myself in the children and my family. I will see everyone I can and will try to call but – hey – see you in Jerusalem!!!! I will go to Cardiff to see my loved ones but other than that I just enjoy holding and loving my children. I admit to making an exception for Yaffa Glass – my lovely Israeli friend who lives in the UK but has her heart in Israel, and we met for a quick hug and breakfast at a great Kosher Canteen restaurant in Brent Cross.

Rachel, my wonderful daughter, told me a story that I love, and insisted I put it in the Shabbat Shalom letter! Her local supermarket has a “special Tuesday” on vegetables and several basic goods. A whole selection of fruits and veg at 1.90 shekels a kilo (that’s about 50 cents for 2.2 lbs of produce). People come from afar for this bargain, especially from Ramallah!!! So, friends, next time you are shown pictures of bedraggled Palestinians standing in lone to cross into Israel, remember that scene of Palestinians from the PA merrily coming to do their shopping in Israel – not just in Israel – in a settlement on the occupied West Bank!!!! Now that’s the truth!!!

My wonderful daughter-in-law Stephanie and I have finished cooking for Shabbat, the table is set and the expectation of a beautiful Shabbat with the children is building. I can’t wait to see their faces as they light the Shabbat candles together with their Mummy and Safta (me). As I always say, traditions, traditions. It’s what keep us together.

For a change I want to give you two songs from the same show, Tradition and the beautiful May the Lord Bless you and Keep you from Fiddler on the Roof, because after all, in the final analysis, there is no other hand.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. With love from sunny London

Friday, 5 June 2015

150605 Blair NGO, Orange-Israel, Farhud,

5th June 2015

Shabbat Shalom everyone! How are you this fine Spring day? Are you depressed by the media news or busily finding answers? As my wonderful husband always says "If you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem" 

Before we get to the news I want to tell you that this week I met several people who decided to be part of the solution. The lovely Stephen Ryde, about whom you will hear more later; Ashley Perry; Chantal and Marc Belzberg of One Family; Lena Shtern of the Yuri Shtern Foundation; Chen Mor - a young man preparing to change the world; indeed so many good people along the way. There is a wonderful Israel song about good people that you meet on the street - you just have to recognise and learn from them!

The Orange cellphone company's French CEO, Stephane Richard, visited Egypt and instead of telling his audience that Orange is stepping back from several countries that franchised the Orange name, including Switzerland, chose to make a thoroughly populist point that he was withdrawing from Israel, specifically, as soon as legalities allowed. 

There are those who recognise the desperate need for an NGO which deals with Anti-Semitism and racism in Europe. Actually it is need in the Americas too but in the meantime Former PM Tony Blair, who left his post with the Quartet, has been appointed head of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR), a Brussels-based organization that fights against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. 
"It is with great pleasure that I take on the honorary role of Chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation," Blair said in a statement on Thursday. "The work they are doing is crucial, because despite our best efforts to build a consensus around tolerance in Europe, we still see injustice, discrimination and hideous acts of violence on the continent." Actually every time I here of more anti-Semitic incidents I think of Tom Lehrer

Israelis were saddened to hear of the tragic death of Vice-President Joe Biden's son Beau on Saturday after battling brain cancer, the vice president said. I pray that his family will find the strength to find a place for their grief and that they be consoled among the mourners of Zion. Zvi and I spent a week in Israel with the VP and found him to be a fine, warm and very pro-Israel man.

Sunday saw 30,000 people having fun in Manhattan at the Celebrate Israel Parade. Mayor Bill de Blasio prepared for his August visit to Israel by dancing and holding hands  with Habadniks to the sound of "Hevenu Shalom Aleichem"  the most popular of Israeli songs.

Egypt shut down Al Jazeera after they aired an interview with a. Egypt sent in troops to deal with the Sinai Bedouin. Egypt closed passage from Gaza. Egypt razed homes to create a buffer zone. Egypt.......not Israel!

By the way, Hainan Airlines, the private Chinese Airline, will fly directly to Ben Gurion Airport three times a week. Apparently China yet again shows that they are on the way to being world leaders to fill the void.

The Farhud, the Mufti inspired Krystallnacht in Iraq, 1941
The entire Jewish world has heard of Krystallnacht. Yet very few have even heard of the Farhud, where Nazi sympathizers in Baghdad, killed, maimed and committed numerous atrocities aginst the Jewish population on the two days of Shabu'oth in 1941. 
Remember the Farhud: the Farhud was the Holocaust-era massacre committed by Arab nationalists, done in coordination with the Nazis. The Farhud took place June 1-2 1941 in Baghdad when hundreds of innocent Jews were murdered, thousands more were brutalized, and Jewish property was pillaged on the holiday of Shavuot. Palestinian Arab leaders, including the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, were central instigators of the violence in Baghdad. The Farhud was one step in the process that resulted in the forced exodus of 850,000 to 900,000 Jewish refugees from centuries of peaceful existence in Arab countries.

Terror. The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes it thus:  a very strong feeling of fear; something that causes very strong feelings of fear : something that is terrifying; violence that is committed by a person, group, or government in order to frighten people and achieve a political goal
Terror is not necessarily a single gigantic act of horrific terror such as bombings of 9/11, 7/7, Boston, Bali or Jerusalem, it can be a "Trickle" of rockets flying over the heads of small children who never know when they can sleep a full night. Yes, Hamas denies the "trickle" of rockets over the South of Israel, but the children are terrified to say nothing of the adults.

Terror can also be the fear that ones children will not come home. In most places one fears paedophiles, lunatics etc, here we fear young people inculcated with hatred. It is a year since Gil-Ad, Naftali and Eyal were kidnapped and murdered as they waited by a "trampiada" a hitch hiking point near their homes. Their devastated parents did not scream and shout words of vengeance and hatred, they gathered their incredible strength and spoke of tolerance and love.

This week, we were invited by the wonderful Yehudit Zvidetsky, of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkats Office, to an event to commemorate the 3 boys, not with sadness but with joy, in the gardens of the Presidents House. Mayor Nir Barkat spoke beautifully of the courage of the parents and the acts of unity, of togetherness of tolerance by the prize winners.

President Rivlin, who carefully went to each family to give a word of love and support told the story of someone arriving at the Pearly Gates. He was shown both heaven and hell. Hell showed an incredible feast set on a laden table but they were given long spoons, far too long to get the food to their mouths and they were gaunt and scraggy from hunger. In heaven he saw the same scene exactly, but the diners were rotund and happy. "I don't understand, what is the difference"? "The difference is that those who came to heaven understood that they could feed each other".

Jeb Bush has announced that the first act, should he be elected President, would be to move the United States Embassy to Jerusalem. Food for thought.

I love the Maccabi World Union Family!! They were here for the Maccabi World Union Congress, in preparation for the 2017 Maccabiah Games. I sometimes wonder if you recognise the impact of the Maccabiah, if anyone does. So much more than sport, it is, for many young people, their first contact with Jewish Pride, Israel, coming together in unity and competition, meeting young Jews from all over the world in a thoroughly positive manner. The current MWU President, Leo-Dan Bensky, promotes this cause with pride and love, Israel always in his heart. Mayor Nir Barkat proudly stated that the 2017 Maccabiah Games will be held predominantly in Jerusalem, the Capital of the State of Israel. Bravo Leo-Dan.

On Monday night my son in law Igal got tickets for the show of the season and I went with my daughter Rachel, Yosef, Talia and Ayala to hear Yaacov Shwekey! The Payis Arena was filled with 7,000 happy, clapping, singing, dancing people, enjoying the incredible showmanship of Shwekey. It was so much fun!! I love his version of Vehi Sheamda 

Tuesday morning was a special treat. I love Gloria Goldstein, of Sydney, but despite spending most of our time in the same country we rarely manage to meet! We always have so much to say and I love her amazing up-beat personality. After talking about all our mutual friends, Israeli politics, world politics, our various and varied aches and pains and of our mutual concern for Michael, Col's son who is recovering from a dreadful motorcycle accident, we spoke of Col, Gloria's wonderful late husband, since we met on the anniversary of his death.
Wednesday I walked down memory lane! Jaqui and Victor Ryde used to live in Reading with their 3 children. Every time our group of friends came to our home I remember Victor being glued to his long-wave transistor radio, listening each hour to Kol Yisrael news in English. Their devotion to Israel now plays out in the exceptional work of their son Stephen, who is untiring in his writings in defence of Israel, supported by his lovely wife Gaynor. I loved every moment of the Rydes visit and when they asked to go to lunch at the Botanical Gardens life was complete!! While there we met Ashley Perry and decided to solve the problems of the world together with Stephen!!!
In the meantime Nelson, Olga and Aron Hariton came to stay with us. Aron has made Aliya, is currently learning Hebrew and is awaiting his entry into the IDF. I loved Nelson and Olgas enthusiasm at everything they saw and Arons pride in showing them"his" Israel.

My favourite FB quote of the week came from the adorable Kasim Hafeez, Kaz. Kaz works hard and fast to support Israel on highly antipathetic campuses around the USA. He wrote - The hilarious moment when you're in Starbucks and a group of guys talk about the Israeli glad stickers on your laptop in Urdu and how they feel like breaking it. Then the shock and broken English apologies and hasty exit without ordering, when you say in Urdu, 'If you want to try and break my laptop because of the Israeli flag, come and try, but I promise you, not one of you will be walking out on your own 2 feet.'

So that was another week in the lives of the Raviv family! Tonight we will spend our Shabbat dinner with Julio and Monika Jarak and family from Argentina. We will begin with Zvi's kiddush, the breaking of bread (my daughter Rachel's homemade challah) and then if he is in a good mood Zvi will sing Eshet Chayil

Since you get cross if I don't tell you what I cooked up - a multitude of Israeli salads, pumpkin and sweet potato soup, Chicken Paprika, home-made chicken breast pastrami, stuffed vegetables, carrots in maple syrup followed by............ that will be decided once I have finished this missive and seen my grandchildren!!!!

We always begin our Shabbat meal with Shalom Aleichem, the hauntingly beautiful melody to welcome Shabbat. Zvi and I have a young friend called Sasha who is the love of Adi, the musical director of Zvi's choir among other things. Sasha is a highly talented young violinist and I adore her rendition.

I leave you with a beautiful letter, written by a member of Zvi's family, Alan Verbitzky. Alan and his family hail from Mexico City and Alan is about to make Aliya. I saw the responses to his announcement on Facebook, one suggesting he was brave to do so. Alan isn't brave, he is clever to make Aliya!!!  Mazal Tov Alan, Welcome to our midst. Life is looking so hopeful, so fulfilling, you are a young man who knows exactly who he is.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. As I sit and look out over our veranda at the city I love most. Next week I will write to you from London, where I will be filled with news of my grandchildren! I will not have time to travel around and see people, I will be too involved in loving them. I will go to Cardiff to be with my siblings but other than that will not move. 

I will miss this view, albeit for a limited period, and of course my husband, my Zvi, and my Israeli family. However, next Friday I will hear Gideons rendition of Kiddush, eat Stephanies challot and enjoy a whole new generation to continue the traditions.

With love for a beautiful Shabbat

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv

Friday, 29 May 2015

150529 FIFA, Morocco Judo, Amnesty Gaza, Jerusalem Hug, Shevuot

29th May, 2015

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I will try to keep this missive short but so many things have happened that it is hard to put them all in one paragraph!!

Jibril Rejub, terrorist and representative of the PA, has put forward a motion to bar Israel from FIFA the international Football Association. The corruption and bribery which has tainted FIFA and brought them to the long arm of the law has caused them to allow the Palestinian Authority, not even a country, to bring charges against Israel. They clearly didn't watch this wonderful video – One World, One Ball  It is worth noting that the first Palestinian team to play in FIFA was against the Australians in 1939, under the British Mandate and they were all Jews!!!!

The Israeli Judo team arrived in Morocco for an official world Judo match to be harassed and bullied by Moroccan authorities at the airport. "We will murder you" and "you're not wanted here, go home" are just some of the chants which were directed at the members of Israel's judo team over the weekend, while they competed at the World Masters competition in Rabat, Morocco.,7340,L-4660900,00.html
Sport, my foot sport.

By the way, all those ignoramus' who shout "Free free Palestine" should read Amnesty Internationals latest report on Hamas torture and killing of Gazans!!!

To bring this saga to its weekly end, Israel, yes Israel, which saves lives of injured Syrians (to say nothing of Palestinians)  every single day has been accused of the United Nations Human Rights Commission as being the worst violator of Human Rights in the world!!!!!! Perhaps this will make everybody realise the inanity of that organization – as if they didn't already know yet allow it to continue.

For those of you who believe the hatred cannot happen in your universities/towns/ cities/ countries…. Just watch this

If you want to know how, just watch this movie, get your children and grandchildren to watch it – take it to your synagogue or church to understand The Wave

President Obama reiterated his intense love for Israel and quoted his long time admiration for Golda Meir. Someone should tell him that Golda was much further right than One of Mrs Meir's most famous statements was her assertion that there was never any such thing as a Palestinian.

There is a beautiful event called the Jerusalem Hug, where Jews, Arabs, Moslems, Christians all get together and……. Hug!!! For eight years it worked, this year a gang of Arab youth decided to beat up the participants!!

I keep telling you about IsraAID  and love this video explaining how they utiilise simple tools when working in remote areas. It typifies their work, dedication and brilliance

May 24-25th 1991, Operation Solomon, the incredibly complex, covert operation to bring the second Ethiopian Aliya home, home to Jerusalem. This video brought me to tears, as I know it will you, as we celebrate 25 years of the biggest humanitarian operation in history.

This was a mixed week. Zvi was feeling really bad with terrible neck and head pain (on the way to being better but really bad) so we didn't move from home. No let me change that, Zvi and I both felt terrific when we walked into the Jerusalem Forest  to meet the grandchildren for Shevuot, but what we thought was a short walk turned into a very long trek across difficult terrain in inappropriate shoes, which may have contributed or certainly exacerbated the neck situation!!!!!

The grandchildren loved it, thought it was great fun and they enjoyed the Israeli Shevuot tradition of being in the country and feeling nature….. We saw natural springs, wild quince trees, flowers, bright yellow butterflies, enormous pine cones  falling from old fir trees and the tiny trees the miracle of nature produced. We met all sorts of people, out enjoying nature on the spring harvest festival, a celebratory festival of harvest, the end of mourning and our receipt of the Torah.

Since Zvi felt really bad our plans for the rest of the week changed and instead of going out with friends we invited them home. Lidia and Mauricio Epplebaum (Mexico and Los Angeles) came over for supper and a lovely chat as Lidia and Zvi went back to the days they were at school together. We sat out on the veranda, eating supper while watching to world go by from our veranda. The funniest part is that I spoke to their guide Miri and it turns out her Mother was Welsh – from Bryn Mawr (the original one not the American copy!!!!)

Our next visitors were regulars! Anita and Robert Simons come to Israel all the way from Australia, twice or three times a year, and dinner together is an essential!! I love them so much and Anita is a very special lady, a VERY special lady. After our meal Anita and I sat on the veranda, drinking the herb tea from my own little herb garden, mint (nana), Melissa, lemon grass and a touch of sage. We spoke of past and future and about the breathtaking view over South Jerusalem.

The weather has been foul, not foul in British terms, rainy and cloudy, but in Israeli terms. 40 degrees Celsius in Jerusalem is rare and most unpleasant, the air filled with Saharan sand and dust, but even so we thank Heaven we don't live in Tel Aviv or Petah Tikva where it reach 44 degrees with high humidity!!!!

Zvi has gone to his parliament. I wish I could be a fly on the wall today. Since most of the members are journalists they tend to be exceptionally opinionated and express their opinions as if it were the absolute truth. When will journalists, indeed the media, understand that they are supposed to report the facts not be creative?

Today I am not going to Givat Zeev, although I already miss the children to say nothing of my daughter!!! Tonight Zvi and I are alone, peace and quiet, I can light the candles and see Jerusalem before me, then tomorrow Zvi's boys are coming for what I used to call Shabbes afternoon tea. Thanks to my wonderful daughters recipe I will make Kurdish Cheese Kadeh, tuna and sweet potato patties, Welsh Fish balls, a quiche and the usual plethora of salads. Isn't it strange how the site changes but the afternoon tea doesn't – although I admit I never made Kadeh in Britain!!!

I wish you Shabbat Shalom. I wish you good health and love. I want to mention two special friends just now, Bernardo and Victor – get well, we need you home soon!!

To honour the journey from Ethiopia to Jerusalem, The Sheba Choir and Shlomo Gronich sing Ha Masa, The Journey

With love from Jerusalem – our Jerusalem -

I love you, each and every one of you. I love to hear from you too, just to know that you love me back!!!
Shabbat Shalom

Friday, 22 May 2015

150522 Jerusalem Day, Ethiopian Day, ICEJ, IsraAid, Palmyra, Syria

22nd May, 2015
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope you are all well and that the week was kind to you.

A friend sent me a quote. It took me a moment to really absorb it, and accept its truth. The quote is from the movie Exodus. Ari ben Canaan: "Jewish flesh is cheap, lady. It's cheaper than beef. It's cheaper even than herring." I have no doubt it is still relevant but these days it includes Christians. The media seems to care not a jot when the victims of horrific slaughter and oppression are Christians or Jews............ and I don't understand it.

Thousands are dying, literally thousands, in so many areas of the world it is terrifying; oppression is rife; racism is innate; war and poverty unbearable yet the media still seems to spend 90% of its time villifying Israel!!! Unfairly? Well, another quote this week was "0.1% of the worlds population yet 30% of doctors who rushed to give aid and sustenance to Nepal" Makes you think eh?

I have often thought about why they villify us, why politicians spend most of their time and energy finding "solutions" to our situation rather than their own. Well truthfully, none of them can solve their own, or any of the other situations in the world but they can tell us what to do and the media can report on every apparent infringement and their reporters are still allowed to report without either banning or decapitation. 

Jerusalem Day was a joyous occasion in Jerusalem. Flags, song, parades and......... stone throwing. Can you imagine if a specific group of French Moslems threw stones at the celebration of Bastille Day? or at the singing of the Welsh National Anthem at a Rugby match? Or at Thanksgiving, or Australia Day? That is the equivalent and do not be fooled.

Jerusalem coincided with the Memorial for Ethiopian Jews who perished on their perilous journey from dire oppression in Ethiopia. President Rivlin spoke at the Memorial "Just as it happens in the transition between Memorial Day and Independence Day, here too we find the interlocking symbolism of infinite sadness and joy mixed together. For thousands of years Ethiopian Jews lived with the concept of Jerusalem, Yerus-Alam, in their hearts, eager to immigrate to Israel, yearning to be in Zion from a distance. In the early '80s, and not for the first time, Ethiopian Jews marched for months under the scorching sun and the darkness of the night toward Jerusalem. They walked without much sleep, without food, hundreds of miles away. More than 4,000 died on the way. The immigration story of Ethiopian Jews to Israel is a story about faith and hope, about the determined Ethiopian Jewish leaders who were courageous and did not give up."

Our Jerusalem Day was special, very special. We went, with our friends Nancy and Harry Bloomfield and Sheila Zucker, to the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. Among the Founders of the Embassy were the Van der Hoeven family, Malcolm Hedding who came for the ICEJ conference, and our Israeli friends Tim and Martha King. So many others, the Director Juergen Buehler, David Parsons, Beverley Dwyer, Mike Evans (both senior and Junior), Shaya Ben Yehuda, Rabbi David Rosen and too many friends to dare continue!!!! Their building exquisite, their purpose pure and their joy at the reunification of Jerusalem expresses their understanding, both Biblical and historical. The Embassy was created when a few amazing people understood that the world was abandoning Jerusalem - moving their Embassies to Tel Aviv - and decided to build and Embassy for those who recognise that Israel is a democracy and Jerusalem her Capital City. Proudly Christian, never proselytising, the ICEJ is a sign of hope in a sea of despair.

I decided to check, how many situations whereby Embassies were not in Capital Cities. Maybe Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Korea, indeed any country however tyrannical,  but none, no a one, only Jerusalem. What does that tell us? Is it the enormous financial influence of Arab countries? It can't be a moral issue because, hey, Jerusalem is the capital of a highly moral and generous country; What can it be? It is total lack of understanding of the Middle East, diplomatic and political convenience, bowing down to immoral pressure,  mixed with that little quote from Ari Ben Canaan.

I found a fascinating link showing percentages of each religion, throughout the world, region by region, both today and predictions until 2050

ISIS is not on the retreat, far from it. The Syrian city of Palmyra, world heritage site, has been overtaken. ISIS immediately began doing what they know to do, destroying history. Indeed Assad has his escape plan in place. The moment has passed by which we could have stopped them, their evil is rife, burning like wildfire through the Near and Middle East, and quietly growing throughout YOUR country in order to emerge when the moment is ripe. No, dear wonderful people, I am not exaggerating. I wish I were.  Weak world leadership, inept military action, unfinished wars, political correctness all play their part and have done since 9/11, London's 7/7 or any of hundreds of diabolical terror attacks around the world. Back to Palmyra and President Assad - as terrible a man, he is an angel compared to those who would take his place.

The growing evil is endorsed by the UN and by the apathy of the worlds leaders. For example - this is the latest offering of the UN 
GENEVA, May 20, 2015 - As Israeli hospitals continue their life-saving treatment for escalating numbers of wounded Syrians fleeing to the Golan from the Assad regime’s barbaric attacks, the U.N. reached new heights of absurdity today by accusing Israel of violating the health rights of Syrians in the Golan. By a vote of 104 to 4, with 6 abstentions and 65 absent, the Jewish state was singled out as the world’s top violator of health rights by the annual assembly of the U.N.’s World Health Organization.

President Obama rejects the "rubber stamping"of policies on Israel. Why? "Because he cares so deeply"  What? He cares so deeply about the "settlements". The settlements? I do not believe all the stories of the President being anti-Israel but this is ludicrous. The entire region (except for Israel) is seething bed of hatred and killing and a few Jews in settlements are what is bothering the administration?

Jill, Zvi and I were in Tel Aviv for Shabbat with Amiad and Noga. We played with the children in the park then walked to see Paul and Vivien Zimmet at the Hilton. Paul and Vivien were here for the  Tel Aviv University meetings. Deirdre and Keith Beville were there but we missed them which is OK since they came to stay on Tuesday!! Dr Eli Fischer founder of the excellent skin products aptly called Dr Fischer, was there too with his friend  Edna Heruti stood to have their portraits taken to send to Yitzik Lev - an essential member of their Friday Parliament!!!!

Jill left, Deidre and Keith Beville came to stay overnight (yes I did wash the sheets in between!). It was so much fun, talking to them in our home having lunch watching the view from our veranda and finally finding out who they are besides Jewish Agency and Keren Haysod meetings! It was great fun discovering what amazing people they are. Dinner in Zion ha Gadol and the next day they went to Mahane Yehuda and fell in love with its cacophony and bustling activity as we do.

Wow, I don't know where to start but this morning I had a meeting. I am still flying high! It was the first time I had ever met with Shachar Zahavi, the driving force behind IsraAid. We have been emailing since Haiti but never actually met. Shachar drove from the North with his lovely wife Rachel and we met at the Bloomfields Jerusalem home with a view to challenge ours.  Shachar told of how he and a few friends recognised the need for "on the ground help" in disaster stricken areas. It is irrelevant whether it is in Haiti, Ruanda, Phillipines, Iraq, Syria or New Jersey, IsraAid not only arrives, IsraAid stays. Experts in every field teach the locals to manage the post disaster situations so that they can not only get on their feet but rebuild in a logical and efficient manner - from physical buildings to psychological aid. I was so deeply impressed and watched as Nancy absorbed every word and Harry began questioning, doubting and ended the meeting recognising that this young man had the support of the USA and UK government which asked IsraAid to teach others to work the same way, UNICEF which works closely with IsraAid.......... their work is truly Tikkun Olam. I especially like what the Denver Federation did. They could not physically help with the floods but instead, to ensure that everyone knew who helped they put up huge posters .  WHO OTHER THAN ISRAEL HELPED DENVER As Shachar said "Wherever we go they love Israel"

So that's that! Food is ready, we now have both Shabbat and Shevuot. I don't want to overload you so I am going to use the wonderful services of my dear friend Rabbi Jeremy Rosen Shevuot, festival of Torah, study and whiteness to emphasise the purity after being given the 10 Commandments. Shevuot, Pentecost, let's celebrate together, not only with cheesecake but in prayer that the Judeo-Christian traditions be upheld.

I didn't get the children today, I went straight from Harry and Nancy's to Givat Zeev just as they came home from school. Each child has a task before Shabbat and my incredible daughter Rachel had created a veritable feast. Coming home past the panorama from Samuels Tomb I was once again reminded of our ancient past here on this land. Despite so many exiles and enslavement we are here, we are back and have no intention of going anywhere.

This video isn't exactly a song but it a beautiful explanation of Shevuot

Lecha Dodi is the traditional Friday night synagogue song. I am not a fan of modern versions (sorry) but this is really beautiful. The Maccabeats Lecha Dodi to the tune of Leonard Cohens Halleluya

Finally, the exquisite voice of Lt Col Shai Abrhamson, the Cantor of the IDF singing Avinu Malkeinu sh'b'Shamayim, Father our King who is in Heaven, take care of this land, this land of ours.

I wish you a beautiful Shabbat, I pray that it is filled with love and joy and that you are strong and able to cope with whatever life throws at you.
With all our love from Jerusalem, Capital of the State of Israel, ancient capital of the Jewish people.Shabbat Shalom - Chag Shevuot Sameach

Two gems to end with!!!!!
Hatikva in French - absolutely wonderful
Found this incredible El Al Ad.......

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv