Wednesday, 15 October 2014

141015 Chag Sameach Happy Tabernacles!

141015
15th October 2014

I don't quite know which Chag to bless and what is happening when and how!!! I could just say Chag Sameach and cover the lot but then tradition tells us to say Moadim le Simcha - Happy News (or something close) and in Israel we celebrate just about all of the upcoming festivals in one fell swoop whereas in the Diaspora it is three quite separate issues. Gosh this is hard!!! In principle and most importantly tonight Jews all over the world will dance around the synagogue in groups, in a very specific fashion, carrying a Torah scroll on their shoulder until the next group gets "called up". Why? In celebration, in delight, in joy at completing the reading of the Torah (Deuteronomy) and then starting at the beginning (Genesis) again. Each week the portion of the Torah is read until another year will pass. Why? TRADITION!!! We are a people that loves a reason to celebrate and since this is virtually the only festival that is simply celebratory rather than relief of survival over adversity it is all the sweeter. Oh and talking of sweets, they will fly through the air as delighted children scrabble on the floor to collect their booty, barely believing their fortune at being allowed to eat as many as they want!!!  http://judaism.about.com/od/holidays/a/whatissimchattorah.htm  

A few weeks ago a new campaign started here in Israel to lower the cost of food, housing and services. Unlike the previous campaign of cottage cheese this one involves an over-sweet chocolate dessert called Milky. What struck me as sinister about this particular campaign is that comparisons were made with costs in Berlin and it joined with a campaign to get young Israelis to move to Berlin with many enticements from the German government. It horrifies me. MK Yair Shamir expressed my feelings entirely    http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/I-pity-those-who-no-longer-remember-the-Holocaust-and-abandon-Israel-for-a-pudding-378713

Any bad feelings I had, any insecurities were cast aside as Zvi and I walked into the VIP reception hall of the new Pais Arena for the spectacular evening of the Annual Tabernacles week organised by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. Director Jurgen Buehler greeted his guests and Zvi and I found ourselves surrounded by friends. Tim King, Jay and Meridel Rawlings, Malcolm Hedding (all founding members of the ICEJ) and Jay and Meridels son David. Then over my shoulder I saw Earl Cox - to our absolute delight! I love Earl and cherish the times we worked together to found his and Kathleens international media campaign to help Christians understand Israel. I was also thrilled to meet Susan Michael who is a recipient of these missives for some years now and promised she would be "looking for you" at the event. I don't have words to describe the sheer joy of walking into the auditorium and seeing 5,000 Christians from all over the world who came for this festival of Tabernacles, under the auspices of the ICEJ, to tell us they love Israel. Their words, love and prayers were so strong they were tangible. Also Beverley Dwyer, the incredible PA to Jurgen Buehler did a phenomenal job on the spectacular show. 

Our wonderful friend Canon Andrew White had spoken at so many events that he did not come to the Arena that night but I will get my hug soon. Andrew is not going back to his beloved Baghdad, it has become too dangerous even for him and the Archbishop of Canterbury has asked him not to go.

President Rivlin expressed his delight at the event and Ron Lauder also spoke out saying  Israel allows itself to be defined by her enemies http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Lauder-to-Post-Israel-is-being-defined-by-its-enemies-378780

Mr Lauder spoke out to rousing applause saying how the World Jewish Congress has taken on the support for and publicity about the plight of Christians in Moslem countries. Bravo Mr Lauder - at last someone is speaking out.

The Temple Mount is not holy to the Jews they should not be allowed to go to this deeply holy site. The mere presence of Jews is a profanity, so believes MK Taleb Abu Arar when he spoke to a Jewish activist on Friday http://www.timesofisrael.com/arab-mk-temple-mount-not-holy-to-jews/#ixzz3GDAvgV7L 

The UK Labour Party and its leader Ed Milliband put a one line whip on the vote to recognise the Palestinian State. I was most distressed by Jack Straw and the odious Gerald Kaufman who are out and out anti-Semites despite Kaufmans Jewish ancestry. I happen to know that there are very good people trying to combat the out and out anti-Israel feeling and Prime Minister Cameron has assured us that it does not have any bearing on the UK's alliance with Israel. Please listen to this excellent debate on Voice of Israel. Am so proud of my friend Danny Seaman on this one - indeed on every one.  https://soundcloud.com/voiceofisrael/live5-oct14-2014?in=voiceofisrael/sets/voi-oct-14-2014&utm_source=ZohoCampaigns&utm_campaign=Oct+15+Newsletter+%3A+Beta+2014_2014-10-14_1&utm_medium=email

Ban Ki Moon toured the Gaza Strip, the tunnels and the Southern Israeli towns and villages yesterday. The media only reported his statements on the destruction in Gaza but in fact he said far more. When he went into the tunnels and was horrified at their construction and sympathised with the Israeli children who were bombarded. 
Making clear his position on Hamas’s actions, Ban commented, “I have condemned time and time again Hamas’s rocket attacks and their use of tunnels. It is not acceptable. Nobody should live in constant fear and under the threat of rockets and tunnels.” http://www.bicom.org.uk/news-article/22692/

The real ethnic cleansing of the Middle East: From 1948-1978, over 850,000 Jews were expelled from their homes in Arab countries throughout the Middle East. Learn more about Jewish Refugees of the Middle East:  https://www.standwithus.com/booklets/JRME_US/

OK. I know that our prayers are usually answered but this time the Almighty used his natural ESP to give us an absolute downpour prior to our prayers!!!! It already happened in Tel Aviv and is expected in Jerusalem any time which of course means flooding in the Negev!! It fascinates me that King George Street is the divider between the rainwater that goes south to the Dead Sea and Negev and the rainwater that goes to the sea. You don't feel anything when you are standing there but apparently it is true!!!

Talking of rain - in Hebrew Geshem - I had to give you one of my very favourite songs by Israeli superstar Eli Luzon. You can even sing along because it has transliteration and translation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8HlStOESOU

Tonight is Simchat Torah but there are two kinds of Simchas. One is the Simcha or joy when a new Sefer Torah is given to a synagogue to celebrate a wedding, bar-mitzva or birth. That can be on any day of the week and is a festive affair https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JO4qWWR6jyM the other is the festival of Simchat Torah. In Jerusalem there are two days of celebration called Hakafot (circles with the Torah) ha Shniya (second), more religious in the Rav Kook Yeshiva but just as joyous!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1JaPimwLQo

I wish you a joyous Simchat Torah and a blessed Tabernacles Festival.
With love from Jerusalem, our city of Gold, heart of our hearts.
Sheila



-- 
If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv
Involvement   http://www.impact-se.org/   http://www.yurishtern.org.il/eng/content.php?id=17

Friday, 10 October 2014

Shabbat Shalom and Succot Sameach from Sheila in Jerusalem

141010
10th October 2014

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Succot Sameach

I was going to write all about Succot but decided it was pointless when it has already been written beautifully by Rabbi Jeremy Rosen. http://jeremyrosen.blogspot.co.il/

Another person who says things much better than I with perhaps a lot more courage and zeal is the feisty Pat Condell who hits the nail on the Middle Eastern head again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6jiNMg1PAk

My amazing husband Zvi Raviv was interviewed on the excellent radio station Voice of Israel (www.voiceofisrael.com) by Judy Lash Balint. He spoke about his experiences of the Yom Kippur War and you can hear him too! Just click on the link 

Before talking about Succot I want to tell you about a friend of Zvi's. His name is Philip Bloom but he is much more famous as Rami Salami, the clown. Philip is a long time volunteer for Israel in many capacities but right now he is performing in front of audiences big and small for children in the South of Israel. Philip began a campaign to help traumatised children who have suffered years of bombardment from Gaza - it is called Beanie Babies Buba. You can see his work on Facebook - befriend him - and also if you wish to send beanie babies contact Philip's campaign Project #BeanieBabyBubas 

It is a while since I wrote. Yom Kippur came and went and Zvi and I found a tiny Masorti synagogue right near our home. It was so small that I felt thoroughly at home - having grown up in a small community and grew my children in a small community. The sounds, tunes, niggunim, smells and most importantly the service was familiar, fitting in well with my late fathers Machzor (prayer book).  It makes one feel needed.

The moment the Ne'ilah service ends (the closing service of Yom Kippur) a strange and fascinating sound is heard all over Jerusalem, nay all over Israel. A strange tap, tap, tapping sound resembling a woodpeckers incessant attempts to find grubs inside the bark of the tree but no, it isn't a bird, nor a plane.......it is the sound of Succah building. The Succot are built in the most unlikely places - on seemingly tiny verandas high above the street, perching like birds nests,  on the sidewalk outside apartment blocks, in gardens and car  parks - indeed everywhere that allows a succah to exist!

In the neighborhood next to us - Bayit ve Gan - the Succot Fair opens with every conceivable type of Succah and Succah decoration, here we don't hang fruit but rather glittery glitzy balls and bells - and the essential 4 types of flora, the 4 species - willow, hadass, palm leaves which make up the Lulav and the Etrog, a strange lumpy lemon-like fruit with the Latin name of Citrus medica. Religious men spend hours checking the tiny protrusion at the top for its purity and the quality of the 4 species while the children vie for the best decorations. All in all a huge crush of humanity with smiles all round! 

Our succah is obviously on our veranda. We finished it just in time for our celebratory meal, the table set for all 16 diners, underneath the slatted roof with its sprigs of palm and willow, all was ready when............... whoosh the skies opened!!!! Pouring rain! It took me back to our Succah days in the UK! Thanks to the speedy assistance of Leor we managed to bring everything into the house, open the dining-table and seat everyone within about 6 minutes! chaos reigned, since 6 out of the 16 were children, but our festive, Succot meal took place. Succah literally means a Tabernacle, or temporary hut to remind us of the wanderings in the desert before coming to the Land of Milk and Honey.  I was told off for my explanations of Jewish traditions - an insult to the informed, however, since I know how the rest of you love to know and learn I will continue to explain and recognise our incredible similarities.

Talking of similarities. The wonderful International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem has its annual Tabernacles Festival this week to coincide with Succot and Zvi and I are going to an enormous celebratory event at the new Basketball Arena. I love these events! It was at one of the Embassy events that I met Ambassadrix Christy Mbonu of Nigeria, a meeting I embrace and enjoy until today. Christy and I have many exchanges concerning the plight of her country and the Christians who live there.

The wind is blowing furiously and the intermittent rain is about to recur - indeed the wind is so strong that our flimsy tabernacle is about to take flight!!! We decided to remove all electrical decor and probably anything that can fly through the air and harm a passerby! The weather is most unusual for this time of year but we are praying for rain this festival so one cannot complain about the blessing of water which brings us back to Rabbi Jeremy's essay this week!

Next week I promise to write to you about the news but decided that we all need a week off from the dreadful turn our world has taken. This week we will rejoice. We will rejoice the Torah, ending the reading of the 5 books and beginning over again. This is such a joyous event that we have a festival named for it!!! Simchat Torah - the Joy of the Torah. Congregations all over the world will dance with the Torah Scrolls, the sheer and pure joy of our religion. http://rivkamalka.com/simchat-torah-fever/

Zvi and I are thrilled that Zvi's cousin Billy and Ruth's grand-daughter Dalia is here with us for this Chag. Dalia is here for four months with a group from Mexico on a MASA trip of the Jewish Agency, working on Kibbutz, doing courses and generally familiarising with Israel. She is so much fun and such a joy to be with. Her knowledge is wide, her Hebrew excellent and she is just a lovely young woman!!! The Mexican Community has exceptional ties with Israel and this video of Mexicans, Jews and non-Jews, showing their love of Israel and peace is wonderful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMomBbCyDlI#t=93

I want to congratulate my beautiful Great-Niece Carly and her James for making me a Great-Great- Auntie! I am so proud! Little Sebastian George brought untold joy to my beautiful sister Doreen and her Melvyn, Steve and Claire and to all the wonderfully close Bloom family.  Mazal Tov to us all!

I wish you joy, from our Torah, from life, from your families and most importantly from yourselves. If you exude joy then life becomes more beautiful, for you and for all who meet you.

Azriel David Farshtag wrote this Niggun (music) on the train to Auschwitz brought to the  Admor mi Mositch in the USA by a young man who jumped from the train. Ani Ma'amin, I Believe to remind us that even in the most extreme of circumstances our faith can win through. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVCPc2zlGEA

Shabbat Shalom, Shana Tova and of course Chag Sameach

Sheila

-- 
If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv
Involvement   http://www.impact-se.org/   http://www.yurishtern.org.il/eng/content.php?id=17

Friday, 3 October 2014

Shabbat Shalom, Gmar Chatima Tova - Givat ha Matos, Canon Andrew, Kippur

141003
3rd October, 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. 

Shabbat Shalom and "tsom kal". Tsom Kal  is an expression which means easy fast. This evening Jews all over the world will eat a special meal before entering the fast of Yom Kippur. The purpose is not to starve oneself as some kind of punishment for a year of sins - the purpose of the fast is that one is so deeply into the prayers of this Holy Day that one does not need to eat or drink. In principle those prayers ask for forgiveness from the Almighty; one asks forgiveness for just about every sin that one can imagine or not - because we do not only beg forgiveness for ourselves but rather for our world, our people. Don't think we get a free pass to sin as we wish in the coming year because we don't - forgiveness comes only to those who truly repent.


Canon Andrew White was interviewed on Fox News concerning ISIS and Iraq. http://video.foxnews.com/v/3814378899001/canon-andrew-white-describes-isis-danger-in-iraq/#sp=show-clips

Jim White is a friend, a musical producer friend http://www.jwe.com/index.swf. Jim loves Israel and wrote this amazing song for Israel. Please tell me what you think of it and how to promote it.   https://www.dropbox.com/s/5zevq8ocds2sxkm/Jim%20Vid%202.mov?dl=0

I was thinking about two news stories concerning Israel this week. One is the building of houses in a Jerusalem neighborhood, between Gilo and Talpiot. Suddenly the American Administration and media is distressed about the building of houses within Jerusalem. As if there are no more important issues in this world!!!!

The second issue is connected to the last. Jews legally bought a property in the predominantly Arab Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan and moved in. Their timing was pretty stupid, with the PM in Washington etc, but I fail to understand their sin. I don't want to live in Silwan but think of it another way, if some Arab families moved into my neighborhood would the Jews throw stones and complain to the international court? It is racism pure and simple to disallow Jews to buy homes anywhere! The owner of the property has a very large Fatwa on his head for selling to Jews - can you imagine if that happened in Sydney, Washington or Manchester? The part that is hardest to swallow that while we are condemned for building houses the PA is building like it is going out of style. Seems like racism takes many forms, whether denying the right to buy a home or condemning only one side in the argument. 

I received the following from Adrian Christie, a childhood friend and wanted to share it with you for this special day: Let us take this moment to wish you a Happy New Year.  Next week we Jews will begin our 5775th year on this earth!  Who would have believed this possible?  If anyone had told Abraham that his people would be around this long, he probably would have been astounded.
Imagine, we did this without beheading anyone, without a single suicide bomber, without kidnapping and murdering school children, without slaughtering Olympic athletes, and without flying airplanes into skyscrapers.
We lasted this long despite 400 years as slaves in Egypt, 40 years of  wandering in the desert, the mighty Roman army who nailed us to ten thousand crosses; despite the best efforts of the Christian crusaders, the Spanish Inquisition, Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, Stalin's gulags, Arab wars of annihilation, 100 years of Arab Terrorism, and 800 hate-filled UN resolutions!
How did we Jews do it?  We did it by concentrating our efforts on education, love of family, faith, hard work, helping one another and a passionate dedication to life no matter what evil befell us!  We hung in there in hope the rest of the world would one day overcome it's hatreds, jealousies, violence and join us in a life of cooperation and mutual respect.  We're not there yet, but we're still hopeful. And when we enter our places of worship this weekend, this is what we'll pray for with all the strength  in our hearts.

Talking about new beginnings, there is a rather famous personality who is now looking for work. Not an easy task since he is over 90 with limited technological abilities. Former President Shimon Peres. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__7b9O8k1tw

I loved this blog written by a young American on her first trip to Israel and how it changed her life. http://www.aliciamblanco.com/#!3-Things-Israel-Confirmed-For-Me-in-One-Day/cmbz/4979D5D4-C924-4E08-BCF6-D131E1C76DB2 

Yom Kippur, Yom ha Kippurim, is different in Israel than anywhere else in the world. I don't mean the prayers or the rumbling tummies, I mean the silence. Buses stop running at 13:30 and cars before candle-lighting time. White clad families walk to the synagogue to hear Kol Nidre, the prayer which heralds the Eve of Yom Kippur. Silence, pure and forgiving descends over the entire country. Actually, not completely true. Children see Yom Kippur as an opportunity to ride bicycles wildly on every car-free road in Israel whooping noisily and delightedly at the same time! Beit Tsafafa, like most Moslem towns and neighborhoods, becomes a fair, with stalls and fun along the main road to Gilo. After all it is not a Moslem holiday.......... wait a minute, actually it is, tonight the Moslem festival of Eid-Al-Adha begins. Eid-Al-Adha, the festival which celebrates the near sacrifice of Isaac by Abrahama when Abraham recognises G-d's will and Isaac lives. Ah, if only we could celebrate together in peace - blow the shofar (Ram's Horn) to declare Shalom, Sulcha, Salaam, Peace.

I just walked out onto our veranda, our mirpesset and thought of Stanley Roth! No seriously! The sheer magnificence of the view, the lemons, still green but thriving on the little tree which was a gift from my amazing Cardiff girlfriends; the kumquats, little green balls promising their sweet/sour juiciness; the herb corner - thyme, garlic chives, rosemary, sage, basil, oregano, lemon grass, lemon balm and louisa; the hedge of Hadass (box) which gives of a wonderful scent, the pomegranate tree in the corner and the bright splashes of colour from the hibiscus, geranium and of course my "Valerie" fuschia which survived last winter beautifully. It is difficult to put into words the incredible peace that descends over me when I sit on the garden swing and just.......... sit. I just absorb the joy and honour of our home above the most glorious city in the world.

Last night Zvi and I met with two very special people, Robert and Anita Simons, visiting from Sydney. We met at Gabriela, just about my favourite restaurant in Jerusalem. Jacques, the owner, treated us like film stars with all sorts of special treats. "Tasters, just tasters" he said! The meal was delicious, sophisticated and beautifully presented and the company could not be better. There is something special about old friends - no need to prove oneself.  Alan and Bonnie Cohen, in whose home we were married so many years ago, passed by and came in to chat - and discovered that the couple at the next table have many friends in common - from LA!!!

If, over the last year of writing, I have in any way offended, caused pain, distressed or hurt you please accept my deep apologies. I try to be a good person but even those of us who try can hurt unintentionally. I wish you a good Kippur, a day of contemplation and that you find inner peace at the end of it.

My choice of music today is obvious, Kol Nidrei, the central prayer of Kol Nidre, the Eve of Yom Kippur. I chose the Johnny Mathis version, not by chance, but rather to express my deep belief that one does not need to be Jew, Christian, Moslem or any other religion in order to step into the shoes of the other. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8U7WRmle5tg

Wishing you Gmar Chatima Tova,
With love from Jerusalem, the most special city in the world

Sheila

-- 
If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv
Involvement   http://www.impact-se.org/   http://www.yurishtern.org.il/eng/content.php?id=17

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Shana Tova, from our veranda



Shana Tova -שנה טובה – Happy New Year – מזל ניו יאר – Feliz Año Nuevo – Bonne année – سنة جديدة سعيدة -С Новым годом - 新年好 - Glückliches neues Jahr – Buon anno - Godt Nytår -Gelukkig Nieuwjaar - Bonan Novjaron - Onnellista uutta vuotta - გილოცავთ ახალ წელს - Ευτυχισμένο το Νέο Έτος - नया साल मुबारक हो - 明けましておめでとうございます - Kalendis Ianuariis -Godt Nyttår – سال نو مبارک – La mulți ani - Срећна Нова година - Feliz Ano Novo - Heri ya Mwaka Mpya - Gott Nytt År - புத்தாண்டு -สวัสดีปีใหม่ -Yeni Yılınız Kutlu Olsun - Blwyddyn Newydd Dda -Chúc mừng năm mới -З Новим роком - Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh -ಹ್ಯಾಪಿ ನ್ಯೂ ಇಯರ್ – Feliç Any Nou – Gelukkige nuwe jaar -Yeni iliniz mübarək - З Новым годам - শুভ নববর্ষ - Srećna Nova godina

With love from Jerusalem to you dear readers
Wishing us all a year of tolerance and love
health of body and mind
and laughter. 

Friday, 19 September 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem - Terror stopped in Oz, Scotland UK, Rosh Hashana


140919
19th September 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope you are well.

Many Jews fled Europe 70 years ago and chose the place farthest from the xenophobia which wiped out their families. They chose Australia which provided a haven of peace from the horrors they left behind. In the new world order even Australia is not immune from the horrors of our current war. A major ISIS terrorist attack was thwarted in Sydney, Australia by Australian intelligence. The terrorists planned to hold a major rally in support of ISIS and grab innocent civilians to behead publicly in order to terrorize the West.  , Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that there were extensive police raids in Sydney and Brisbane led to arrest of 15 people, including one Sydney man Omarjan Azari, who is a part of ISIS.  The fight against terror is very real for Israel, UK, USA,  Australia and virtually all  Western countries. We have to stand united against terror, it is in a town near you. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4572583,00.html

Americas newest allies, the Iranians, continue their oppressive regime. The young people who made the Iranian version of Pharell Williams I'm Happy have been sentenced to 91 lashes for immoral behaviour!!!! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/11103542/Iranians-sentenced-to-91-lashes-for-Pharrell-Happy-video.html

Highly respected Israeli journalist Ben Dror Yemini spoke openly about the insanity of media reporting, both here and overseas, in an interview on Israeli television. He describes the twisted and inaccurate final result of most opinionated journalists. http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/09/18/top-israeli-journalist-exposes-industry-of-lies-in-international-and-local-media-video/

Scotland was at the front and centre of the news this week when the referendum to stay as part of the United Kingdom or become an independent country came to the fore.   It is not as stupid as it sounds, Scotland already has its own legal system and, like Wales, has its own Parliament as does Wales, and has most of Britiains natural resources as well as the Holyfield Nuclear Energy Centre. However 600+ years of history also mean a great deal and the decision was 55% against to 44% for. Hardly the time to rebuild Hadrians Wall. 

Israeli Minister of the Interior Gidon Sa'ar, favourite of the Likud Party, stunned fellow party members at a meeting this week when he announced his retirement from politics. While he quoted his wish to be with his little son and new wife to see little David grow and take his first steps (this is Sa'ars second marriage) opinion has it that he decided that he did not want to work with the Netanyahu government any more. Watch this space - he is too talented to leave politics.
This video is for those who want to boycott Israeli innovations - let them boycott these Israeli medical wonderful life saving and life changing inventions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Zfk8uQXak

Charlie Chaplin is better known for his funny walk and sad face but his speech in the movie The Dictator shoes his acting ability and his true leanings. This brilliant monologue could fit any era in history but particularly the present day. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcvjoWOwnn4

The Gaza War in 5 minutes Richard Kemp https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_l5Ifb5Gp1s#t=117

Our friend Boutrous (Peter), a Greek Malachite Catholic in Bethlehem came to visit us. Each time Boutrus comes to say hello I learn yet another horror story of the Christians in Behtlehem and become more angry at the Christian leaders in the world who have abandoned them. Boutrus has not worked in18 months after he fell froma balcony at work and spent a long period in hospital. His eldest son has now graduated form University, he studied theology in Bethlehem, but now has now work because there are not enough Christians left in Bethlehem to create a flock to lead so few Malachites left in the almost Christian-free city. One of my readers was generous and helped Boutrous financially so that his other children could study and gain knowledge to leave Bethlehem and go into the world. There is no life for Christians in the Holy City.

Now for the good news!! Last week saw a huge exhibition of childrens innovations. First prize in teh safety category was an Israeli innovation - the Doona. The Doona is a car seat, with all the safety requirements, and when you take it out of the car, this lightweight car seat becomes a buggy/push chair/ stroller. At the flick of a switch, the push of a button, the legs drop down so that one no longer needs to have bulky separate wheels! Brilliant eh?  http://www.toysrus.co.uk/Babies-R-Us/Travel-and-Pushchairs/Travel-Systems-and-Pushchairs/Travel-systems/Doona-Car-Seat-in-Storm(0131212)

Yesterday I had a meeting in Aroma in the German Colony and thoroughly enjoyed people watching as I waited. While it is fairly clear from facial expressions what each persons origin was, once they began speaking on their cellphones the rules changed! It is so funny to try to identify their country of origin! No cheating, one mustn't listen in to language, just watch their gesticulations!  Israelis are easy, their waving hands and direction giving while speaking to the person on the other end of the line are obvious, but Americans use facial expressions rather than hand gestures unless they come from New Jersey; Brits tend to sit quietly while listening then become very animated when speaking; the French pout, irrespective of the conversation; Australians  hold the phone close nod a great deal; Germans are quite happy to use their ear-pieces and talk loudly - etc etc etc - Try it it really is fun!!!!

Talking of fun........ A religious Jewish man in New York decided to "High Five" the raised hands of New Yorkers hailing cabs!!!! I enjoyed the horror on some faces that someone actually touched them and the smiles of the others - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn6s_LMkJ70

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennet arrived in Israel to show their support and had a ball here in Israel. Perhaps the high point was when  Bennet surprised Lady Gaga and came on stage to sing.  Can't give you anything but love baby https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fC9plrfxBA#t=54

Yesterday was a special day for me because I got to see one of my very favourite people in the whole wide world - Nancy Bloomfield. Nancy is a special person in her honesty, her kindness and her incredible intelligence and warmth. We met with two friends in the botanical Gardens, sitting in the shade from the searing heat but enjoying the beauty of the lake and the wonderful water lilies. The food was scrummy as always and the conversation even better - and to be honest, I just loved sitting with Nancy!!! http://en.botanic.co.il/

Tonight we have a dozen or so friends coming for supper, just because I wanted to see them!! The menu is easy, the food honest and fresh - and most of it is ready!!! We will start with Guacomole made from the delicious local avocados, followed by my famous "Orange" soup, then fresh salmon and baked whole lavrak (sea bass) with salads and new potatoes and finally...... Lemon cake and Anats chocolates.
 
Thought you would like this - Shana Tova the Israeli way. Apple and honey while skydiving, surfing, or climbing. Tell me where you're eating apples and honey this year!

My beautiful friend Sheila Zucker sent this wonderful greeting and I pass it on to you. Wherever you are in the world I wish you a beautiful year in which our leaders finally stand up to a clear enemy and learn to defend their citizens or flock. I wish us a boring year because this last year was far too interesting!!!!
Shana Tova -שנה טובה – Happy New Year – מזל ניו יאר – Feliz Año Nuevo – Bonne année – سنة جديدة سعيدة -С Новым годом - 新年好 - Glückliches neues Jahr – Buon anno - Godt Nytår -Gelukkig Nieuwjaar - Bonan Novjaron - Onnellista uutta vuotta - გილოცავთ ახალ წელს - Ευτυχισμένο το Νέο Έτος - नया साल मुबारक हो - 明けましておめでとうございます - Kalendis Ianuariis -Godt Nyttår – سال نو مبارک – La mulți ani - Срећна Нова година - Feliz Ano Novo - Heri ya Mwaka Mpya - Gott Nytt År - புத்தாண்டு -สวัสดีปีใหม่ -Yeni Yılınız Kutlu Olsun - Blwyddyn Newydd Dda -Chúc mừng năm mới -З Новим роком - Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh -ಹ್ಯಾಪಿ ನ್ಯೂ ಇಯರ್ – Feliç Any Nou – Gelukkige nuwe jaar -Yeni iliniz mübarək - З Новым годам - শুভ নববর্ষ - Srećna Nova godina​

My favourite song (yes another one) and my favourite Israeli singer, Shlomo Artzi who, back in the 80's understood the situation and the cost. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-_qT1vQ7XQ

For Shabbat I send you this beautiful song dedicated to the soldiers of the IDF by Shwekey http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hhx4Zz8ovv0&feature=youtu.be

Finally, Eli Luzon is a highly talented Israeli singer and this song has nothing to do with Rosh Hashana nor Shabbat, it is just wonderful. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8HlStOESOU

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. In the next few days before Rosh Hashana may we learn to forgive, to judge less and accept more. In the words of the famous Nun's Prayer "Be too busy in self-improvement to see the faults in others"

With love from wonderful Jerusalem
Sheila


-- 
If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv
Involvement   http://www.impact-se.org/   http://www.yurishtern.org.il/eng/content.php?id=17

Friday, 12 September 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem. 9/11 Memorial, Ted Cruz. Pais Arena Jerusalem


140912
12th September 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friends

I find it hard to absorb the fact that 13 years have passed since that diabolical moment when the world stood still in disbelief as one then two aeroplanes ploughed into the symbols of  democracy, the Twin Towers in Manhattan then the Pentagon and more. I couldn't believe it was real even though I read Steve Emerson's book Jihad in America. Then, as the truth began to dawn on me my first thoughts went to my children, two of whom were in Manhattan, close to the Towers. I found them 8 hours later but over 3,000 people were not so lucky. Families were devastated and Manhattan went into mourning, no America went into mourning.

"This diabolical event will wake America up to the danger within." I thought. That great power has suffered a horrific attack on her own soil, surely she will now understand the danger. Sadly I was wrong - Steve Emerson's words were given credit for a short while then forgotten. I am sorry if I offend anyone but it is time for honesty. It was not Israel, nor Jews, nor Christians, nor Yazidis or Assyrians who felt such intense hatred for America and all she stands for that they could reach such levels of emotional ire that they kidnapped passengers and flew aeroplanes into buildings killing innocents then rejoicing in the streets at their victory! May the souls of those who died rest in peace, may their families be consoled and their leaders understand.

There is one 9/11 monument outside the United States, just one. In Jerusalem, nestled in the peaceful Jerusalem Hills near the entrance to that wonderful city. Israel loves the USA, we are loyal and true friends. http://www.jnf.org/work-we-do/our-projects/tourism-recreation/911-living-memorial-in.html

As parents we all know that if you don't rein in a bully at first their actions become more and more dangerous, cowing their victims into submission, feeding their megalomania. 

When Hamas and Hezb-Allah began no international leader took their stance seriously. Al Qaeeda evolved with the horrific result of 9/11, 7/7 and a series of dastardly acts in Bali, Delhi and so on. Responses were ineffective because they were pinpoint, not taking into account the spread of evil in our midst. Well the chickens of our leaders lack of understanding and foresight are coming home to roost on our doorsteps.

As to the United Nations, well this farcical organisation again looked to Israel for help! Last week we saved Filipino UN peacekeepers threatened by Hezb-Allah and this week we succeeded in saving the Fijian UN troops who were kidnapped by Hezb-Allah. All came to Israel where they found safety and a warm welcome. Ironic eh?

This week, US Senator Ted Cruz spoke "In Defense of Christians." He began by stating, “Christians have no greater ally than Israel,” at which point a minority of audience members yelled and booed. Cruz responded:
“Those who hate Israel hate America. Those who hate Jews hate Christians. If those in this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps. If you hate the Jewish people you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ. And the very same people who persecute and murder Christians right now, who crucify Christians, who behead children, are the very same people who target Jews for their faith, for the same reason...if you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you."  He then walked off the stage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOOZ6aPooSk

Douglas Murray tells it like it is. He blames laziness and convenience as the cause of victimisation of Israel and the Jews http://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/501672/Stop-blaming-Israel-and-wake-up-The-black-flag-of-jihad-is-the-REAL-threat-to-the-world

The dire situation of the Yazidis and Assyrians is well known, although the leaders of the various Christian denominations seem unable to speak out and the Christian countries around the world appear unable to absorb them which is very strange to me. I was asked last night why Israel doesn't offer to absorb the thousands fleeing Moslem persecution. While it is a wonderful idea in principle, each and every Oleh that is brought from the FSU,  Ethiopia, Sudan, South Africa, France, the UK or the USA costs this country a fortune! Housing and studying Hebrew for 6 months, finding jobs, finding housing, subsidies - the ransom for their release, each Oleh cost the country a fortune. We are in debt for our defence budget and with the very best will in the world, why can't other countries step up to the plate. While contributions from abroad help the Israeli citizens pay over 85% of the cost of the various Aliyas.

I decided that this weeks letter would be positive. I am tired of the constant horrors of this world, horrors that are not of our making. Herewith the positive, the kind, the everyday heroes who make life so much better.

Mo Freitas is a world champion surfer. He came to Israel during Operation Protective Edge and surfed Israels beaches along Israel's amazing shoreline.   http://vimeo.com/105090338

Yank Barry, Canadian philanthropist saves at least 1,218 Moslems and Christians - the Jewish Schindler. His sense of morality pushed him to save the same number of Christians as Schindler did for his Jewish ancestors.   http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Jewish-Schindler-reaches-goal-of-saving-more-than-1200-Muslim-and-Christian-refugees-374845

Israeli company Elbit creates Music (Multi Spectral Infrared Countermeasure) - a system to intercept any hand held missiles from harming airline traffic.   This innovation will save many lives and ensure the safety of passenger aircraft all over the world. Israel cares. http://www.israelvideonetwork.com/thanks-to-israel-star-wars-is-going-to-look-like-a-scene-from-the-past

Not all Israeli innovations are medical,  scientific, Hi-tech or military, some simply make life easier!!! The Doona car seat cum baby stroller (pushchair) is taking the world by storm. Such a logical idea. A safety car seat which when you take the baby from the car you simply click a button and lo and behold it becomes a buggy!!!! It was just the biggest hit at the Las Vegas baby show http://site.pishposhbaby.com/blog/2014/05/22/doona-car-seat-coming-soon/ Already on sale in the UK.

Last night Zvi and I went to a truly amazing function. It was the official opening of the beautiful new basketball arena right here in Malha. We have been watching its growth from our veranda but nothing prepared us for the beauty of this 11,000 seat indoor arena. We, the official invitees, sat in the grandstands; the students of years 11 and 12 sat in the upper rows and then the centre of the arena, the playing area, filled with about 2,000 soldiers! 

The Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat dedicated the gala evening to the soldiers who served in Gaza with special emphasis on the families of those who died and those who were injured. The evening began with singing groups from the Army, Navy, Air Force singing beautiful songs of each of the divisions as the photos of those who gave their lives were placed up on the screen above them.  General Yoram Yair (Yaya) Chairman of LIBI http://www.libi-fund.org.il/libi/eng/Pages/default.aspx the organisation which takes care of Israeli soldiers, spoke as did Major-General Uzi Dayan, and then all hell broke loose!! Crazy music of "HaDag Nachash"and others had the soldiers dancing in the aisles alongside the youngsters who go into the IDF in this coming year. That is the difference between 18 year olds in Israel and 18 year olds elsewhere - they learn responsibility. They still listen to the latest music and want the newest iPhone, but they understand responsibility. As Yaya said "Many say this is a spoiled generation but your work in Gaza, the responsibility and care you took not to harm innocents while defending Israel, is an example to the world". What an evening - I still can't hear properly but loved every second. By the way, the Pais Arena is amazing!!!

Billy and Ruth Shapiro of Mexico City raised funds so that the soldiers of the IDF could enjoy genuine, home cooked Mexican food made by Caterers Jaime and his lovely wife Rosie who live in Ashdod. The food was much appreciated and it just goes to show that being thousands of miles away does not stop those who really want to help!!! . Kol ha Kavod.

As we near Rosh Hashana and the period of Selichot Rabbi Jeremy Rosen yet again puts everything into perspective http://jeremyrosen.blogspot.co.il/

So another Shabbat is here. I haven't finished cooking but today is easier since i am sharing the preparation with our daughter-in-law Shiri. Right now the incredible burnt, smokey aroma of aubergines roasting on the open fire is filling the house - much to Zvi's dismay. I love it because I love the delicious result of skinned roasted aubergine with freshly made tehina and a red pepper coulis poured over the top. It really is one of my favourite foods.  In a little while I will drop Zvi at his parliament, collect my Rachel for a meeting and then take her home via the fish shop. The latest food fashion in Jerusalem really suits me since I love fish, real, good fresh fish. Growing up in the UK meant we were spoiled for choice for both fresh water and sea fish but for a long time the only source was frozen. Now we grow our own for many fish but also import wonderful fresh fish too. The one near Rachies home is always buzzing and he does ready cooked fish meals too. 

Next to him is Nehamas Bakery, where they have a production line of Challot and all sorts of local baked goods. Nehama also has some delicious ready made stuffed vegetables - baby local vegetables to help out the weary working Mums!!!  After seeing the children and hearing about their return to school I will drive home past Samuel's Tomb.......... and my breathtaking favourite panorama. By the time I get back to our neighborhood everything will be closing down - the Shopping Mall emptying, the buses rushing back to the depot, families arriving with pots of food to share with their families - indeed a normal Shabbat in Jerusalem. 

And so to music
Something different this Shabbat. Wonderful Mizrachi music for Shabbat from Israeli singer Revivo. I love it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xYwQ4AEu5E

Yedid Nefesh - another beautiful song as you never heard it before https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PG7lQlofMbg

Finally, the most important song for our sanity- Tevye singing Tradition - that's what it is all about.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRdfX7ut8gw

I wish you a beautiful Shabbat in freedom and joy. I wish you a Shabbat in which each of us will find understanding and love for the other and recognition of our right to live in freedom and peace.
Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem - Jerusalem of Gold and of love

Sheila


-- 
If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv
Involvement   http://www.impact-se.org/   http://www.yurishtern.org.il/eng/content.php?id=17

Friday, 5 September 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem. James Foley, Stephen Sotloff, NATO,

140905
5th September 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope you are well and not too worried about the fate of our world.

This week we learned some diabolical truths. We learned that ISIS/Daish/Hamas/Islamic Jihad/Hezb-Allah are one and all believe that it is their right to decapitate Westerners. In their blood lust they create videos of the suffering of those about to be decapitated, be they journalists or simple people who went against the dictates of Islam according to them. We felt the decapitation of James Foley and Stephen Sotloff because we could identify with them, with their families, and they were used for hasbara purposes. Foul. Why is it taking so long for Allies to join Prime Minister Camerons call to arms to fight this foul situation? At least he is now joined firmly by President Obama but I still don't see any action. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/05/world/europe/obama-and-cameron-call-on-nato-to-confront-isis.html

Talking of NATO, my home town of Cardiff has become a fortress, although today all the NATO representatives went home. The number of world leaders was enormous, the danger overt, but was it Israelis that presented a danger.............. of course not!!! Israelis do not decapitate nor threaten world leaders - we are perceived as the aggressors but.... let's allow Matt Friedman to explain.

Matti Friedman, former AP journalist, tells the truth of the Disproportionate Focus on Israel in the media- 40 AP journalists in Jerusalem more than in the entire Arab world of the Arab Spring. Friedman says "Jerusalem is safer than Portland Oregon, one of the safest cities in the USA". Remember that next time you cancel your vacation in Israel!!!!! http://edition.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2014/08/31/rs-matti-friedman-israel.cnn.html

Ben Caspit is an Israeli journalist of note. Every Brit should read his view.http://www.jpost.com/International/Comment-Jihadi-cancer-thrives-in-London-372185

And another very important video by CNN talking to a former leader within ISIS. http://edition.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2014/09/03/pkg-damon-isis-defector-speaks.cnn.html

Israel is the Safest Place for an Arab in the Middle East by Anat Berko 
Do men in your village serve in the IDF? " Yes, he said, they were Muslims but for them and their families, everyone who lived in Israel was an Israeli and had to serve. Hamas' rockets, he said, did not distinguish between his family and ours, they were meant to kill all Israelis." <http://www.investigativeproject.org/4556/israel-is-the-safest-place-for-an-arab-in>

The White House spokesperson, conceivably the woman with the least expression in her voice, repeatedly says that Israel must not build in the "settlements" aka Yehuda and Shomron and indeed in Jerusalem, because, and I quote "It will cause instability in the region".  Are you kidding? Are you serious? A few buildings will cause instability in a region that has been in flames for two or three years? That is insanity. Speak quietly to the PM but to once again publicly vilify Israel for building a few houses (incidentally over 2,000 are in Arab neighborhoods) but to claim that those few houses are the cause of the instability is sheer insanity. Syria, Libya, Iraq, Lebanon and so many other regions are in a state of war and the White House chooses to once again point the finger at its closest ally. Sorry but now I am cross.  Just as a matter of interest 12% of humanity live in areas of conflict today. Why concentrate on this area?  Because Israel is an easy diplomatic target - because sadly we are the only ones who care what America says!!

My father, rest his soul, was brought up in the European Yeshiva tradition. Somewhat rebellious he was also a great admirer of another religious rebel, his friend the late Rabbi Kopul Rosen. One thing is for sure, he would have agreed with my favourite religious rebel, Rabbi Jeremy Rosen, Rabbi Kopuls eldest son. Jeremy speaks to my soul and my religious beliefs. Be prepared to love and be surprised.This week Jeremy talks about our relationship with religious leaders. It is appropriate to most religions. http://jeremyrosen.blogspot.co.il/ 

This was yet another insane week! Our grandchildren went back to school, here September 1st is the official return to school date. New back packs - this year every little girl worth her salt has a backpack with a little lamb called NICI, new pencil cases and a lot of books and writing implements. Most families it is Saba (grandpa) and Safta (grandma) who do the honours! In Israel it all coincides with buying the children new clothes for Rosh Hashana. The greatest problem is fighting through the multitude of "But Safta you know I HAVE to have that one" is an international problem. Peer pressure is alive and well in Israel too.

On Monday we went to an amazing wedding. It was so fun - most of the choir were there - a beautiful traditional chuppa (wedding canopy) and of course the pre-chuppa hors d'ouevres were delicious! The choir gave a little performance since the brides Mum sings with them!

On Tuesday I met with my very special Welsh girlfriends to catch up on our lives and then raced home to prepare for the evening. 40 friends who came with us to Romania met up at our place for food and fun....... and of course music. Sasha played the violin, Adi, Yossi and Gadi played guitar and Meir played his piano accordion. Yitzchak Mossachy from Zvi's choir made up a video of our Romania trip. There is some Hebrew but it really doesn't make a difference to your enjoyment. Meet our friends!!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkctjPcTYxM&feature=youtu.be

Yesterday we went to Tel Aviv to see our family there and take little Ella for a walk. I don't know how anyone lives in that humidity and heat!!! Jerusalem gets hot but at least it is dry - Tel Aviv is exhausting. while enjoying the idea of "lehizdangef"to walk on Dizengoff street, it was hot hot hot. We met up with Zvi's cousin Dalia Friedland, actress and singer,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-iLLjNrRCM

So the bride of Shabbat is nearly here, putting on her finery and dressing for us. The food is cooked, this week I tried a new recipe for the stuffed veggies, my daughter Rachel makes the most delicious stuffed veggies so I tried it. Gently saute chopped onions, chopped celery stalks and leaves, garlic, mint - salt and pepper. Hollow out potatoes, onions, peppers and courgettes and when the vegetables are clear and cooked add a couple of tablespoons of rice and then stuff the vegetables in a wide pan. On top of the stuffed veg place a couple of celery stalks and dot around some cherry tomatoes. Add a tiny amount of water and cook over very low heat for a couple of hours. Scrummy!!!! We also have Tabouleh salad and roasted aubergine with fresh tehina. I don't need to prepare the rest because we are with Zvi's son Leor and his wonderful family and they are doing the bulk of the cooking. Of course Rachel's famous Challot will be the stars too!!!!

As I came over the hill from seeing the grandchildren, right there are Samuels Tomb, I looked to my right as usual, but instead of feeling the joy of the panorama I was very pensive. I could not work out why our minute dot on the map should be so bothersome to so many!!!!

Maybe Joan Rivers could have explained it in her straight from the hip style. Joan, rest in peace knowing your last performances were for Israel. You told 'em - you really told 'em.

I warn you that this video is a 5 Kleenex job!! I love it so much. If anyone doubts the importance of Jerusalem to us. Just watchhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NIxqHJrL68

If I forget the O Jerusalem, May my right hand forget her skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth If I do not remember you, If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy.… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIYfTb1GwiQ

For our special friend Canon Andrew White who has been very poorly I want to include By the Rivers of Babylon. Andrew had to leave his beloved Iraq to return home to his family for treatment. Andrew dear, I hope this make you feel a little better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYK9iCRb7S4

So dear friends, another week, another Shabbat.

I wish you all peace and to all members of my family who have birthdays this week - hey you know how much I love you.......arms and legs.

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem, Jerusalem slowly turning to gold and of course, the view from our veranda.
Sheila