Friday, 21 November 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila in Jerusalem

21st November 2014

Dear Friends

Shabbat Shalom to you all from Jerusalem, the most beautiful city in the world

Today I will try to write only positive notes because even after the horror and deep sadness of the events earlier in the week, some goodness came about.

Firstly thousands of Jews and Christians attended the funeral of Sgt-Major Zidan Saif, who was the first to enter the synagogue and gave his life to save the unarmed men at prayer. All of Israel is grateful to Zidan who leaves behind him a little girl of four months and a young widow.

Secondly, this morning Druze, Christians, Jews and Moslems in the North of Israel handed out roses to passers by and to drivers with the motto - Or lo Terror - Light not Terror -  to show the true side of living together in Israel.
I have no time before Shabbat but I wanted to give you reason to smile on Shabbat.

I could have spoken of the foul lies told on th media but we are all tired of their calumny. 

So dear friends, I will leave you with two important songs and the knowledge that we will never forsake Jerusalem - 
Firstly D'maot she Malachim, Tears of the Angels. When the angels cry in the other world then this world is sadder. We are sadder.

The second song is a challenge. A challenge to love even those who love us less - or not at all. With love from a broken hearted Jerusalem." Learn 2 Love the ones who love you less. I suggest maybe we just try.....Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom - must run to put the finishing touches to the table, put Rachel's delicious challah under the special cover, Zvi's fathers kiddush cup next to it and then light the Shabbat candles in the candlesticks that I used to light the candles as a child - with my beautiful mother who taught me to love Judaism and Israel. Tomorrow marks 51 years since her death but her traditions live on in her children and grandchildren and all future generations who want her memory to live on. My memories are so sweet and her teachings, together with my Daddy, so memorable that I live life according to their morals and ethics. I thank every short minute I had with her.

With love to you all

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

141118 Sadness in Jerusalem - Terror attack on Jews at morning prayer


18th November, 2014

I wish to G-d I did not have to write this letter but write it I will because you need to know.

This morning in the religious neighborhood of Har Nof, Jerusalem, at 07:01, men were saying their morning prayers, prayer shawls about their shoulders and phylacteries on their foreheads as is commanded; two terrorists walked in to the synagogue armed with machetes and guns and hacked four Jews to death, maiming and injuring 13 others.The lives of 5 others hang in the balance including two policemen that rushed to the synagogue when they heard the gunshots.  So far there are 26 newly-orphaned Jewish children

The terrorists knew each and every one of the men they attacked. One was the janitor of the synagogue, one worked opposite in the convenience store; both were Israeli citizens, with blue Israeli ID's, both were incited to hatred by others and found themselves capable of the most horrific of all. Perhaps they saw the Da'esh broadcasts of beheadings because this is no different.
The immediate reaction of Hamas leader Khaled Mashal was to announce that Israeli Arabs are in the best position to slaughter Jews since they have freedom of movement. The terrorists were from Jabel Mukaber (next to Armon ha Natziv) and the UN HQ was just a tiny village with 10 houses and during the last Intifada while we were busy with exploding buses they built thousands of houses and imported residents from Hebron. 

The BBC barely mentioned it; CNN on line actually said 6 people died in an attack, 4 Israelis and 2 Palestinians after the suspected hanging of an Arab bus driver. The bus driver, a respected member of Egged, committed suicide but the Palestinian Authority spread a rumour he was killed.

Until the world wakes up to the horror of what these people do, that it has nothing to do with human rights or supposed stolen lands, that their single intent is to kill Jews, this will not stop. Thanks to the vast sums of "aid" and the evil UNWRA Hamas is currently the second wealthiest terror organisation in the world but they will not spread the wealth to provide succour to their people because then they will not be angry.

Israel does not release the names of the slain until their families have been informed and until now just two names have been released - Rabbi Meir Twerski, renowned and highly respected Rabbi and humanist. 
Reb  Avrohom Shmuel  Goldberg originally from Liverpool in the UK.

May their souls rest in peace; their families be consoled among the mourners of Zion. Baruch Dayan Emet.
Jerusalem is crying; Israel is crying; I am crying. Will no-one wipe my tears?

With love

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

Friday, 14 November 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila - Canon Andrew white in Jerusalem

14th November 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friends.

Moshe Dayan once said "If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies." That is the reason that the Israeli Prime Minister met with Mahmoud Abbas and then with  King Abdullah in Amman under the watchful eye of John Kerry. The storms brewing all over Israel over the last couple of weeks needed to calming with a large dose of oil onto trouble waters. The Israeli police and security services announced that despite the heated situation the police and security services of the Palestinian Authority are still co-operating on all issues. The incitement of young Arabs within Israel is extreme and in the Judea and Samaria it is their education and deep disillusionment with their own and all leaders. When the PA chooses it is perfectly capable of calming the situation and that is what Mr Netanyahu was discussing in Amman - to ensure that the Status Quo on the Temple Mount will not be breached.  

Turkey, President Obamas military ally in the northern Mediterranean, is becoming more and more radicalised thanks to Erdogan. US marines, on leave in Turkey, were attacked by young Turks who attempted to put plastic bags over their heads, attacked and reviled by Turks in port.

I don't want to talk politics this week. Not for a bit anyway! I want to tell you about our trip to Massada with the choir!  We all drove down to Massada and went up together in the excellent cable car - then learned the history of Massada with Eva, our dear friend who is also a guide, as we walked the footsteps of the Jews who gave their lives rather than lost their Jewish identity. I thought I knew the history of the Herodean Fortress but Eva enlightened us all with her wonderful stories, making it more personal. After our descent we drove to the Youth Hostel in Ein Gedi, basic accommodation but it didn't really matter since the views were breathtaking and the company outstanding!! 

Zvi's two little grand-daughters were having a great time being the centre of attention! Most of us didn't rest, it was much more fun in the quadrangle, chatting and singing. Then I went with the little girls to light the Shabbat Candles, gosh I love to see their little faces reflecting those special flames. The Shabbat meal was so much fun, lots of singing Shabbat songs and Zvi of course did Kiddush and the children helped him bless the Challah, the plaited loaves. A young group of students on their gap year asked to join us and we all did a very fun version of Grace after meals. From supper we went to a truly fascinating talk by Secret Service man who explained his work which entails "turning" potential and real terrorists so that they sing about their cohorts. I found it so fascinating - yet again began to wish I was a spy!!!!

Shabbat morning, after services and breakfast, we walked through Nahal David, right next to the hostel, the river bed that King David walked 3,000 years ago. The nature reserve is full of gazelles, wild cats, groundhogs, and other creatures native to the area. It was gorgeous and some of the bravest choir-members stood under the waterfall!!!! One of our choir-members was the director of the reserve until he had a near fatal accident and he was able to explain the flora and fauna with Eva's geological knowledge it came to life! After Shabbat lunch we rested then heard a fascinating talk on sink-holes along the Syria/Africa rift and how to change the ecostructure to turn a problem into a solution. The geologist was a fantastic man from the Kibbutz. The journey home was easy and as we arrive home I set about making "bubbelech" (fluffy pancakes) for the little girls before they were collected to go home.

Yesterday my world lit up. Our wonderful friend Canon Andrew White came for lunch.  When Andrew comes he always brings his team of Hanna and Terry, great people, and we invited Elihu Ben On, an excellent journalist who spoke to Andrew in Baghdad many times ( Elihu speaks to Israelis and Hebrew speakers all over the world on a multitude of subjects); Hanan Rubin, one of the young people we mentored for the City Council and he was fascinated by Andrew and had a great rapport with Hanna who lives in Jerusalem; finally I decided to surprise Andrew with Lola and Norman, two wonderful people who came on Aliya many years ago and have been instrumental in their work for Christian/Jewish relations.

In the evening we met with Madeleine and Martin Lewis and went to hear a debate between Canon Andrew White, Rabbi Michael Melchior and journalist Melanie Phillips. The event, organised by Europeans for Israel and held in the historic Jewish Agency building in the centre of Jerusalem.

Melanie opened the debate on the emotive subject "Can religion be a force for good in the region". Her emotive eloquence rang true with  the audience and her love of Israel was transparent. Next came Canon Andrew, a voice of pragmatic reason backed by his infinite belief in the Almighty and his innate love of the human race. Andrew understands the dangers, (the FATWA on his life has risen to $56,000,000) and who understands the demands and desires of who he faces after many years in Iraq and Israel but does everything possible to bring the power of love into the situation; Rabbi Melchior spoke with equal eloquence but many of his views were not conducive with a Jewish democracy. His views were far further than I could imagine for a man who studied the Torah for so many years. 

Canon Andrew spoke of the violent history of the church toward Judaism proving that the leading theocratic group is inevitably dominant and when religion goes wrong everything goes horribly wrong - which brought us to the Islamic fanatics today. Andrew described the talks with the PA and indeed with all the extremists as pulling out the thorns and replacing them with flowers.

In principle the decision was that the language of politics is a language of interests but the language of religion is the language of values - thus if we can talks as religious equals we can gradually reach some kind of respect - mutual respect.

I feel very honoured to have been part of this event - both Melanie and Canon Andrew spoke for me, spoke words of determination and hope. Wherever Canon Andrew walks he leaves a trail of hope that is absorbed and changes lives and thoughts for the better.

Please look at Canon Andrew's book - Older Younger Brother – the tragic treatment by Christians of the Jews -

Almost Shabbat. I have to run and put the final touches to the table. Just Zvi and I this evening and we will be eating Shoshana's gift of Kubah Hamusta soup - its bright beetroot colour calling us to partake of the delicious, meat filled dumplings. A traditional Kurdish dish it brought a great big smile to my face!!!

Now for music - music to lift our hearts from the ever growing truth around us. The most Jewish of music is the niggun, a song without words, because words are unnecessary! Enjoy this one Niggun Simcha - happy tune

The second is Jewish songs of prayer - the first is Eshet Chayil - Woman of worth that every Jewish husband worth his salt sings to his wife on Friday night telling her how amazing she is - worth her weight in rubies.

Shabbat Shalom dearest friends

Love you and Jerusalem awaits you

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

Thursday, 6 November 2014

141106 Tram attack, American elections, US decide Passport Jerusalem, 19 years Rabin, Bet Shemesh, Choir to Ein Gedi

6th November 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friend.

As I was writing this letter yesterday my daughter Rachel called me to turn on the TV news "Mum there has been a pigu'a" another terrorist attack on the Light Rail line". Yet again an Arab used his  vehicle as a weapon racing down the light rail tracks ramming into cars and pedestrians on a main road in Jerusalem. Why? His family will get a stipend for life from the Palestinian Authority. After ensuring they live in poverty and disillusionment, hopelessness, the PA gives them one possibility of ensuring the financial future for their families - to kill Israelis. Sadly the Border Guard Officer who stopped and killed the assailant, saved the lives of others but lost his own. Jidan Assad, 38, from the Druze village of Beit Jaan. Jidan, father of a 3 year old and with a pregnant wife, died of his injuries and 14 others were hurt, three of them seriously. 

Later in the evening another Arab driver ran down a group of soldiers in Gush Etzion. This is horrific.Wake up world. Stop claiming that the victim is the perpetrator.

So the donkey got a huge kick from the elephant in the American mid-term elections. I don't understand American politics, but one thing is very clear, the people of the United States are deeply dissatisfied with the current administration. Why? Because the President misread both situations overseas and internal policies and failed to fulfill promises

The United States Supreme Court held a special session to decide if a child born in Jerusalem can have his place of birth on his American passport. An American court can decide if Jerusalem is in Israel let alone our capital city, the only place on earth this is in dispute while the capital cities of many autocracies and murdering tyrannies are not even in question!!!,7340,L-4587662,00.html 

There were two major anniversaries this week.
The 2nd November 1917 saw a British Prime Minster agree to and sign the Balfour Declaration on the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine.

The second is the 19th anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzchak Rabin. My friend Carol Gould, a fine journalist, found this article I wrote for her some years ago, for her website Current Viewpoint. It says all I wanted to say  about the man, the leader, the friend.

I would be remiss if I didn't refer to this weeks hearing of Ehud Olmert which has shocked and torn the country apart. As a friend of the former Prime Minister it makes me very sad. If all the allegations are true then things happened around us that in our naivete we could not even imagine. We only know of a wonderful Mayor of Jerusalem, who brought international support and friendship to Jerusalem which overlapped into his term as Prime Minister. Ehud Olmerts personal friendship with world leaders attained important diplomatic gains. Despite the fact that the Prime Minister has not yet had his day in court I am sad. Sad that the allegations against him suggest that while at the acme of political attainment, it was not enough. It is hard to see friends fall but if, and please remember it is still a case of "he said she said", they cause their own downfall they must face their legal fate.

Egypt created a buffer zone on its border with Gaza for clear security reasons and razed about 800 houses - although Israel was denied the right to do the same. The silence of the media prompted Stephen Spencer Ryde to write to newspaper editors - here is an extract. "No country could tolerate the uncontrolled violence coming out of Gaza.  It is violence that has many sources, wide ranging agendas and multiple backers.  It's steeped in terror and whipped up in a fervour of religious extremism.  It is non negotiable and impossible to navigate. It is chaotic terror that the international community play down and more recently the international community started to give ill thought credence to. But here in Europe, the attitude is "if you are Israel, it's your fault and you should know better".  However, "if you are Egypt, you are taking suitable security measures with your own and there's nothing particularly untoward".  One rule for Israel and another rule for the rest.  Hmm, where have we heard that before." Bravo Stephen - one by one, letter by letter we can make a difference.

That well known friend of the West in general and Israel in particular, President Erdogan of Turkey has pulled in his country's financial belt but hardly his own. He opened his new palace - 1,000 rooms and about $500,000 dollars worth! He gives new meaning to "Let them eat cake"

We tend to think of Australia as strong and impervious to Moslem fanatics. After the attack in Canada despite the leadership of Stephen Harper, we now see this video of Australian Moslem Fanatics and their brainwashed children

Speaking on behalf of UN Watch, Father Gabriel Naddaf of Nazareth during the recent 27th session of the UN Human Rights Council.  "ISRAEL IS THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE MIDDLE EAST WHERE CHRISTIANS LIVE IN SAFETY"

Last Friday we went to the site of Jewish towns and villages, built 3,000 years ago. Mostly situated above the Ayalot Valley (Valley of the Gazelles) near Bet Shemesh, where David and Goliath had their fateful meeting. There were many surprises including a small rounded stone which our archaeologist guide said was like the one that David used in his sling. When David volunteered to face the giant Philistine, he may well have gone down to the stream below us to choose the stone that ultimately killed Goliath. The other surprise was that apparently Goliath was smaller than Zvi!!!!

How we know that these were Jewish villages? Well, their outer walls are built in an oval rather than rectangle and they have double walls. A sure sign is that, in accordance of Jewish law, the cemeteries are outside the walls.  

This weekend we are going down to Kibbutz Ein Gedi on the Dead Sea with Zvi's choir. Early on Friday morning we will wake Amit and Gili (Zvi's little grand-daughters) and set off southward. We will drive past the neighborhoods that are in the news and head towards Ma'aleh Adumim, down, down, down past the sign telling us that we passed sea level and the ever patient camel waiting for riders at the sign, down past the moonscapes until we reach Massada. The little girls are so excited that they will ride on the cable car up to that most symbolic of sites. After walking around the fortress atop Massada we will go to the Kibbutz and relax until Shabbat. Our Shabbat meal will be special as we sing Shabbat songs together with the choir and watch the little girls joy reflected in their faces as they light the Shabbat Candles then we will all chant the age-old blessings over the wine and challah.
On Shabbat we will walk through David's Stream (Nahal David) yet again following in the footsteps of King David. The last time I walked through Nahal David was in 1963, on my first visit to Israel, the visit that caused me to fall in love with this incredible country. It will be so exciting to walk it holding hands with Zvi, singing the songs of King David (Psalms) as we walk. Only in Israel!

So I can't tell you about my menus for this Shabbat because I am not cooking!!!!! Really! It feels very odd but we are going to have fun instead.

I know that you are worried about what is happening in Jerusalem, and your concern is deserved because it is not criminal violence, it is specific, racist, religious, but understand that even with these scary events Jerusalem is still very safe. It is just because violence is so rare in Israel that it hits the headlines.

So Jerusalem is still beautiful, still beckoning, still fun, still ancient and modern, and has the best restaurants, hotels, pubs and clubs in all Israel!!!

I wish you Shabbat Shalom, that greeting of peace which has become banal yet profound.

I leave you with two songs - 
Shir la Shalom - the Song to Peace, sung by Miri Aloni who sang beside Yitzchak Rabin and Shimon Peres on that fateful night 19 years ago

Finally - Steve Lawrence' rendering of "Where can I go?" the story of our yearning for Israel. Now we have where to go.

With love

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

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila - Yehuda Glick shot, Rafiah, Silwan, Visitors

30th October 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope you are not all shaking in your shoes from the spiders, cobwebs, bats and witches that decorate so many homes in time for All Hallows Eve. Believe you me, we have enough scary things happening in the world without ghosts and ghouls and things that go bump in the night!!!!

Last night a group of men met in the Begin Centre in Jerusalem for a conference on "Israels return to the Temple Mount" because Jews are not allowed to pray at their holiest of sites, the Temple Mount. As they left the meeting a motorcycle rider walked up to Yehuda Glick, spoke to him and pumped several bullets into his torso and neck. By miracle he survived and is in Shaare Zedek Hospital in critical condition. The attacker was from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor, a known member of the Islamic Jihad and possibly the perpetrator of other attacks. The police found him in the early hours of this morning and shot and killed him when he refused to give himself up. Incredibly the killer worked in the restaurant of the Begin Centre! Heaven only knows what Silwan and Abu Tor will be like this weekend.
Egypt is pulling down 800 houses in Rafiah on the border with Gaza - Egyptian houses - so that they can create a buffer zone between Egypt and Gaza - to prevent the building of tunnels inside homes. A brilliant solution but can you imagine if we did it!!!! 

Brenda Katten is a clever and thoughtful woman - a real lady. I had the pleasure of meeting her in the UK and recognise the wisdom of her words.

Dr Ron Katz is a lovely man and he and his wife Rena have moved to Israel to see what it is like - and love the life! Ron wrote an outstanding article about our (the Jewish People) biggest problem - the lack of religious morality leading the way in our world and the fact that the Jewish People can now be compared to the 4 sons of Pesach. The Wise, the wicked, the stupid and the ignorant one who doesn't even know enough to ask.

I am very pro-American. I want the USA to be the world leader in all aspects of democracy but right now I am furious! Please excuse my language but do you realise that a member of the cabal that surrounds Obama called my Prime Minister "chicken-shit"!!! How dare they? Do they even begin to understand that if anyone said that about any of the Arab leaders you would instantly have another September 11th but bigger and wider? I am disgusted beyond words. How anyone can defend the behaviour of this administration toward its greatest ally - and the only country that actually erected a memorial to the victims of September 11th. 

Two American citizens died last week. A 3 month old baby girl was killed by an Islamic fanatic from Jerusalem while her family was on their way home after travelling to the Kotel on the light rail in Jerusalem and the US State Department did not see fit to console the family -  but when Orwah Hammad was killed because he was throwing Molotov cocktails on to a busy thoroughfare, endangering the lives of all who passed by, a letter of condolence was sent to his family! I find it offensive! 

The entire area is burning, aflame, there is ethnic slaughter of Christians and this President and his Administration is worried about some houses in our capital city - in an area which is clearly between Talpiot and Gilo. The only housing that has ever been on this land is an absorption centre for Ethiopian Jews. Actually I went past the area today and saw, to my delight, that the Israeli Arab neighborhood of Beit Tsafafa, right next to Givat ha Matos, is expanding and lovely new apartments are going up. Is Israel complaining? Is the US telling Israeli Arabs that they can't build on the land because it is occupied.......... of course not!!!!

If the American President continues in this vein he will lose the mid-terms to the Republicans and go from important to impotent and take his wonderful country with him. Is Paris burning? Not yet but Washington is on its way.

Sir Nicholas Winton, aged 105 flew to Prague to receive the highest Czech Honour - The White Lion. Sir NIcholas saved no less than 669 children prior to WW2.

Courage in Motion held their 7th annual bicycle ride from Jerusalem to Eilat. Riders are both able bodied and IDF disabled riders just look at the photos and recognise true courage.

Last night I went to a beautiful function with my daughter Rachel, a function organised by Rosa Romanowsky. The Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi spoke and I understood that a woman can be incredibly bright, highly educated, beautiful, fashionable and deeply religious and none of the above attributes negates the other. She said many important things but she also related to the dreadful news of last week, the terror killing of  baby Baby Chaya Zissel and Karen Yemima Muscara, an Ecuadorian citizen who came to Israel to convert to Judaism after discovering she was descended from Conversos, Spanish Jews who were forcibly converted to Catholicism after 1492. Both Chaya Zissel and Karen were 3 months old - Karen because it was just 3 months since the completion of her conversion. Rabbanit Yemima said that both gone to special place in heaven for those who died as a result of terror and that Karen would take care for baby Chaya Zissel.

This week has been a marvellous week of visitors, more importantly of old friends, friends who grew their children beside mine; friends who were so close that my car used to find its own way to their home; friends- real friends. Valerie and Martin, Adrienne and David came to Jerusalem on Tuesday. I met them at the Central Bus Station and we set off to the most important place in Jerusalem - our veranda! After the veranda and the explanation of the view (you already know what I say!), we went to the Hass Promenade in Talpiot for the phenomenal panorama of Jerusalem. While there we met up with a group of Nigerian Christians on Pilgrimage. Of course I chatted to them and asked if they know of my friend and former Ambassatrix Christy Mbonu, and they asked if they could be photographed with me. It was a delight when they told us how much they loved Jerusalem. We then went on a car tour of Jerusalem including Gilo and the view to Bethlehem winding our way to the First Station car park and the bus to the Old City. It was a fun ride, chatting to the driver, the other driver who rushed into Silwan to buy his fruit and veg and to the South African passenger........just because! We came back to the First Station and ate a wonderful lunch.

Finally we made a quick trip to the German Colony to meet up with my beautiful daughter Rachel and her son Yosef. For Rachel, Valerie and Martin were the closest thing to another set of parents a child can have. It was so wonderful to see that the love is still there and also that Yosef gave each and every one of them a "Yosef Hug"!

Today was a joy. Today I met up with another friend from Reading, Berkshire although he was a child when I last saw him. Stephen and Gaynor Ryde and daughter "Beanie"were waiting for me in the car park of the Botanical Gardens where we went for breakfast. I was deeply impressed by their knowledge and understanding of Israel and the importance of the hard work done by wonderful people like Stephen on the information front in the UK, so much so that I immediately took them home to see the view from our veranda, Zvi's office wall of photos with every Israeli leader and for a wonderful Q&A with Zvi. I was so proud of them.

Tonight we have more people from my past coming to dinner, Adrian and Mynetta Christie who are originally from Cardiff but are now Americans. I have no doubt that the talk will turn to politics because Adrian is also very involved. Tomorrow - Friday - we are supposed to go for a trip to all sorts of wonderful sites around Beit Shemesh with Zvi's Parliament friends, if it doesn't rain, and then in the evening we have a family Shabbat Dinner here with Leor, Shiri and and the children and hopefully Danny and Judit Liwerant. Thank heaven I am good at cooking ahead of time!!!!

I would love to wax lyrical about Shabbat in Jerusalem and the glorious views and panoramas but I am certain that your patience is about to be tested.......... this is a long letter!!!! 

When I chose to go forward and come to live in Israel I identified with this weeks Torah Portion "Lech Lecha" when G-d told Abram to go to a land He will show him, after all that is what I did, I went to a Land that G-d chose. This is possibly the most relevant portion of the Torah because in this reading we see the Jewish and Moslem future set out all too clearly.

Finally music - wonderful music, traditional music to remind us of Jerusalem. 
Im Eshkachech Yerushalyim "If I forget thee oh Jerusalem let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth and my right hand lose its power " and 

Shir l'Maalot, song of Ascents both of which were written right there in Jerusalem by King David who walked the very streets and lanes that we have kept in our hearts for three millenia.

With love from Jerusalem, Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Next week I will tell you all about Canon Andrew Whites lecture in Jerusalem.


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

Friday, 24 October 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila in Jerusalem

23rd October 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear Friends. Shabbat Shalom.

Chaya Zisel Braun, American and Israeli citizen, 3 months old, was murdered by a Hamas terrorist yesterday in Jerusalem. Our hearts go out to the Braun family as the entire nation of Israel mourns with you.  Her father, an American-Israeli from Los Angeles, CA, is also in our prayers as he is in critical condition from the attack: Shmuel Elimelech Ben Ester Matil.,7340,L-4583138,00.html

The perpetrator has been honoured and lauded by the Silwan Fatah movement and indeed by Mahmoud Abbas himself.

Ismael Haniya's daughter was cared for in an Israeli hospital when her Gall Bladder became inflamed. When a senior IDF Officer was asked why we were willing to treat the daughter of the leader of Hamas he said "Because in Israel we do not differentiate between patients. When someone needs medical help we give it unconditionally" Wherever in the world we are needed we give our hearts and souls - IsraAid and MASHAV - an example to the world.

The Death of Klinghoffer is a really awful title for an ill-intentioned attempt at an opera about a heinous crime, the hijacking of a cruise ship and the diabolical murder of an ailing, elderly man in a wheelchair by throwing him, alive, off the ship all in the name of enlightenment and art. Are the Jewish donors to the Metropolitan Opera insane or simply trying too hard to "fit in"? Don't they understand that if they cancelled their donations they could have changed their world? 

The situation on American Campuses is dire, yet Americans are so busy pointing the finger at Europe that they have no concept of what their young people are doing in University. This is must be addressed by the leadership.

The shooting at the Ottawa War Memorial in Canada is yet another aspect of what is happening. World leaders offer support but they do not react - they do not preempt

Incredibly there is some good news from one of our neighboring countries! Lebanon, while Lebanon has lost its Christian identity it still upholds some of the principles apparently. An old synagogue is being refurbished in the capital Beirut.

I told you about Philip Bloom, clown and volunteer here in Israel and I wrote an article about him in the Jerusalem Post. Philip desperately needs sponsors and paid gigs to sustain his volunteer work. My thanks to Steve Linde the editor for choosing to place this article in a very busy news week.

The Shabbos Project is an exceptional idea, a very Jewish notion, a truly beautiful project. This Shabbes, Shabbat, Sabbath, Jews and non-Jews around the world will keep Shabbat. The project provides the how and what in clear and uncomplicated instructions and will start in Melbourne spreading throughout the world as the clock ticks. Shabbat will become a signal for unity and togetherness. Read all about it!

Pat Condell's video Bye Bye Sweden says what others do not dare to utter and Boo Hoo Palestine even more so  Pat Condell says what others only dare to think.

The young Israeli who ran a campaign which encouraged young Israelis to move to Berlin because of the cost of a chocolate dessert is moving back home. Apparently Berlin isn't as welcoming as he thought!!!

Well it was yet another insane week! Danny and Judith Liwerant are here from Mexico City, Danny for the Jewish Agency Board of Governors meetings and Judith to give her fascinating lectures on Jewish History at the Hebrew University. We managed to grab them for a lunch at home for a short respite from meetings and of course to wonder at the view from our veranda!

Yesterday I met my beautiful friend Andrea Kovens beautiful friend Renee Rubinoff from Toronto who is here with part of her family to take her amazing little grand-daughter Evie to the famous  Fuerstein Centre for courses. The Fuerstein Institute follows the teachings of their founder whose firmly believed that we can all reach our full potential including children with special needs. 
It was such a delightful lunch that I almost forgot to leave in time to go with Zvi to Tel Aviv to babysit our littlest grandchildren!!!

This morning Zvi and I went to Kibbutz Ramat Rachel for the wedding of Amy Oppenheimer and her David. Amy is the daughter of our friends Elaine and Marc. It was such a joyous affair and the bride came out to be greeted by her girlfriends while sitting happily on a garden swing. The singing and dancing was so Israeli and as the girls danced around Amy, David was brought in by a highly enthusiastic group of his friends and checked his bride was indeed Rachel not Leah (Biblical references!!!) before the ceremony beneath the traditional canopy. The ceremony was traditional and delightful and the views over the Judean Hills and Bethlehem astonishing. 

Aba and Pamela Clayman were at the wedding. They are such are good kind people, religious Jews who find no contradiction between their religiosity and their deep commitment and love for Israel and Israeli soldiers. Their project to  show gratitude to the boys and girls who defend our nation for three full years of their lives is quite exceptional.

Last night was pure fun! We were back on the road to Tel Aviv to meet with my old and dear friends Val and Martin Myers with Adrienne and David Jackson all of Reading in Berkshire. We all grew our children together! We met in the Maganda restaurant just near the Carmel Market in the old Yemenite area of Tel Aviv for some honest to goodness, delicious Israeli food and a great deal of memories and laughter. They loved the way that everyone is part of everyone elses conversation and Zvi and I were the stand up for the couple near us. All four are coming to Jerusalem on Monday and I will show them all our wonderful sights and sites from Mahane Yehuda to the Kotel, from the panorama of the Hass Promenade to the gentle quiet of the Botanical Gardens........... hopefully, if I don't exhaust them the day will culminate in a "moment"on our veranda. Zvi will be in Ashkelon at the Jewish Agency Board of Governors meetings but on occasion he allows me to use his information to treat our guests!!!

Shabbat is nearly with us and Jerusalem is already wearing her Shabbat robes,the warmth of the autumnal sun slowly disappearing into the crisp evening Jerusalem air. The cooking aromas are less evident as the breeze takes them away to our neighbours rather than up to our veranda. As I sit outside I can still identify who is cooking what though. From Shoshanas Hamin, to Daisy's Tunisian fusion salmon on grilled vegetables, we all use vegetables and loads of them in salads or grilled they are straight from the fields of our kibbutzim to our kitchens. 

Shabbat dinner is special and always bears a huge degree of tradition as if we bring our forebears into our kitchens and they sit beside us at our family Shabbat dinners. We can only hope to make them proud as their traditions remind us that Jews survive - as each and every one of our festivals remind us. We survived the Egyptians, Greek and Roman Empires, the Ottomans and the Spanish Inquisition and we even survived Hitler - we can survive this loathsome period too. All we need it to remember exactly who we are and be proud of our past, present and future. 
Adon Olam, that song/prayer that speaks of the past, present and future is a natural choice today and I dedicate it to my lovely friend Peter Cooper who was the first person I ever heard singing this version at my son Gideons bar mitzva 29 years ago

Never forget our love for one another and Israels determination to save her people. This short clip is of the song Hinei Ma Tov Umaneim as the aeroplane from Entebbe landed in Israel. The words come from Psalm 33 "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" written by King David right here in Jerusalem.  Let's not forget the words but use them as our cri de coeur

With love from our beloved Jerusalem our past, present and future

Shabbat Shalom


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

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

141015 Chag Sameach Happy Tabernacles!

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!!!  

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

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

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 

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.

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.”

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:

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.

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 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!!

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

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