Friday, 24 February 2017

170223 Nikki Haley speech UN, Conference of Presidents, Shkediot

23rd February, 2017

Shabbat Shalom dear friends.

This has been a fascinating week which began with a surprise, a breath of fresh air, as Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the United Nations held her first press conference at the UN. She confidently walked to the podium and spoke out with rare honesty about the imbalance of time and money spent on the Palestinians when so many awful things are taking place in the world and time which should be spent on solving those problems was spent on castigating Israel, the only true democracy in the region. She was a phenomenally supportive saying, "The United States is determined to stand up to the UN's anti-Israel bias"

Israelis have been torn apart by the trial of a young soldier who killed a terrorist, who had attacked fellow soldiers but was already lying on the ground. Elor Azaria's parents chose to take the trial to the country rather than accepting the services of an IDF lawyer. They encouraged the media hype over what should have been an IDF court martial and left the country confused. Would it affect the way young soldiers reacted to attacks? Would they risk their own lives for fear of court martial? Would it embolden terror attacks? The matter was complicated by the fact that Elor Azaria himself changed his story many times and his parents turned it into a political issue. The verdict came out this week, he received a sentence of 18 months imprisonment, leaving everyone equally confused. Do we want to punish our soldiers for reacting? No, not unless they do it out of political conviction rather than necessity.

If you truly believe that the anti-Semitic attacks in the USA are caused by Donald Trump, think again. Louis Farrakhan has been determinedly campaigning for attacks "Disabuse the Jews" is his cry, "Disabuse the Jews of their belief that they are chosen and that Palestine is theirs" His hatred for Trumps pro-Jewish stance is obvious. If you have FB please watch this video

Rabbi Jeremy Rosen wrote a fascinating blog this week about the complexities of Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of Britain. Well worth reading.

I flew back from the UK on Sunday, Gideon took me to the airport and as always, saying goodbye to my family was painful. Without time to unpack, early next morning Zvi and I arrived at the Inbal hotel for a small but exciting taste of Dr Malcolm Hoenlein's ability to put together a brilliant programme for his Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations. The speakers came from across the political gamut, from far right to fairly left – from Bennet to Boughie. Even those with whom I disagree had important and highly relevant things to say. Bennet made important statements about education, about the need for every child in Israel to have the opportunity to learn the 3 R's, history, geography and the sciences. Isaac (Boughie) Herzog is not on the left of the political spectrum unlike many members of his newly reformed party. He speaks clearly and when a questioner referred to the religious importance of Israel he reiterated that his family history follows his grandfather who was the Chief Rabbi of Israel and his father who was President, traditional Jews for whom Judaism was paramount. Herzog also referred to the secret Aqaba meetings and the plan set out by then Secretary Kerry. It is his belief that the talks were scuppered because Netanyahu made up his coalition with the far right after Herzog's own party vilified him for wanting to form a coalition with Netanyahu; however, the press claims that the talks ended because Secretary Kerry did not pressure the Palestinians to recognise Israel as the Jewish State – an obvious prerequisite.

Yair Lapid chose to be interviewed rather than stand and speechify. Currently the front runner in the polls, he has grown politically over the past few years. He spoke well and addressed the concerns of the questioners. When asked about the threats of violence from the PA if the Embassy is moved to Jerusalem, he said "Since when have the USA and Israel made policies under the threat of violence" He also quoted his late father whose last words were "Take care of our family and take care of our country". Yair Lapid feels strongly that this must be a Jewish State and doesn't believe in separation of religion and state. Both Lapid and Herzog believe that Israel is a country for all Jews and we must give the same tolerance to Jews of different leanings as we do for other religions.  Perhaps the subject which touches my heart and I am sure yours too, is hasbara, Israeli PR.

It was surprising how closely all the speakers, irrespective of party, right and left, had the same core beliefs in education of our children and the need for reconciliation work between the different Jewish factions. All feel that we must bring two sectors into our society, ensure that their children have a chance to improve their social and financial position through education – the Haredi Community and the Moslem Community – neither of whose educational institutions fulfil the basic learning requirements. That is a broad statement because more and more Haredi schools have improved their curriculum but nonetheless it needs attention.

The discussion at the luncheon session was "Freedom of Press in Israel" with an esteemed panel whose political leanings were as diverse as their media. Each was disturbed by the Bibipaper "Israel haYom" which was, and is, funded by Sheldon Adelson and since it is free it is now the most influential with the widest readership and reports only positive things about the PM. While others report on the ongoing police investigation of the PM's gifts and possible corruption, Israel haYom does not. It was also suggested that the Prime Minister's Office tries to influence what is printed in the other papers and TV news. Remember – I am just reporting what was debated.

To understand the importance of the man and the mission one simply needs to meet with Dr Malcolm Hoenlein. His standing among the senior US politicians is without match, his work untiring and his determination unparalleled. I feel very honoured that we are invited to events. Just see the website to understand

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Australia! He was warmly welcomed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with this excellent article in the Australian.  The reader comments were  disturbing but new trade agreements and travel opportunities eased my concern!!!

There is one problem to being a modern, dispersed family, while I adore being with each of the children and their families, I miss those I am NOT with! I had so much fun with my New York and London family and will return to my Friday school collection and hugs here in Jerusalem followed by Shabbat with Zvi's boys Leor and Amiad and their families… but then I want us all to be together around one big table. One can dream after all.

Spring is around the corner although the air is still crisp and winter is not over. The harbinger in the UK is the fields of snowdrops and crocuses; here in Israel it is the shkediot – the almond blossom which covers the Jerusalem hills like clouds of pale pink blossom. The desert is blooming, – Darom Adom – the Red South, the Negev blooms, the land is covered with scarlet poppies, Jerusalem too. Calaniot, scarlet poppies, Rakafot, pink wild cyclamen as the land drinks the rains of winter before the heat of summer. Perhaps the most famous song is Calaniot, by the late Shoshana Damari although she actually refers to the poppies of Flanders Field

Zvi is in the city with my "machutan" Nachshon, my son in laws father, sitting a restaurant on Ben Yehuda Street absorbing the passersby, enjoying the atmosphere. Perhaps he will go to Mahane Yehuda for me to see what fruit is freshest on season and buy himself some treats in Tzidkiyahus "hamutsia". Oh my I could go crazy tasting each one of the olives and salads!!!
The Shabbat music that Yaron Tzidkiyahu would love is Eastern or Mizrahi music – it is much happier than Ashkenaz music! Here Revivo sings Shabbat Songs with friends, get ready to clap!!

You always ask me for recipes, rather difficult for me because I rarely prepare things the same way twice! Today I found you a video of how to prepare Moroccan Hamin (Cholent) and I must say it looks so good I will do it next week!!!

So dear friends, finally Shabbat at home. Last week I lit the Shabbat candles with Stephanie and Olivia, tonight I will light candles in the knowledge that in each of our children's homes Shabbat candles will bring in the bride of Shabbat, the childrens faces lit by the glow of the candles as they follow the traditions of their grandparents and the generations before them.

I just went outside onto the veranda for you, to see the glorious view, to see Jerusalem in all her glory. I don't know if the US Embassy will come to Jerusalem soon, but come it will and then the dream of British Ambassador Gerard Cowper Coles will come true. He told me that each time he came to Jerusalem he used to go to the potential site of the British Embassy and touch the ground "One day the Americans will move their Embassy here and then I can follow suit immediately". Three British Ambassadors have passed through since, but his dream may just come true.

With love for a beautiful Shabbat all the way from Jerusalem, our city, heart of our faith, where King David wrote his psalms, where Jesus walked, where Abraham took his son Isaac, Jerusalem……………………….

Shabbat Shalom  


Friday, 17 February 2017

170217 Netanyahu Trump meeting, Melanie Phillips, Jeremy Rosen and Gideon QC

17th February 2017

Shabbat Shalom from London dear friends

Yes I am on my travels again but for very good reason, my son, Gideon Saul Cammerman, received his title as Queens Counsel Learned in the Law. More of that later, first of all we need to cover the political and diplomatic traumas and events of the week.

Mr Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, flew for meetings with Mr Trump, President of the United States. Mr Trump arrived on time and did not keep Mr Netanyahu waiting, which was a good start. I was not in the room so cannot assess from persona knowledge but rather from collating knowledge from the media – left and right – and picking my husbands brains because I have been very busy absorbing my London grandchildren every moment.

Zvi’s assessment is thus, and you may well disagree but Zvi is usually right.
There is a shift from an unsuccessful policy that has not changed for 50years to a Policy of building a different coalition in the Mideast, one of similar interests rather than one of enforced alliances.
In spite of the Presidents overt pro Israel stance, there is none of the previous anger in the Arab World which already anticipated the United States of America to move away from the naive belief that they would abide by normal rules of engagement that  President Obama adopted -  to President Trumps very realistic view of the area

Mr Netanyahu also knows he doesn't have a free hand on settlements and that the dream of the far right members of his Cabinet are unrealistic. There is a strong feeling in the Middle East that there is a new Sheriff in town. In this region at least President Trump retrieved the credibility of America.

The main question is whether it can be sustained or whether American Society is too frail to reclaim the role of Superpower. I, Sheila, sincerely hope so because any alternative is terrifying.

As to the thoughts of Israelis on our particularly complex situation - the 2 state solution remains the preferred option. In a poll taken yesterday 46% of Israelis are still for the 2 State Solution . 15% for 1 state and 30% status quo.11% don't know!!!

I have been asked what I feel about “the settlements” and I never know exactly how to respond. Settlements according to CNN or BBC? Settlements in terms of the UN? Settlements in terms of legality? Well let me put it in one sentence because it is becoming tedious. I believe that there is no reason to leave large settlement areas; I believe that Jerusalem is not up for debate; I believe that those who sit on a hilltop, endangering their childrens lives and the lives of our soldiers who have to guard them are also endangering Israel and our relationship with the outside world.

Those of you who still think the UN is a good thing – read this

Melanie Phillips is a British journalist. Her page is fascinating and well worth listening to an interview she did with an American/Israeli on and listen Melanie speak about Trump Hysteria, double standards and bad manners in this weeks newsletter. A fascinating interview

Another fascinating interview (if I didn’t already give it to you) is with Canon Andrew White about the Middle East in general,

Whenever anyone in the media, on campus or just ignoramuses suggest that Israel is an apartheid state it makes me very angry; not because of Israel but because it demeans the suffering and brave fight of black South Africans and the many Jews who stood beside them to attain freedom from oppression. Rabbi Jeremy Rosen writes about his views on the matter through the eyes of the Pogrund family

I know you all want to hear about Gideon’s – well I want to tell you anyway!

We took the tube to the City then to the Chambers at 187 Fleet Street where Michael took over. Michael is the most senior Clerk of Chambers and it was his job to dress Gideon in his incredible  uniform, to ensure the wig was brushed, the cravat flowing and the gown spanking clean. The tights were a problem for someone not used to them however.

Our first stop was the ancient building of the Palace of Westminster – the real name for the Houses of Parliament - and our limousine was ushered through the gates of the House of Lords, stopping before the enormous Westminster Hall , a 900 year old structure with no heating. We froze as we sat inside, waiting for the ceremony to begin and 113 Barristers, solicitors and honourees received their Queens Counsel, Learned of the Law certificates signed by none other than her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We all stood as the Lord Chancellor (a very pretty young woman named Elizabeth Truss who is also Minister of Justice ) accompanied by her staff who led her down the steps to the podium, the ceremonial mace going before her. She addressed each and every one of them with a smile as they gave a nodding bow toward her.

From Westminster Hall we were collected by the limousine and taken to Gideon’s Chambers to be greeted by Head of Chambers Mr Andrew Trollope QC. The staff had organised a spread of snacks, sandwiches and sushi before we set off again for the Royal Courts of Justice just a few steps away.

In Court number 4, a wonderful and ancient room, a very British ceremony took place. 5 Judges in full regalia, with golden decoration sat up on the bench and each new Queens Counsel was called forward. Without a word he bowed to his left, right then turned and bowed to the young Barristers behind him who responded with a bow. He sat for a moment until one of the Judges asked "Do you move?" Without a word he bowed to them and walked to the next bench thus symbolising his first appearance before the court as a Queens Counsel. Incredibly Gideon’s name was called out by Sir Brian Levenson, President of the  Queens Bench Division, whose decision and encouragement early in Gideon’s career brought him to this day.

Formalities over Gideon thankfully walked at full pace back to Chambers and changed into civvies. Thereafter we went to a local pub where loads of friends arrived to celebrate. What a day!!!!
My favourite moment was when Olivia, Gideon and Stephanie’s daughter (my granddaughter) suddenly announced that Daddy was a tourist attraction because the milling tourists outside Westminster Hall were photographing him from all angles as he sported his ancient costume. 
Both children, Olivia and Zachary, had the experience of a lifetime and I was so proud of both Gideon and his beautiful (and equally clever) wife Stephanie without whose support and love, life would have been so much harder.

I go back to Jerusalem on Sunday, filled with stories and experiences that fill my heart.

So to music

Yaacov Shewekey is a favourite of mine and while I was looking for Ma Tovu, my grandson Sammy’s favourite ad very gentle song, I found this very unconventional version!

Since I am in the UK in winter I must give you Eli Luzon singing Rain from the movie Afula Express  

So dear friends, next week I will wax lyrical about Jerusalem but this week my emotions are no less as I think of Gideons beautiful baritone as he sings Kiddush and the children, Sammy, Olivia and Zachary, look up to him and absorb tradition. Stephanie, you make my stay so sweet, thank you.

Just went to visit my childhood friend Steve Isaacs in his new family bakery in South End Road in Hampstead . I love Hampstead, so very British – the Heath, loads of great restaurants and now……….. a great bakery!

Shabbat Shalom from London  

Friday, 10 February 2017

170210 Miami, Trump, Haredim, Miami, Gideon Saul

10th February 2017

Shabbat Shalom dear friends

Yes we are back home and I was very moved by the number of you who asked what happened to us! Well, I tried to write to you, indeed wrote but then found I didn't have the means to send it!!! Never mind, perhaps it was better that I didn't send it so that fewer feathers will be ruffled. Since we arrived in time for the inauguration we were also in time for some rather over-exmeited reactions!!!!

So, since we last spoke Zvi and I had a truly rotten experience with Expedia who forgot to tell me that our flight from Barcelona to Miami had been cancelled some 4 months ago (they continued sending me reminders) and we found ourselves having to stay overnight in Barcelona, not exactly a punishment but a rather large expense since none of the airlines took responsibility since they get at least one such incident every day with Expedia!!! Anyway, a delightful, if very cold, walk through the Ramblas and a night in a hotel we set off for Miami and David Efrons home.

I will not write too much about the elections and inauguration but just to tell you that Davids partner, Kathy Fernandes Rundle, Miami State Attorney who is very high up in the Democratic hierarchy, said it simply and clearly; the elections are over and it is time to move on and prepare for the next ones. In my opinion all the demonstrations against President Trump; the shunning of friends over their votes; the reactions of Democratic Congressmen; the angry and pointless outbursts and the fact that CNN still hasn't accepted the results do not enhance the USA or democracy.

Just by the way, it is not the first time that racial profiling was in place in the USA! President Obama did it against Iranians to such a ludicrous extent that our own then Minister of Defence Shaul Mofaz was refused entry! Just 7 out of 56 Moslem States are on a hiatus of entry into the USA excluding Christians who seek refuge. Probably because not many Christians blow themselves up in either aeroplanes or shopping malls.

Incidentally, anti-Trump mania reached the House of Commons when the Speaker, who is by definition apolitical, announced that President Trump would not be welcome in the Houses of Parliament because he is racist and sexist! After all the tyrants, despots, and so on that were welcomed it is a disgrace and a fall from honour. Melanie Phillips talks about this and much more  iincluding the fact that nobody seems bothers that Jews and Israelis are banned from so many Arab and Moslem countries!!!!

There, that's finished!

Israel has been on the back burner of the news, except for the issue of settlements (surprise surprise) and Prime Minister Netanyahus visit with Theresa May, the British Prime Minister which apparently went very well. Actually Mr Netanyahu has had his hands full recently with the legal authorities finally questioning his hedonism. This morning I heard an excellent interview on Israeli radio with one of the other cabinet members where the interviewer asked the MK "Had the person being investigated been Ehud Olmert who you castigated for his "gifts" while you were on the Opposition Bench would you have been as lenient as you clearly are to the PM's wrongdoings?" Incidentally PM Olmerts entire case was built on $15,000 whereas the extent of gifts Mr Netanyahu has received makes that look minimal. Isn't it strange, the case against Mr Olmert was because he raised election funds and Mr Netanyahu because he accepted gifts (a lot of gifts), both of which would not be considered a crime in most countries – except the two I have lived in!!!! No doubt that will raise a few eyebrows from all of you but, hey, that's why you read what I have to say!!!!

A very big issue here is that on the day we arrived there were riots. Haredi riots. The riots were not even against being called up to the IDF but rather because in order to get the title of conscientious objector you have to appear at the induction centre and that is what they are rioting about – harming the policemen who were sent to keep order and disrupting traffic. If they are so against this amazing nation, hate Israel, think we should all pray all day and not work or serve the country then they should also not receive social security to study; free medical service; social services; roads, transportation and all the services given by the taxpayers. I am all for religion; I adore our Judaism and our principles; I think that there is no religion with traditions of giving like ours; Many of them came here from elsewhere and have not taken Israeli citizenship so that if they do earn they do not need to pay taxes.  
If they don't want to be part of society and refuse to contribute to that society then let them leave. Gosh, you see, this normally very moderate and balanced author occasionally gets worked up. I don't want to offend my religious friends because as far as I am aware none of them fall into this category, they all work hard and contribute to society in general no matter where they live.

One constant question on peoples lips was "Why isn't Saudi Arabia on the banned list" Well, Saudi Arabia is as much in the line of fire as Israel, in fact even more so. In case you hadn't realised the Middle Eastern conflagrations are all about the Sunni/Shia divide. Iran is Shia Moslem and Saudi Arabia is Sunni which makes them a clear target. President Obama decided to fall on the side of the Shias who represent only 15% of Islam, including Iran and her satellite organisations of Heb-Alla and Hamas, leaving the others outside – not very wise. Saudi Arabia is Sunni and now turns to Israel for her defence weaponry and technology. The materials and operators fly to either Cyprus or Jordan and then on to Saudi Arabia in unmarked planes and set up the defence systems. Read here

"Safta and Saba, what was the high point of your visit?" asked Talia. Well obviously for me it was visiting my NYC family and getting to really know my little grand-daughter Callie who at 3 years old only kinda remembered me and spending time with the amazing Joshua – and of course Daniel and Karen and for Zvi it was going to Mexico and seeing his family there. Having said that our sojourn in Miami was filled with great experiences and wonderful visits. Our initial purpose for travelling was that after a talk in the community of Rabbi David Greenberg in Bedford, NY Bob and Faith Krasnow invited Zvi to talk at his wonderful synagogue in West Palm Beach. They really did us proud and Zvi was, as always, fascinating. I don't know how he does it, his eloquence is unmatched and happily the community of Bet El were thrilled. I was extra excited because a group of readers came especially. In shule the Rabbi asked a highly pertinent question "Who was the Mother of Jesus"? a somewhat surprised community looked back at him but almost everyone knew the answer "Now tell me what Moses mother was called"? almost silence – only two of us knew the answer Talia Carner confidently called out "Yochevet" while mine was an uncertain whisper. "Indeed Yochevet, and none of you knew the most important woman in Jewish history!" A point worth contemplating! How many of you knew Yochevet or the one who watched over baby Moses or the one who saved him?

We saw many friends and family, in fact I don't want to start naming names because I don't want to hurt anyone!!! Friends gathered friends to hear our views on what is happening here and our relationship with the USA and the new President. I must mention one name though, Rabbi David Steinhardt who invited me to speak to a small group at his shule in Boca Raton. We have known David for some time and despite my reticence at speaking his warmth gave me confidence and for the first time in my life I stood up and spoke clearly and even Zvi said I did well! Perhaps it was because very special friends were in the audience – I have to mention Audrey in particular. Her tears of joy when we met, having been through so much together during the time when Kinneret Chaya was injured, were joined with those of Sari Singer, Jane and Harvey. Kinneret Chaya, one of the main reasons I will never stop writing. Kinneret Chaya, daughter of close friends, blown to smithereens by a terrorist in Tel Aviv, given a 2% chance of survival and now a mother to 4 exquisite children. Those of you who do not know her miraculous story – just ask me and I'll send it to you.

Rachel collected us from the airport together with a vast amount of luggage – Zvi cannot go to Mexico without going with his cousin Ruth to the markets, and buying, and buying – all good stuff but it took one whole suitcase!!! We managed to get everything in and then dropped Rachie home before heading off to our freezing cold apartment! I didn't have to strength to unpack just dropped into bed leaving it all for the morning.

As I drove to see the children this morning it was as if we had never been away. Climbing the hill of Ramot, over Samuels Tomb, down the other side to Givat Zeev, the children calling every two minutes to see where I was – happy. Their excitement was total and I realised I was home – where I am meant to be. Driving back to Jerusalem I couldn't help but glance over that phenomenal panorama of Jerusalems many hills set out like a beautiful white puzzle of small houses, behind them small apartment blocks growing in height until the tall modern buildings of the city completed the horizon. It really is spectacular.

My veranda survived the cold and the flowers are blooming, even the hibiscus said hello! Tomorrow we will be with Zvi's boys and their children which made me think – what a glorious month this will be – I got to see all of my children, all of Zvi's children and all of OUR grandchildren all within a short period of a month. Life couldn't be better.

No sooner have landed than I am off again, this time to London on an extremely exciting visit. On Monday morning my amazing son Gideon Saul is being invested as a Queens Counsellor in the House of Lords and then at the Court of Appeals (like the Supreme Court) and I will be there to burst with love, admiration and pride. My son will be a bigwig – literally – as he dons a new robe and a long wig which will be his court uniform from now on. Gideon Saul is a special person who has a strong sense of justice and determination which foretold of his calling. Thanks to his beautiful and equally clever wife Stephanie he has achieved his dreams and long may it continue.

Zvi just got back from his parliament where the main topic of conversation was all of the above!!!!!

Music, music is the spice of life, the reason to smile the reason to cry – music brings back memories almost as easily as scents, smells aromas, so let's try to bring back some good memories with the following:-

Tu b'Shvat is generally known as the New Year for Trees, but that is a misnomer, it is the festival of potential both human and agricultural – it is a time to plant, a time to grow a time to think of future crops. Here is a short song of Tu b'Shvat in Yiddish

Perhaps this little video about Israel is also appropriate for Tu b'Shvat - All about Israel in 4 minutes

Naomi Shemer is arguably Israels greatest poet/songwriter. One day she heard the Beatles Let it Be and decided that she would write a song of hope in the same vein - her prayer for peace is clear and beautiful Lu Yehi

Oseh Shalom – May He make peace

So dear friends, old and new, it is time for Shabbat. I am sorry I didn't manage to talk to you for a few weeks but here we are now, deep in our conversation as if there had been no break. I have to admit I missed you too.

Tonight it is just Zvi and I but the prayers will be full, the traditions complete and the light that Shabbat brings will fill our home. It is always good to be back but no matter where we are Zvi's glorious voice will fill my heart as he sings the Kiddush – the blessing over the wine.
May G-d bless you and keep you safe from harm.

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem, ever beautiful, ever golden, ever ours.


Friday, 13 January 2017

170113 Terror by truck, Mahane Yehuda, Gideon Saul

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Dickens

13th January 2017
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. This has been a very sad week, not the best of times, yet babies are born, young couples marry and great celebrations take place. It is indeed both the best of times and the very worst.
On Sunday, a group of Officer Cadets of the IDF and their trainers, came to Jerusalem on an educational seminar. They, like most of us, went to see the incomparable vista point of the Haas Promenade in Talpiot/Armon haNatziv – perhaps to understand what they are fighting for. As one group alighted from the bus an Israeli Arab (not a Palestinian although the media insists upon it) took his flatbed truck and simply drove into and through the soldiers. He then reversed in order to kill and maim more of them but several soldiers took out their weapons and shot him. He had mown down the lives of 4 beautiful young people, 20-year-old Lt. Yael Yekutiel z"l, 22-year-old Lt. Shir Hajaj z"l, 20-year-old Sec.-Lt. Shira Tzur z"l, 20-yearold Sec.-Lt. Erez Orbach z"l who volunteered to go into the IDF despite the fact he had special needs. 17 others were injured – all of the young people will never be the same again. May their sweet souls rest in peace and their families be consoled with the mourners of Zion.

The terrorist comes from the neighbourhood of Jabel Mukaber, right next to Armon ha Natziv. Zvi's children grew up there and in those days Jabel Mukaber was a tiny village of a few dozen families who shared the playgrounds and facilities of the Jewish neighbourhood. During the second Intifada, when the Israeli police and IDF were busy trying to prevent terrorist attacks, thousands of family members of the original village poured into Jabel Mukaber from Hebron and there are now nearly 10,000 inhabitants. Those people receive all the social services of Jerusalem, medical, social security, jobs, everything. Now do you understand?  Nothing to lose because when they build homes without planning permission CNN etc are right there ensuring Israel looks bad for pulling down unsafe buildings.

In the meantime terror attacks took place in Nigeria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and some 17 JCC's in the USA were threatened. Yes it is the worst of times.

Ironically, just minutes after the diabolical attack I was walking down the steps of the glorious neighbourhood of Yemin Moshe to the Jerusalem Press Club to hear none other than Yossi Beilin speak. I hoped he may say something different, a new perspective but sadly he didn't. Such a brilliant man who is unable to think out of his box. He still lauded Oslo and Sharm, talked about a Federation between Israel and the PA. I felt like mis-quoting Einstein at him "Failure is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results"

We are so dumb. When we can't accept a democratically elected leader we determinedly put him down and make his tenure illegitimate. This is negative on every level, especially negative to our standing in the world. It is irrelevant whether it is your leader or mine. The sex stories of Donald Trump suggest that no President in the past ever had a questionable sex life; then we come to the investigation of the Netanyahus. Since as long as I can remember, and certainly Zvi can remember, politicians have been hedonists, egotists, and a nice cigar or a bottle of Champers could gain entry to their cahal. Get over it everyone – try to build a future and stop trying to change the present!

On Monday I went to Shouk Mahane Yehuda with two friends from my childhood, Adele Landau Roffman and Angela Hexner ben Gal who have taken so much of the work of arranging the imminent delight of the Welsh/Israelis St David's Day party that I feel free to enjoy our Florida sojourn. The party will be held on March 1st, obviously, in the Botanical Gardens in Jerusalem.

I love the Mahane Yehuda in case you hadn't guessed yet!!  You really should take the tours I bought some delicious fruit tea to take to my daughter-in-law Karen and some special warm hat things that can either be neck warmers or hats for Daniel, Joshua and Callie!!! The aromas emanating from the huge variety of tisane mixes was quite heady – not only potable flower and fruit mixtures - they even have edible hibiscus flowers, unsweetened dried pineapple, mango, guava and Zvi's favourite, papaya – and you should really try the herb and spice mixes for rice dishes!!!!. We walked up and down the main alley then out into the daylight of the outside shouk, stopping to say hello and taste the fresh delights along the way. We sat in CafĂ© Aroma, drinking the best coffee in the world, watching the world go by. Love it!!!

I want to jump and shout the next piece of news which is so fabulous I woke up at 04:00 smiling and crying simultaneously. I received permission to tell you about it but was told not to include too much slush!!! Actually the easiest thing to do is to copy you the note from my son Gideon Saul Cammerman QC!!!!
Of course I am happy for you to schlep some nachas. But, please just write that on recommendation on the Lord Chancellor, the Queen has appointed me one of Her Majesty's Counsel or as is more commonly known, Queens Counsel.
Now tell me, could you hold back? I am so proud I could fly, but Gideon, I promised to hold back and not be slushy. I wouldn't dream of saying you are brilliant and wonderful, but I can wax lyrical about your wonderful wife Stephanie whose part in your success is immeasurable. I am flying to London to attend the ceremony in the House of Lords on the 13th of February and I promise you I will not hold back then. Gosh, my baby is taking Silk!!!'s_Counsel

We leave for Florida very soon and lots of you asked for our schedule. On the 25th of January we are speaking at our dear friend Michael Meir's synagogue, Skylake Synagogue in North Miami Beach, actually Zvi will be speaking because it is in Spanish and I can only listen. On the 27th, by special invitation of Bob and Faith Krasnow we will be at Temple Beit El - 2815 North Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach which is the prime reason we are travelling to Florida. Zvi will speak and I will occasionally interrupt when asked! On the 4th of February we will be speaking in Boca Raton at our friend David Steinhardts Temple Bnei Torah. Those of you who have our Israeli cell numbers – we can be reached on WhatsApp. I am flying up to NYC to see my beautiful family there and Zvi is going down to Mexico to see his cousins. Family is everything for us.

Last night we met with some of my very favourite people. Canon Andrew White, Hanna Ishaq, Lola and Norman Cohen. in what Canon Andrew calls "Daves Caff" aka the historic King David Hotel for supper. I am so excited that Andrew is back in his special city, his special part of the world. I wish him better health and a great deal of strength as he embarks on a whole new project to help the same people he loves so much. Andrew has created a new organisation called  the Canon Andrew White Reconciliation Ministry

Brenda Katten is an exceptional lady. I first met her in the UK and since then have been enthralled by her writings as well as her person. This week she writes about the dichotomy nay the chasm between the media and the truth. Here she talks about Syrian, Palestinian and Gazan children treated with love in Israeli hospitals.

Shabbat comes in early in the winter as dusk begins to turn the white stones of Jerusalem a deep pinkish gold. The colour change lasts but a moment or two but it excites me each day. I stand before the big windows overlooking our veranda to see the flash of gold, as the sun goes down behind us.  I never weary of our view, of Jerusalem spread before me, she, the city which so suits the Dickens quotation, here we know the best of times and the worst of times. Of late we feel abandoned but then I receive incredible letters of support from ordinary folk of every religion, letters from so many different countries telling me their politicians do not represent the people, Israel is in their hearts. If you really mean it – come to visit; come to see for yourselves what an exciting, innovative, modern country this is. You will see all religions and all sectors of all religions represented in the stores, streets, shopping malls, and hospitals, indeed everywhere – you will wonder at the history and be amazed by the modernity. Most of all you will love the food. Ah the food, the amalgam of thousands of years of dispersion coming together in a magnificent epicurean experience.

OK as my Gideon said I am prone to waxing lyrical!!!!

My first song has nothing to do with Shabbat, less to do with Israel and everything to do with my son Gideon.  Gids, More Than Words. You gave me the best birthday gift any Mother could ask for.

The next song gives me hope and makes me cry. We Are a Miracle by Yaacov Shwekey is our story and miracle is the perfect definition.

Meir Bana'i passed away last night. The Bana'i family, true Jerusalemites every one, is a theatre family, the very basis of the Israeli Show business world. His song is of the Mercy Gate through which the Messiah will descend from the Mount of Olives. Shaar ha Rachamim  May his soul rest in peace.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. May your dreams be sweet, your Shabbat truly restful and your family safe.
With love


If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv
Involvement The Yuri Shtern Holistic Center

Friday, 6 January 2017

170106 Confusion, Azaria, US Embassy and Alan Dershowitz

6th January 2017

Shabbat Shalom on the very first newsletter of 2017!!! Shabbat Shalom and Happy Orthodox Christmas.

What a confusing week! Congress voted to overturn the UNSC vote on Jerusalem; President Elect Trump's office says he won't make Mexico pay for the "Wall", of course the wall is very clearly built in many parts of the border; Turkey, a Moslem country despite the efforts of Attaturk, yet again suffered a terror attack, this time in Izmir outside the courthouse, because they arrested the perpetrators of the horrific nightclub attack on New Year's Eve; Hanan Ashrawi, spokesperson for the PA, a Christian, has declared that Jerusalem is not Jewish thus denying her own religion; Egypt's A-Sisi has made the decision to give Saudi Arabia two disputed islands in the Red Sea after years of angry dialogue, yet A-Sisi who is giving his people what they need is denounced as a tyrant; the diabolical war in Syria continues, Assad the murderous tyrant is supported; and …..Israel will play in the World Baseball Classics in Korea in March……….. now that is really confusing!!!

Probably the most confusing, saddest, most divisive yet legally correct occurrence in Israel was the case of Elor Azaria, sadly nicknamed "The shooting soldier". Under normal circumstances I would be on his side, fearful of the repercussions of charging a soldier on duty with manslaughter for killing a terrorist. Under normal circumstances I would worry that others will not act quickly enough in similar situations for fear of prosecution. It sounds so cut and dried, but there are many aspects that are not. The terrorist was already lying on the ground, unable to move, after stabbing a soldier, but alive. Azaria shot him while he was already disabled. Azarias Mother was known to inculcate her children with hatred for Arabs – which almost certainly created the mind-set for what he did. The huge publicity surrounding the case, the media hype, was not conducive to logical public opinion, as I said it was divisive but nothing, no matter how one feels, excuses the threats on the life of the judge by the extreme right. The final question is "Should he receive amnesty?" No. The Knesset is not above the law and the law has spoken.

Further confusion? Our dear friend Professor Gabby Barkay, he of the Temple Mount Sifting Project, occasionally takes special groups and guides them on Jerusalem Archaeology. A few days ago, Prof Barkay was speaking to a group of visitors to the Temple Mount, as always speaking respectfully. He was approached rather forcefully by the WAQF who admonished him for using the term Temple Mount rather than Harm al-Sharif! As if that is not bad enough, the Israeli police, who were present, told him not to use the term Temple Mount again!!!!! Has the world gone mad?

So you thought I was going to begin on the straightforward and obvious….. well, I have one more and it is a really incredible one. The United States Senate has put forward a proposition to move the United States Embassy to Jerusalem. Wait a minute! Zvi and I sat with former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on the floor of that austere institution when they voted unanimously to move the Embassy to Jerusalem in 1995!! The unanimous vote of the democratically elected representatives of the American people was vetoed by a supposedly democratic process over the last 20+ years! A similar Senate bill was presented in 2011 to obligate the President to recognize the former vote and equally ignored. Sorry but I thought that the Senate represented the people who made a decision – it is anti-democratic to overthrow the will of the people, isn't it?

Professor Alan Dershowitz decided that he would help to reduce confusion concerning the legality and legitimacy of the State of Israel. How can the current vociferous denigration of Israel be explained? Anti-Semitism

We had a quiet Friday night and then on Shabbat Lunch visiting family came from Detroit. It was wonderful. Francie and Julian Greenebaum, their daughter Jennifer and her 3 amazing children, Sarah, Rachael, Damiano and Charlotte arrived uncertain what to expect. We turned it into a Q&A for the children trying to keep our responses lighthearted but factual. It was a blast!!! They have so enjoyed their trip to Israel, seeing the real Israel not the CNN version. They love Jerusalem, thoroughly enjoyed their Israeli food and the sheer quantity and variety!

This week had a very strong Welsh flavour. Lunch with 5 amazing Welsh, Cardiff girlfriends; coffee with a Welsh Lord who was my madrich in Habonim; meetings with Angela and Adele about the upcoming St David's Day celebrations on March 1st for all the Welsh Jews who came here on Aliya, and there are many. The Welsh community was a strongly Zionist, in fact in my childhood Wales was very pro-Israel which came with their firm Christian beliefs but sadly, since that time both religious and social reasons for supporting Israel have disappeared. The Welsh party will be held in Jerusalem, at the Botanical Gardens, and we hope to have an amazing programme. In the past it was organised by the wonderful Gerald and Mimi Rapport and Les and Viv Greenbaum, but they handed it over to us this year after many years of successful effort. Here's a little about the Jews of Wales  but you really need to read the books of Bernice Rubens and the poetry of Dannie Abse to understand.

I also had a meeting with a wonderful lady called Virginia Myers who I met at the Jerusalem Press Club. We met in the German Colony and it was a wonderful start to a good friendship. The German Colony, next to the Italian and Greek Colonies denoted the areas where pilgrims of various countries would settle in Jerusalem. When the British Mandate came in to Jerusalem on the heels of the First World War, the first thing they did was to change the Teutonic names of the streets to William Deedes, David Lloyd George, Josiah Wedgewood etc. A truly magnificent area with many Bauhaus buildings and a restaurant culture that is truly exceptional.

Anyone who thinks Jerusalem is just antiquities and Bible should check out this site. Just click on each "old" photo and you will get the "now", the wonderful modern Jerusalem

The weather has been crisp and wintery in Jerusalem with major rainfall along the coast. Yesterday Zvi was in Nes Ziona and as he drove along he suddenly saw a magnificent total double rainbow, the colours clear and bright, the arc defined – since it was a complete arc one could not know which end held the pot of gold!!

Tonight we will be with Zvi's children for Shabbat. I love the way they begin with singing Shabbat Shalom to welcome the lighting of the candles and the bringing in of the Sabbath before Zvi sings the Kiddush, the blessing over the wine, his strong bass-baritone succeeding over the noise of 8 children!

In just 12 days we leave for Florida. We have many friends there, both residents and snowbirds, who we hope to see and will be speaking at several Temples and Shules. If you want us to talk to your group we may be able to fit in one more. Many of those friends are from Latin America an excuse to give you my favourite video of the week with the paintings of my favourite artist – Botero -

Rabbi Israel Meir HaCohen was a great Rabbi known as Chafetz Chaim – the one who desires life. His words resound throughout our faith "Mi ha Ish – who is the man"  
Wow! As Mi ha Ish finished this music came on! I don't know which market they sang in but it is so Israeli and so much fun – who needs the sophistication of Tel Aviv when you can have the warmth of this place!

Zvi has gone to his course on autobiographical writing and then will race off to his parliament  and I can tell you without any doubt that the subject for discussion will be Elor Azaria. It will be the subject this evening with the children too……….

So, are you a little less confused or did I complicate your thoughts even more? So many of the questions don't have an answer but there is one thing you can be sure of, Israel is here, Jerusalem is ours and you will be welcomed with open arms whenever you come to this little miracle of democracy in the middle of a sea of war, tyranny, corruption and confusion.

With much love from our home to yours, from the land of small, round, hardy lemons (Stanley) and more flavours and concoctions of a hundred traditions cooking away on a million stoves to bring in the Shabbat. Traditions.

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem