Friday, 24 July 2015

150724 Doctoroff, Wagner, Ari Shavit Iran, 10 years Gaza, Abdulla Dermibas, Melvyn

24th July, 2015

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope you had a good week.

For us this has been a very difficult week, interspersed with meeting wonderful people but sad nonetheless. 

My beloved brother in law, Melvyn, passed away after a brave fight to survive. Melvyn was a quiet man but not quiet in the sense of weak, he had a rare moral and ethical sense which meant that he was a man who one could rely on, throughout, no matter what. For me when so many others were not by my side, Melvyn, together with my incredible sister, was loyal and never questioned or reasoned, he just was. He was an amazing father, what he didn't express with words he expressed with his magic hands, by making phenomenal toys and surprising for his children. He loved making things, from model boats to almost full sized planes.......... but above all that he was, quite definitely the most adoring husband to my beautiful sister Doreen. As a family we are heartbroken but if you are listening Melvyn, I promise we will take care of her as she has taken care of all of us. May his soul rest in peace and his family, the legacy he has left this world, be consoled. Melvyn, you left me with amazing memories, I miss you already.

Two days ago, our dear friend Bernardo Romanowsky passed away after travelling to Chennai, India for a heart transplant. Bernardo, fought so hard to stay with his love, his Reizeleh, and like my wonderful brother in law, saw his Rosa as his Queen.  שיהיה זכרו ברוך 

In the meantime, to my surprise, the world continues, the sun comes up each morning and brings more joys and more concerns with it. From the sublime to the ridiculous.

One ridiculous news item was written by one Daniel Wagner in the Jerusalem Post who decided to take a photograph of HM the Queen, as a small child, giving an apparent Nazi salute. While true that her Uncle, the Duke of Windsor, followed his American wife in adopting several Nazi sympathisers as friends, but nothing suggests that the Queen was a Nazi sympathiser, indeed, the opposite. She, and her parents, constantly supported the troops who fought Nazi Germany from 1939 and throughout the war. Mr Wagner also suggests that Britain stopped refugees coming to the UK - what? The Kindertransport and many Jewish refugees were absorbed at a time when the USA did not allow refugee boats to land. Wagner also claims that the pressure from the USA caused Britain to allow 1,500 immigrants per month into Palestine - I understood that was in the White Paper!! The Royals are not perfect but are not responsible for British policy during WW2, nor in Palestine - unlike the USA where the President used his Executive Power, the Queen is a titular head without such powers. 

And so we come back to Iran! Ari Shavit is wiser than I and better able to look at the situation clearly. "After a long, intensive work week and an intensive hour in Channel 1’s television studio, I took a plane and craved for the moment in which I could finally close my eyes. But until take-off I decided to take a quick look at the thick document of the nuclear agreement with Iran. After reading all kinds of summaries, it was time to read the text itself. “The joint comprehensive plan of action” that was signed in Vienna on July 14, 2015, turned out to be a thriller. While my neighboring passengers plunged into their dreams, I couldn’t put down the 159-page document, which could turn the world we live in into a nightmare.

It is ten years since the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon, the warrior leader, decided to take all Jews out of Gaza. Despite media hype, the people of Gush Katif and the towns and villages of Gaza were secular and religious, farmers and ordinary businesspeople, indeed ordinary folk who just wanted to live their lives. I remember at that time taking our dear friend Earl Cox to interview Ehud Olmert, who at that time was Deputy PM. I went in first to see our friend and discuss what he would say in the interview. "Sheila, I know that it will not be popular but Hamas is taking over the Gaza Strip and I am terrified that we will have an awful lot of dead Jews if we don't take them out. This is a case of Pikuach Nefesh" whereby In Judaism, Pikuach Nefesh the preservation of human life overrides virtually any other religious obligations. Was it done well? Was it done efficiently? Was it essential? We can never know but the government and several donors decided to leave the highly successful farms intact for the residents of Gaza - and rather than benefit from them they destroyed them.

When are our leaders going to refuse to fund the United Nations? It has become worse than biased, it is a time and money wasting source of extreme racism and incitement to hatred. In the latest move the UN decided that Israel is the worst abuser of human rights in the world....

American Jewry was noted for its generosity, support and connection with Israel, led by the UJA and others. Sadly that truth has changed and some of those leaders have led their flock astray. UJA President Alisa Doctoroff apparently represents the new generation of apologist Jews in her support for the New Israel Fund and other negative organisations which support BDS. I am horrified.

Zvi and I went to the stunningly beautiful International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem to hear a fascinating speaker, a visitor from Turkey, Abdulla Demirbas. His visit was even more emotive because that morning there was a homicide bombing on the Turkish border with Syria where over 30 youngsters were killed. The former mayor of a city in Turkey decided to change his world - and thus our world. Beginning with a relatively small project to revitalise and rebuild an old area of his city he began a magnificent journey of tolerance. On one street he built a Mosque, a synagogue, church, chapel, temple but instead of just building them, each sector had to rebuild the prayer house of another. Abdulla served time in prison for his ideas and there is a FATWA on his head, but as he said "You can kill me but never kill my ideals" From small acorns huge oak trees grow and he is here to meet and talk with other leaders. Impressive.

Saturday night and Sunday bring Tisha B'Av - the Ninth of the Hebrew month of Av. It is a day of fasting, of reflection and of determination to do better. It is primarily the remembrance of the destruction of both Temples and of many disasters which befell the Jewish people. Here I give you two different meanings, the traditional and Rabbi Jeremy Rosen who gives it a modern touch.
“Those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana was not referring to Israel, but he might have been. When all is said and done, the fast of Tisha B’Av, the Ninth Day of Av, is a fast that symbolizes and commemorates bad decisions. The Israelites were always very good at that. The wonder is that they survived at all.

So, as always the food is already safely in the refrigerator. Spicy Middle Eastern fish, Stuffed veggies, multiple salads including, beetroot in lemon, Moroccan mushrooms, Butter bean humous, normal humous, Veggie Noodles, Aubergine in Tehina, lettuce, tomato and endive and a few more........ I will set up the table outside on our veranda, the day is searingly hot and maybe, just maybe we will get the relief of the incredible, balmy mountain air of Jerusalem.  The children love it when we eat outside, it gives them the freedom to play as the grown ups talk about the week. I love their delight as Jerusalem spreads out before them, the lights twinkling, the fireworks from Moslem weddings and festivities in Beit Tsafafa attracting their attention. 

So life goes on, the vacuum slowly recedes and becomes a memory, never filled, just finds its own place. Tonight we will count our blessings as we watch the children play, as they help us make the blessings over the wine and the two loaves of plaited bread. Tonight will bring us Shabbat - time to gather our thoughts, to say thank you for our blessings and go through the virtual photo album of our happy times.

A couple of months ago I went with my daughter Rachel and her beautiful children to a concert of Yaacov Shwekey. This song, above all others, caught my heart. If I forget thee oh Jerusalem. Never 

Yerushalyim Shel Zahav, we usually hear this glorious song in a very Western way, but when you hear Omer Benayoun sing it it takes on depth and a very appropriate Middle Eastern flavour.

The final song I want to give you today has nothing to do with Shabbat, but rather a tribute to my brother in law Melvyn and his love, his absolute love for my beautiful sister. Nat King Cole singing When I Fall in Love -

Shabbat Shalom. Remember to show appreciation for your loved ones every day, in every way. Be remembered for your kindness, your warmth, your humour and your generosity.

With love from Jerusalem


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

Friday, 17 July 2015

150717 Iran, Mengisto, Greece, Rosen, Hammond, Rabbi CapersFunnye

Friday, 17th July, 2015, Jerusalem

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I know we are all sick and tired of hearing about Iran so I may just decide to tell you about Persia instead.

 Persia isn't Arab, just in case you were under the illusion perpetrated by the media. Persia was the home of the original Aryans, it was the Greeks who decided to change the name and call it Pers, just like the Greeks called Yehuda and Shomron Palaestina. The Persians, not always kind, were not only not Arabs but always suffered attacks because they didn't belong. The last Shah, the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi of the Iranian monarchy. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi Pahlavi changed the name back from Persia to Iran (Aryan). Iranians are still not accepted by the Arab world and their politicans led the country to isolation and hatred in their attempts to find favour with the Arab Moslem world. By expressing hatred for the West (USA in particular) they hoped to curry favour with their former enemies but it simply led to greater isolation.

What about the nuclear threat, I hear you say? Oh that is imminent and obvious, in media speak "clear and present danger", no question but you have heard the politicians, diplomats and media flog that horse to death, maybe with good reason, but the problem is that we reach the point of not hearing the truth for the sheer quantity of information. Today, while listening to the radio, I learned that the people of Iran, those who are not extreme Moslems, love Israeli music, Rita in particular (she just made an album in Farsi) and crave fashion and fads from the West. 

The stories were told by, I think his name is Ran Arani, who when he was a child in school in Teheran, got into one too many fights with his Moslem classmates so his mother managed to find an illegal broker who got him out of the country through Afghanistan and ultimately to Israel. I am certain his assessment is right - not the hate-filled pictures we see. No, I am not naive, I am sure the hate and the nuclear facilities exist, and threaten the West in general and Israel in particular, but maybe our view is a little coloured by what we hear? David Horovitz puts everything into perspective in this article 

Greece came to an agreement with the EU! They agreed to pay back at least a portion of the monies lent to them by irresponsible banks and funds, of course they don't have a snowballs hope in hell to return it but an agreement has been reached. Some 350 billion Euro debt when ones Annual GNP is about 200 billion Euro is simply unachievable.It may well be the Fall of the European Economic Empire. De Gaulle was right with his Non, Maggie right keeping pound sterling.

The Mengisto Family, on the advice of the Secret Services, wanted to keep the disappearance of their son quiet. They knew that he had wandered into Gaza, they knew that he was mentally unstable, they knew that the Government was doing what they felt was right - which meant doing things quietly - after all we paid a horrifically high price for Gilad Shalit It was not racist, although it has been claimed that it was, it was a hard earned lesson. Now the price on their sons head has risen dramatically - we don't know yet what they want, but it will cost lives. Sometimes good deeds are not helpful.

What happens when money and numbers decide justice rather than the word of the law? The Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court, for the first time in its history, has ordered the ICC Prosecutor to pursue an investigation she has decided to close. The Chamber ruled that the Prosecutor was wrong to close the preliminary investigation into war crimes charges against Israel for crimes allegedly committed in boarding the Mavi Marmara and other vessels during the flotilla incident of 2010. The case was closed after the Judge saw the videos of the foul attacks UPON THE IDF by those aboard the Marmara. My thanks to Jack Winnet for this article

To put things into perspective, the whole "Siege of Gaza"excuse is pure rhetoric and lies. Egypt is banning all trade and aid to Gaza but Israel is providing all staple needs. See this and Bassem Eid's assessment of the situation 

Rabbi Jeremy Rosen's letter this week studies the dichotomy of freedom, such as given by Napoleon to the Jewish people, and the theologists who claim religious freedom caused the downfall of Judaism. Enlightening as always!

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall at the meeting between British Foreign Minister Hammond and Prime Minister Netanyahu as they discuss the agreement reached with Iran. Hammond represents a country that was undecided whether or not to sign - but did. 

Rabbi Capers Funnye has been named leader, or Chief Rabbi, of the Black Hebrew Israelites of America. Nothing odd in that? Well, it would be just another news story except for one simple fact - he is Michelle Obamas cousin!!

We had a relatively quiet week (as opposed to the weekend to come), but met up with our dear friends the Nankins of Mexico and San Diego. They are here for the bat-mitzvas of their grand-daughters and despite a very heavy schedule we grabbed the chance to meet with them at the First Station in Jerusalem. Gosh it was buzzing!!! Luckily we found a table for 10 on the platform, having walked down the boardwalk tracks to get there. It was fun to see the hive of activity around us. Every Wednesday there is a big screen showing of old Israeli movies; children rent electric cars and go off on the bicycle tracks nearby; families enjoy browsing the craft stalls and buying delicious ice creams.

For Pablo Nankin it was a different kind of treat,  he wanted information - answers to questions that had been burning since last time we met! Iran, Netanyahu, economy, politics, diplomacy, BDS indeed everything that Zvi and I could answer to the best of our ability!
Tonight we have friends coming for Shabbat dinner - just 10 of us tonight. I decided that since the weather is steaming we would go for a Milk meal - refreshing. Of course we begin with an array of Israeli salads - aubergine, courgette, tsatsiki, green and chopped salads, followed by soup, then Spinach and feta strudle, cauliflower quiche and salmon teriyaki with farfelle pasta and green beans. To finish - Danby and Marvin are bringing a fruit salad to accompany the chocolate cake, lemon cake, Eddies Peach Pud and chocolate chip cookies - my oven has been working overtime but then the children and some friends are coming tomorrow - another 16 people!!!

I wish I could say that our veranda was ding well, but I can't. The fact that the computer of the drip irrigation system failed me when we were in Greece - and the weather in Israel was exceptionally hot - meant that I lost most of my plants. Stanley, don't worry, the lemon, orange and kumquat trees survived, as did most of the herbs, but I lost all of the wonderfully scented myrtle bushes have gone, dry and brown. It is sad but as Zvi said - it is an opportunity to refresh the veranda and buy new pots and bushes.  At least my Valerie fuchsia and the hibiscus survived.

Now I am going downstairs to our store-room to find the paddling pool and fill it ready for the children tomorrow - they will be happy for hours!!!

Must set the table, get out the best china, glassware and cutlery because the bride of Shabbat deserves nothing but the best.
Be well, please remember to pray for the well-being of Ezra Dov ben Iska and Moshe ben Rachel - we love them.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends
Shabbat Shalom


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

Sunday, 12 July 2015

150712 Greece, Iran, Hillary, Maslow

12th July 2015,
Dearest Friends, Shevu'a Tov, a Gutte Voch, a good week to you
I started to write to you from Greece but then I decided that it was too hard to write on my tablet and waited until today! Here is the beginning from Greece and the remainder from Israel.

Shabbat Shalom from Greece. This has been a fantastic week of friendship,  success and  warm receptions. 

We are here at a pivotal period and are slowly learning about many Greek tragedies.  Their inherited memory of the Third Reich which rampaged, pillaged and burned Greece has created a sense here that it is Germany, not Europe or the IMF, or the irresponsibility of their own politicians that is the cause of their fiscal ills.Indeed Greece bears a strong resemblance to the Madoff tragedy except here it was a government's greed and the willingness of the wealthy countries to lend what could not be repaid. 

We found a confused people that wants to regain its pride.
Their history and ancient mythology, runs alongside our own on many levels,  including the flood, but no-one mentions the Hellenists who tried to dispose of the Jewish people, not by killing us but rather by making kashrut, brit mila (circumcision ), Shabbat,  daily prayers illegal so we would assimilate into the Hedonistic Greek way of life.

I cannot emphasise sufficiently the warmth with which we have been received; be it Karpenisi, Delphi, the amazing Tagli Lodge in Arachova, indeed when we arrived in one restaurant we found a baby naming in progress. The family were so excited by the fact we came from Jerusalem that they invited us to sing, to their thrilled excitement the choir sang in Greek!  Athens awaits, we'll see.

Now from Jerusalem.
Athens was terrific, we went to the Parthenon, to Delphi, to Tavenas and to the Plaka area. While the monetary situation was clearer in the countryside many shops were closed or empty, but on the other hand, sales drew customers in. Coffee shops and restaurants that were empty during the day were still full to overflowing at night, about half-half locals and tourists. As usual Zvi and I spoke with taxi drivers and locals and as if with one voice they voted OXI - no - to the idea of paying back their debt as set out by Merkel. One said it was because he had to ensure his childrens future but none, not one person understood that their inability to repay meant that pension funds around the world would suffer.

In several hotels I was amazed to discover they had Israel 24 news for us 

I saved the best for last............
HaKol Yachassi Jerusalem, the choir that Zvi sings in, won first prize in the Folk section of The International Choir Competition in Karpenisi!! In the Parade HaKol Yachassi sang and danced our way through the streets of Karpenisi and at the end, Zvi presented the Mayor with a Jerusalem Flag. The Mayor fell on Zvi in gratitude, tears in his eyes. There was also a choir from Serbia, The Jewish Choir of Serbia, who sang Israeli songs and again, my lovely husband brought each and every one of them a little Jerusalem plate. Life is good!!!

In the meantime, a young, mentally unstable Israeli from Ashkelon wandered across the border to Gaza and disappeared. It took time to understand what had happened since Hamas denied his existence at first then said that they had found him, realised he was unstable and released him. Former Prime Minister of the UK Tony Blair is conducting the negotiations for his release and for the release of a young Bedouin man who also crossed the border.

The limping negotiations with Iran continue, led by a limping John Kerry. It is hard to accept any reports because, as I told you, the IAEA, the organisation responsible for overseeing the Iranian nuclear programme for all the years it was flourishing, was in fact a member of the Moslem Brotherhood!

Hillary Clinton has never been know for sitting on the fence and to my surprise has come down firmly on the question of boycotting Israel and of the establishment of the Palestinian State. She is clear and forceful in her condemnation of the BDS movement, recognising that it is totally negative to any negotiations with the PA

Al Quds Day was celebrated in most capital cities around the world. At least it purported to be a Moslem celebration but in fact it was yet another opportunity for unadulterated incitement to hatred of anything Jewish and of Israel.

The disgraceful Jon Snow yet again met his match in his war of words against Israel. I tired of reasoning with him but the indomitable Mark Regev, spokesman of the PM's office, managed to keep his sang froid and responded with clarity and poise.

According to Maslow's Pyramid of needs, Israel should be in a constant funk of misery unable to reach out to others or enjoy life in any way yet we defy every aspect of "the "rule Well, they say the exception proves the rule and Israel is exceptional in so many ways. One could put the pyramid on its head and Israel would still reach out to help those in an even worse situation!

The best part of coming home is getting onto that El Al aeroplane, knowing that the pilot was an Israeli Air Force Pilot with battle experience, and then it happens, "Shalom, welcome to El Al" as the smiling stewards and stewardesses joke with the passengers, help me put my hand luggage on the rack despite the rules, hug the children and chatter away in Hebrew. It makes me feel I already arrived. 

Landing in Ben Gurion Airport (yes that's the name, not Tel Aviv) is exciting, crossing over that coastline excites me and landing in that oh so familiar airport is special. This time our luxurious minibus was not waiting for us so we piled into a Sherut (Nesher Minibus Shuttle), which was bound for Jerusalem, prolonging our vacation by an hour and dropping us right next to Gadis home and our car.

I have spoken to you about the incredible work of the Yuri Shtern Holistic Centre, which provides free holistic therapies for cancer patients and their families in Shaare Zedek Hospital and a small clinic in Jerusalem.  Over 140 therapists, including reike, reflexology and other touch therapies, and psychotherapy, give 2 1/2 hours a week as volunteers, and the method is so successful that Sloane Kettering hospital wants the Centre to teach them. Because it is a totally volunteer organisation we are strapped for money, seriously strapped for money. Please watch this emotive video and consider donating - please i beg of you. I am so proud of their work, have been a recipient and watch friends flourish after being treated.  Indeed to ensure that the Yuri Shtern Foundation can reach out to help more and more cancer patients and their families every penny counts. To donate - Your generosity will help so many people and I feel deeply that this cause is one that touches all of us at some time in our lives

We arrived home in plenty of time for Shabbat, and my first thought as we walked in the door was to press the button of the shutters to take in our view of Jerusalem. I was sad to find that the drip irrigation system had failed and I may have lost my little kumquat tree but I think I save all the others. I doubt if they will fruit but at least they are alive.

This week is already hopeful as our dear friend Bernardo, who is in Chennai India for a heart transplant, is off the respirator and breathing alone. He is talking and smiling. Keep praying though Ezra Dov ben Iska. Baby steps for him, but great news for Rosa and their son Moi who is there with them. To make life even better, their daughter Aliza had a baby girl last week! 

Hopefully this will be a good week, a happy week filled with good news. At least i have my view of Jerusalem and my wonderful veranda to look forward to and sweet memories of our trip and the choirs enormous success.

For your delectation here is a small taster of HaKol Yachassi and their disc is coming out soon, available right here.

This is the Serbian Choir that we met, giving a whole new touch to Hava Nagila!!!

With love from Jerusalem, beautiful Jerusalem


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

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

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

1st July 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 26 June 2015

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

26th June 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 18 June 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 12 June 2015

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

12th June, 2015

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

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

Professor Alan Dershowitz spoke beautifully concerning BDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. With love from sunny London