Friday, 29 October 2010

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem


29th October 2010.

Shabbat Shalom! How are you? I hope you are doing well. I am now doing so much better and beginning to move around and cook although the family calls me Hopalong Cassidy!!!!!

Today is a very good day in Jerusalem, it looks like rain. After the searing heat of this seemingly unending summer even a few drops of life giving rain will be welcome.

Nigeria's secret service intercepted 13 containers of weapons from Iran on Tuesday in what Israeli defense sources believe may be part of a new smuggling route from Iran to Hamas in Gaza. Rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives camouflaged as building material were seized in the Nigerian port of Lagos after being unloaded from an Iranian ship. A friend, a Nigerian diplomat wrote and told me that her country is with us and that she knows that G-d is with us even through the difficult times.

While the world sits back and vaguely remembers the Haiti Earthquake Israeli medical teams are again the first back on the ground to deal with the Cholera outbreak. I wonder how many doctors the Palestinian Authority sent......or Saudi Arabia....... or Dubai.......?

Bishop Desmond Tutu chose the very last moment after years of organisation to condemn the Capetown Opera Company for their planned visit to Israel. He called upon the Opera to cancel their trip but they chose to ignore his protestations recognising them as political and ill-founded. Please contact the Cape Town Opera to show your support!

We are a people of survivors and we survive as a people while other greater nations fall. Why? How? What is the inner strength that raises us each time from insufferable obstacles and causes us to thrive. Alice Sommer Herz, at 106 the oldest Holocaust Survivor give the answer. Her love of life, her determination to continue playing the classical music which saved her life, to play Scrabble with her constant visitors and to throw a big 107th birthday party!!!! Read and watch and learn from her nature what it means to be a Jew. Thank you dear Andrea for sending me this story – it is lifechanging.
Do not miss one second of this video – not a second.

Isi Leibler is a fine writer, a religiously observant Jew and determined Zionist. Isi does not kowtow to authority and has a penchant for Tikkun Olam which brings him to reveal cracks in the system which need attention. Such is his letter of this week. Isi addresses the problem of the need to dismantle and re-form (or reform) the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. A fascinating read.

I am lucky enough to have more than one erudite friend and another outstanding piece this week from Rabbi Jeremy Rosen, who like Isi oft reveals the feet of clay in institutions. This week Jeremy approaches the question of the founding of the Jewish State and the demands and questions that surround it today. Der Judenstaat's+Blog)

I had to check Snopes to see if this next item was a hoax.......... Iran is to sit on the United Nations Committee for Women's Rights!!!!!! Paradox? Anathema? Insanity? the height of stupidity? or all of the above?
Barry Shaw writes “IRAN is a leading Asian candidate to be elected to the new UN WOMEN'S COMMIITEE. Also SAUDI ARABIA.With the shape of the current UN don't be surprised if Shariah Law is adopted and stoning for adultery becomes the standard punishment.
This should appeal to those liberals who have supported the campaign to delegitimise Israel while ignoring the abuse of women's rights in Palestinian and Arab society.”,7340,L-3976083,00.html

Our wonderful friend Kim came all the way from Cardston, Alberta, Canada for the Jewish Agency meetings. Zvi is on the Board of Governors and when I watched the two of them head off to play their part in such an important organisation I felt that we are in good hands. Next week I will be in a position to tell you of any important motions that were passed but since I was unable to go to the meetings this year I will have to wait for a report. I can assure you that our future is in good hands and those who decide about the Jewish world have come to the understanding that we must reach out and teach out, which was not done sufficiently in the past. The Government and the Jewish Agency have woken up to the fact that University campuses are a breeding ground for anti-Semitism and Islamic movements in Europe and now very strongly in North America.

Apropos nothing..... did you know that all refugees lose their refugees status after two years with the sole exception of Palestinians who are still designated refugees by the international community after 63 years......just because their own societies are inadequate and unable/ unwilling to absorb them.

Our Shabbat guests were Harvey and Riva Same from Melbourne Australia, Harvey is the son of our dear friend Saul, who came for Shabbat Lunch (have freezer will feed) and then Yehuda and Lea Ressler and journalist Sleman al Shafhe (who has written a book on Gilad Shalit in Hebrew) popped in for coffee. On Wednesday Wayne and Cheryl Shur and their well travelled relation came to make certain that I wrote the truth about our veranda and the phenomenal view and agreed that I did not even remotely exaggerate! As we sat Wayne saw the oranges on the tiny tree now turning colour, the last reaming pomegranate after the grandchildren picked the others, the herbs, kumquats and beautiful little hadass hedge........ and the view. We explained that on the right one sees the nearside of Gilo atop the ridge, the next hill top is Ramat Rachel of such colourful history with Beit Tsafafa nestled in the middle, then Baka, the German Colony, and the Old City hidden by the tall towers of the Holyland Project. The moon rose eerily, huge in the sky and striped by cloud as we discussed many subjects “of Cabbages and Kings” but mostly of Israel's appearance overseas and in particular of combatting the negative hasbara on campuses worldwide.

From my still static viewpoint I see the last rush to the shopping mall, it gives Israelis the opportunity to have lunch at one of the multitude of restaurants after shopping for Shabbat, before cooking and then the Friday afternoon “shloof” (siesta). Soon the familiar and reassuring quiet will fall as the city prepares for Shabbat. Last week I was not in a position to cook for myself so one neighbour brought me Kubeh Soup based on tomatoes, cilantro and celery, another fragrant rice and Kurdish meat balls and another a different type of Kubeh soup based on beetroot! Kubeh are different depending upon the country of ones origin, Iraqi, Moroccan, Syrian, Kurdish, Egyptian...... all delicious all reminders that 900,000 Jews fled oppression and persecution in Arab countries. Their food and traditions came with them but they were refugees for a very short time because they came home rather than being stranded at the mercy of political blackmail for decades.

I wish you Shabbat Shalom, wherever you may be in the world. I wish you a strong heart and a determined prayer for the softening of our enemies hearts and a love which is turned to Jerusalem............. Shalom, Salaam, Pax , Paix, Peace, Paz


Friday, 22 October 2010

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

22nd October 2010.

Shabbat Shalom

I very nearly used my broken ankle as an excuse not to write this week, but Rosa called to tell me that I only had an hour or so to decide before Shabbat and too many people would worry, especially Pola!!!!!

Incredibly on November 4th it will be 15 years since Yitzchak Rabin's assassination. Th Hebrew date just passed with a large gathering in his memory but strangely for me it is the dreadful 4th of November that I remember.
Just ten days prior we stood listening to him speak before a crowded Rotunda, the Hall linking the Senate and the House, as we celebrated the opening of the United States Jerusalem 3,000 celebrations. The day was especially historic since the previous day, as my husband sat in the gallery, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem!
Just ten days prior to his death I received my last hug from this shy, exceptional man who preferred his “wounded soldier” citizen to the room full of politicians.
Just ten days prior to his death when Israel felt invincible from without and within.
Just ten days before a Jew raised his gun and took away not only a Prime Minister but our innocence and our invincibility.
I find it odd that the left have made him their symbol, although he was far from left-wing; the press has chosen him as their idol although he would have shown them his feet of clay, and the right have vilified him for deeds he never did.
Yitzchak Rabin, son of Rosa Cohen, was the archetypal soldier; Israeli; Sabra; hero; man, and I miss his shy disposition and humility horribly.
May his soul rest in peace, his memory be preserved and his prayer for a safe and secure Israel be fulfilled.

This article by Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, is an essential read. I give you a snippet and you can open the link to read it all.
An End to Israel’s Invisibility
By MICHAEL B. OREN Published: October 13, 2010
NEARLY 63 years after the United Nations recognized the right of the Jewish people to independence in their homeland — and more than 62 years since Israel’s creation — the Palestinians are still denying the Jewish nature of the state. “Israel can name itself whatever it wants,” said the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, while, according to the newspaper Haaretz, his chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said that the Palestinian Authority will never recognize Israel as the Jewish state. Back in 1948, opposition to the legitimacy of a Jewish state ignited a war. Today it threatens peace.

Today I received a message that The Australian reported that when Australian troops in Afghanistan requested help from Dutch Air Troops the Dutch refused help and Australian soldiers died as a result.

The Anzacs (Australian and New Zealand troops) have always fought for democracy and freedom in each war that their allies needed them from WW1 WW2 Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, et al. Apparently the Dutch have become infected with European PC'ism which is causing their near downfall.

The Dutch are investigating the Australian claims suggesting that they already had airfire cover from US and UK air forces. I hope the original report was wrong.

I have very little to report, today being the first day I have actually succeeded in hobbling and leaving my room to wander around with some independence. I am having great fun with my wheelchair which does amazing wheelies...... and thank G-d inflammation, infection and break are all doing well!! Visitors have been tended by my amazing husband and we all manage!

We have had wonderful visitors, one left one came....... Louise Gilbert with whom I worked in the UK, and Dr Kimball Taylor, yes our lovely friend Kim. Life will always go on as normal....... no dramas in this household.

Please remember that history is in the eyes of those who were there and those who wish to take credit for everyting. It was once said that history is the view of the victor but today history is the realm of the first to publish!! Avoid those who would sully your name, or the names of those who make history. They are not historians but rather mean spirited people who want to take history and make it their own.

I wish you Shabbat Shalom of optimism and hope, prayer, contemplation and joy.

With love from an ever beautiful, ever spiritual, ever charming Jerusalem


Thursday, 14 October 2010

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem


14th October 2010.

Shabbat Shalom

A further building moratorium or not? The United States President reneged on the Administrations promises to Israel on many levels and now makes yet another demand on us. Ten months without results and we are asked to serve another period where Israel pays the price but the Palestinians do not. I have said a hundred times, Israelis will accede to the US demands if the equivalent demands are made upon our enemies. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is willing to continue the building freeze on one condition, acceptance of our existence. It is like suggesting that a 62 year old woman who has dedicated her life to Tikkun Olam and excellence was never born and only if she pulls her home down will the world accept her being as a fact.

Silwan is part of Jerusalem, in the valley beneath the Old City, the Biblical Ofel, and populated over the last 70+ years by itinerant workers who came to the newly blossoming land and stayed. It is a quiet place of rare rebellion, predominantly Arab but not generally troublesome. Still photographs in the media showed a “settler” driving wildly into an innocent child throwing him into the air as if he intended to kill him. This video gives a whole new meaning to throwing your children under the bus. Lenny Ben David analyses the film clip, the photographers who just happened to be there, the organisers or producers of the scene and the people surrounding the children

Why are the worlds “human rights” activists and the left wing media obsessed with the Palestinians yet close their eyes and hearts to the horrors of Darfur and the extreme human rights abuses of the very people who they proudly support. This is one explanation.

George Galloway, the insanely opinionated former British Parliamentarian is back with another boat for Gaza - maybe we should call it Galloway's Galleon – this time no money, no medicines just people who hate Israel and love Gaza. Galloway's problem is that he has nowhere to land, nowhere to stay since both Jordan and Egypt have expressed their refusal very clearly and no-one to listen. Several crew members have left the ship leaving only the rat.

Ahmedinejad is continuing his state tour by repeating his implausible fabrications in Lebanon, this time stating that Israel controls climate change and of course that we killed assassinated Lebanese President Rafik Hariri , repeating the foul accusation that 9/11 was a US plot to detract attention from the economic state of the country. His megalomania now includes staking Iranian claim on Christian Lebanon, speaking as if he were the President of Lebanon not Iran, with Hezb-Allah his emissaries – the final nail in the Lebanese coffin?

The world watched the rescue of 33 Chilean Miners in a truly brilliant operation. As each man emerged from the tiny elevator to a great reception and I was amazed to see relatively healthy and rounded men. Miners are a special group of people, tough, determined and brave and this particular group were strengthened by another quality, a deep religious belief; as each man reached the light the first thing he did was fall to his knees and cross himself.

Personally I think we should bring the G-d fearing miners to Jerusalem and send Galloway and Ahmedinejad to spend a couple of months down a Chilean mine!!

Canon Andrew White will receive the Civil Courage Prize for his phenomenal work in Iraq, Baghdad in particular, to find the common denominator between all peoples, working together with Moslem leaders to bring some kind of sanity in an insane situation. Dearest Andrew we are beside you in your losses and so proud of you, your work and your outstanding successes

British Author, journalist and broadcaster Howard Jacobson, self-proclaimed Proud Jew, won the Booker Prize for his book about “Ashamed Jews” entitled The Finkler Question - here is a wonderful quote
“Every other Wednesday, except for festivals and High Holy-days, an anti-Zionist group called ASHamed Jews meets in an upstairs room in the Groucho Club in Soho to dissociate itself from Israel, urge the boycotting of Israeli goods, and otherwise demonstrate a humanity in which they consider Jews who are not ASHamed to be deficient. ASHamed Jews came about as a consequence of the famous Jewish media philosopher Sam Finkler’s avowal of his own shame on Desert Island Discs.”
“My Jewishness has always been a source of pride and solace to me,” he told Radio Four’s listeners, not quite candidly, “but in the matter of the dispossession of the Palestinians I am, as a Jew, profoundly ashamed.”

“Profoundly self-regarding,” you mean, was his wife’s response. But then she wasn’t Jewish and so couldn’t understand just how ashamed in his Jewishness an ashamed Jew could be.”

The new academic year began a week ago at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. This video was a tribute to the students by the students. Very funny, very clever. LipDub “Somebody to love”

Latma has the knack of saying just what we all think but don't know how! Latma news – in Hebrew with subtitles The real Churchill. and the shooting of the US soldiers by a Palestinian.

The steadily rising profile of Israeli wines reached a global crescendo last month when Carmel Winery garnered the 2010 Decanter World Wine Awards trophy. The winery won the award for its red Rhone varietals in the upper price category.

On the 10/10/10 at 10:10 Zvi and I arrived at the Sigd ceremony at the Presidents Home - the 25th Anniversary of Operation Moses, the first Ethiopian Aliya. I was elegantly strolling across the lawn, admiring the surroundings, when I equally elegantly stepped into a deep pothole in the lawn and found myself sitting down.......elegantly!!!! I was even more elegantly helped by a wonderful young Ethiopian Scout-Master who gently helped Zvi to lift me up as the rest of the guests went about their business. The problem was that I turned in the unexpected act of sitting and my leg didn't! I really didn't think it was serious, just very very painful so we asked the paramedic to check me and he announced it wasn't broken, I had no intention of missing this historic moment and they carried me through a side door and sat me down with my ever growing ankle up on a chair.

I am thrilled that I didn't miss the ceremony, their stories of suffering and determination to come to Jerusalem, heroic, epic, harrowing and incredibly determined andPresident Peres response to each and every one of them honouring their Aliya. They are an exquisitely beautiful people and among those who arrived as young children to become Israelis were lawyers, doctors, professors and of course officers in all three "Chayals" (Army, Navy and Air Force)
By the time the ceremony was over everyone realised that I was in trouble and they let Zvi bring our car in through all the security to the reception hall and off we went get me x-rayed which I thought was a superfluous operation. We ran an impromptu entertainment programme during our hours wait for the x-ray and then amused the doctor during the x-ray, laughing until he announced that my ankle was well and truly broken!!!!
I am confined to bed for at least another 2-3 days and to the house for 2 weeks; Zvi is making me meals and decorating the tray with flowers, coffees and teas on the hour every hour and doing the washing and hanging the clothes and making sure the dishwasher is filled and cleared, girlfriends are visiting and my beautiful daughter is coming in to bathe me!

My consolation for being in bed is that I see Jerusalem from my bedroom window, my other veranda, white and beautiful in the autumnal sunshine. A few minutes ago that magical moment when the sun turns everything red made me catch my breath as it has for twenty years. Golden City, City of Peace, old and new, rolling endless hills and strange stepped housing to utilise every inch of what is ours, our Jerusalem. If we never build another building, are vilified and unrecognised it can never change the fact JERUSALEM IS THE CAPITAL CITY OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL, HEART OF THE JEWISH WORLD AND THE ONLY JEWISH CAPITAL CITY IN THE WHOLE WORLD.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends, Shabbat Shalom

With love from Jerusalem

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Lester Rosenberg z"l


Once in a rare while a special Jewish leader emerges; he may be a world leader or a communal leader but what distinguishes his leadership is humility, humour and quiet wisdom. Lester was determination for Tikkun Olam and a deep love of Israel, Chicago and the United States. Lester Rosenberg z”l encompassed all of these qualities alongside his dear widow Norma.

At Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency meetings here in Jerusalem his smiling face lit up the room, ever beside his dear friend Robert Schrayer z”l. Last time I saw him we hugged and bemoaned Bobby's untimely passing “It is hard to be in Jerusalem without him but when I see you at least my memories are shared”

Lester suffered a car accident in March 2009 which left him totally paralysed but his incredible humour never left him. His visitors were cheered by him rather than he by them. His dear friend Joel Spreyragen kept me apprised of his situation with each visit to the hospital or with the family.

It was with deep sadness that we learned today of Lester's demise, he is a great loss to Jewish leadership and to the world. We share his family's sorrow and pray that they will know no more sorrow. May Lester's gentle soul rest in peace as he joins his best friend Bobby.

Sheila and Zvi Raviv