Friday, 25 March 2011

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

Friday 25th March 2001

Shabbat Shalom dear friends

My greetings this week are mixed with sadness after the bombing in Jerusalem and the rockets in the South of the country. The rockets are not effective at killing but they create traumatised adults and children – robbing youngsters of the right to play outside in the fresh air and reminding them of how horrific life was before Operation Cast Lead.

A good woman died because she was in the wrong place, a woman who had given of herself to the poor and sick, a true Eshet Chayil – woman of worth. Mary Gardner, a 59-year-old Evangelical Christian from the Orkney Isles, north of Scotland, was studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She was studying Hebrew in order to translate the Old Testament for the people of Togo to whom she had devoted her life. 30 others were injured including David Amuyel. David owns the snack kiosk next to the bus stops outside Binyanei HaUma. He noticed an unidentified bag next to to the public telephone standing next to his kiosk. David told people to move away from the bag as he called the police, the situation already familiar to him. The recorded request for police assistance was interrupted by a huge boom as the bag exploded. David saved the lives of others but he himself is still in hospital with injuries to his lower body and limbs – the price of bravery. The unstoppable kiosk and the bravery of a simple man

Israel does not bow to fear or bullies – terrorism induces terror and we cannot let them win. The number of superstars arriving here is increasing, many suddenly understanding the importance of their roots. Bob Dylan is coming on June 20th and Gene Simmons is here right now with his family. Who is Gene Simmons? Well his real name is Chaim Witz, child of a Holocaust survivor who was born in Israel, Witz changed his name and became a superstar – in the group KISS. Known for his long tongue rather than his musical prowess Witz decided now is the time to come home after 52 years.

In my report of the cowardly bombing mid-week I barely touched on the trial and conviction of Former President Moshe Katsav on charges of rape and sexual harassment. I am so proud of our legal system which does not allow fame, wealth or public office to deter the full force of the law. The panel of judges deliberated in camera and only when the result of those deliberations was announced did they allow a limited press presence without cameras. The panel of judges (Israel does not have a jury system) included two women and one man. Presidiing Judge George Karra, Judge Miriam Sokolov and Judge Judith Shevach. Katsav wil appeal his sentence to the Supreme Court but the people of Israel are tired of his constant raging against the press and the legal system claiming “It is all becauswe I am Mizrachi” (Persian)

News Agencies do not protect their journalists by speaking out, if the story goes against their company line. Read Tom Gross descriptions of beatings, harassment and sexual harassment of both NY Times journalists in Libya and Reuters correspondents in Gaza. If the media will not admit the truth unto themselves how can they admit it to us or for that matter – tell the truth about our situation?
Wonders will never cease! The University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies is renowned for the anti-Israel stance of its student body but even this liberal, though excellent academic institution has its limits. Demonstrators against Israel Apartheid Week – held at universities and colleges all over the world – were attacked by SOAS students, including verbal racist abuse, biting and kicking. The University “deplores the use of violence and hate speech in on or around its premises”. Maybe they should watch what they teach too.

Talking of Israel Apartheid Week, I want to show you something special. These posters demonstrate the incredible rainbow of Israeli society which is probably more integrated than any other. We are not perfect, indeed still learning that Ashkenazi and Mizrachi make for a great social and culinary mix, but my goodness we do well.

Brava! The Israeli women's basketball team made history last night as they won the EuroCup beating the French team Arras. and just to prove that Jews are good at sport............ Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team won last night's match in the European Final Four!,7340,L-4047587,00.html

Jerusalem's first International Marathon started as planned this morning and 10,000 runners are enjoying a good weather and a beautiful view of the capital as they follow a wonderful route through both old and new city. Traffic is pretty much at a standstill but nobody minds. Last night the participants met in Binyanei HaUma for a slap up meal of carbohydrates to build up their strength at the Sport and Health Expo. The race began at the Knesset (Parliament) at 07:00 this morning on a wonderful rainy Jerusalem day, infinitely easier than the usual heatwave for what was previously a half-Marathon. Runners came from all over the world, none deterred by the recent bombing. From the Knesset to the Israel Museum and then back to the Supreme Court, Israel's pride and joy both legally and architecturally, through the centre of town and then to the Mamilla Arcade, Jaffa Gate, Zion Gate, the Cinemateque, the Khan, the Presidents Residence and on to entertain the bystanders sipping their Cafe Hafuch in the German Colony. They will be rewarded for their efforts well before the finish line by one of the most breathtaking sights in the world – the Sherover Promenade overlooking the entire City of Jerusalem. The sun came out for the finish in Sacker Park lighting up the trees and the faces of the onlookers

The glorious, life giving rain took a short break, the sun finding the white buildings sparkling in delight. The cooler weather demanded a huge pot of thick vegetable soup for tonight and a lovely chicken cholent for tomorrow's lunch. I took a short break to remind me of the beauty which surrounds me every day and walked out onto my slightly soggy veranda. The buds on our orange tree are just beginning to show their heads and the rain elicits the aroma of orange leaves. The pomegranate tree is beginning to leaf and the freesias lift the air with their heady scent - augurs of spring despite the snow which lays thickly on Mount Hermon.

Just as spring will replace winter so joy will replace the agony of the last week. We will not dwell on the past although we must learn from it. We must not dwell because vengeance will make us as evil as our enemies. We will find a way to avenge but never to revenge. They push us and taunt us through their violent acts, they want us to react, they demand our reaction because they want the world's anger upon us. We will not allow our moral tide to ebb – we are better than that.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends, Shabbat Shalom – Peace be with you, “May the Lord bless you and keep you.”
With all my love from Jerusalem

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Bomb in Jerusalem

Wednesday 23rd March 2011

Bomb in Jerusalem next to Binyanei HaUma at a very busy time when children are wending their way home. TV news shows a child's winter coat in a pool of blood at the bus stop. The 2 kilogramme bomb was placed next to the bus stop to Maaleh Adumim from Har Nof. The bus absorbed the blast as it drew up to the stop. Zaka and Magen David Adom first response people at their stations nearby heard the explosion and came to immediate aid.

TV news shows a child's winter coat in a pool of blood at the bus stop. The bomb was on a public telephone and detonated by remote control. Zaka and Magen David Adom first response teams nearby heard the explosion and came to immediate aid.

The 25 injured who were taken to Shaare Zedek Hospital were aged from 15, others were taken to Hadassah with injuries from critical to serious.

It was so unexpected, we apparently became used to travelling in peace. Hamas has been trying to take advantage of the chaos in the vicinity to create fears by launching many missiles at the South and now this. It is believed to be a lone terrorist from Hebron, but as yet no definite claims have been made.

Zvi and I passed the spot just a short time before – indeed a few minutes previously.

We were too involved in the repercussions of the court decision to imprison former President Katsav for seven years on rape and sexual harassment charges to understand or absorb this new yet so familiar tragedy.

Shalom dear friends, Shalom al Yisrael.
Love from a very sad Jerusalem

Friday, 18 March 2011

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

18th March 2011

Shabbat Shalom to you all!

What a crazy news week. A still unfolding tragedy in Japan as a natural disaster created a man made disaster; insanity in Libya as Ghadaffi continues his murderous determination to retain power; varied Arab and Moslem states are changing guard and a family was killed in one of the most inhuman acts of terror yet devised and the world of media didn't care.
THEY HAVE NAMES Ruth Fogel Udi Fogel Yoav Fogel Elad Fogel and baby Hadas Fogel

As always in Israel, each horrific story gives birth to acts of incredible humanity and kindness.

A Palestinian woman was found in distress giving birth to her baby which was born with the help of an IDF paramedic and paramedics from Itamar. The baby was born blue with the umbilical cord around its neck. The soldiers and paramedics worked and saved the mother and child who were taken to hospital in Israel. This story shows the difference in an ideology which glorifies life and an ideology of the glorifies of death. The IDF forces and local paramedics saved the life of a Palestinian woman and her newly born infant near the settlement where the Fogel relatives are sitting Shiva,7340,L-4043536,00.html

Rami Levi is a supermarket mogul who started in Jerusalem and has widened his empire – a very wealthy man. One day last week one of the Fogel family recognised the man who came to Itamar and walked into their kitchen laden with groceries for the family and their guests and began to fill their fridge and cupboards and did so every day of the Shiva. When asked what he was doing he responded that they should get used to his face because he would be coming every week to fill the fridge and freezer until the surviving children of the Fogel family reach the age of 18. Such stories fill my heart with hope and joy when men such as Rami Levi can show such generosity and kindness – such soul.
Where Is The Outcry Against Arab Apartheid? By Khaled Abu Toameh

Mohammed Nabil Taha, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy, died this week at the entrance to a Lebanese hospital after doctors refused to help him because his family could not afford to pay for medical treatment. The tragic case of Taha highlights the plight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who live in impoverished refugee camps in Lebanon and who are the victims of an Apartheid system that denies them access to work, education and medical care.

Ironically, the boy's death at the entrance to the hospital coincided with Israel Apartheid Week, a festival of hatred and incitement organized by anti-Israel activists on university campuses in the US, Canada and other countries. It is highly unlikely that the folks behind the festival have heard about the case of Taha. Judging from past experiences, it is also highly unlikely that they would publicize the case after they heard about it.

There's 192 Countries That Exist In The World & We Give Foreign Aid To Over 150 Of Them!" Rep Poe

The Victoria was a ship crossing the Mediterranean Sea – or so it seemed. The Israeli Coast Guard asked the ship to stop and the arms cache they found

Trinny and Susannah started their Israeli season last night. For the first time ever, in any country, they decided to appear at the opening of the season. The funniest moment was when Trinny stood in front of a group of people all of whom wanted to be chosen for a make-over and suddenly shouted “Will you wait for me, I do the choosing here – you Israelis are so pushy!” When asked why they chose to come to the opening and throw a big party Susannah said "I love it here and want to buy a holiday home. Israelis get such a bad rap outside Israel and we love you" They decided that Israel is fun, fascinating and has beautiful women!

Purim is around the corner. Let's try to bring down the latest Vizier of Shushan with a clever plot eh?
Go on, admit that a smile crept across their face at the thought!!!!

Each city's “Adloyada” is in the last throes of preparation – Mardi Gras has nothing on this!!!! Ad lo Yada.. until he doesn't know. One is supposed to imbibe alcohol on Purim so that one cannot tell the difference between friend and foe - not to imbibe until drunk but to prevent vengeance and revenge since one cannot distinguish between Haman and Mordechai. Today it has evolved into a grand parade with different schools, dance groups and choirs taking part. Representatives from many countries march in their national costumes and enjoy the sheer joy of this festival. Purim is truly the story of good over evil – of a woman willing to act as a spy, to use her womanly powers to help a Persian King understand that his Grand Vizier was a megalomaniac and xenophobe (sound familiar?). Queen Esther together with her brave advisor and uncle Mordechai succeeded in proving that Haman was a negative and cruel element in the Court and turned him into a laughing stock paraded riding backwards on his horse through the streets of the city. Mordechai was more than an advisor however, he gathered all the pure souls of Shushan in the town square and they prayed together "Ashrei ha-ish asher lo halach be-atzat reshaim…" (Happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked and in the way of sinners he does not stand and in the place of scorners he does not sit.)

Proof of the fact that the truly pure souls belong to children is seen during the week approaching Purim here on the streets of Jerusalem. Queen Esthers and Batmen; wicked Haman and Bratz; gentle Mordechai, Dora the Explorer, cowboys and policemen; hair of all colours and beautiful shining faces thrilled with their Purim outfits. Tiny children dressed as clowns and ballerinas as they go to kindergarten and school for party after party after party!

Hamentaschen, Haman's Ears, Haman's Purse, It really doesn't matter what you call them what matters is the taste. Once upon a time the were simple tri-corner pastry cases filled with poppy seed or mon, today they have become an epicurean delight filled with everything from chocolate to dulce di leche, mixed fruits, marmalade, crème anglais indeed virtually anything you wish! The stores that don't have hamentaschen have fancy dress outfits and everyone has a smile!

I am late today – but that gives me the chance to tell you that the shopping mall is emptying, the cars and buses taking everyone home to have a rest before Shabbat. I went out onto the veranda with my little grand-daughter Amit dressed in a wonderful white dress with pink hearts – her cheeks pink with both make-up and excitement her blonde curls dancing in the sun as she happily skipped about. She looked so wonderful – a future Esther maybe? This is a country of many Esthers – Israeli women are strong because they had to be and soft because they want to be – no Persian Vizier will convince us to bow our heads. We are proud and intend staying here in our home forever.

Tonight as women over the world light the Shabbat Candles, add a prayer for the Fogel family, for the souls of those who perished and to console those who survive.

I wish you and yours a truly peaceful Shabbat to celebrate the wonderful things that surround us, by recognising the beauty of what we have we can defeat those who only see evil.

Love from the glorious city of Jerusalem as she goes to sleep in readiness to welcome the bride of Shabbat.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Terror in Itamar

March 12th 2011

Terrorist killing in Itamar

Last night, as Israel celebrated Shabbat murdering terrorists broke into the village of Itamar ont eh West Bank and slaughtered a family.,7340,L-4040974,00.html

Two terrorists breached the fence of Itamar village at about 7- 7:30 alerting the guard but since no signs of a breach were apparent they thought it was a false alarm They wandered around for about 2-3 hours while the families of Itamar ate their Shabbat dinners, waiting until they went to sleep. The chose a house, smoked a cigarette outside then coldly went into the house where the parents and five children were asleep. They coldly stabbed the 11 year old, 3 year old and one month old baby before escaping. It was only at about midnight when the eldest daughter aged 12 came home from a B'nai Akiva Kabbalat Shabbat and found the doors locked, banged and shouted, waking a neighbour. Then the 4 year old opened the door and they found the horrific gory truth - that the three children and the parents had been stabbed to death. The cowardly murderers went back to their own families - their bloody hands pleased with their work.

The foreign press seem to think it important that the family were settlers, as if that makes the murders somehow excusable, but murder is murder and terror is terror and being a Jew is not a good enough reason to kill children.

In Rafah, Gaza, the people cheered and the children received candies in celebration of the deaths of their enemies.,7340,L-4041106,00.html

May their souls rest in peace and their families be consoled among the mourners of Zion.
If you wish to write to the people of Itamar to express your condolences

Shevu'a Tov – Wishing you a better week.
With love from Jerusalem

Friday, 11 March 2011

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

11th March 2011

Shabbat Shalom dear Friends

Yet another world disaster as Japan suffers the horrors of an enormous earthquake followed by a tsunami. It seems that Mother Nature is angry with us...... The 8.9 earthquake, whose epicentre was 10 kilometresoff the coast, was relatively surface creating huge land movement and extensive after shocks are expected. The distressing prediction is that the tsunami resulting from this earthquake will hit the entire Pacific rim including Japan, Australia, Taiwan, the West Coast of the USA, and Hawaii is expecting a 2-3 metre high Tsunami. For those who have already been hit our hearts are with you and those who have yet to feel the force of nature - stay high and be safe.

Pope Benedict XVI made a proclamation. Finally and at last the Vatican not only absolves the Jews but states that we didn't kill Jesus! This declaration, in the light of current world events, is of the utmost importance. Maybe this Pope recognises the fundamental threat that hangs over both our religions.

Former Presidential candidate John McCain made a very public about turn on Jonathan Pollard and is now fighting for his release. Pollards continued imprisonment, under unbearable conditions, is inexplicable. Enemy spies are released after 5 years yet this man, who allegedly spied for the USA's greatest ally has suffered a protracted sentence without any hope of parole. It begs the question “Why did the USA choose to withhold this information”? Pollard denied spying “against” the United States. He said he provided information vital to Israeli security which was withheld unfairly by the Pentagon - information including data on Soviet arms shipments to Syria, Iraqi and Syrian chemical weapons, the Pakistani atomic bomb project and Libyan air defense systems.

Jerusalem schoolchildren were deeply disappointed this week. They were promised snow, which of course means no school and lots of fun! Instead it rained....and rained glorious, strong, wet rain! The snow fell on the Hermon where thousands will ski this weekend and when it melts it will form streams, rills and waterfalls to fill the Kinneret. Jerusalem's rain falls down to the lowest place on earth to the Dead Sea the surprising racing torrents bringing life to the arid but fertile earth of the desert promising glorious colour next month. The saddest Israelis who regret that snow didn't fall in Jerusalem are the Tel Avivim who come in their cars and take it home on their car roofs!! The Jerusalem Municipality has arranged a special treat for Purim however, turning Safra Square beside the Municpality, into a huge ice skating rink!!!

The current leaders of the Western World remind me of the famous Yiddische tale of Herschele from Ostropoly. Herschele was a Shammes or beadle of the synagogue and one of his tasks was to go around the shtetle awaking the men to ensure a quorum for prayer. It often snowed in the shtetl and people were not happy that the shammes spoiled the virgin snow before they had time to enjoy it. They held a town meeting to solve the problem and came to the conclusion that 4 men should carry the Shammes on their shoulders so that his footprints would not spoil the beauty of the snow!!! That is the trouble with politics today..... everyone is trying to carry solutions so that the snow won't be spoiled and in doing so trample beauty into the ground.

PM Benyamin Netanyahu marked International Women’s Day with a tribute to Israel’s female soldiers serving in the IDF. While remarking that Israel is the only country in the region where women have equal rights, Mr. Netanyahu went on to describe the myriad contributions by women in the IDF:
“I am impressed by you. There is a revolution in the IDF here. One-third of the IDF’s personnel are women. We have Border Police fighters. We have women in the Air Force as pilots. This expresses the change in the status of women in the IDF and in the State of Israel as a whole. We must especially salute the women soldiers and officers in the IDF. I salute you. May the sun shine on you every day, not just today.”

Israels detractors rely upon rumours and gossip, never upon facts. I have been the subject of cruel gossip and rumours and one is left devoid of the means to contradict such calumny since facts are irrelevant to those who wish you ill. From my own experiences I came to a conclusion appropriate for Israel May our enemies always boycott Israeli goods. Then they will be out of health, out of wealth , out of touch and out of luck!!

Last Shabbat we went for a walk in the Valley of the Cross, Jerusalem. It was close to dusk and the city was clothed in her best pink robes as we scrambled over hills covered in wild anemones, outcrops of wild cyclamen shockingly sprouting out of rocks and clouds of Almond Blossom. We went with Ira and Valeri and their two beautiful children Tomer and Sheli, who are Israel's story encapsulated. Valeri's family were Communists who left Israel for the Soviet Union where Valeri was raised speaking Hebrew and loving Israel. Both he and Ira were in broadcasting but Valeri also worked with the Jewish Agency. In 1991 Zvi was one of the leaders of a huge group of Keren Hayesod leaders who visited the now free Russia and Valeri was their contact and translator. Soon afterward Valeri and Ira made Aliya and became part of our family, Valeri working in the Jewish Agency and Ira in Keren Hayesod. Tomer and Sheli were born here and are real Israeli children spending much of their time on Davida's moshav with a variety of animals and country life and spend every Holy Day with us. Passover, the Pesach Seder night will as always be in our home but this year it will be Sheli who leads the Four Questions since Tomer is now a 13 year old Jewish man. While it may seem mundane and you may say “What's so amazing about that?” Well in Soviet Russia when Valeri grew up he couldn't have a bar mitzvah; couldn't celebrate the Seder or any of the Jewish Holy Days. Valeri did not have the freedom of choosing whether he wants to be religious or not – but now, in this wonderful, free country his children do.

Purim is coming!!!
Supermarkets are filled with treats and “Mishloach Manot” to fulfill the tradition of giving friends and neighbours a little gift of food. The Hamentaschen or Hamans's Pockets are proliferating with every conceivable filling. I am not a fan of the usual poppy seeds – I go for the spiced apple and raisin or ground dried fruits or even chocolate! The city will be one big party, in the streets of the centre and in homes, children go to school dressed as everything from Queen Esther to Queen Latifa, from Mordechai to Zorro! Purim, yet another story of persecution, oppression and the triumph thereof, a story of determination and bravery and Purim is the most appropriate story to follow International Women's Day. The story of Purim took place in Persia and tells us of the wicked Vizier Haman – who bears a distressingly accurate historical resemblance to Ahmedinejad; we need to create a plan whereby Ahmedinejad, his Ayatollah puppeteers and maybe Jimmy Carter with them, all ride backwards on a horse to the jeering of the demonstrators who are tired of their rule of theocratic violence and oppressive determination to achieve world domination.

Zvi has gone to a rehearsal for his choirs concert in a couple of weeks. I love to hear him sing, he has a mellifluous bass baritone voice which try as he may stands out from all his fellow choristers! The rain has stopped and Jerusalem's white stones are glistening as if G-d cleaned them especially for Shabbat. The sun is kissing the tops of the hills and the traffic is leading away from the shopping mall and we put the finishing touches to our white clad Shabbat tables. I wish you a Shabbat Shalom, safe from all disaster, whether natural or man made. Take care of yourself and give yourself a treat - come to Israel and see that I do not exaggerate – it is the most amazingly beautiful country with Jerusalem at its heart – the heart of Israel, of Judaism, Christianity and the world.

Cyril – I hope you received all the kisses I sent you. I love you dear cousin.

With much love from Jerusalem

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Shabbat Shalom letter from Jerusalem

3rd March 2011

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. This week I will give you short introduction to your links to the wider news, but I want space to tell you about the fun things I did this week!

Rebellion and the ousting of dictators rages throughout the Middle East. However....
We cheer the toppling of dictators, but ignore fanatics poised to take their place.

Libya is in upheaval, the cruel regime kills thousands and the United Nations finally decides that Libya should not be on the UN Human Rights Council. I ask “What on earth were they doing on the Human Rights Commission in the first place”

Surprisingly Libyan rebels love an Israeli youtube spoof of Mu'amar Ghaddafi

Amb Yoram Ettinger writes - It was Congress – on both sides of the aisle – which led the Obama Administration to veto its own ideology and policy at the UN on February 17, 2011. Majority leader Cantor, Minority Whip Hoyer, Foreign Relations Committee Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen and Ranking Democrat Berman, Middle East Subcommittee Chairman Chabot and Ranking Democrat Ackerman spearheaded the flood of determined Congressional messages to the White House.

A gunman shouting "Allahu Akbar" opened fire on a bus carrying U.S. airmen in Frankfurt, Germany, killing two and wounding two others before his gun jammed and he was subdued, officials said.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti was gunned down on Wednesday morning, because as a Christian he was accused of blasphemy by the Islamic Movement.

Chavez has ensured that Venezuelan Jews feel very insecure, however there is an unexpected safe haven in a shopping mall, Cafe Hillel!

12 Jews are commemorated as heroes in the fight against South African Apartheid in a special issue of stamps by Liberia, Gambia and Sierra Leone. The part of Jews in this noble battle is oft forgotten in todays rhetoric.

Pope Benedict XVI made huge strides this week in declaring finally and at last that the Jews did not kill Jesus. En retard yet somehow very timely as he recognises our commonality in these very dangerous times.

Autism is a diverse and terrifying malady which affects everyone surrounding the child or adult, diagnosis is complex and treatment uncertain. Joshua Weinstein decided to follow his heart and find a way to bring all the research together under one roof in the World autism centre, choosing Jerusalem as the heart of the research and treatment since Jerusalem is after all the heart of the world and the one thing that autistic children and adults need is heart and lots of it.

Definitely one of LATMA's best! I just want to know why "lirot otchem al ha mangel u lenafnef" was translated to "See you on a rope"?

I finally met the Chilean Miners in Beit ha Nassi (Presidents House) in Jerusalem. When President Peres came into the room he wove his way from row to row, not missing even one miner or spouse, shaking hands with each and every one and giving a word of encouragement and a smile. As we sat down Lt Col Shai Abrahamason, the Cantor of the IDF, sang Birkat ha Gomel, the prayer one says after emerging from danger, each miner had a headset with translations and they teared up at the beauty of Shai's voice and his words. President Peres spoke to the miners of his emotions at seeing them sitting before us and their heroism. Coming to Jerusalem is a miracle from heaven and proof of man's super human power when it is needed. I spoke to their translator and asked her what was the most emotive experience for the miners, expecting to hear Via Dolorosa, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but no, it was the Kotel. One miner, Samuel said that reaching the Kotel (Western Wall) gave him time to contemplate on reaching this Holy place which made him understand that there really is light at the end of the literal tunnel. As we sat in the hall I looked around at the glorious artwork, the sculpture garden and the beautiful flowers... and this time I walked out on my own two feet!!! Actually I walked out and then strode the 2 kilometres to Alan and Bonnies house, much to my husbands amazement!

The next day we met the Oppenheimers for brunch in Caffit in the Botanical Gardens. I love meeting with the Oppenheimers because they are so positive and warm. This time Zvi and I had the beauty of the lake and the gardens, Marc and Elaine and their daughter Amy who is a wonderful young woman who with her husband travels around the States talking and teaching about Judaism, Israel and life. I loved the clip she sent me of her latest production.

St Davids Day, March 1st, the Saints Day of Wales and you will find about 100 Ex-Pat Welsh people gathering in Netanya. Kippa (skullcap) clad gentlemen singing the Welsh National Anthem with gusto and speaking verse in Welsh is a sight worth seeing!!!! Old friends, many of whom haven't seen each other for 40+ years recognise one another with difficulty each telling the other that they haven't changed at all!!! It is strange that while all of us are proud Jews, even prouder Israelis we will forever find a welcome in the hillsides!!
Even Google honoured that day with a Welsh Google Doodle

Sammy and Debby Bettsak are here in Israel and lucky Zvi spent the day with them. Sammy and Debby are frequent visitors but just didn't have time to come and see me in Jerusalem. Next time for sure!!!
Today I went to Shouk Mahane Yehuda with Rachael and her lovely Mum Linda who is visiting from Australia. I loved Linda's reactions to the bustling throng in the market as we sat and ate a delicious Israeli breakfast in the chic coffee shop, of course accompanied by Cafe Hafuch! After our hunger was sated we set off to show Linda all my favourite spots, the incredible fruits and vegetables, still tasting of the fields in which they grew under the gentle Israeli winter sun. Home grown strawberries were piled high, sold by the kilo and the heavy aroma of ripe passiflora called to me! I bought leder (rolled out fresh dried apricots) and unsweetened, pure, sun-dried pineapple slices which burst with flavour at the first bite, for Linda to taste. We marvelled at the sacks filled with every herb, spice, tisane, seed and bean imaginable. Pickles at Tsidkiyahus; juicy and crisp root vegetables at Moshe's; carefully displayed bunches of fresh green herbs at Mohammed's and of course fish at David's shop where customers vie for his attention to acquire the freshest of fresh fish, some carp so fresh that they are still jumping!!!! The scents and sounds excite me, the variety of produce and the bustling rainbow of people represent the very essence of Jerusalem.

Amit and Gili, our little grand-daughters are asleep, after an evening of fun, baths and new hairstyles and I sit beside the computer with a glorious view of Jerusalem at night before me, lights twinkling as far as the eye can see. I bid you farewell, adieu and lehitra'ot. See you next week,
Shabbat Shalom and love from Jerusalem