Thursday, 29 November 2012


29th November 2012

Shabbat Shalom to every single one of you!

65 years exactly since the historic United nations vote declaring a Jewish State beside a Moslem State in the Middle East. . Mahmoud Abbas is nothing if not thorough in his rewriting of history especially in the UN.

Please please listen to this amazing British Anglican Clergyman Peter Mullen speak about Israel.

Why are Christian deaths never reported on the front page? This time it is Nigerian Christians who yet again were attacked and killed by a car bomb while in church. It is pandemic, it is diabolical, and the worst thing of all is that no-one seems to care. Church leaders join the BDS movement to boycott Israel, the only place in the entire Middle East where Christians thrive in freedom. They stay silent because they seriously think that it will save their flock in Moslem countries. Terrifying!!
Tom Carew is an exceptional Irishman. He incredible support for Israel knows no bounds in the hostile atmosphere of disinformed Ireland and I admire him enormously. GPO Peace Rally in Support of Israel on Sunday, November 25th. He writes
Rarely were those 2 National Anthems belted out with such feeling and conviction as at 15.57 PM at the end of the rousing Rally on this particularly wet Dublin afternoon, but the steady rain did not in the slightest dampen the spirits of the True Freedom Fighters - but the very few scowling hard-core agitators who hovered around looked as dispirited as they were damp - and as usual, very many of them obviously not local. And taking photos from the footpaths. But only 2 or 3 flags between them.” From that rally the Irish politician Richard Humphreys

There are more demonstrations in Tahrir Square – this time against their newly, democratically elected leader, Morsi. So what did you honestly think would happen if you elect Moslem Brotherhood to power? Freedom for all and sweetness and light? Of course he was going to pass an edict that he has supreme power over everyone!! When will the West learn that democracy without even the basis for democratic process is insane! See Khaled Abu Toamehs article on the issue How Hamas is Trying ot Fool Everyone

Israeli requests to the UN to halt Hamas rockets and missiles You cannot begin to guess how many times! The following link staggered me. I knew we, Israel, had asked for international recognition of the clear and present danger the people of Southern Israel suffered on a constant level but had no concept of how many times we sent requests to the United Nations – hundreds. These figures are from 2004 – 2008, can you imagine the next four years?

Temple Shaaray Tefila sits in an exclusive Upstate New York town and most of its congregants are equally comfortable – however, they have a leader who doesn't let them sit back and be comfortable, he ensures that they are hooked in to the reality of life and their deep, deep connection to Israel. When I spoke to a group of “Empty Nesters” I was deeply impressed by their knowledge and interest and of course, the fact that Sari Singer had introduced them to Kinneret Chaya. They didn't just sit back they helped KC receive treatment in Boston and they adopted her with love.
When I wrote to Rabbi David Greenberg about the work of IsraAid and their work helping the clean-up for those who suffered from Hurricane Sandy, he not only invited the young Israelis for Friday night supper he put out the call for people to help the young Israelis in their work. Members of the community, armed with hammers, wrenches, saws and assorted tools plus a packed lunch, spent their Sunday helping the people of Breezy Point. Ellen Cohen, one of the volunteers writes “I can't stop thinking about the woman and her 13-year old son whose house I was working at--they stayed in their house during the storm and had to be rescued the next morning. The water came up to the doorknob. Mikki (of IsraAid) was wonderful in taking us to the houses that needed help. He is compassionate and calm--two important traits to have when working in a disaster area.” Kol HaKavod to Rabbis David and Stacey......... real leaders into Tikkun Olam. Go to IsraAid's page on Facebook where they are loading pictures of the Bedford team.

Gosh it is hard to keep up with Israeli politics. Political parties come and go and apparently so do leaders and ministers! Let's see, this week Ehud Barak announced he is leaving politics, but then if Bibi wins and wants him as Minister of Defence he would come in as an outside appointment. Tsippi Livni announced the founding of a new party “HaTnuah” The Movement, since after talks with Ehud Olmert he said he is unlikely to re-enter the political scene.......... but then he may change his mind after the Saban Conference in the States this week. In the meantime Shelley Achimovitch (Labour) and Yair Lapid (the new party “Yesh Atid”) who joined forces, are cross with Livni for having a big ego and refusing to join them. Benny Begin and Dan Meridor didn't make the list for the Likud Party and since the people who did make the list are really quite far right it is now uncertain that Bibi, who was thought to be a shoo-in, will actually achieve enough MK's to build a government! Are you still with me? OK Now, Shelley Yachimovitch who was considered really far left for the Labour Party proves herself to be centrist and supported her arch enemy Netanyahu in his defence efforts and may join............ Oy Vey is Mir, my head is spinning!!!!

I am so upset that Australia decided to abstain from the UN vote on the founding of a Palestinian state.Prime Minister Julia Gillard (a good Welshwoman) lost her battle to persuade her party to vote against the PA. In Britain they said would support a Palestinian bid for a diplomatic upgrade at the United Nations only if they received assurances that the Palestinians would return to peace talks and not seek to prosecute Israelis through the International Criminal Court, an assurance they will never get. They hae 56 Moslem countries to vote for them- US, Canada, Myanmar, Micronesia and who else loves us?

I wonder what would happen if Israel supported the Palestinian desire for recognition? Would they then be responsible for the actions under the Geneva Convention and have to behave responsibly...... what are your thoughts? Do you accept a new State that refuses to allow other religions to “occupy” it? The Palestinian Authority is yet another Moslem State........ Israel is alone, lonely and the only Jewish State in the whole wide world. How cynical of Abu Mazen to choose the 29th of November.

Never, but never feel sorry for Israelis – chances are we lead a much better life than most of you – maybe less money and certainly higher taxation (take home is about 25-30% of total salary!!) but an infinitely better quality of life!!! The quality of life here in Israel, despite our rotten neighbours, beats that of Italy, France, Japan and Britain. The only Moslem country above us is the United Arab Emirates which is soaked in oil and doesn't allow immigration, least of all by Palestinians!!! We always knew that the level of satisfaction with life was high here, but it is now official

Sufganiot! In Israel the true sign of the upcoming Festive season (Chanuka) is the plethora of flavours of Sufganiot. Not mundane Latkes but rather sophisticated multi flavoured doughnuts!! Favours this year are crème brulee, capuccino , tiramisu from Roladin where fillings come in special vials which you squeeze into the centre or in the case of the alcoholic ones they are a chaser!

The shopping Malls are full with people buying Chanuka gifts. Toys, housewares, perfumes and here we buy books, we still read books indeed we live up to our name as “The People of the Book” and of course everyone stays to eat, drink wonderful hafuch coffee and chat with friends.

Whatever the United Nations decides today, Israel is ours, always will be and it is worth remembering that all the civilisations that tried to wipe us out have disappeared and we are here to stay!!!

Shabbat shalom dear friends. I cannot describe the slowing traffic today but I just went out onto the veranda and saw one of natures most spectacular sights........ the moon rising, huge and round, over the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem... If I forget thee............

I leave you with an absolutely beautiful prayer for the IDF and pray that this UN vote does not strengthen our neighbours determination to take our city, our capital, our Jerusalem.

With love

Friday, 23 November 2012

Shabbat Shalom, ah Shalom, from Jerusalem


22nd November 2012

There is a quote from Russian direct Vachtangov, which loosely translated means “If there is a gun in the first act there will be a death before the last” Israel is currently agreeing to an intermission, not a cessation, nor a cease-fire, rather an intermission to leave the tension behind, have a strong drink and get ready to ensure we are not at the business end of that smoking gun.

As to the cease-fire, there were many clauses added to the document, which incidentally was not signed, all of which protected Hamas and none of which protected Israel! This was a diplomatic exercise to ensure that the USA goes into deeper debt to pay off the Egyptians simultaneously giving President Morsi international recognition and Hillary Clinton a swan song!

Then comes the disinformation. Anderson Cooper and his ilk who should simply admit they couldn't give a proverbial about Israel only about Gaza should maybe look into some other statistics and report them “proportionately”
  1. Syria – the regime has now killed, nay slaughtered, nigh on 40,000 civilians!
  2. In Baghdad as Anderson Cooper was ducking dramatically from the nearby blast 116 people died in a bombing in Baghdad
  3. As Anderson Cooper was doing his theatricals the bodies of thousands upon thousands of Christians, slaughtered by N. Sudanese Moslems were discovered.
  4. Some of the casualties apparently died in Syria and rose from the dead to die again in Gaza for the Moslem cause. Really – no kidding! They used the same pictures twice! By the way the baby who died tragically and whose body handed to the Egyptian Foreign Minister was actually killed by shrapnel from a Hamas rocket.
The incredible situation has arrived whereby Al Jazeera is infinitely more rational than CNN; to say nothing of the discredited BBC! Uri Resnick says it far better than I in his op-ed in the LA Times

These supposed reporters do not spend time in Sderot or Ashdod, Ashkelon or Beersheba, they often sleep on the Israeli side because here we have safe houses, shelters, safe rooms and special “hoods” to hide in when the missiles come over – you see we spend money on protection not on aggression. They barely reported the foul and disgusting sight of 6 men publicly executed for being “spies” for Israel, in Gaza, then the bodies kicked and worse one of the dead being dragged around Gaza behind a posse of motor cycles.

My favourite story of this operation came from the “Settlement” of Tekoa on the West Bank (Gush Etzion). Eli Birnbaum was on his way home for Shabbat and was staggered to hear the Tseva Adom siren. Sure enough a missile landed not far from his home. Eli's son Pinny received a phone call from a neighbour – an Arab friend in the next village – a familiar voice with a very distinct accent. “ Pinny, its Muhammad, what do I do? What’s happening? I heard your sirens”. There is real panic in his voice . No-one taught them how to act or what to do to save their families, no-one cared enough in the PA. Pinny explained what to do. Muhammed apologised for calling on Shabbat and thanked Pinny. Now this is the truth, the way it really is. A Moslem from a village that has a reputation that even Israeli police are scared to go in, calls a Jewish “settler” to help protect his family from Gazan missiles. Surreal but then.......... this is the Middle East!! Most probably it is the youngsters of that same village that are rioting today!

Canada and the Canadian leadership has proven time and again, of late, to be a true friend of Israel. Perhaps the most moving tribute came from Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. and a close second came Glenn Beck – he really gets us!

I am glad that President Obama was not here because his being there would have given this worthless document too much credibility. His visit to Myanmar pleased me, it is time to recognise the face that they released the imprisoned human rights heroine Aung San Suu Kyi, now the leader of the opposition party in that country. Burma/Myanmar was isolated for its human rights record which were far superior to anything in the Arab world or, indeed in many other countries. Good the President went and visited Eastern countries that no President had visited before because we need new friends..

Yesterday a cowardly terrorist left an explosive device under a seat in a bus on King Saul Street in Tel Aviv. The device exploded injuring 25 people and causing havoc it is by the grace of G-d that no-one died. I immediately had the feeling that he was an Israeli Arab because he didn't want to die in the act – no Jihad for him.

I was in Modi'in with my wonderful childhood friends, enjoying a quiet brunch, when my daughter Rachel called me to tell me there was a “pigu'a” in Tel Aviv, a bus bomb. “Pigu'a” the dreaded terrorists attack. iphones emerged to check the news. It was true, a bus bomb in Tel Aviv but the bomber had left the bomb and run away. The police had an eyewitness report of his appearance. We all decided to go home, our mood changed, and Sue and I headed off to Jerusalem. Just after Modiin we sat, not moving, just watching the speeding police cars racing up the empty opposing lanes. 2 hours went by and in the meantime the men had gathered a “minyan” (quorum) for prayer at the side of the road, a group of drivers were exchanging phone numbers on the central reservation (had to say that for Arlene) and Arab workers got out of their buses and walked home alongside their ultra-orthodox fellow travellers. When I got home Zvi told me why; the police had caught the mechabel – the terrorist who put the bomb on the bus, at a check point just in front of us so they had to stop all traffic.

The just announced in the news that the Mechabel was indeed an Israeli Arab – but not quite. His family lives in Taibeh (which is doing very well in the Israeli Soccer League). He came to Israel in the “Ichud Mishpachot”. In other words his family was in Israel, he lived in the West Bank and they asked for him to join them to give him a chance at a better life. He got it but it was too late. The education they get in the PA is so hate-filled that there is no chance ot overcome its rabid effects. The only organisation which tries to change this ghastly situation is IMPACT-SE, whose Board I proudly sit on. Introducing tolerance into curricula around the world.

So we went head to head with Iran – in the guise of Hamas – and came to an unsatisfactory cease fire and life goes on! Really life goes on, great restaurants, visiting friends, theatre, museums, coffee shops – and of course meeting wonderful friends from abroad! I am sure that Israelis go out far more than any other people – even when it is tough! Indeed today we met our lovely friends Harry, Nancy and Evie – the Bloomfields. Harry and Nancy were in India when the news broke about operation Pillar of Cloud. Without a second thought they shortened their vacation, diverted their return journey and came to Israel. “I can't stand it when everyone asks for money to support Israel” announced Nancy “If they want to support Israel they should come here in droves and spend every penny of that money here”. I must admit I wanted to hug her, aw I always want to hug her!!!!

We went to a concert at the Jerusalem Theatre, last night, with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra nd it was phenomenal; tomorrow morning a double celebration for the birth of twins – barely leaving me time to prepare the Cholent/Hamin and schnitzels before saying Shabbat Shalom to my grandchildren in Jerusalem! The children are all coming for Shabbat!!! This week I decided to be very kind to Zvi and put kishkeh (YUK) in the Cholent as a true expression of my love!

Please G-d tomorrow the children of Sderot, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheba, Rishon le Zion and so many other small towns and kibbutim will have a real Shabbat, a real rest, to be able to sit at a Shabbat meal around a white table cloth, the candles on the sideboard and the Challah and wine on the table. They can sing the Kiddush loud and clear, not fearful of missing the siren which saved so many lives. These children lost their childhood over the last 12 years, yes 12 years of not knowing if they will see tomorrow. This video, although in Hebrew, will tell you more about our reasons for choosing to assassinate the man who help Gilad Schalit and those who send the rockets. The masterminds of evil

We wish the people of the South, who endured the unendurable, peace, calm and joy.
I leave you with Hatikva as you never heard it before – sing along! Hatikva – the Hope, the element of Jewish life which has kept us alive, is why we thrive and makes us different to all others.

With all my love from Jerusalem, beautiful, spiritual, ancient, modern, fun and OURS

PS Was meant to be on BBC Wales radio this morning, talking about Jerusalem under fire and sirens etc, but Britain flooded and a new bill was passed so they didn't call!!! At least I managed to get loads of things done because I was up at the crack of dawn!!! Many Thanks to Guto (pronounced Gito) Bebb, Welsh Member of Parliament for introducing my name and for fighting so solidly for Israel. Thanks Guto.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Sirens and Mazal tov from Jerusalem


20th November 2012

Excitement! We just had a siren in Jerusalem! I grabbed my coat and with Zvi we went down one floor to the enclosed stairwell of our building and consoled our terrified neighbour, while waiting for the sound of the boom. It was very distant, apparently in the West Bank again. They just told us it fell near Bethlehem. This is a swan song, an attempt to go out with a “successful missile” on Jerusalem, Israel's capital before they are forced to cease fire.

There were many missiles over Ashdod, Ashqelon, Sderot and all the towns and kibbuztim near Gaza and they suffer Tseva Adom every few minutes, unable to live their lives – children cannot go to school because we don't want them all in one place; parents therefore cannot go to work since they cannot leave the children; the elderly or infirm are in real trouble to move fast enough and we have to live with the stupid international media telling us we are oppressors!!!!

Isn't is strange – they keep trying to get rid of us, for whatever reason – and like so many before them they don't succeed. We are strong and we are loyal and we are the Children of Israel!!!!

I intended writing today anyway because as I was on the way to repair my cell phone, which kept losing battery, when Zvi's phone rang I had his phone because mine didn't work. I didn't quite recognise the voice since it was filled with emotion. I then picked up the inflection of Yaffa, Kinneret Chayas mother, through her joyful tears........KINNERET CHAYA HAD A LITTLE BOY AT 05:00 THIS MORNING!!! I couldn't stop my tears too. What perfect revenge! What a beautiful birth in the middle of insanity! What a delight! So uplifting! Isn't this a true miracle that a woman who 11 years ago was given a 2% chance of survival; a woman who was burned on 85% of her body is a married lady and now has two glorious little girls and a perfect little boy.
I am satisfied.

We will be fine guys – please don't worry.
With all our love
Sheila and Zvi back at home!!!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Midweek Update Pillar of Cloud


18th November 2012

I was listening to the radio just now, on my way home from a delightful breakfast with a friend. Radio One was airing an interview with the head of the Israeli Air Force and every few seconds the interview was interrupted “Tseva Adom b'Sderot – Tseva Adom b'Sderot” a few more words “Tseva Adom b'Shaarey ha Negev – Tseva Adom b'Shaarei ha Negev” another word or two “Tseva Adom b'Ashdod- Tseva Adom b'Ashdod” another word “Tseva Adom b'Ashkelon – Tseva Adom b'Ashkelon” Red Alert in those cities is announced on the radio in real time, in a calm and matter of fact manner to ensure everyone hears the warning, apart from the siren. What does it mean? In each of these places men, women and children, irrespective of creed or colour, have 15 seconds to run to a shelter. What does that mean? Try this. Close your eyes and count to fifteen imagining yourself in the street or in your apartment with four little children and have to run for cover.

Please sign this petition by the WZO to show your empathy with the people of Southern Israel

Insanity reigns not democracy as Arab Members of Knesset hold a minutes silence for the dead in Gaza! Yes, at least abuse of democracy and at worst treason, pure and simple. They dare to claim that Israel does not give them simple human rights – good grief who believes them?,7340,L-4307259,00.html

Just as you worry about us we worry about you because you somehow don't understand how great the threat. Freedom of speech is one of the greatest ideals of the United States, indeed of all great democracies, but there have to be limits whereby the right to freedom of speech does not break the bounds into incitement to hatred. This video was taken in Manhattan next to Charles Schwab

With all that is happening in Israel we still have time to help others. Shachar Zahavi of IsraAid is working hard to help those in New Jersey who suffered so badly from Hurricane Sandy. Go to the website and commend IsraAid and if you live in New Jersey, invite the volunteers for a cup of coffee!

Friends, don't worry about us. We are strong, we will survive because we understand who our enemies are and what has to be done to protect our beautiful children. Surely it is now time for our children to be children and not have to count to 15 to see if they will survive or if their homes will still be there when they return after the ear-shattering, heart stopping boom. As I write to you, watching the constant reports on TV, the reporter had to run to cover with his cameraman and we understood what children in the South have been doing for eleven long years. Remember when the media claims we are in Gaza.... we left Gaza lock stock and two smoking barrels years ago!!!

Just a side issue, we were in Tel Aviv on Friday lunch-time, at a party celebrating the birth of a grand-son to Zvi's cousin. It didn't frighten me that we heard the siren and all crowded into the kitchens at the events hall because that was the safe place. I realy wasn't scared. However as we left Tel Aviv for home I called our Tel Aviv friends, and smugly invited them to Jerusalem so they could be safe for Shabbat. As we neared Jerusalem the radio suddenly announced "Tseva Adom b'Yerushalyim"!!!!! The sirens caught my daughter out with her daughter and they ran home as fast as possible. I phoned our Tel Aviv friends and apologised!! As a final piece of information, the Fajr 5 rocket that was shot over Jerusalem landed on an Arab village!!!!!

That's all for now dear friends, don't worry about us or about Israel. Many nations, religions, Empires and organisations have tried to kill us off and we are still standing while they disappeared. My greatest concern is when I go to bed, my dressing gown (thanks to Pauline) is next to me and my phone next to the door and then I will be dressed properly, warm and snug when we go and sit with our neighbours if the siren sounds!!!

With love from Jerusalem, beautiful as always

If you want to hear what REALLY happens in Israel go to the Israel Broadcasting Association in English

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem


15th of November 2012

Dear Friends, Shabbat Shalom is a dream this coming weekend. Shalom, sadly, is a prayer not a fact.

After eleven years of missile attacks on the towns and kibbutzim along the border with Gaza, culminating in nearly 200 missiles just this month, Israel decided to act. Despite the headlines this is not an “Israeli offensive in Gaza” this is Israeli defence of Israel.

This morning after constant bombardment of Fajr (pronounced like badger) missiles on civilians the evil intent of Hamas was realised as a family in the small town of Kiriat Malachi, well inside Israeli borders was devastated by a direct hit on their home. Three people died, all members of Chabad and a four year old was severely injured. Of course the world said the bombings were in response to the killing of Ahmed Jabri, leader of the military wing of Hamas and the man who held Gilad Schalit. Jabri was for many years the man that the Israelis could talk to but then he became a leader and gained enormous power, and as we know power corrupts and he became a terrorist, pure and simple.

In case anyone is in doubt of Israels good intentions, we left Gaza voluntarily (which almost split the country), we abided by the demands of the international leaders, we give them food and basic needs, we give them fiscal aid, we are fair and it hasn't helped. An entire generation of Israeli children in the South live an uncertain reality of bomb shelters and suffer PTSD. To say nothing of their parents. It is no way to live!
Just heard that sirens went off in Beersheba, Yavneh, Rishon le Zion, Nes Ziona, Ashdod, Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Bnei Brak and Givatayim. Fajr missiles actually fell in Beersheba, hitting a house and another fell on the beach in South Tel Aviv.

Any logical person is horrified that the Palestinian leaders are willing to risk the lives of their citizens because of religious fanaticism, hatred and their determination to wipe us off the map. Please if you want to understand click on the links below.
Also Jonathan Sacerdoti for Sky News 
President Peres tells CNN - All mothers want their babies to sleep at night in safet
Even more importantly - imagine living for eleven years under these circumstances............. you and your children. 15 seconds to run for cover 

11th day of the 11th month, Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, the day we remember and give thanks to those who served to save us. We thought that war was over, how wrong we were. It was a sad day to hear some news.
Young Israelis who grew up in the Intifada and lost friends or family members to terror or suffered the effects of bombings are now reaching majority, they are coming of age. These 18 year olds, the children of parents who strongly believe in the rights of all and had high hopes for a peaceful solution to the aggression of our neighbours, now hate Arabs. They have not yet learned to distinguish between good and bad they hate those who harmed them, their family, their friends and their country with such zealous hatred that they blew up buses carrying innocents and bombed restaurants. It is so sad, but natural I guess, the promises of their parents that we can reach an understanding and peace is achievable proved false.

When the East Coast of the USA was hit by a devastating hurricane help came from one of the smallest yet firmest allies of the USA. Not from the PA, nor Jordan, Not Turkey nor Egypt, not Iran nor Syria, not even European allies.......... it came from Israel. Israel in the form of IsraAid. and
Shachar Zahavi the director of IsraAid shared this link when interviewed on news in NY

Even the delivery of petrol was aided by an Israeli invention WAZE, which helped FEMA drivers reach the stricken gas stations. WAZE so much more than, and infinitely better than a GPS and you can download the app on your phone!!!

As the insanity rages in the South Israel continues with normal life. President Peres opened The Annual Assembly of the Council of Religious Leaders in Israel with the Leaders of All of Israel's Religions with a Special Speech on the Current Situation. Life goes on.
It seems strange to say that we went shopping, cooked, baked, prepared for Shabbat and yes, the shopping mall is full right now. Indeed as the correspondents reported that the sirens went off in Tel Aviv the traffic behind them didn't stop, the lights didn't go out on the skyscrapers and no-one seemed disturbed. I find that odd – even arrogant when the Home Guard division of the IDF told people to go down to the safe areas.
In truth I didn't intend writing about politics, diplomacy or war – not even about Jerusalem slowing down for Shabbat – I wanted to describe the everyday life in Jerusalem; the fun, food, theatre, entertainment, zoos, museums, crazy driving, wonderful colourful and worthwhile life we live here but yet again the insanity of our neighbours took over. I was desperate for someone to ask me a question about life in Israel when I spoke in Bedford, NY but time ran out and I didn't manage to tell them that we are a fun and family society who don't let anything get us down.
Zvi is home after a brilliant time with Billy and Ruth in Mexico City and a truly marvellous reunion with all his buddies from the Yiddische Schule who graduated 50 years ago.

It is so good to have him home, home in time for Shabbat. Our house will be open to all our friends in Tel Aviv who feel insecure................. they can come to Jerusalem and experience our Shabbat!!!
Welcome home to Zvi (and me) with this song Shalom Eretz Nehederet – Hello Wonderful Country

With love from Jerusalem, Capital City of this beautiful innovative, kind, exciting but beleaguered country

Shabbat Shalom

The latest news is that Egypt is trying to broker a cease fire. 

Friday, 9 November 2012

Shabbat Shalom back in Jerusalem


9th November 2012

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem!! Yes I am home.

As I walked into the house, after the most incredible welcome from my daughter Rachel with Yosef, Talia and Ayala, the first thing I did was walk out onto the veranda and soak in the view. I did my best to concentrate on the incredible scene spread before me as the white buildings glistened before me as fine carpet and not look at the mess, mud and sand the recent rain had brought with it!! I also tried not to breathe in the dreadful smell emanating from my fridge which packed up a few days ago leaving my beautiful Rachel with the unpleasant job of throwing away all the rotten food!!!!

Having said all that, it was glorious to be home; wonderful to walk from room to room finding that everything was just as I left it. Wonderful to dole out the abundance of gifts I brought for the children and discover that while they loved the gifts they still kept coming back for more hugs and to show me yet another sign to welcome Safta home. Every kiss and hug was sweeter than the last and sometimes they even let their Mum get a quick cuddle.

I left Florida at 10:30 on the 6th, as my hosts and many other friends were off to the polls.  It was fascinating to watch, look and listen during our stay, hearing the arguments for and against. Excuses to continue blindly and the deep quandry of those who had always voted one way and now chose the opposite. I felt the rhetoric of both campaigns was based on two issues "Rowe versus Wade" and finance/taxation – neither good reasons to choose one or the other candidate in a world that is looming ever more ominous. I know I am treading on toes when I say that I also found some of the reasons somewhat racist. To discount a man for his religious beliefs is, to me, racist, and some felt that Mitt Romneys religious beliefs meant he could not govern well which to me is as racist as suggesting the Barack Obama could not govern well for similar reasons.

One view actually made me furious!! I was tamping mad and became even more angry as I thought about it. It was suggested that Prime Minister Netanyahu should stop being rude to President Obama!! What?????  How blind can one be? I will not say more because the person who said it happens to be one I love but…….. get real, we know perfectly well who was rude to whom and why.

I congratulate President Obama in his win, wish him a wise term of office and the ability to return to the prime position as leader of the free world because if he doesn't the alternatives are just too dreadful to comprehend. China, Russia and the Islamic world are waiting in the wings for every false step. Maybe he should consider taking Mitt Romney as his financial advisor?

I also want to wish all our friends who suffered Hurricane Sandy and now shiver in the snow without heating, lighting or phones, a fast return to normal life and a big log fire to warm yourselves.

There is one group of people in the Miami area who impress me by their appreciation of the democratic process and their involvement in the social and political structure; the Cubans. Those whose parents fled Castro's regime when they were little and went elsewhere, be it other Latin countries and then to Florida or to Florida directly, they are proud Americans and truly give back to society, because they know what it is to lose everything.

President Peres was in Russia this week to open the Jewish Museum of Tolerance. The idea to establish a Museum of Tolerance in Russia was supported by President Vladimir Putin, who welcomed President Peres warmly, suggested donating his monthly salary to ensure the project went ahead. In his speech President Peres said "At this emotional moment I can see generations of my people before my very eyes and I carry them with me. My parents were born in Russia. In my home we spoke Yiddish, Hebrew and Russian."  While in Russia President Peres used the opportunity to emphasise the need for intervention on the Iranian nuclear ambitions to President Putin.,7340,L-4302834,00.html

As usual everyone is cross with Israel, everyone being President Morsi and the President Bashir of Sudan, hopefully not anyone leading your country. They all kept silent when North Sudan slaughtered Christians but suddenly when "someone" blows up a huge arms factory in a highly volatile country it is a crime! Bashir's rhetoric was in the usual vein "Israel is our enemy, our number one enemy, and we will continue calling Israel our enemy," OK As if that is something new. Since we were the first nation to recognize South Sudan and send aid he hasn't liked us a lot!!!

So I am home, our trip was amazing and we spent a glorious time with wonderful friends but guys, there really is no place like home. I am about to go out and buy my challot and say hello to the people in the supermarket and the petrol station to wish them Shabbat Shalom. Tinght I will spend with my daughter and son-in-law and the children – Shabbat dinner together. Shabbat, such a family affair.

Here in Israel the cars begin to arrive before Shabbat laden with pots and pans as parents take food to children, children take food to parents and everybody takes food to friends!! Food here is fresh, vegetables always just picked, never imported; fruit straight off the trees to the market; cooked foods displayed for those who work so hard they don't have time to cook, but even that food is home produced not factory! The aroma of Kubeh Soup is rising as Shoshana prepares for her family's arrival, now that the third generation is here she makes baby food too! I am lazy today – still a bit jet-lagged after a somewhat tortuous route home.

The familiar sight of Jerusalem slowing down toward Shabbat warms my heart and my soul. The pace slowly slackens, the heart lifts a little each minute as we get closer to the quiet and gentle family time of Shabbat. Religious or not, it is a different day, a day to be together.

I am sure I missed many news items but you must excuse me, my brain is currently mid-Atlantic but should be back in my head by next week!

With much love from Jerusalem, the most beautiful city in the world

Friday, 2 November 2012

Shabbat Shalom from Coral Gables

1st November 2012

Shabbat Shalom from Coral Gables. Shabbat Shalom from the most beautiful garden on earth! 

Before I continue to wax lyrical about South Miami I want to wish all of those who live on the East Coast of the USA and Canada who were hit by hurricane Sandy and the path of devastation that followed, a speedy return to normal life without too great an upheaval.  Our hearts go out to everyone, especially those we love - you know who you are. 

Fascinatingly this force of nature may have changed the outcome of the election here in the USA, assuming that the election takes place on time despite the lack of electricity for the electronic voting! The swing may well be toward a President who became a philanthropist when disaster struck. I promised I would be quiet about US elections since I am an Israeli not an American but...................... no, I always keep promises. 

As the investigation continues into the Benghazi Embassy fiasco the State Department and the administration appear worse and worse. I cannot go into details but assure you of the veracity of what I am going to tell you - I know for a fact that the diplomatic staff knew what was about to happen and even wrote emails to their loved ones expressing their understanding that they would not live through the night, they knew, they sent messages but help did not come.  

It is time to accept that most Moslem countries and Arab countries in particular HATE THE UNITED STATES AND ALL SHE STANDS FOR. It is very convenient to include Israel in the hatred (and the UK) because everybody already hates the Jews so why not place them front and forward while burning American flags? It is 33 years since the seizure of the American Embassy and the Iranians celebrate by burning flags........American flags of course.

This week I will write less about the news because there are two articles I want you to read, both positive, both special and both written by Moslem Arabs.

Aatef Karinaoui says "If there is more cooperation between Arabs and Jews in Israel, we will broadcast that and fight the libel in the Middle East to show the Arab public that we are part of Israel and proud of it and that we get what we deserve and this will bring immense benefits to Israel. And even the Iranians will have nothing to say" .

Secondly an article by Abdulateef Al-Mulhim about the negativity brought about by spouting calumny against Israel and concentrating all their initiative on hatred while Israel flourishes.
Finally, if many of the Arab states are in such disarray, then what happened to the Arabs’ sworn enemy (Israel)? Israel now has the most advanced research facilities, top universities and advanced infrastructure. Many Arabs don’t know that the life expectancy of the Palestinians living in Israel is far longer than many Arab states and they enjoy far better political and social freedom than many of their Arab brothers. Even the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip enjoy more political and social rights than some places in the Arab World. Wasn’t one of the judges who sent a former Israeli president to jail is an Israeli-Palestinian? 
The Arab Spring showed the world that the Palestinians are happier and in better situation than their Arab brothers who fought to liberate them from the Israelis. Now, it is time to stop the hatred and wars and start to create better living conditions for the future Arab generations.
Please write to commend his bravery in writing what he wrote and believe me he is brave 

November 4th is the 17th anniversary of the assassination of our friend and distant relative, Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. I was away from home on that day too, in far away Acapulco and I can never forget my horror, dismay and disbelief that a Jew could have killed him in cold blood. I could not believe that the shy, kind, beautiful man who hugged me just 9 days before in the Rotunda of the Capitol could be dead. How could it  have happened? Could it be a bad dream? Was that the last hug he would ever give me? Would we never see him walk shyly into a room, head bowed, hands behind his back, his downward gaze relieved only by seeing us in the room?  Israel lost her innocence on that day, the day a Jew killed a Jewish leader and we began to understand that Jewish extremism exists and is pernicious. 

And so to sweeter thoughts! After our exciting sojourn in Las Vegas under the careful eye of Richard Farwell, our host, who ensured our visit to Las Vegas included everything - the Hoover Dam, fantastic hotels, insane activity and amazing shows (we saw O and Love by Cirque du Soleil) .... We reached the last stop on our adventure, we reached Gan Eden!!! Actually it is called Coral Gables, Florida, but for me it is Gan Eden. Lush undergrowth, glorious orchids, graceful palms, sleeping in Robert Frosts cabin and......... ah and my favourite of all the majestic Banyan trees which have been allowed to spread their gigantic branches and supporting new trunks as nature intended. The Banyan always reminds me of the Jewish people, certainly as we used to be, each branch producing tiny fibrous hanging roots which gradually thicken and become new trunks to support the branches as they become heavier. This interdependence, the determination to support each other as we grew and spread our wings is what kept us together  as a people but of late I feel the tree is being trimmed, the fibrous roots considered messy without understanding the need for further support so that the branches will not be weighed down and break.

Our beautiful friends Kim and Marianne Taylor came all the way from Alberta, Canada to see us - although our hosts Martin and Helene think they came for them!!! Thanks to Helenes clever inquisitive questions, I discovered even more about the LDS Church (AKA Mormons) and their incredible social system to help those less fortunate or those who fall upon hard times. The social structure of the society ensures that no-one is left out or uncared for, whether through food friendship, financial support or a kind face it is a system which gives people to wherewithall to get back on their feet by giving them a rod not a fish. Of course we did more than discuss our relative religions, we had fun all together and Zvi and I took Kim and Marianne to Vizcaya and Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial while Martin took Helenes excellent suggestion and took us to the Fairchild Gardens....... all well worth a visit. The high spot came when Kim, Martin and Zvi went to watch Ilan play baseball where he did them proud - a run and he stole a base. Well done Ilan!!!!

Yesterday we went up to Aventura to see Paul Hariton which was delightful and then on to the home of Jojo and Isabella Naim where we discovered that Jojo is a descendant of Rabbi Yitchak Abarbanel . Jojo told us of his narrow escape from Tripoli as a 14 year old Jew and his years in Italy without his parents before they were able to join him and ultimately take him and the family to Venezuela where once again he was threatened as a Jew and came to Aventura, Florida. Who says that Jews in Arab countries were not oppressed, banished and worse? Our day ended in Miami Beach at a fun kosher restaurant with Martin, Rabbi Yakov and Rebbitsen Gutel Fellig of the Coconut Grove Chabad. These are two people who epitomise the deep ethics of Judaism, openness of heart, love of Israel and the Jewish people, indeed of all people. It is always both enlightening and sheer joy to spend time with both of them.......... the food was good too!!! 

Today we will have lunch with Nora and Marcelo to catch up with them and probably see a new part of Miami life and then tonight we have Friday night dinner at David Efrons together with Martin and Helene and family, Paul and Flory Hariton and of course David and Kathy! I have no question that there will be lively political discussion amongst the jokes and prayers!!

This has been a truly incredible adventure and we have so many people to thank for hospitality and generosity of time and spirit. Beginning with Rivka and Michael who hosted all seven Ravivs and on occasion three Cammermans in their home for two weeks to give us an opportunity to be with our grandchildren and children. They survived the Raviv tornado only to meet with the fury of Hurricane Sandy this week. Stay safe my loves.  Then to Boston and Danit and Richard who ensured we saw everything there was to be seen in and around Boston. From there to LA and the welcoming arms of Lidia and Mauricio who I got to know at last. San Diego began and ended with a car ride with Becky (and Fallo) and the middle was spent with Becky and Sylvia for some true family time. Las Vegas was Richard again, as I said above he did us proud. Finally to Helene and Martin, Ariella, Ilan and Jeremy........and all the household where I feel at home as no other place but Jerusalem.   Indeed to everyone that we met along the way - old and new friends, we wish you well and thank you for spending time with us we are truly grateful for your friendship.

Zvi now moves on to Mexico and the arms of his family there, especially Billy and Ruth, and the 50th anniversary reunion of his graduation from The Yiddische Schule High School, gosh are we really that old???

Soon I will be out on our veranda, absorbing the beauty of Jerusalem and talking again as she slows down toward Shabbat, the streets emptying and the aromas of generations and ethnicities rising to greet me. I can't wait to see the moonrise over the horizon, the soft pink glow on the Jerusalem stone of the buildings and, and most of all the joy of my grandchildren as they run towards me and hug me at least 6 weeks worth of hugs  and my sweet Rachel, my daughter. I saw a cushion which said "A daughter is a person who grows up to be your best friend" It is true!!

Love to you all, I hope you are dry and safe and able to enjoy a truly wonderful Shabbat. A special get well to my lovely brother in law Melvyn who broke his ankle, to Pastor Leo Giovinetti and to Canon Andrew White who is undergoing treatment for his MS and is feeling absolutely rotten.  Refuah Shlemah to you all

Shabbat Shalom from Coral Gables