Friday, 19 December 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem. Sydney, Australia; EU Hamas; USA Cuba;Chanuka

19th December 2014

Shabbat Shalom, Happy Chanuka. I hope all my Christian readers are counting on their Advent Calendars - only 6 days to go!!!!

The news this week has been terrifying and confusing.
The dreadful and dramatic hostage situation in the very heart of Sydney, Australia caught the attention of the worlds media and of course of each and every one of us who has loved ones in Sydney. We watched every second of the long hours with bated breath, identifying with the hostages and angry that terror had travelled down-under to the seemingly immune society of Australia. It woke us up to the fact that none of us is immune to terror or to the fact that unless we either stand firm or bow down to Fanatical Islam this will grow and invade our every move, ever aspect of our lives. I fear for tolerant Moslems as I fear for Jews and Christians. Sadly as a result of the Sydney tragedy the Municipality came to the decision to cancel the public Hanukkah candle lighting at Sydney’s Martin Place for the first time in 30 years following the terror attack that killed two Australians.

As diabolical as the situation in Sydney was, it shows the incredible racism of the media that the murder, nay slaughter, of over 150 children in a Pakistani school.  The slaughter by members of Taliban barely made the headlines. Why? Equally the beheading of Christian children in Iraq was virtually ignored despite the emotional cry of Canon Andrew White. Why? For the same reason that over 200,000 Syrians have died already in a dire civil war; for the same reason that North Sudan killed hundreds of thousands of South Sudanis with barely a whisper; for the same reason that hundreds of thousands died of Ebola and not a word until it seemed to hit the USA.......... the media is racist. The world media is only interested when it touches their comfortable Western orientates audience because dying poor people don't attract advertising. It is irrelevant to the same media that virtually all the wars and ethnic cleansing in our world today are based upon fanatical Islam, they choose to blame Israel and convince the world thus.

Ask Jerusalemite Kay Wilson about terror. Kay has turned her scars to stars and yesterday she wrote  -" Four years ago today, Palestinian terrorists were hacking at Kristine Luken “Z”L and I with machetes. Simultaneously on that terrible day, Jewish people worldwide were studying "VaYachi" the Torah portion of that week. In this remarkable narrative, Yosef faces the people who tried to murder him. He looks them in the eye and declares, "“As for you, you meant evil against me, but G-d meant it for good.”  May G-d make good out of this heinous, senseless evil. 
May He do it for Kristine’s memory, for me and for my beautiful Israel.  May He do it for the sake of a world that has forgotten that humanity was created in His image.  Am Israel Chai".

After 54 long and vengeful years, the United States has finally made peace with Cuba. There are many Cubans who live in the United States who are saddened and angry at this political and diplomatic move. I know that it is hard to accept after their suffering, but, as an Israeli I can tell you that a cold peace is better than a hot war. One important outcome is the freedom of prisoner Alan Gross, who went to Havana on behalf of Jewish organisations to help the Jewish Community and was imprisoned. Maybe now the American administration will free Jonathan Pollard.

While the The Luxembourg-based General Court of the European Union ruled on Wednesday that Hamas does not merit the designation of Terror Organisation there are those who claim it is purely procedural. The problem is it is not perceived as procedural it is perceived as actual. Want to understand how they pull the wool over your eyes?  Maybe the Court should have spoken to Gazans who return to the hell that is Gaza under Hamas. In this interview with Khaled Abu Toameh they go so far as to compare it to Iraq under Saddam Hussein. 

Remember the insistence of world leaders and of course the UN that Israel resume delivery of cement for the urgent rebuilding of Gaza (why rebuild such a brilliant location for sad news?) Well, it's tunnels, tunnels, tunnels again.

Dr Malcolm Hoenlein has long been my hero. Unafraid and outspoken, Malcolm understands the USA-Israel relationship more than anyone else. Here he talks about American Jews and their relationship to Israel.

Chloe Valdery is a phenomenal speaker, lobbyist and verbal fighter for Israel she calls herself the Angry Black Woman......... but in a good way!!!! Chloe wrote this amazing poem for Chanuka

Not all the news is bad you see. Mugoya Shadrach Levi is now a Rabbi and it is official! Mugoya prayed for this day. This is what he wrote. "Dear brothers,sisters,friends and all well-wishers, shalom. Please share with me the happiness and responsibility given to me as the new Rabbi of Namutumba Synagogue,Uganda "!! Mazal tov Mugoya!!!!

Stephen Spencer Ryde came to Israel and as we sat together he asked what he can do to promote Israel in the media. Stephen was already writing brilliant letters to newspapers and media outlets in the UK and to any politicians that he felt were not fair to his beloved Israel. What more can I do? he asked. See the result. Stephen has become a prolific writer and proved what I have been saying for years - the power of one works.

In my infinite ignorance I had never heard of Chazan (Cantor) Yosele Rosenblatt until we went to the theatre last night to see a play with the unlikely name of Rosenblatt Express. Apart from the fact that the play was outstanding I discovered Chazan rosenblatt. What a voice! What a story! What ................. listen for yourselves

Chanuka!! Festival of lights; significant battle for the right to be Jews in our own land; story of miracles and determination - after all the Greeks were not interested in killing us - just in denying us all the rites and traditions that make us Jews. They did not simply destroy the Temple - they defiled our holiest site.

Many Rabbis write that the body is compared to a candle and our soul to a flame. The connecting force between the two is the wick, in Hebrew, פתילה. This word, when the letters are shifted, creates the word תפילה, prayer. Such a beautiful thought that as we light an additional candle each day greater light enters our souls.

Our first night Chanuka was delightful. Firstly we lit the candles with Zvi's boys and families with a special treat when Ilana Podolsky came too! From there we went to the most glorious wedding in Tel Aviv, the daughter of our friends Esti and Eliezer Elkon. Eliezer really surprised us when he sang the blessings over the Chanuka candles - I thought Zvi was the only Cantorial expert in the crowd!!! Second night we went to the home of Roz and Eli Ben Tovim where we were delighted by the brilliant piano accordianist Uzi Rozenblatt and sang songs from way back when..........

In Jerusalem the Chanukiot (Menorot) are traditionally glass boxes and sit outside the homes, on a window ledge or outside the gatepost so that the world can see that we are Jews celebrating the bravery of a local family. Judah was the third son of Mattathias the Hasmonean, a Jewish priest from the village of Modiin. In 167 BCE Mattathias, together with his sons Judah, Eleazar, Simon, John, and Jonathan, started a revolt against the Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who since 175 BCE had issued decrees that forbade Jewish religious practices. It isn't just about gifts and doughnuts it is so very much more

This morning began with a delightful "Hangouts" call from London and my beautiful Stephanie and the three London grandchildren. It was like a huge injection of energy! I took Zvi to a performance of his choir, right in the centre of Jerusalem then went over the road to Givat Zeev, past the Prophet Samuels Tomb, where the glorious panorama of Jerusalem was shrouded in a gentle mist giving it an even more ethereal spirituality. Arriving at the bustle of Nehamas bakery and the conveyor belt of piping hot challot and gooey sufganiyot is so funny, but I survived the crush and carefully chose big, fat, jammy sufganiyot for the children. The children were out at their other saftas home so I actually had a few precious moments with my daughter - one on one!!!

Tonight Zvi's boys are coming to be with us and hopefully will also stay over. I love watching the childrens faces as they first light the Chaunuka Candles then help me light the Shabbat Candles. Imagine, if all the candles being lit for Chanuka and Shabbat brought enlightenment to our world. We are so desperate for some light, love, joy and tolerance to change our world and banish darkness, intolerance and the subsequent hatred.

I love making everybodys favourite food. We will begin with Kitchen Sink Soup - it has just about everything in it but the kitchen sink!!!!! Leek, courgette, lots of pumpkin, sweet potato, potato, a little parsnip and celeriac all finely diced then beans, barley, lentils added and cooked for hours. Real winter joy!!! this will be followed by meatballs, Boeuf Bourguignon and piles of rice............ and doughnuts for dessert of course!!!

The time is almost nigh and Shabbat is nearing. Zvi went to Mahane Yehuda to get some final items before he comes home on the light rail. Actually I know he will bring a lot of totally unnecessary items but he has so much fun walking through the shouk and cannot resist the incredible variety, the veritable cornucopia of delicious seasonal fruits and wonderful fresh produce. I am really kinda jealous!!!

I wish you and yours a truly wonderful Shabbat and Chanuka. Again I pray that the light of our candles with bring enlightenment to an increasingly dark world.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem.
With much love
By the way - if you want an explanation of the vagaries of Israeli politics and the upcoming election................ I am almost as confused as you are! Next week OK?

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

Friday, 12 December 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem. Elections, Ziad Abu Ein, CIA Torture,COGAT, IsraAid

11th December 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear Friends

What a week! The news was not always good but my goodness it came in fast and furious.

The United States reported severe torture of security prisoners by the CIA and security forces, then managed to divert attention by blaming Israeli standards and reports!!! They then further diverted attention after the deeply regrettable death of a Palestinian Minister during a demonstration. 

A reporter from Sky news said on air that Israeli medics tried to help Ziad Abu Eid who clearly suffered a heart attack but were pushed away. This Sky News article shows two videos. In the first you see the commentator saying that Abu Ein was part of a demonstration against the "settlement of Shilo" and in the questioning of IDF Spokesperson Lt Col Peter Lerner it is claimed it was a peaceful tree planting to honour Human Rights!!!!

The arms cache of Hezb-Allah was destroyed in an attack by "unknown" sources. I don't know who did it but thank Heaven they did. It is a bit like the bombing of the Syrian nuclear facility (or Iraqi) no-one claimed responsibility but thousands of deaths were averted.

A young Israeli Jew, Levi Rosenblat, was stabbed outside Chabad House in Brooklyn, for being a Jew 

Busaina Abu Ganem, an Israeli Arab woman from Ramleh was shot and killed while in a car with her children - by whom? her Ex-husband, husband and brother because she had talked to another man. Honour killings are a worldwide aberration. 

A Canadian Moslem newspaper published an article praising the killing in the Har Nof synagogue

From Shachar Zahavi - "We are honored as IsraAID to be a part of the international task force by offering pycho social assistance and trauma care, helping both affected communities and service providers cope with the Ebola outbreak in western Africa.  There is still allot more work to be done our teams on the ground are working hard and we hope you can join us by supporting our efforts to fight this horrible epidemic."

My thanks to Jessica Glesby for sending this good news. After a long legal battle the Polish Constitutional Court found the ban on Kosher slaughter unconstitutional,Polish-court-finds-ban-on-ritual-slaughter-unconstitutional 

While working on Facebook I saw a wonderful video placed by Standwithus. It tells the story of COGAT, the Israeli governmental organisation which gives both physical and medical aid to Palestinians. I am so proud of the humanitarian work we do all over the world and with our close neighbours.

I avoided discussing the upcoming elections for long enough. I am so sick of a system that creates instability by forcing coalitions of diverse and often incompatible beliefs - who said proportional representation was fair and right? Tsippi Livni is changing parties yet again........ joining with Isaac Herzog (well I can't call him Boojie if he he intends to be my leader!!!!), Yair Lapid is in talks with Kahlon and Naftali Bennet (see what I mean) and the polls still have Benjamin Netanyahu as the clear leader. I am just afraid of the newcomers because Prime Minster of Israel is not a place for basic training. It isn't that I am a huge fan of the current Prime Minister but at least he knows the ropes. I have yet to be convinced by one of the above, anyone, that they can lead us forward with greater decisiveness and more charisma to gain us more support in the world. 

As usual........... Now for something entirely different.

Zvi flew to Mexico for two happy family events. First was the Barmitzva of Alex, son of Sylvia and Avraham Feinsod. Alex amazed the entire community by not only performing his Maftir and Haftorah but conducting the entire morning service and the whole reading of the Torah. Incredible, this 13 year old certainly became a man that day in the synagogue! Bravo Alex, you are my champion!

The other occasion was the wedding of the grandson of Zvi's late, beautiful, cousin Frieda Kershenovitch z"l. Just a few short hours before she passed away, the groom, Yair, the groom, and his father Jorge sat beside Frieda and sang an exquisite mystical song  "Ana BeKoach". When the wedding day came Yair and his beautiful bride Liora included the song under the wedding canopy, the chuppah, bringing their late grandmothers spirit to the service through the ancient Kabbalistic chant.   

Zvi also visited his Mexican cousins in San Diego and is now in Florida with Helene and Martin Lindenfeld. He spent time with our dear friend Michael Meir, whose beautiful wife Dr. Rivka died so tragically a short time ago. It was a very emotional meeting but very important to both men. Zvi visited his friend Jacobo Skolnik whose brother Moshe passed away this week, Zvi had known Moshe since 1968 through WUJS - the World Union of Jewish Students. May his soul rest in peace. 

Senor Zvi also spoke at several meetings in Mexico and in Cecilia Kleinmans home in Florida. Although retired from official positions he was, is and always will be an outstanding motivational speaker, his knowledge of Israeli and Jewish history unparalleled.

I am busy getting the apartment ready for my husbands return, if everything is in the same place when he gets back home he will be really worried!!! I love changing things around, it makes life more interesting!

I spent a lot of time with the grandchildren while Zvi was away and Shabbatot with my beautiful daughter and family. Last week was the birthday celebration for three generations, Amit, Ori, Shiri and Menashe in Nes Ziona and this week I collected the children from school two afternoons and we went to have fun. While I was waiting to pick the girls up I suddenly realised what was in front of me. I was in the neighborhood of Ramot and right across the trees was Ramallah!!!

Ramallah was once a Christian town, not very big but 100% Christian. Today it is growing, huge shopping centres and tall, modern apartment blocks spreading very quickly towards Jerusalem, a few hundred metres from the edge of Ramot. Now an exclusively Moslem town, Ramallah is the administrative capital of the PA. Not a word from the American or European administrations on the incessant PA building on the disputed territories, not a word about Ramallahs non-existent Christians, only about a few buildings in Jerusalem, which according to the misinformed leaders, scupper and chances of peace!!!

Our veranda benefitted from the downpour last week. The tiny lemon tree has over 25 yellow, succulent fruits ready for picking, the kumquats are bright orange against their dark green leaves and the hibiscus blossoms, bright yellow and peach hues, relieved that the searing sun has taken its winter rest. I love the ever changing view through the leaves and branches, the mist softening the panorama of white stone houses, rolling hills, some built up, some verdant; the bustle of the shopping mall and the proximity of the football stadium and basketball arena. Best of all the sun always shines on our veranda - as the pottery sun, that Zvi carried all the way from Mexico on one of his visits, smiles down from the wall.

Zvi will soon be home and life will return to its normal energetic confusion of friends, meetings, movies, theatre and dinners. Greeting him in at the beautiful main hall of Ben Gurion Airport with its waterfalls and coffee shops is always exciting. Each greeter with his/her own story and expectant faces wheeling their luggage trolleys carefully searching the faces outside for a familiar face. 

I am not a fan of Rap, I guess it is a matter of age! However, Ari Lesser wrote a brilliant Rap song about Hamas.

And so to Shabbat. This week we read Vayeishev - the story of Jacob, Joseph, his brothers and Pharoah. Rather more complex than the traditional children's story!

In honour of the Joseph story and of my wonderful children, Daniel, Gideon and Rachel, who adored the "tape" of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and sang along with every word  Listen to the words they are so relevant. I tried to find the original recording by Paul Jones and Tim Rice (does anyone have one) but ........ Donny Osmond does a good job.

So dear friends, I wish you a Shabbat Shalom. Chanuka is just around the corner and then the Yuletide, Noel- Christmas. It's good to have such beautiful expectations.

With love from Jerusalem, my home, our city, heart of our faith.
Shabbat Shalom

I just got an email from Paul Zimmet, proudly sending me the link of an article n The Australian about our wonderful mutual friend Pauline Gandel. I am delighted to show you what an amazing lady Pauline is.

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

Friday, 5 December 2014

141204 Rami Levy Mishor Adumim, Compare Jerusalem crime,Elections name calling, Olga Meshoe, Nicholas Winton 105

4th December 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friends.

Two days ago, a 16 year old calmly walked into a Rami Levy supermarket in Mishor Adumim, walked past the guard, pushing a trolley, like all the other customers, took out a knife and began to stab customers leaving the store. He succeeded in injuring two middle aged ladies, lightly, before the guard and an off duty policeman stopped him, shooting him and lightly injuring him. The off duty policeman was in fact one of the Prime Ministers Office security staff. 

Yes I know, crazy 16 year olds everywhere hold up supermarkets but this was different on many levels. One his intention was to kill Jews and those who shop with them. Secondly Rami Levi has an equal opportunity employment policy and in Mishor Adumim, former home to Sodastream, both Jews and Arabs work and shop together, they thought without fear. Commenting on the incident Rami Levi stated adamantly that he will not let a 16 year old ruin the wonderful "du kiyum" co-existence in his stores. 

Hatred comes from Jews too. The Co-existence school in Jerusalem was defaced and classrooms burned. Arrogant and uninformed Jewish oafs wrote hate messages in spray paint. Yes again, I know, it happens everywhere, but the stakes are so much higher here. 

I don't want you to believe that Jerusalem is a dangerous city. It is always in the news because the media presence is huge and after all, this is Jerusalem. I looked up comparative urban violence in the world and was amazed. One friend who hails from Miami was scared to come to Jerusalem so I present the comparison first to Miami.  

Talking of violence, the horrific events in the USA over the last week, Ferguson in particular, are beyond my understanding. I know the cause, I know the effect but........ yet again Rabbi Jeremy Rosen says it better than I

There is so much going on here and now, just to make our lives perfect the Prime Minister has been forced to call elections. The accusations are flying, Lapid suggesting the PM is detached from reality of life for ordinary folk and of the immense changes in the American administrations attitude to Israel; the PM says Lapid should grow up and learn the ropes before trying to solve the complexities of the Exchequer; Prof Steinitz also accused Lapid of political immaturity and ego; Livni, well, Livni will always go against former allies.
It is insane, we can't waste the vast amounts of money required to pay for elections and Israelis are sick of a system which denies us political stability in a neighborhood that demands political stability. The problem, in my opinion, is not with the politicians (not that they thrill me) but rather with the form of voting. We cannot be ruled by small parties that care infinitely more about their political future than the good of the country. Unlike the States, Britain has smaller parties although they have to pass a specified number of votes to be considered - there is even Screaming Lord Sutch Monster Raving Loony Party (yes really but it is known to be a lampoon of politics. It is unusual that a third Party takes part in government. Proportional representation is wonderful on paper but constituency representation demands greater representative responsibility. We must change the electoral system - URGENTLY.

Yesterday there was a serious ecological accident in the Aravah, the South of Israel A major crude oil pipe broke spilling huge quantites of crude oil onto the virgin soil of this nature reserve. The bigger creatures like the fleet-footed gazelles, managed to escape but smaller creatures and plants did not survive. We yet have to discover the extent of the damage.

Olga Meshoe brought a group of young black South Africans to Israel."We know what Apartheid was, because we still suffer from the scars of it and my parents were directly impacted,” says Olga Meshoe, COO of Defend, Embrace, Invest, Support Israel (DEISI) “How in the world, seeing what we see, knowing what we know and being educated as to truth, can we say Israel is an apartheid state?” 

Now to something completely different!

Last week was the birthday of an incredible man, a humble, brave and exceptional man who was true to his own morals, ethics and humanity and saved the lives of over 650 children in WW2. Sir Nicholas Winton, 105 years old kept his beautiful secret until 50 years after his heroic work, his wife discovered a scrap book in the attic. Get out your Kleenex's

The weather has been phenomenal, glorious, but gentle winter sunshine and the temperatures are perfect - about 20 degrees C. Based on the wonderful weather and the uncertainty of the returning rains, yesterday I went to the beach with Rachel, Yosef, Talia and Ayala. It was the most glorious day and we decided to steal an hour or so of sunshine before dark so we drove to Palmachim and the children had so much fun running on the sands and finding incredible seashells. Yosef even took a very, very short dip in the rather cold winter sea!

Yet another Chanuka is nearing and Israelis diets have gone west! The reason? Sufganiyot - donuts - doughnuts - rosquilla -ciambella -toesen (that's Welsh). Just see the incredible variety!

And so to music. For those who forget those who fought so hard to found this nation - the State of Israel Dudu Fisher sings the words of Exodus and Pat Boone sings his original version. He wrote the song for the movie but put his heart into the composition and donated the lyrics to Yad Vashem.

Jerusalem still feels kinda lonely since Zvi is still with his family in Mexico. Our children are making sure I don't have Shabbat alone ( although last week I was really poorly with a terrible cough and he was in Mexico with a stomach bug!!!!!). Tonight I will spend my traditional Friday night meal with Rachel and Igal and the children. Igal brings new and beautiful Kurdish  Shabbat traditions to the family and Rachel, Oh what a brilliant cook and balabusta my daughter is!!! Tomorrow Leor and Shiri, Amiad and Noga and their children will make my Shabbat another family day - Shabbat is family after all.

This weeks reading from the Torah is particularly relevant today. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks describes it thus "Power is like a contaminant, a disease, which once introduced will gradually but inexorably become universal in the system of competing societies.”[11] Shechem’s single act of violence against Dina forced two of Jacob’s sons into violent reprisal and in the end everyone was either contaminated or dead. It is indicative of the moral depth of the Torah that it does not hide this terrible truth from us by depicting one side as guilty, the other as innocent.  Violence defiles us all. It did then. It does now."

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

Shabbat Shalom


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

Friday, 28 November 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila in Jerusalem

28th November 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Jerusalem is a bit lonely this week since my wonderful husband is in Mexico, San Diego and Miami................... things are just not the same!

This quote by  Canon Andrew White sums up his heroic attempts at Tikkun Olam and our feelings when defending Israel instead of lauding her achievements.
 I spend too much of my time pulling up thorns, and too little planting flowers
To understand his words, see the debate between Andrew, Melanie Phillips and Rabbi Michael Melchior see the video. It is rivetting.

Thanksgiving. What a lovely tradition, admittedly not if you are a turkey, but really beautiful. As a society we are so busy achieving and demanding that we forget the simple act of thanks. Thanks as a Christian country to the Almighty..... an oft forgotten aspect of what has become a secular event.

There is huge internal turmoil over the current proposition before the Knesset that Israel be declared a Jewish State with democratic rights for all her citizens. I do not see why, at this turbulent juncture, it is essential but on the other hand do not see that this declaration in any way impairs the rights of other religions. Britain is a country of Church and State, the Queen the Head of both State and Church and it does not impair anyones right; the United States thanks G-d for the cornucopia of wealth and good life and no-one believes it offends. I really don't understand the need or the rejection of this law. Luckily I have my beautiful friend Rabbi Jeremy Rosen to explain in a far more erudite fashion than I exactly what the pro's and con's may be.

"Is Israel a Jewish state or not? If there are avowedly Christian and Muslim states, why shouldn’t Jews have a Jewish state? Clearly there are some people in Israel have not considered Israel to be enough of a Jewish state up to now, for they have pushed hard for a recent bill in the Knesset to declare that Israel is a Jewish state. "  

If anyone doubts that Israel, as a Jewish State, cannot also be democratic should watch this video of Father Gabriel Naddaf who declares Israel as the only safe haven for Christians in the entire area.

Ron Prosor, Israel's exceptional Ambassador to the United Nations spoke of the current choices of the United Nations and of countries that vote to declare the PA as an independent country. First the Text then a video of the speech at the bottom of the page 
"Members of the international community have a choice to make.
You can recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, or permit the Palestinian leadership to deny our history without consequence.
You can publically proclaim that the so-called “claim of return” is a non-starter, or you can allow this claim to remain the major obstacle to any peace agreement.
You can work to end Palestinian incitement, or stand by as hatred and extremism take root for generations to come.
You can prematurely recognize a Palestinian state, or you can encourage the Palestinian Authority to break its pact with Hamas and return to direct negotiations. 
The choice is yours. You can continue to steer the Palestinians off course or pave the way to real and lasting peace."

A Hamas terror cell planned a a series of attacks on the Jerusalem Soccer Stadium and, among other places, on the Jerusalem light rail. The attacks were averted because our secret services are brilliant and in a massive operation they succeeded in catching the Hamas operatives who planned the series of attacks. Where are their "gang bosses" based? In comfort and safety in Turkey. I pray that your secret service is as alert because never forget what I said a long long time ago - Israel is the hors d'ouevres, you are the main course. 

My dear friend Yitzchok Katz asked if the following information is correct - I added the additional facts.
1. "In Israel Arab Israeli citizens enjoy full rights (including social security, medicine, education, own MK etc)" - Full democratic rights under the law as equal citizens. ​
2. "In the disputed Territories –  Palestinian status – get what you can from your authorities" . ​ That is for those with BLUE identity cards with rights to medical care and social security  - but many with blue ID cards do not have Israeli passports, they have Jordanian passports as per international law.​
3. "East J’lem – invited to become full Israelis’ – few chose to do so". -  Actually many chose to take blue ID Cards. They chose Israeli status and its benefits without actually being Israeli - they are Jordanian according to International Law. East Jerusalem is the most problematic area educationally they still (by international agreement) use Jordanian schoolbooks - which they now changed to Hamas!!!)  To understand the problem one can read the research and report by the impoverished but essential organisation that I am proud to be part of You can also donate to ensure the research and reports to Governments and the UN continue.

​I was just thinking - it happens occasionally - while I do not want to inflame and already inflammatory situation, I see no reason that Jews  and Christians going to the Temple Mount, whether to pray or not, is offensive to the Moslem faith. Jews and Moslems are invited to the Vatican; entry to Westminster Abbey doesn't have any limitations of faith; tourists from all over the world go to see the Mormon Tabernacle or the Bahai Temples; indeed every religion is open to all comers............... so why can't I go to the Temple Mount? One thing for sure - I would not massacre men at prayer.

So I am cutting it close again. Almost Shabbat. I was going to spend Shabbat with my beautiful daughter, her incredible cooking and of course her family, especially the children. I was going but it would appear that missing Zvi made me more vulnerable to passing germs and I have a cold so I don't want to infect everybody. I hurriedly made some chicken soup (what else?), the challot are in the oven and the fish already cooking so I have food for tonight and tomorrow. It won't be the same but at least I can tuck up in my lovely warm bed and drink lemon tea until I am better, probably tomorrow!!!

Jerusalem, indeed the entire country from Metulla to Eilat, was cleansed with life-giving rain this week. Rain? It poured, teemed and rained cats and dogs all together!!! It is so funny because while snow halts the entire area, rain seems to bring people out of their homes to say "I managed to drive in the rain". The Ayalon "Freeway" in Tel Aviv yesterday was not free and hardly a "way", it was much closer to a parking lot!!!! The rain pelted and as I saw the train chugging quickly by I was so jealous of all the passengers in the modern double decker, no worries, just going home.

We needed that rain so much. The Kinneret filled beyond its previous low - we had the average monthly rainfall for November in two days!!!! The hope is for a really wet month ahead - time for lots of soups.
The rain seemed to wash Jerusalem's wonderful white stone, which glisten in the infrequent bursts of sunshine today. Long may it rain, with occasional respite to get out and do what one needs. Children can be bundled up to go to school and even they seemed to be happier in the rain.

One definite highlight of this week was seeing my lovely friend Marcia and her husband Tony in Tel Aviv. Sorry about the rain my loves!!!!

Tonight I will light a special candle to commemorate 51 years, according to the Hebrew date, since my Mother died. I want to wish my siblings a long life, filled with the good memories of a special, magical childhood. It is such a shame my children never met her - she was so much fun.

May you all be blessed by the Almighty, whatever you call Him and however you pray to Him. Pray for tolerance and understanding, who knows he may just be waiting for you.

Tonight I will first light the candle to my Mother, then light the Shabbat Candles and then make Kiddush and break bread alone. Oh well, at least Zvi knows he is missed!!!

For your musical delectation I am spoiling myself. I love Idan Raichel and I wanted you to listen too. Here is a live performance - just listen to his gentleness - although he cut his dreadlocks he is still as sweet.

Finally this joyous Eastern version of the age old Shabbat Song Lecha Dodi

Shabbat Shalom dear friends, Shabbat Shalom


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

Friday, 21 November 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila in Jerusalem

21st November 2014

Dear Friends

Shabbat Shalom to you all from Jerusalem, the most beautiful city in the world

Today I will try to write only positive notes because even after the horror and deep sadness of the events earlier in the week, some goodness came about.

Firstly thousands of Jews and Christians attended the funeral of Sgt-Major Zidan Saif, who was the first to enter the synagogue and gave his life to save the unarmed men at prayer. All of Israel is grateful to Zidan who leaves behind him a little girl of four months and a young widow.

Secondly, this morning Druze, Christians, Jews and Moslems in the North of Israel handed out roses to passers by and to drivers with the motto - Or lo Terror - Light not Terror -  to show the true side of living together in Israel.
I have no time before Shabbat but I wanted to give you reason to smile on Shabbat.

I could have spoken of the foul lies told on th media but we are all tired of their calumny. 

So dear friends, I will leave you with two important songs and the knowledge that we will never forsake Jerusalem - 
Firstly D'maot she Malachim, Tears of the Angels. When the angels cry in the other world then this world is sadder. We are sadder.

The second song is a challenge. A challenge to love even those who love us less - or not at all. With love from a broken hearted Jerusalem." Learn 2 Love the ones who love you less. I suggest maybe we just try.....Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom - must run to put the finishing touches to the table, put Rachel's delicious challah under the special cover, Zvi's fathers kiddush cup next to it and then light the Shabbat candles in the candlesticks that I used to light the candles as a child - with my beautiful mother who taught me to love Judaism and Israel. Tomorrow marks 51 years since her death but her traditions live on in her children and grandchildren and all future generations who want her memory to live on. My memories are so sweet and her teachings, together with my Daddy, so memorable that I live life according to their morals and ethics. I thank every short minute I had with her.

With love to you all

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

141118 Sadness in Jerusalem - Terror attack on Jews at morning prayer


18th November, 2014

I wish to G-d I did not have to write this letter but write it I will because you need to know.

This morning in the religious neighborhood of Har Nof, Jerusalem, at 07:01, men were saying their morning prayers, prayer shawls about their shoulders and phylacteries on their foreheads as is commanded; two terrorists walked in to the synagogue armed with machetes and guns and hacked four Jews to death, maiming and injuring 13 others.The lives of 5 others hang in the balance including two policemen that rushed to the synagogue when they heard the gunshots.  So far there are 26 newly-orphaned Jewish children

The terrorists knew each and every one of the men they attacked. One was the janitor of the synagogue, one worked opposite in the convenience store; both were Israeli citizens, with blue Israeli ID's, both were incited to hatred by others and found themselves capable of the most horrific of all. Perhaps they saw the Da'esh broadcasts of beheadings because this is no different.
The immediate reaction of Hamas leader Khaled Mashal was to announce that Israeli Arabs are in the best position to slaughter Jews since they have freedom of movement. The terrorists were from Jabel Mukaber (next to Armon ha Natziv) and the UN HQ was just a tiny village with 10 houses and during the last Intifada while we were busy with exploding buses they built thousands of houses and imported residents from Hebron. 

The BBC barely mentioned it; CNN on line actually said 6 people died in an attack, 4 Israelis and 2 Palestinians after the suspected hanging of an Arab bus driver. The bus driver, a respected member of Egged, committed suicide but the Palestinian Authority spread a rumour he was killed.

Until the world wakes up to the horror of what these people do, that it has nothing to do with human rights or supposed stolen lands, that their single intent is to kill Jews, this will not stop. Thanks to the vast sums of "aid" and the evil UNWRA Hamas is currently the second wealthiest terror organisation in the world but they will not spread the wealth to provide succour to their people because then they will not be angry.

Israel does not release the names of the slain until their families have been informed and until now just two names have been released - Rabbi Meir Twerski, renowned and highly respected Rabbi and humanist. 
Reb  Avrohom Shmuel  Goldberg originally from Liverpool in the UK.

May their souls rest in peace; their families be consoled among the mourners of Zion. Baruch Dayan Emet.
Jerusalem is crying; Israel is crying; I am crying. Will no-one wipe my tears?

With love

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

Friday, 14 November 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila - Canon Andrew white in Jerusalem

14th November 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friends.

Moshe Dayan once said "If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies." That is the reason that the Israeli Prime Minister met with Mahmoud Abbas and then with  King Abdullah in Amman under the watchful eye of John Kerry. The storms brewing all over Israel over the last couple of weeks needed to calming with a large dose of oil onto trouble waters. The Israeli police and security services announced that despite the heated situation the police and security services of the Palestinian Authority are still co-operating on all issues. The incitement of young Arabs within Israel is extreme and in the Judea and Samaria it is their education and deep disillusionment with their own and all leaders. When the PA chooses it is perfectly capable of calming the situation and that is what Mr Netanyahu was discussing in Amman - to ensure that the Status Quo on the Temple Mount will not be breached.  

Turkey, President Obamas military ally in the northern Mediterranean, is becoming more and more radicalised thanks to Erdogan. US marines, on leave in Turkey, were attacked by young Turks who attempted to put plastic bags over their heads, attacked and reviled by Turks in port.

I don't want to talk politics this week. Not for a bit anyway! I want to tell you about our trip to Massada with the choir!  We all drove down to Massada and went up together in the excellent cable car - then learned the history of Massada with Eva, our dear friend who is also a guide, as we walked the footsteps of the Jews who gave their lives rather than lost their Jewish identity. I thought I knew the history of the Herodean Fortress but Eva enlightened us all with her wonderful stories, making it more personal. After our descent we drove to the Youth Hostel in Ein Gedi, basic accommodation but it didn't really matter since the views were breathtaking and the company outstanding!! 

Zvi's two little grand-daughters were having a great time being the centre of attention! Most of us didn't rest, it was much more fun in the quadrangle, chatting and singing. Then I went with the little girls to light the Shabbat Candles, gosh I love to see their little faces reflecting those special flames. The Shabbat meal was so much fun, lots of singing Shabbat songs and Zvi of course did Kiddush and the children helped him bless the Challah, the plaited loaves. A young group of students on their gap year asked to join us and we all did a very fun version of Grace after meals. From supper we went to a truly fascinating talk by Secret Service man who explained his work which entails "turning" potential and real terrorists so that they sing about their cohorts. I found it so fascinating - yet again began to wish I was a spy!!!!

Shabbat morning, after services and breakfast, we walked through Nahal David, right next to the hostel, the river bed that King David walked 3,000 years ago. The nature reserve is full of gazelles, wild cats, groundhogs, and other creatures native to the area. It was gorgeous and some of the bravest choir-members stood under the waterfall!!!! One of our choir-members was the director of the reserve until he had a near fatal accident and he was able to explain the flora and fauna with Eva's geological knowledge it came to life! After Shabbat lunch we rested then heard a fascinating talk on sink-holes along the Syria/Africa rift and how to change the ecostructure to turn a problem into a solution. The geologist was a fantastic man from the Kibbutz. The journey home was easy and as we arrive home I set about making "bubbelech" (fluffy pancakes) for the little girls before they were collected to go home.

Yesterday my world lit up. Our wonderful friend Canon Andrew White came for lunch.  When Andrew comes he always brings his team of Hanna and Terry, great people, and we invited Elihu Ben On, an excellent journalist who spoke to Andrew in Baghdad many times ( Elihu speaks to Israelis and Hebrew speakers all over the world on a multitude of subjects); Hanan Rubin, one of the young people we mentored for the City Council and he was fascinated by Andrew and had a great rapport with Hanna who lives in Jerusalem; finally I decided to surprise Andrew with Lola and Norman, two wonderful people who came on Aliya many years ago and have been instrumental in their work for Christian/Jewish relations.

In the evening we met with Madeleine and Martin Lewis and went to hear a debate between Canon Andrew White, Rabbi Michael Melchior and journalist Melanie Phillips. The event, organised by Europeans for Israel and held in the historic Jewish Agency building in the centre of Jerusalem.

Melanie opened the debate on the emotive subject "Can religion be a force for good in the region". Her emotive eloquence rang true with  the audience and her love of Israel was transparent. Next came Canon Andrew, a voice of pragmatic reason backed by his infinite belief in the Almighty and his innate love of the human race. Andrew understands the dangers, (the FATWA on his life has risen to $56,000,000) and who understands the demands and desires of who he faces after many years in Iraq and Israel but does everything possible to bring the power of love into the situation; Rabbi Melchior spoke with equal eloquence but many of his views were not conducive with a Jewish democracy. His views were far further than I could imagine for a man who studied the Torah for so many years. 

Canon Andrew spoke of the violent history of the church toward Judaism proving that the leading theocratic group is inevitably dominant and when religion goes wrong everything goes horribly wrong - which brought us to the Islamic fanatics today. Andrew described the talks with the PA and indeed with all the extremists as pulling out the thorns and replacing them with flowers.

In principle the decision was that the language of politics is a language of interests but the language of religion is the language of values - thus if we can talks as religious equals we can gradually reach some kind of respect - mutual respect.

I feel very honoured to have been part of this event - both Melanie and Canon Andrew spoke for me, spoke words of determination and hope. Wherever Canon Andrew walks he leaves a trail of hope that is absorbed and changes lives and thoughts for the better.

Please look at Canon Andrew's book - Older Younger Brother – the tragic treatment by Christians of the Jews -

Almost Shabbat. I have to run and put the final touches to the table. Just Zvi and I this evening and we will be eating Shoshana's gift of Kubah Hamusta soup - its bright beetroot colour calling us to partake of the delicious, meat filled dumplings. A traditional Kurdish dish it brought a great big smile to my face!!!

Now for music - music to lift our hearts from the ever growing truth around us. The most Jewish of music is the niggun, a song without words, because words are unnecessary! Enjoy this one Niggun Simcha - happy tune

The second is Jewish songs of prayer - the first is Eshet Chayil - Woman of worth that every Jewish husband worth his salt sings to his wife on Friday night telling her how amazing she is - worth her weight in rubies.

Shabbat Shalom dearest friends

Love you and Jerusalem awaits you

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

Thursday, 6 November 2014

141106 Tram attack, American elections, US decide Passport Jerusalem, 19 years Rabin, Bet Shemesh, Choir to Ein Gedi

6th November 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friend.

As I was writing this letter yesterday my daughter Rachel called me to turn on the TV news "Mum there has been a pigu'a" another terrorist attack on the Light Rail line". Yet again an Arab used his  vehicle as a weapon racing down the light rail tracks ramming into cars and pedestrians on a main road in Jerusalem. Why? His family will get a stipend for life from the Palestinian Authority. After ensuring they live in poverty and disillusionment, hopelessness, the PA gives them one possibility of ensuring the financial future for their families - to kill Israelis. Sadly the Border Guard Officer who stopped and killed the assailant, saved the lives of others but lost his own. Jidan Assad, 38, from the Druze village of Beit Jaan. Jidan, father of a 3 year old and with a pregnant wife, died of his injuries and 14 others were hurt, three of them seriously. 

Later in the evening another Arab driver ran down a group of soldiers in Gush Etzion. This is horrific.Wake up world. Stop claiming that the victim is the perpetrator.

So the donkey got a huge kick from the elephant in the American mid-term elections. I don't understand American politics, but one thing is very clear, the people of the United States are deeply dissatisfied with the current administration. Why? Because the President misread both situations overseas and internal policies and failed to fulfill promises

The United States Supreme Court held a special session to decide if a child born in Jerusalem can have his place of birth on his American passport. An American court can decide if Jerusalem is in Israel let alone our capital city, the only place on earth this is in dispute while the capital cities of many autocracies and murdering tyrannies are not even in question!!!,7340,L-4587662,00.html 

There were two major anniversaries this week.
The 2nd November 1917 saw a British Prime Minster agree to and sign the Balfour Declaration on the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine.

The second is the 19th anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzchak Rabin. My friend Carol Gould, a fine journalist, found this article I wrote for her some years ago, for her website Current Viewpoint. It says all I wanted to say  about the man, the leader, the friend.

I would be remiss if I didn't refer to this weeks hearing of Ehud Olmert which has shocked and torn the country apart. As a friend of the former Prime Minister it makes me very sad. If all the allegations are true then things happened around us that in our naivete we could not even imagine. We only know of a wonderful Mayor of Jerusalem, who brought international support and friendship to Jerusalem which overlapped into his term as Prime Minister. Ehud Olmerts personal friendship with world leaders attained important diplomatic gains. Despite the fact that the Prime Minister has not yet had his day in court I am sad. Sad that the allegations against him suggest that while at the acme of political attainment, it was not enough. It is hard to see friends fall but if, and please remember it is still a case of "he said she said", they cause their own downfall they must face their legal fate.

Egypt created a buffer zone on its border with Gaza for clear security reasons and razed about 800 houses - although Israel was denied the right to do the same. The silence of the media prompted Stephen Spencer Ryde to write to newspaper editors - here is an extract. "No country could tolerate the uncontrolled violence coming out of Gaza.  It is violence that has many sources, wide ranging agendas and multiple backers.  It's steeped in terror and whipped up in a fervour of religious extremism.  It is non negotiable and impossible to navigate. It is chaotic terror that the international community play down and more recently the international community started to give ill thought credence to. But here in Europe, the attitude is "if you are Israel, it's your fault and you should know better".  However, "if you are Egypt, you are taking suitable security measures with your own and there's nothing particularly untoward".  One rule for Israel and another rule for the rest.  Hmm, where have we heard that before." Bravo Stephen - one by one, letter by letter we can make a difference.

That well known friend of the West in general and Israel in particular, President Erdogan of Turkey has pulled in his country's financial belt but hardly his own. He opened his new palace - 1,000 rooms and about $500,000 dollars worth! He gives new meaning to "Let them eat cake"

We tend to think of Australia as strong and impervious to Moslem fanatics. After the attack in Canada despite the leadership of Stephen Harper, we now see this video of Australian Moslem Fanatics and their brainwashed children

Speaking on behalf of UN Watch, Father Gabriel Naddaf of Nazareth during the recent 27th session of the UN Human Rights Council.  "ISRAEL IS THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE MIDDLE EAST WHERE CHRISTIANS LIVE IN SAFETY"

Last Friday we went to the site of Jewish towns and villages, built 3,000 years ago. Mostly situated above the Ayalot Valley (Valley of the Gazelles) near Bet Shemesh, where David and Goliath had their fateful meeting. There were many surprises including a small rounded stone which our archaeologist guide said was like the one that David used in his sling. When David volunteered to face the giant Philistine, he may well have gone down to the stream below us to choose the stone that ultimately killed Goliath. The other surprise was that apparently Goliath was smaller than Zvi!!!!

How we know that these were Jewish villages? Well, their outer walls are built in an oval rather than rectangle and they have double walls. A sure sign is that, in accordance of Jewish law, the cemeteries are outside the walls.  

This weekend we are going down to Kibbutz Ein Gedi on the Dead Sea with Zvi's choir. Early on Friday morning we will wake Amit and Gili (Zvi's little grand-daughters) and set off southward. We will drive past the neighborhoods that are in the news and head towards Ma'aleh Adumim, down, down, down past the sign telling us that we passed sea level and the ever patient camel waiting for riders at the sign, down past the moonscapes until we reach Massada. The little girls are so excited that they will ride on the cable car up to that most symbolic of sites. After walking around the fortress atop Massada we will go to the Kibbutz and relax until Shabbat. Our Shabbat meal will be special as we sing Shabbat songs together with the choir and watch the little girls joy reflected in their faces as they light the Shabbat Candles then we will all chant the age-old blessings over the wine and challah.
On Shabbat we will walk through David's Stream (Nahal David) yet again following in the footsteps of King David. The last time I walked through Nahal David was in 1963, on my first visit to Israel, the visit that caused me to fall in love with this incredible country. It will be so exciting to walk it holding hands with Zvi, singing the songs of King David (Psalms) as we walk. Only in Israel!

So I can't tell you about my menus for this Shabbat because I am not cooking!!!!! Really! It feels very odd but we are going to have fun instead.

I know that you are worried about what is happening in Jerusalem, and your concern is deserved because it is not criminal violence, it is specific, racist, religious, but understand that even with these scary events Jerusalem is still very safe. It is just because violence is so rare in Israel that it hits the headlines.

So Jerusalem is still beautiful, still beckoning, still fun, still ancient and modern, and has the best restaurants, hotels, pubs and clubs in all Israel!!!

I wish you Shabbat Shalom, that greeting of peace which has become banal yet profound.

I leave you with two songs - 
Shir la Shalom - the Song to Peace, sung by Miri Aloni who sang beside Yitzchak Rabin and Shimon Peres on that fateful night 19 years ago

Finally - Steve Lawrence' rendering of "Where can I go?" the story of our yearning for Israel. Now we have where to go.

With love

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