Friday, 28 February 2014

Shabbat Shalom - Haredi demo, Pope Francis, David Rosen, Angela Merkel, BDS

28th February2014.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends

I really don't know where to start this week. I barely left the house because I had,what is known in the UK as the “dreaded lurgy” - an unknown but annoying cough and cold!!! Actually a phrase invented by Spike Milligan for the Goon Show and which the Cambridge online dictionary describes as ‘a humorous way of speaking of any illness which is not very serious but is easily caught’.

Anyway – I am feeling much better this morning and managed to speak to my dear friend, a wonderful woman, who is very religious. I was clearly feeling well because the conversation turned to the impending million MAN demonstration planned for Sunday by the Haredim against the prospect of conscription into the IDF. I am far from being secular and equally far from being Haredi – I am a traditional Jew who loves her country and hates no-one. That doesn't mean I have patience for extremes in either direction! I simply believe that a people who are maligned and despised, hated and utterly misunderstood, must stand together. While prayer is a deeply important part of our life and our defence, our belief in the Torah cannot stand alone, we are past the time of going to our deaths as sheep to the slaughter. Today we have a beautiful, strong country of our own and we must be prepared to fight to sustain it and the society within. Each and every member of that society must participate in that struggle in a tangible manner, Jew, Moslem and Christian. We must all work, pay taxes, abide by the laws of the land, fight when necessary (not depend on others to defend our children) and express tolerance to those who are different to us in a manner never shown to us. We have to be better than those who went before us. Gosh for someone with the “dreaded Lurgy” I guess I did have something to say this week!

Pope Francis met Jewish leaders recently to discuss many issues including his proposed visit to Israel and the Holy Land. Rabbi David Rosen, who should have been the Israeli Ambassador to Rome, is spearheading the talks.
Germanys Chancellor Angela Merkel has been visiting Jerusalem. She expressed support for Israel’s insistence that the Palestinian Authority recognise Israel as a characteristically Jewish state and acknowledged the importance of Israeli security concerns. Chancellor Merkel has been steadfast in her support alongside David Cameron, against most of the European States. The problem is that the PA has announced to Kerry that they do not accept his demand that Israel be known and a Jewish State.

Israel is about to perform yet another prisoner release brokered by the USA. I have two major problems with this release; one is that those released , who include terrorists with blood on their hands, return to their evil ways, armed with the education they received in Israeli jails and, if I really want to be honest – why the heck should Israel release a multitude of killers, intent upon our destruction just because the US says so when the USA will not release one very sick Jewish spy who has no evil intent on America? I don't know what Pollard did but surely he has paid the price?

ASA President, NYU Professor Lisa Duggan, is planning a two day Israel Hatefest today and tomorrow and she would like to keep it quiet. Share and send her and NYU pres. e-mails expressing your disgust - BE POLITE AND CONCISE. 
President John Sexton: Phone: (212) 998-2345 or
Prof. Lisa Duggan:

We saw them in action in Oxford and now they have taken on the BDS louts in Los Angeles Congratulations to all the UCLA students who helped defeat a anti-Israel boycott resolution! Bravo Standwithus! Israeli soldiers supported student leaders who stood up against this divisive, hateful "BDS" motion at UCLA this week!

To take a break from politics, Maurice Ostroff downloaded from IBA TV English news. It shows another side of Israel. The wonders of bird life in northern Israel. Note the innovative provision of 5 tons of food daily <>

Click here for another clip Maurice downloaded showing a South African Minister's opinion of Israel as an apartheid state.

The aromas are in full swing as Shabbat nears. I already showered the children and dressed them for Shabbat and left their house with glorious challot baked by my daughter. She is an amazing “balabusta”!!! Driving home I listened to Yehoram Gaon's morning programme. I love it, his Hebrew is so exquisite, his grammar exact and his voice lilting and almost soporific. He really talks of the issues that busy the minds of Israelis of all varieties, he seems to make sense of confusion and put the word of logic into illogical situations. I often find myself nodding furiously in agreement as I drive home! This week he spoke of the question of conscription, Haredim, equality, danger, corruption and the obvious fact that we are losing our battle to tell the history, the truth, of this incredible country. Would you believe that there are Jews who believe the rhetoric which claims that we are the interlopers not the indigenous people?

Since I am a bit late with todays letter the mall is closing down and the car park emptying, the buses are changing their direction to aleph aleph aleph (which I used to think was HHH – indicating that they are going back to the garage so that their drivers can get home for Shabbat. The streets are emptying and they family arriving with pots and plastics filled with goodies as families share the work of preparation. White tablecloths are simultaneously billowing as Shabbat tables are laid with finest china and cutlery – to be festooned with food depending on the traditions of each home.

Today as I was listening to Yehoram Gaon I thought about two songs, both my favourites, which tell us why we are here, why we came home, why we are in Israel. The first is “Lalechet shevi achariyich” a love story for this beautiful country “I will walk after you” and perhaps the most apt and emotive “Ayn li Eretz Aheret” I have no other country - On second thoughts - more than any other song, my feelings are expressed by Al Kol Eleh – Above all this. Read the words and feel the melody I promise you will repeat iti and repeat it and repeat it.

So Shabbat Shalom to you and yours. Wishing you a beautiful Shabbat with a huge portion of tolerance and love alongside your traditional dishes. Only by teaching our children that the only conscience and behaviour we must watch is our own can we teach them to respect the beliefs of others.
Be well, be loving and be kind.................. Shabbat Shalom to you all with much love from Jerusalem, heart of our heart and centre of our world.

With much love from me to you

Friday, 21 February 2014

140221 Yoni Rechter, YSHC, Conscription, Falk, Prosor and Clark,


21st February 2014

Shabbat Shalom Everyone!

So much happened this week that I decided to start at the beginning and then go where my fancy takes me!!! So we will begin with the unbelievably successful concert and then go to the news and then cheer you up again at the end!!!!

Yoni Rechter is a truly amazing Israeli composer, musician and singer who decided to give a free performance in aid of the Yuri Shtern Holistic Centre. With 700 tickets to sell both Lena Shtern, and Roni Gilboa put all their efforts into the PR for the concert and my goodness, it paid off!!!! Not only was the concert a sell out but the entire Yoni Rechter troupe and the Jerusalem Theatre chose to give their services gratis too!! It was so much fun that people were dancing in the aisles and in their seats – not a common occurrence in the austere theatre!!!!! Yoni Rechter wrote many of our most beautiful songs, here he plays the piano and another sings - Malachim Bochim – Angels Cry. “When the angels cry in the other world it is sadder in ours”

Religion has been in the news this week – in one sencse positive and in another negative. Christian Arabs have long fought to have separate designation on their ID and now it is to happen. Christians are joining the IDF in bigger and bigger numbers and want to be separately identifiied. Member of Knesset Yavin has successfully brought a law before the Knesset to represent that desire.

The second item returns to the determination of this Knesset to bring equality to the burden of Israel's security “Shivion b'Netel”. In the ultimate aim to bring all of Israels residents to shoulder the onus the Knesset began with those Jewish Israelis who do not play their part. It is all about sharing responsibility not about damning religion or religious study. The greatest Rabbis of old worked and yet the time they spent studying produced huge rewards for the future of Judaism. Maimonides (Rambam) was a doctor, philosopher, astronomer and scholar of Islam. Rashi was a working Vintner with his own winery. As to fighting, what of Judah Maccabee, Gideon, Saul, King David, Bar Kochba............ I could go on and on Throughout the ages the most impressive Jews who ensured our continuity worked and fought, yet still had time to study and teach. So, why are the Haredim fighting the obvious need to reunite the Jewish people? Politics dear friends it is all politics and nothing will convince me otherwise! A long ignored aspect is that in order to be accepted to almost any good position in work one is asked what one did in the IDF – it enables everyone to advance in life

Two items on the United nations and incredibly one is good bur really! Richard Falk is leaving as the spokesperson of the UN Human Rights Commission (is that an oxymoron or what?)and in his final reports accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing. Is he insane or simply self-hating? Ethnic cleansing is taking place in most of the Middle East and Africa and unabated killing is taking place in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and a multitude of African countries but Israel is the target of his ire and vitriol?

The second item is really good and due to the work of the exceptional Israeli diplomat Ron Prosor. Through his undaunting work 170 countries have voted Ambassador Prosor to run the elections to the Human Rights Committee of the UN. Bravo Ron – you are our hero!

Helen Clark, the former New Zealand Premiere, is headed for Israel because in her new position she needs help in the world fight against AIDS. Don't expect too much from her though – she decided to cut relations with Israel in order to improve her countries relations with the Arabs and sell New Zealand Lamb!!!!!! Seriously I am not joking!

The IDF introduced voluntary conscription for young men and women with special needs, with outstanding success in bringing them into the normative society. Through this particular innovation we all profited in a most unusual manner. It was found that high functioning autistic young people are able to see even the tiniest inconsistencies in satellite intelligence pictures which even the most trained normative eyes cannot find.

Rabbi Jeremy Rosens blog this week – Shabbat. Why should we reconsider our reasons for keeping Shabbat and the dangers of instant gratification.

Zvi's friend Baruch Ivcher went to Peru to seek his fortune. He set up a successful radio network and life was fine. However Baruch grew up in Israel, in freedom and understood the Pruvian leadership was oppressive With intelligence, determination and Israeli Chutzpah he decided to bring democracy to Peru. It almost cost him his life and his radio station was blown up - however he succeeded in deposing Fujimori. Baruch has been honoured with a major road in his name in the Peruvian Capital. Kol ha Kavod - the Power of one in action.

Dr Malcolm Hoenlein brought the impressive Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organisations of America to Jerusalem this week. Unfortunately as things turned out I did not manage to go to the meetings despite Malcolm's kind invitation but I hear it was exceptional as always. To see and hear those who spoke -

You already know that I am a people watcher – I love to simply sit and observe the similarities and differences of passersby. Failing trips to Mahane Yehuda I am fascinated particularly by Israeli medical institutions. I am not being morbid, and my visits were for regular check ups but gosh it is amazing. In a visit to Shaare Zedek I became obsessed with hats or rather with the myriad of head-coverings passing me in the corridors. Wigs and shtreimels; black hats and beanies; baseball caps and intricately wound scarves of the Mizrachi women; wimples, hijabs and hippie slung scarves; black, white, knitted, silk, velvet, Yemenite and large Moslem kippot without even starting on the lengths of skirt – each expressing provenance and religiosity of the wearer. The visit to Kupat Holim (the Health Fund) produced a similar variety in both staff and patients. I love the diversity which is clear evidence of our wonderful free and open society.

Arlene, my beautiful friend, arrived this week. She had three requests and I managed to fulfil at least one of them! We didn't manage Mahane Yehuda (next time) but I took her to see the pink clouds of the Shkediot (almond blossom) on the Jerusalem Hills. We drove finding hill after hill and pink flash after pink flash in the most unexpected places. She was as excited as I was! We then went to Givat Zeev to see my beautiful daughter Rachel and on the way back to Jerusalem we saw the panorama that I love so much. As we neared Samuels Tomb I told her to look right and wait........... and the promise of the view was fulfilled – Jerusalem in all her beauty shining golden amid the mist. It still gives me a chill.

Today is a beautiful day and as it draws to a close it will become a special day – Shabbat. Shabbat. A day of family, calm, contemplation and prayer and of course of eating............. eating......... no Jewish affair, whether family or religious is complete without eating!
Today I have a special song for you – very special. Sorry the link is so long but it is worth it for the result. Shalom Aleichem
A special wish our lovely friend Andrea – be well my love.
Shabbat Shalom dear friends
With love from Jerusalem – centre of our world

Friday, 14 February 2014

140214 Hadassah, Pinto, Kerry, Spanish Jews, Denmark, Belgium


14th February 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Shabbat Shalom and since I love to love whatever the source, Happy Valentines Day. To make it a truly Israeli affair let's see why Sarah Tuttle-Singer loves Israel as her Valentine.

Today is a glorious day, sun and crisp air, knowing that rain will come tomorrow. Has anyone else noticed that the world is suffering awful weather, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions - and we seem to have the opposite? Do you think that HE is trying to tell us something? South Carolina has snow, Wales and Cornwall have awful floods, Java has a volcanic eruption - Here in Jerusalem we have glorious sunshine, clouds and clouds of incredible almond blossom (shekdiot) covering the Jerusalem Hills with their pink fragrance and ….... never mind, just the ramblings of an old lady.

I have to apologise for the typos recently but my ancient lap-top has now lost its spellcheck – it also lost the battery and the keyboard but I manage those. The loss of spellcheck distresses me because I get so involved in telling you the stories that I simply don't look. Sorry!.

If you had any doubt that Israel is not only our home, not only exquisitely beautiful and filled with innovative people who are noisy but the kindest in the world we are one of the top tourist destinations in the world. See the newest video launched by our Minister of Tourism Dr Uzi Landau

Israel is in shock as the Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein made the heavy decision to indict HaRav Pinto, religious and spiritual leader, of bribery of a police officer – not just any police officer but the Head of Israel's Anti-Fraud Unit, Police General Arbib. The legal decision to prosecute was courageous and the backlash may be fiery, but it was the right decision. No-one should be above the law.

The other subject of discussion and distress is Hadassah Hospitals dire financial situation. The staff, medical and subsidiary, have not received their salary for a month and prior to that they received only half pay for nearly a year. The blame is flying in all directions but basically it was not the fault of the amazing Hadassah ladies but rather of bad management and to a minor degree the foul Mr Madoff. The problem is that Hadassah is a private NGO and not part of the National Health Service, albeit an integral sector. Please G-d the country will come to the aid of these two gigantic hospitals. Shaare Zedek is taking the bulk of the emergency ambulance patients – and carrying the weight of essential services as the staff of Hadassah is on “Shabbat Service” They deserve to be paid.

John Kerry has taken a huge amount of flak for his efforts to find a solution to the unsolvable situation between the PA and Israel. I do not for one second believe that his efforts carry ill-will. I agree with Avigdor Lieberman when he says that the criticism is not fair. I have never quoted Mahmoud Abbas in a positive manner before but he cleverly said that criticising Kerry is not a very clever route to take – one does not bite the hand that feeds you!

Spain must be running on slow motion because it took them 500 years to recognise that the Jews they exiled during the Inquisition, those they didn't murder, deserve Spanish citizenship. Well, almost, well maybe, well perhaps and only if they can prove that their names are appropriate.............. next they will ask the descendants to bring their ancestors to prove their Spanish heritage!!! They produced a list of formerly Spanish names

They kill whales don't they? Denmark, the country that once upon a time had a King who saved his Jews, who was prepared to wear a Yellow Star but has now decided that Shchita – the process of kosher meat slaughter – is immoral and cruel is covering its racial bias with fine words. This is the country that kills giraffes for fear of inbreeding!!!!

Belgium is becoming dangerous. The land of incredible food and the world's best chocolate is more and more racist. Passengers aboard a Belgian train from Namur to Brussels were stunned to hear an unusual message on the trains PA system: "Ladies and gentlemen, we are approaching Auschwitz. All Jews are requested to disembark and take a short shower.",7340,L-4487636,00.html

Not all news is bad. The good news is that Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman announced Israel’s membership of JUSCANZ, a caucus of 15 non-European Union democratic states including Japan, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The grouping is part of the UN Third Committee, which deals with humanitarian affairs and human rights issues. Lieberman commented, “Next time you hear reports of diplomatic isolation or a wave of boycotts threatening Israel, know that the reality is very different.”

Friends have recently been producing very good books. If you want a rollicking book about Israel, Jerusalem, the past and one man's adventure to find the other you should read Avraham Avi-Chai's A Tale of Two Avrahams

After Shabbat drawn to a close Zvi and I will take our friends and go to a special concert in aid of my favourite NGO – the Yuri Shtern Hoslitic Centre. The singer and entertainer Yoni Rechter has given his performance gratis because he clearly believes in the incredible work of this organisation which gives hope and therapy to cancer patients at their most vulnerable moments. We all have someone in our close circle who has or will suffer from cancer and it is wonderful to know that there is a group of volunteers educated to ease the fear and pain for patients and family. I pray that the concert will mean the work can be enhanced.

So, another Shabbat is nearing. I love Shabbat, even my “Energiser Bunny” husband has to slow down. When we were commanded to keep the 7th Day it changed the world. Human beings need a day of rest, and it may well be the greatest gift that Judaism gave to the world. Sadly the insistence upon having everything now and doing everything NOW – instant gratification has caused us to turn Shabbat into yet another day. Sad.

Even if one were to take the religious aspect out of the picture (crazy but try) we need a day to spend with the family, to eat together, walk together, play together and yes – pray together. Last week Zvi and I went to our friends Moshe and Shula for Shabbat lunch and after the plethora of dishes, Shula and I left Zvi and Moshe playing sheshbesh (Backgammon) and we walked to a house in the neighbourhood where a fascinating mixture of ladies sat around a laden table and read Tehilim – Psalms. As each lady drank her wine, ate her fruit, nibbled a cookie etc she said the appropriate blessing out loud and all said AMEN. We prayed for the health of loved ones, and for the success of business, for the strength to overcome lifes obstacle course. I left feeling so satisfied, so full of hope and the sense of women-power, together saving the world. Who says that Judaism isn't good for women? Ignorance!!!!

I am not going over to Givat Ze'ev today. I will go for a long and relaxed walk, stopping to smell the blossom in the air before tomorrows rain washes it away. I am so excited I can hardly keep still – my adorable, amazing, effective, kind and beautiful friend Arlene Wittels is coming to Jerusalem and we will have a few special days together. Arlene cries just thinking about Jerusalem and me – and I have some wonderful trips in mind for her. I want to take her up, up, up into the Jerusalem hills, all the way up to Nes harim so that she can experience the clouds of pink that herald spring, the Shkediot.

Our friend Deborah Davidson will be celebrating her grandchildrens bnei Mitzvot here in Israel, and Arlene and I are thrilled that we will be part of that beautiful celebration of two young people reaching the age of responsibility. We will also see Malcolm Hoenlein, who is one of my heroes in this world of Israel's cause. A brilliant speaker and lover of Israel and I am proud to call him friend although since Dr Hoenlein is bring the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organisations to Jerusalem for a rivetting conference he will undoubtedly be racing from place to place as he and Caroline Greene, his ever present assistant, organiser and friend, try to soothe problems and create a wonderful atmosphere. I cannot wait to take part.

So the food is ready, the table set and I am about to walk up to the local corner store or Makolet. As I walk through the tree lined park to the corner each person who passes will wish me Shabbat Shalom. The fruit an vegetables on display outside the store are ripe for tasting........... a permissable deed in Israel. This is such an amazing season fro produce – all local. They stock stuffed vegetables and “cigarim” cigar shaped pastry filled with spicy meat, and pastellas, potato filled triangles for those who are just too busy to produce those great additions to the traditional meals. I love the atmosphere – love the greetings – love the Shabbat feeling.

So todays musical offering is easy. As those who do not know better talk of dividing this city perhaps they should listen to this beautiful psalm “If I forget thee Oh Jerusalem let my right hand lose its cunning and my tongue stick to my cheek” -
Ana b'Koach is a deeply spiritual, Kabbalistic song, a prayer and a plea

So dear friends, I pry that you will have koach (strength) for whatever may await and the love and belief to carry you through.

Shabbat Shalom from beautiful Jerusalem and the marvellous view from our veranda.
With love from the heart of our world

Friday, 7 February 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila - Kerry, Haredim, Sodatream and Shkediot

The problem is complex; it is not as simple as it appears on the surface. If you have spent your life in a Yeshiva, not learning mathematics, sciences, civics, history, languages etc, how can you suddenly go out into the workforce? True that the Torah study sharpens the brain but it hasn't widened it to cope with a job. In addition, one cannot get a good position because one of hte first questions on your CV is "What did you do in your IDF service"? It is a Catch 22 situation. If any of these people, who have good brains and healthy bodies, lived in another country – a country with army conscription would have put them in jail – they would not get social security wither. We, as a country have allowed this situation to reach a social explosion. I am not talking about the foul Neturei Karta who kissed Ahmedinejad and work for the downfall of this country.
Many Haredi women already work and the men have the tradition of "Gemach" helping others which leads us to the most logical solution "Sherut Leumi" – Social Service. We have to become a united society because as we all know – divided we fall.
Telegraph journalist Jake Wallis Simons discovered that the world is not as stated by Oxfam "..In truth, Oxfam channels charity funds to political groups which follow deeply partisan agendas, and support the boycott of Israel. …..Oxfam Novib, which receives tens of millions of Euros from the Dutch government, is also a substantial supporter of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PHCR), the organisation behind many "lawfare" suites against Israel, including attempts to arrest Israeli officials abroad."
Ex-Pat Brit Simon Plosker decided to see for himself and visited Sodastream and its 500 Arab workers
John Kerry has the best intentions. He really believes he can change the history of 1500 years. History was written the moment Hagar sat under a tree and told Ishmael that they were homeless. When we refused to recognise Mohammed as our god it became written in stone. It isn't about whose name is on what piece of land it is all about the rights of those who live on that land. If we were all given freedom of prayer, social and electoral freedom then borders would be irrelevant but when one group denies the right of another to exist, when one group commandeers the history of another and supplants it with their own, then we need defined borders and clear boundaries. Even if John Kerry were as wise and well-intentioned as he thinks he is it will not work. It will not work because the demands are unequal and unjust and the intentions diametrically opposed. If only............ Kerry insists we must honour the memory of Yitzchak Rabin by following his framework. Maurice Ostroff points out that Kerry's plan is nowhere near Rabin's framework for peace.
Canon Andrew White has returned to his beloved Iraq. It was not a happy homecoming, despite the love of his non-denominational flock. Andrew was greeted with more and more killing and the friends of his adoptive son were killed. It is horrific, done in the name of religion, of internecine fighting between Moslems.
Hirsch Goodman raised an issue that has been on my agenda for a long long time. Israel's hasbara. It isn't working and we are not doing enough or if we are the media is not buying it. He writes
ON Feb. 4, 1965, as a teenager, I left South Africa, the country of my birth, for a new home in a place I’d never been — Israel. I loved South Africa, but I loathed the apartheid system. In Israel, I saw a fresh start for a people rising from the ashes of the Holocaust, a place of light and justice, as opposed to the darkness and oppression of apartheid South Africa. Now, almost 50 years later, after decades of arguing that Israel is not an apartheid state and that it’s a calumny and a lie to say so, I sense that we may be well down the road to being seen as one. That’s because, in this day and age, brands are more powerful than truth and, inexplicably, blindly, Israel is letting itself be branded an apartheid state — and even encouraging it.
As Lewis Carroll said in the Jaberwocky – "The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things: Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax, of cabbages--and kings-
Last Shabbat was a mite insane! We had a crowd of friends for Shabbat lunch and we were joined by Canon Andrew White and Hana, which brought us all together with Prof. Gabby Barkay again. I love the fact that Andrew is au fait with all the Jewish laws, having studied at the Kaliner Yeshiva for a year, and ensures we stick to them! As we finished clearing the dishes away I ran off to meet Carol and Steve Doppelt and their 2014 group from Boston who volunteer in Haifa for many different causes. The group chose a question and answer session which is my favourite. Through the questions I find out what you, those of you who are such staunch supporters of Israel, what your concerns and queries are. Of course Iran, Haredim, Kerry all came up and I tried to answer as best I could. Wow, they say there are no coincidences in life............ the door bell just rang and a simply colossal and beautiful bouquet of thank you flowers arrived from the Doppelts!! Thank you so much Carol and Steve – they are absolutely amazing and brighten up the apartment for Shabbat.
Talking of flowers and Shabbat it fascinates me to see the number of young people sitting by the side of the road buckets and buckets of beautiful flowers, cheap, cheerful and bunched ready for the passing trade. Of course they are not like the bouquet I just received but it always amuses me to see the parked cars choosing between roses, gerberas or tall white gladiola.
I am about to leave to drop Zvi at his Parliament in the coffee shop of the Hebrew University and then collect the children from their various schools. Yosef is always out first, waving and ready to jump in the car and hug me. Talia looks so cute in her blue school uniform and enormous schoolbag - and little Ayala runs out after Talia goes in to get her. I love to hear their stories as we drive over Nebe Samuel (Samuels Tomb) collect the Challot from Nehamas bakery on the way and get them bathed and dressed for Shabbat. There is a sense of expectation, the table laid and the wonderful array of food that my daughter prepares. I manage to taste most of it before wending my way back home!!
Spring has sprung despite the definite nip in the air. The sun reflects on the blossom of the Shkediot (Almond trees) on the Jerusalem hills. I love this time, although still chilly the weather is gentle, the anticipation of Purim and Pesach (Passover) are in the air and the soft pink clouds of blossom makes us all smile. We look forward to the joys of being Jewish in a Jewish land.
The shops are full of Purim treats and fancy dress for the children. Gone are the days when they are all either Queen Esther or Mordechai – today they dress as modern-day heroes and heroines, just as long as they remember or are reminded that Esther and Mordechai saved our people from a dire enemy because they used their minds to overcome danger and succeeded because they dared. We should not fear Kings or their Viziers, as long as we stay strong.
Tonight we will have Shabbat dinner with Alain and Martine Carnel then tomorrow we walk down the road to our friends the Zakens, taking our contribution for Shabbat lunch with us. I will take stuffed vegetables (stuffed peppers, aubergine, courgette and potatoes) filled with rice and Tivol meat. I like to cook for vegetarians too! Chocolate cake will be my contribution to dessert and I know that Shula and Nadav will have prepared a table laden with goodies – salads, hamin, vegetables and a myriad of Kurdish traditional dishes.
Time to go, I wish I could tell you more about the food, Carol Doppelt's favourite part, but the children will be waiting – I never, ever keep them waiting!
Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Shabbat Shalom however you celebrate it. I love you for who you are not for what you are
Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem, Jerusalem of King David and of Jesus.
With love