Friday, 30 May 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila - Yom Yerushalyim, MWU,

30th May 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope you had a good week.

In Israel we celebrated Yom Yerushalyim, Jerusalem Day,  47 years since the re-unification of this great city after 19 years  of enforced division, half Jordanian, half Israeli. The Old City was in the hands of the Jordanians and I remember coming to Jerusalem with my late father, just after the Six Day War and walking with him to the Kotel, barely believing the incredible honour. There was no fine plaza, the tunnels had not yet been discovered and the Mugrabi steps still covered, but it was so amazing to touch those stones, to feel the spirituality and to pray. I still think that some of that spirituality is lost in the very neatness and wide modern plaza leading up to the Kotel but that's just me!

Since that time we uncovered the Southern Wall, the Ofel steps by which the pilgrims would make their Aliya or ascent to the Temple Mount, and we made this precious place available to all. Sadly I can no longer go to the Temple Mount but that is another story!

Jerusalem was filled with joyous young people marching and parading, singing and dancing and amid the joy we mourned those lost in battle in a solemn ceremony on Ammunition Hill.

If you love statistics here are the national statistics for greater Jerusalem released for Jerusalem Day 2014

Meanwhile, the world continues on its erratic path.   

In Syria the slaughter continues and Churches and Synagogues of Syria are destroyed in the path of the annihilation.

We are still reeling from the news of the horrific shooting in the Brussels Holocaust Museum.  Israelis killed in Europe at the Holocaust Museum? Is anybody listening? Surely this is a wake-up call to those who claim that anti-Semitism is a thing of the past. Wherever you may live, not just Europe but also UK, USA, Australia or Canada where I feel safe, there are those who love to hate us encouraged by the incitement of media lies and biased reportage which makes killing us a social necessity. Do I mean Israelis? No not just, I mean that it is becoming socially acceptable to hate Jews.

Incidentally a recent survey shows that the highest level of anti-Semitism flourishes in areas that have no Jews! Strange, disturbing but true.

Turkeys leaders made the decision to issue a warrant for the arrest of former Chief of Staff Ashkenazi for crimes against humanity in the Marmara affair. Yes I know they got their apology but they still push onward. Of course nothing they say bears any semblance of truth as this video reminds us.

I read the outraged statements by both Naomi Ragen and Caroline Glick concerning the visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land and thoroughly disagree with them! The photograph of the Pope at the separation wall angered Jews and was loved by the media, His Holiness also visited Yad Vashem, Herzl's Tomb and prayed at the Memorial to Terror Victims although only the Israeli press showed those visits. His Holiness also visited the Presidents House and was successful in his determination to bring President Peres and Mahmoud Abbas together in an historic meeting at the Vatican on June 8th. It is both unfair and disrespectful to blame Pope Francis for a photo-op not of his making.

The irony of the so-called liberal press when talking of Israel was emphasised when Terror Survivor Kay Wilson, who  was out walking when Arab youths attacked her and her friend stabbing and cutting them, her friend was killed and she almost killed. Kay is not Jewish nor her friend but it did not stop their attackers.  "There is something perverse, ironic and incredibly frustrating that the Palestinian terrorists who tried to murder me are receiving over $1200 per month from the PA, yet for 3 long years I am still fighting to be given a monthly disability pension from the Israel National Insurance to help me pay my rent. Isn't it time that the PA transferred the salaries of murderers into the bank accounts of the innocent victims and families that their wicked terrorists destroyed?" Befriend Kay on Facebook and support her.

As President Peres reaches the end of his illustrious term  the list of would be Presidents of Israel is now at 6. MK and former Speaker Reuven (Rubi) Rivlin is front runner. Rivlins ancestry goes back some 9 generations of Jerusalemites so maybe he is most appropriate but a non political President such as Professor Daniel Schechtman would be a refreshing and dignified change. Peres will most certainly be a hard act to follow. Now over 90 he is still as sharp a mind as ever and his connections are unequalled. I believe he has represented our beleaguered little country with honour and an innate diplomacy that is rare in the world.

The wonderful Maccabi family met this week in Kfar Maccabiah. They discussed, planned and explained their countries needs and offerings to the next Maccabi Games in 3 years time and of course elected their World President, the lovely Leo-Dan Bensky, representing his home country of Finland, his loved country of Israel and strengthening the European input to the WMU. Shabbat with our friends was delightful and then, and then on Monday evening we all climbed abord buses and drove out to Moshav Bnei Zion and the most exquisite home I have ever seen, here or anywhere else. Matti and Maccabi Carasso built their home on 4 acres of beautifull designed garden, every inch of the home and estate designed for the enjoyment of the family and friends. Nooks and crannies with televisions and pools, seating and tables, games and a glorious vegetable garden. All just representing the warmth and kindness of Matti and Maccabi Carasso. Einat Saruf sang and everyone danced, of course  Zvi joined her on stage. My favourite moment was when she sang, in honour of Jerusalem Day, Yerushalyim Shel Zahav. Everyone was emotional but most of all I watched Sadi Beceren from Turkey. He was so engrossed in singing every word of that beloved song that when Einat then led us in Hatikva I thought he would burst!!!  ​All way back to Kfar Maccabiah Zvi sang Russian songs in the bus with the Russian Maccabians much to the chagrin of Ron Carner who determinedly tried to sing a medley from Oklahoma!!!!!​

On Tuesday my amazing daughter Rachel threw a huge celebratory party for her 3 childrens birthdays. The pinata she made was the star alongside the entertainer. She made a huge and colourful Pinata filled to the brim with goodies and the entertainer was so much fun. The next day saw me celebrating my friend Danas birthday with a sedate lunch at the Botanical Gardens Caffit, of course with their delicious Oreganatto salads and wonderful Cafe Hafuch, followed by a shared chocolate cake with a sparkler and a song. In the evening  we went to the Jerusalem Theatre to hear the Oratorio performance by a combined Jerusalem choir. Of all the amazing opera and oratorio pieces relating to Jerusalem my very favourite is still the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves by Guiseppi Verdi who understood the hearts of Jews extracted forcibly from their land and made slaves. Here we have a beautiful version with translation

Last night Zvi and I went to the sifting site at Ein Tsurim for a reception and lifetime service award ceremony for our dear friend Professor Gabby BarkaĆ­. Although there was a bus running us down to the site we fund ourselves without time to get to our next engagement and no bus!!! 

We wound up running up 250 steps to the car to get Zvi to his ceremony for new graduate teachers, complaining and finding it hard to breathe we reached the top and suddenly something quite different caused me to catch my breath........ a truly magnificent sunset over the Old City, pink and gold, lay before us. We made it in time and Zvis speech was excellent, the best ever, in front a largely Moslem graduation, at least 60% and he was fabulous and  respectful, even quoting the Prophet Mohammed and talking of teaching tolerance to combat the intolerance taught in society. Zvi told them the story of Amos Oz when Zvi went to a play by Amos Oz who mentioned in his speech that he was a student at the Tachkimoni school in Jerusalem. Zvi asked him if he remembered his father Kalman. "Kalman and Alla Rybak" great teachers and lovely people I will never forget them.
As we left the auditorium I stood on a grassy quadrangle in that Teachers Training College  as I had 51 years ago when I fell in love with this country on my first visit to Israel with the Youth and Hechalutz first ever 16-17 year old group to Israel. We stayed in the classrooms of this august 100 year old institution All new and functional the quadrangle still hold magic for me.

Today we went to the cemetery in Givat Shaul to honour Zvi's parents on the 10th anniversary of the passing of the beautiful Kalman Raviv-Rybak and also the 3rd anniversary of the passing of Alla his adored and adoring wife. When I look at Zvi I see generations of traditional Judaism, of outreach and teaching, of giving back to the community in which one lives and Tikkun Olam. We honour his parents, their lives and the families they lost to hatred in the Shoah who never got to see what impressive and beautiful people they became or the son, grandchildren and great-grandchildren they created. Zvi reminded us that each person has three names - the one he is given at birth, the one he calls himself throughout his life and the one by which he is remembered. Kalman and Alla Raviv are remembered at fine educators and wonderful people. For me, standing in the special area for "Yakirei Yerushalyim"those awarded as special people of Jerusalem, I looked out at the view, the air redolent with the scent of pines so typical of the Jerusalem Hills and knew they were happy, together and looking out at their City.

So to Shevuot. Next week we will celebrate the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, the spring harvest festival and King Davids birthday, although few know about the latter. Rather than attempt to write myself I turn again to the wise words of Rabbi Jeremy Rosen Shevuot - An identity crisis.
We will celebrate with friends who will come to eat cheesecake, blintzes, quiche, vegetables and so many wonderful dishes relevant to this festival.

In the meantime, Shabbat Shalom to you all. I leave you with one of my favourite songs, sorry I couldn't find a recording with translation but nonetheless.............. Shebechi Yerushalyim - from me to you


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

Friday, 23 May 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem - Paris, Maccabi Tel Aviv European Cup, HH Pope Francis, Jay Leno, Michael Bloomberg

23rd May 2014

Shabbat Shalom from wonderfully fresh and sunny Jerusalem!

Now the truth can be told about our whereabouts last weekend. We were in Paris but I couldn't tell you because we went for a surprise birthday party for one of my readers. Actually it is not just one of my readers, it is the wonderful Ron Carner whose wife Talia organised the delightful dinner party for her Ron invitiing old school friends from the States and relatives from Israel. It was a great evening and Ron really had no idea. Of course as he walked into the room the first person he saw was Zvi - well Zvi, at  2 metres tall does tend to stand out!!!!

Paris was beautiful but it disturbed me even before we arrived. We made a short stop in Istanbul airport where I chatted to the girl nearest to me as we got off the plane. After the usual niceties and finding out she was Parisienne I asked her "Did you enjoy Jerusalem"? in a friendly fashion "I liked the Palestinians but I didn't like THEM"she said in a French accent. "THEM"? I asked "Then you don't like me I am one of THEM".  "The Palestinians are my brothers and sisters" she responded. I walked away shaken. My confidence was slightly restored by the young French man who sat beside me on the continuing flight "I can't wait to come to see Jerusalem" he was delightful and I smiled throughout the flight.

We enjoyed the Champs Elysee, the Tuileries, The Louvre, dinner with Alain and Martine Carnel who took us to a delicious little bistro on the  Isle Saint Louis, and we went for a stroll along the Left Bank before the took us on a car tour of the Marais, formerly the Jewish area which is now filled with chic fashion. We met Zvis cousin Christina and her son Rafael where we heard incredible stories to add to our lost history of Zvi's family and then spent wonderful time with my cousin Laurent whose abilities abound, his creativity  unending. Laurent is designer, producer, author, writer, film-maker, photographer and anything else that takes his mind! 

Laurent took us to my favourite Museum, Musee d'Orsay and the phenomenal collection of Impressionist art in a wonderful building. We relished the Monet, Manet and all others through to the glorious culmination of the tour - the Van Goch exhibit. We came out to pouring rain but Laurent dropped us in the St Germaine district to take in our final taste.

At one point I was unsure of how to reach a specific place and decided to ask some people in a messenger van, surely they would know! I was slightly bothered when I saw Arabic on his phone but more than that I felt the driver staring at me. Suddenly "What religion are you"? I was stunned into silence and he asked again staring at me. "Vous est Chretienne" You are Christian? Since this was the first time anyone had asked me the question, let alone in a threatening manner, I did not answer "Chretienne"? "Oui" I mumbled and walked away. This was my first experience of overt, tangible hatred, not mild anti-semitism but an overt threat. It was not imagined it was very real.

This incident shook me to my very bones. It made me understand in a manner no number of newspaper articles or reports could ever do. I told Martine and she was not surprised. However, on our flight home I sat beside another young man called Jonathan. Jonathan is French and intends making Aliyah very soon. When he told me that every time he lands in Ben Gurion Airport he feels like a little boy, his excitement is so great, I felt better.

It is so good to be home. At the airport, while waiting for my baggage I stood chatting with a Moslem lady, head covered and completely comfortable in Israel. Oh that it were true for me in Moslem countries.

What keeps Judaism Alive is a question that keeps us wondering and has done for 3,000 years.We watch other religions and Empires rise and fall we are! Rabbi Jeremy Rosen as the question this week

Once again, UCLA is the center of anti-Israel radicalism. An Arab sorority passed around maps of the Middle East during a campus-wide diversity festival which completely erased Israel, even from the list of names! When confronted, the students crossed out "Middle East" and instead wrote "Arab."  The pro-Israel students Bruins for Israel  called on the sorority to apologize. Support their efforts and also call on the sorority to apologize immediately.

Rachel Corrie was a fanatical left wing supporter of the Palestinian narrative who walked out in front of a huge tank. Tanks don't stop on the spot and she died. Her family have continued her fight by taking Israel and the IDF through every court available. In Israel their case reached the Supreme Court. The panel of Judges includes a woman Supreme Court Judge who is both Moslem and wears a Jihab. Justice will be done and will be seen to be done.

His Holiness Pope Francis arrives in Israel tomorrow. The visit is filled with expectation for Israelis of all religions but Pope Francis desire to go to the Temple Mount heralds a deep rumbling of resistance from Moslems of the area which hopefully will be kept under control. They believe the Temple Mount belongs only to Islam and not to any other religion. Pope Francis is a harbinger of better days already shown in the decision of the patriarch of the Maronite Christian church, Beshara Rai to join Pope Francis on his historic trip to Jerusalem.

Israelis are excited to see the Vatican flag flying beside the Israeli and Jerusalem standards on the main roads leading to and of the City. We are proud to welcome his Holiness and will show him our warmth and gratitude for his past record and hopefully future friendship toward the Jewish State.
Last night we went to  the Genesis Prize ceremony/show/dinner/reception at the Jerusalem Theatre in honour of Michael Bloomberg who is the first ever recipient. Jay Leno was exceptional as MC - exceptional evening!!!! Bloomberg used his $1,000,000 prize by returning it to the Genesis Project to encourage young people to create projects which reflect Jewish principles and Tikkun Olam. The panel chose Michael Bloomberg whose personal history was unknown to me and he most certainly fits the prerequisites of this prize.

Jay Leno is in Israel for the very first time and loving it! He loves the fact that we all gesticulate in the same fashion, irrespective of ethnicity whereas in NYC gestures depend entirely upon ethnicity. He loves the fact that people come up to him in the street and want to hug him, kiss him and get an autograph yet he doesn't fell threatened by it in any way. He said if he said no it would be fine but he felt no need. He loved the modern and the ancient, the fun and the Biblical and intends coming back soon with his family. ​,7340,L-4522317,00.html​

​MACCABI TEL AVIV EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS and the French didn't care!! Zvi was jumping around in delight but there was no-one to jump with him!! 98-96 against Real Madrid in Milan brought us the cup. See the jubilation in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv as the fans watched in delight - indeed in all Israel celebrated.

Journalist and diarist Tom Gross made a compilation of all the "Happy" songs of the region.. He is probably the only one who noticed that there is one from Gaza!! Yup from Gaza, hardly fits the oppressed and starving people the left-press would have us believe!!

So I am back in Jerusalem just before Shabbat. Zvi sang with his choir in the "Tahana", the Hora Jerusalem Choir was outstanding of course,  and then we had a quick bite to eat with friends before coming home so that I could finish writing to you before leaving for Tel Aviv and a beautiful Shabbat in Kfar Maccabiah with friends from around the world. Of course our birthday boy will be there, the lovely Ron Carner, and World Maccbi people from North and South American, Europe, Australia and places far and wide meeting together in camaraderie to prepare for sport and enjoy each other.

This weeks Parashah is Bamidbar. It tells of the divisions within the Jewish people, not divisions of anger but rather divisions of interpretation, each group allowing the others interpretation to strengthen the whole. Remember to accept each person as e/she is wihtout the determination to convince him/her to be like you. If we follow these rules then division will not divide us but rather strengthen us before those who would split us assunder. 

I am back in my routine, wonderful routine, of going to Givat Zeev, wondering at the vista, the panorama, the gorgeous view of Jerusalem from Samuels Tomb. Since I am a little late today Jerusalem is already sleepy, the cars are parked, the families together having eaten a light lunch before the delights of a Jerusalem Friday night supper. I can already imagine the beauty of the Shabbat tables, pristine tablecloths, best crockery and cutlery and sparkling glasses, the fridges filled to capacity with salads and soups and the Shabbat Hamin, cholent or roasted chicken, the aromas rising to titillate the tastebuds. Gosh I love Israeli cuisine, it beats anywhere else in the world, really, it does. Coming back from France and I can tell you that our food, especially but not exclusively street food, beats anywhere! Our food is fresh, unadulterated and healthy with loads of fresh vegetables and salads. We shop daily, everything is seasonal nothing that sits in a ship for weeks, and gosh it tastes amazing!!!!

Our veranda survived the hot weather when we were away, the tiny pomegranates beginning to plumpen, the herbs flourishing, the Valerie Fuchsia glorious and the citrus trees prearing to flower. Gosh I am happy to be home!!!

Wishing you a wonderful Shabbat, one in which you remember that we all have much more in common, more to bind us than separate us.
With love

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

Friday, 16 May 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem - Canon White, Anitsemitism, Christians in Bethlehem,Zimmet, new grandson


15th May 2014

Dear Friends, Shabbat Shalom

Why is this Shabbat different from all other Shabbatot? Because last Shabbat our newest, youngest and very wonderful little grandson came into the world and today he came home from hospital. A lovely little boy was born to Amiad and Noga, 5 weeks early, he was clearly in  a hurry to come and set this crazy world to rights. A huge Mazal Tov to Zvi for his first grandson!!!

Canon Andrew White arrived in Israel to promote inter-religious tolerance but there are too many who do not have his wisdom or tolerance and the situation in Bethlehem became even worse. Christians were stoned and harmed this week while visiting the Church of St George on the Saints Day in Bethlehem

Did you know that Anti-Semitism has nothing to do with Jews? The ADL's extensive survey proves that the less contact with Jews the greater the anti-Semitism. Furthermore, those countries with the least Jews have the highest incidence of anti-Semitism!!!

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was at front and centre of the news again this week as Judge David Rosen came down with his verdicts and sentences. I was shocked as were both the political enemies and friends of Mr Olmert. There were holes in the verdict, in our opinion gaping holes, and the sentence was extreme but the appeal will go before the Supreme Court. One would think that Mr Olmert was the only defendant but in fact there were 13, most of them people of substance. Former Finance Minister Roni Bar On expressed my feelings on the subject

The kidnapping of a group of Nigerian schoolgirls rocked the world. Boko Haram became the name to fear. Our friend John Vause in excellent interview on Boko Harams capture of Nigerian girls  and here one sees the face of the leader, pure evil

President Peres met Basketball star Amare Stoudemire and they discussed Stoudemires forthcoming Bar Mitzva and whether he would come to play in Israel. Stoudemire already keeps Shabbat according to his wife.

This has been a delightful week in many terms, especially since our wonderful Australian friends the Zimmets are here. Zvi gave them a wonderful tour of the Old City, thoroughly enjoying Hedriks enthusiasm, and then we all met up for lunch in Mamilla. I had to wait for them as they walked up the hill from the Davidson Centre and the Kotel. I have so much fun people watching; the different walks prompted me to guess nationality by strut or saunter! The priest in long brown robes and the Haredi man in black; the Moslem women, heads covered in exactly the same manner as Nuns and Haredi women! Children laughing and touching the art-work that lines the outdoor mall and the book shop that Theodore Herzl once stayed in. My favourite was the two black-clad Nuns who went into a sexy underwear store!

Last night we went to a reception at the Australian Ambassadors home in Herzliya in honour of Prof. Paul Zimmet receiving an honorary Doctorate from the Tel Aviv University. I laughed at the thought that Paul is now Dr. Professor Dr!!!! Ambassador Sharma was a delightful host to all four Zimmets (Paul, Vivien, Hendrik and Hendriks lovely girlfriend Daniella) and to their guests.  Former Ambassador Yuval Rotem was a delightful new find - introduced to me by Paul Israel. Ambassador Rotem is back from his tour of duty in Australia and is now responsible for hasbara in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This week is a very short letter since Zvi and I are going abroad tomorrow morning, just a short trip, to enjoy and see new things. Of course I will miss seeing the peace of Shabbat in Jerusalem, and the scents, aromas and senses of Friday as the cosmopolitan kitchen of the Jewish households pervade the air over the Golden City. I will miss watching the city slow down and fall asleep as Shabbat nears. I will miss it but hope to have some very exciting stories to tell you about........................ well that's a secret!!!!

Since I write about the Middle East, we have a new little boy in the family and I adore Shlomo Artzi I decided that the first song for you should be, Under Mediterranean Skies

The second song tells it all - Al Kol Eleh, Over all things. It tells us that above all, despite it all life is good.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends, Shabbat Shalom from beautiful Jerusalem.

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

Friday, 9 May 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem. Remembrance and Independence

8th May 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Shabbat Shalom from a 66 year old Israel, even more beautiful then she was at age 65!!!!

I often say I don't know where to begin but this week I don't know where to stop!! I feel that we fitted at least two weeks into this last week as we went from the gravity of Yom haZikaron (Memorial Day or Remembrance Day) into Yom HaƁtzmaut, Israel's 66th birthday party.

It all began on Friday when we had the honour of meeting little Ariel Yisrael Daren, the new baby of my former nephew Sagi and his wife Ditti. The ceremony was held in Yemin Moshe, beautiful former artists colony now exclusive neighbourhood opposite the walls of the Old City.

Friday evening and Martin Lindenfeld escaped his duties as chaperone/photographer/father of the Miami Walk of the Living group and came to us for supper, for Shabbat Dinner with Zvi's son Leor and the family. Of course he was entranced by the beautiful little girls, Shabbat Dinner and the View from our veranda,  reward for his courage in taking on this trip. Shabbat we spent with Martin and Ariella, just talking and enjoying. 

Israel's Remembrance Day is special and so different. Leo McGarry, in West Wing, said it better in a few seconds than any tortuous and pompous explanations of sorrow.

Israel's Remembrance Day includes those who fell from terror attacks, unlike the USA and UK and I was invited to an exceptional ceremony to hear the voices of those deeply affected by this war of attrition. Sons and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters and parents of those who were touched by the evil arm of terror or as soldiers defending us. Some wrote songs some spoke and some just needed to be together in their enforced family of friends, all had been touched by the incredible warmth and work of One Family

When the Jewish Agency closed the Victims of Terror Fund many many survivors and families were left in limbo without the practical and financial aid for which you generously donated. One Family stepped into the enormous void  doing a truly magnificent job, supporting and treating in every way needed. Marc and Chantal Belzberg founded One Family when their daughter decided to give her bat-mitzva money to Israel to care for those affected by terror and so began their incredible journey.  This is a video prepared by One Family

On Remembrance Day itself I found myself in Shaare Zedek Hospital, opposite Mount Herzl's Military Cemetery. Hundreds of people walked outside onto the gardens for the 11:00 siren. We all stood to attention, and wept, wept for those lost to insane hatred. 

And so to joy............. as only Israel, in her schizophrenic desire to survive is capable of the change.  

25 years ago I was at an Independence Day party in the Israeli Embassy in London. I bent and gathered a little of the earth, putting it in a bag, promising myself that I would have my own piece of earth in Israel and come on Aliya. I thank heaven for my promise to myself every single day.

Party, party party!!! Israel is one huge cloud of smoke, unlike the rest of the Middle East ours is from Mangals not war.  Mangal is a Turkish word for an open heater but now means a Barbeque, lots of meat, chicken and fish accompanied by a range of salads and loads of friends!!! We started in Jerusalem at Betty and Stanleys, then to Ramat haSharon to Shauli and Rocheleh, eating and dancing  until the wee hours. Meanwhile in Jerusalem the official and moving ceremony took place on Mount Herzl. Nefesh b'Nefesh produced my favourite video for Israel's 66th birthday 

Irit and Itzik Lev gave us a bed for the  night so that we would not need to drive home and the four of us met Ron and Rina Katz for a quick breakfast and hug before going to Herzliya to Shuki and Anik's party for lunch!!! Insanity! 

ILAN.  This is a new paragraph so that our lovely friend Ilan has his own section. We went to both the big parties together and he asked for a specific mention for himself and Tzila (without surname so it would arouse curiosity) and here it is! We were so delighted to see him looking healthy - stay well dear man and come visit our veranda soon!!!!

Our celebrations ended in Latrun, in the amphitheatre of the Armoured Corps Museum in the former British Tegart Fort for the gala closing ceremony of the March of the Living tour. I was staggered to discover that Britain's young Marchers do not continue to Israel! How can it be? All the other countries came here after the horrors of Poland and Brits not!!! Surely it is very negative for the youngsters to see the horrors without the hope? We said our goodbyes to Martin and Ariella and wended our weary way back to Jerusalem, to step out onto our veranda and wonder at the miracle of Israel. Israel and the founding of Israel is the single most important event of my lifetime as a Jewess and of my people, including those who don't care and don't understand!!!

This has also been a week of awards for exceptional people who  richly deserve recognition. As I told you last week Canon Andrew White won the Wilberforce Award and was interviewed using his wonderful British humour to convey a serious message. and this week I was utterly delighted to hear that  wonderful Israeli and journalist Khaled Abu Toameh won a major award - the Daniel Pearl Award for Courage in Journalism. Bravo Khaled

The last two days proved that spring is still sprung!!!! Rain, incredible, life giving torrential rain poured over Israel for about 36 hours, reviving rivers and streams as far south as Eilat. Admittedly some rivers and streams were on the streets and even major roads but hey, you have to take the good and the bad.

Hamas, with whom our partners for peace have signed an agreement, brought out a special video for Israels Independence Day. Unbelievable.

This week I haven't spoken of world events and more importantly I didn't want to taint our joy with reports of the foul and unIsraeli "Price Tag" lunatics who write offensive graffiti on Moslem and Christian homes and cars. They should be put in prison - now.

This is the face of Israel, this is the example to the world of how one treats ones enemies, understanding that it is the leaders not the people who wage war. Noga, an angel in uniform.

This is the face of Israel, the IDF, this is what we represent. Every child has the right to serve society - the Special Needs unit of the IDF.

Today, I have my little bag of earth, I have my veranda, my flowers, my fruit and herbs. Today I have my Zvi and my daughter and her family live near.  Today I live a miracle every single day of my life.  I fulfilled my dream and the dream of so many, to come home, to live the 2,000 year yearning. Today I fulfill the dreams of my parents who ensured that I absorbed my Judaism and love of Israel through osmosis. 

Indeed yesterday I went to the "Jerusalem Baby Home" in Beit Hakerem, my Mothers special project. The Baby Home was initiated by British WIZO as an orphanage for children of the Holocaust and local children whose mothers were building a state. Since then it has grown and blossomed into a phenomenal centre which not only cares for children but has a battered womens centre, a vocational school for problem youngsters where we saw them becoming chefs, hairdressers, sound technicians, computer technicians and gaining confidence to go forward in life, indeed many coming back to teach and volunteer after their army service. I went to the Baby Home at the request of old friend Karen and Adrian Ross, from Reading and we were met by Simi Mor, the Jerusalem President of WIZO, a dear friend. Kobi, the centres Director has worked wonders and proudly showed us a video and books of the founding Mothers of the Baby Home. This video is from American WIZO. Next week I will give Kobi a video of my Mother, in 1953, dancing with the children in the grounds of the home.

My pre-Shabbat preparations are easy this week! My daughter-in-law Shiri decided I needed a week off cooking so I will go to them as a lady! In a short while I will drop Zvi off at his parliament and go to collect the children from school to take them home. The joy on their faces as Safta's car draws up is worth any amount of rushing to get ready early! Yosef, Talia and Ayala, each in their own way, express delight although now too old to ask what treats I brought them!!!!! I wonder if the camels are still on top of the hill near Givat Zeev?? Maybe we will pop into Nechamas coffee shop for them to choose a treat this time, each of them with their own little paper bag choosing their favourites, and of course something special for Mummy Rachel. 

On my way home I will yet again stop at the side of the road near the Prophet Samuels Tomb to wonder at the panorama stretching before me; from the Calatrava Bridge to the Augusta Victoria Hospital and all the wonderful white buildings between. I never tire of the view - Beautiful Jerusalem, beautiful city.

The sun is shining again, not fiercely like last week but gently warming the rain washed Jerusalem stones as they glisten, still, from the cleansing rain. The quiet is not yet here but I feel its imminent presence.

I wish you Shabbat Shalom with a special prayer for the safety of Israel sung by Lt Col Shai Abrahamson, Chief Cantor of the IDF and a  prayer to the righteousness that supported our parents (ancestors) and us today

Shabbat Shalom dear friends, Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem.


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

Friday, 2 May 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem. Israeli Independence Day 66 and mourning, Kerry

2nd May, 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friends.

This week is filled with waves of emotion taking us from Yom ha Shoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, through Remembrance Day to the joy of Yom Haatzma'ut - Independence Day.

On Yom ha Shoah we ate breakfast in the German Colony with John and Adrienne Kraus and their daughter, chatting and gossiping happily, then at 2 minutes to 10 I knew I had to step outside; we all went into the street as the eerie wail of the siren echoed our deep sadness for those lost in the Holocaust, that ultimate expression of hate, too much to absorb, to realise the deep and abiding hatred that became the Holocaust and to recognise that the world is still capable of the type of hate and demonisation that caused that dire evil.
I want you to feel what we feel in Israel on Holocaust Remembrance Day and see cars stop in the middle of the road and Israelis step out and bow their heads in sorrow and respect.

I don't want to leave the Shoah yet. My dear dear friend Andrea Koven sent me this video. Zvi and I sat in rapt attention as the doctor spoke of his slow understanding that his father was a Nazi officer, a Nazi and all its implications. His dismay as he understood, while watching the Israel flag enter the Munich Olympic stadium, that he remained a Nazi filled with hate, and the realisation that it was just this hatred that led to the Munich Massacre.The headline "Germans kill Jews again"after the botched rescue, caused him to search his past. The words that sank into my soul WORDS OF HATRED FALL ON FERTILE GROUND. THOSE SEEDS GROW INTO ACTS OF HATRED. He calls the Holocaust the eclipse of hatred. Please, watch.

Talking of words of hatred. Israel is shaken by the actions of a tiny, very tiny minority of young men who make up the hateful group called Tag Machir. Tag Machir - or Price Tag, has taken upon itself to avenge, in their words, the acts of terror by going into Israeli Arab villages and towns, including Christian Arabs, and slashing tyres, defacing cars, Churches and Mosques with hateful graffiti and behaving in a manner most unbecoming of Jews. It is the antithesis of Jewish behaviour. I despise any such actions of hatred by a generation that does not understand that the Shoah began in exactly the same manner.

Our closest friend Martin Lindenfeld plucked up the courage and went on March of the Living with his beautiful daughter Ariella and her group. Martin became a Madrich and photographer for the group. Tonight he is in Jerusalem, indeed he just called me excitedly from Mahane Yehuda, and is coming to our home for Shabbat Dinner to relate his emotional journey. I am filled with admiration for his courage and happy that his journey can end with the hope and joy of the view from our veranda.  Jerusalem, the ultimate revenge for those who wanted us gone from the world.

The so-called peace talks have gone off on highly divergent paths. Fatah has come to Sulchah (peace) with Hamas despite the fact that Hamas has basically performed ethnic cleansing of Fatah in Gaza. The representative of the USA expressed his true feelings by insinuating a future apartheid state in Israel while ignoring the undoubted fact that the PA kills anyone who does not agree with Islam - and has virtually wiped out its Christians and bans Jews from its assumed land. This surely proves Mr Kerry is not an unbiased arbiter in the PA/Israel negotiations.

We received an invitation to a Remembrance Day ceremony from an amazing woman. Chantal and Marc Belzberg saw what horrors families suffered during the Intifada - those who lived, the families of those who died and those who hung between the two. They formed One Family, a truly magnificent organisation which loves those harmed by hatred.  On May 4th - the eve of Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism. OneFamily will organize a private Yom HaZikaron Ceremony with families, young adults, and children bereaved of a sibling, a parent, or a child. They will produce a short video of this ceremony - you can view the video from last year here,

Yom haZikaron and the solemnity of the ceremony and the 24 hours of mourning seem to give way, almost seamlessly, with the changing of the guard and the national flag from one "chayal"to another. The solemn music gives way to joyous dancing and musical extravaganza as once again we prove our schitzophrenia - going from grief to ecstasy in one fell swoop.

Each year 12 beacons are lit at the ceremony on Mount Herzl. 12 exceptional people, educators, givers to society, heroes all.This year, for the first time, all the beacon-lighters will be women. The committee evidently had a hard time narrowing down the list of candidates because the 12 beacons will be lit by 14 women! The women are

Of these amazing women one is the unsung heroine of the boys and girls in the IDF. She is the epitome of how a journalist can change the world for the better. Carmella Menashe, the gravelly military reporter on Israeli Radio fights for the rights of Israeli soldiers, takes care of those who need it and is a Mother to all of them.

So, Israel will be 66 years old! Just imagine, no-one thought we would last!! 66 years old and they still claim we do not exist! 66 years old and her lines are still argued, her borders contested and her rights denied but we are here, fighting, laughing, crying and enjoying, surviving and thriving and ensuring Tikkun Olam wherever we can in the world. Whether  our help is need through disaster or poverty we go, we even have a government department that deals only with such issues!!!!

Most of all we have fun! Israelis love to eat, travel and simply enjoy life. We love to promenade and eat, to travel and eat, to party and eat, to visit and eat....... oh and to eat!!!! Our love of food takes us equally to local, honest Middle Eastern delights and trendy haute cuisine. We love kebabs, beautiful lamb and beef ground up and simply add spices and onion - and grill them on the nearest barbeque. We love anything on the grill and especially on Yom haAtma'ut - day of the mangal or barbeque. It has been said that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the smoke is rising from food not war.

I can think of so many reasons I love Israel. It is home, it is warm and welcoming, it is ............. wait, I think that Barbara Sofer said it better than I can ever do in this weeks Jerusalem Post magazine. "66 plus 1 reasons I love Israel" Just in case you cannot access it she did 63 +1 a while ago

Standwithus on the other hand talked of 66 Israeli "must-haves" which also tickled my imagination Israel 66 must haves

This morning we went to a Brit Mila, the ritual circumcision of a little Jewish boy into the Jewish faith. The Mohel, the man who performs the circumcision, was the same wonderful man who performed the same ritual on our lovely Tomer Silver 16 years ago. He remembered us, which amazed me! The baby, named Ariel Yisrael, is the son of Sagi and Ditti Daren. My relationship to Sagi is too complex for this missive but as I looked at him, a phenomenal young man with three beautiful children - and a beautiful wife - a proud Israeli, a strong Jew, someone who fought for his country and now has brought a new life, another Israeli, to Jerusalem, I was proud - as were his parents Shuli and Steve. I am so proud of them all!

The Brit Mila took place in the tiny Sefardi Synagogue in Yemin Moshe. Yemin Moshe is a beautiful neighbourhood, opposite the walls of the Old City, built around Mishkenot ha Shaananim, the neighborhood fo those who dared. Dared to live outside the protective walls of the Old City. It is so beautiful there.

Yesterday as I drove to Givat Zeev with the children we past the hill just before arriving and saw............... two camels. The children were quite happy to see their return but my daughter Rachel wanted you to know that she is over the moon excited to see them!!!

When we got home Yosef wanted me to help him prepare for his school trip on Sunday. The trip is to David's City, the very beginning of the City of Jerusalem. This video tells you the story of the incredible finds including the original blessing given to Zedekiah before the city fell 

So, after the Brit Mila I raced home to get the food going. We have a full menu tonight - although we will only be 8 people. We have Kneidlach soup, Osso Bucco, chicken (for Martin), Meatballs for the children, Potato Kugel and Rice for us and........... home made pareve ice-cream with Dutch Apple Cake. I made the little girls separate ice-creams in little heart shaped forms with hundreds and thousands on top - because that is what they love. We will finish with juicy fresh apricots, nectarines and peaches which just came into season and one last Avatiach or Water-melon. Since the evening promises to be balmy we will eat outside on the veranda. Zvi will make the traditional blessings over wine and challot as we wonder at the view, the lights twinkling in the clear, cloudless night.

Our Yom ha Zikaron with be spent with One Family - our hearts with Kinneret Chaya and the Boosany family particularly. Then - oh then we begin our celerataions with the Kormans in Jerusalem with a wonderful barbeque (of course) to which I will contribute  a big lemon cake just tart enough to pucker your lips , moving on to the Lotans in Ramat ha Sharon, sleep overnight at Irit and Itzik Lev's and then go together to the Keidans for a big barbeque - with a giant sized Dutch Apple Cake from me. With any luck we will then go home and SLEEP!!!!
Israel in statistics is interesting but Israel as a living, breathing country is so much more! 

The light is beginning to change over Jerusalem. The shops have long closed and the last buses are going back to the terminus. Zvi will soon be back from his rehearsal for his choirs recording of a CD. The table will be set - white tablecloth even when we eat outside. Shabbat is after all  a bride and brides wear white don't they? We will sit and eat to the flutter of the flags which fly proudly from our veranda high above Jerusalem.

As we draw close to both Yom ha Zikaron and Yom haAtzmaut there is only one song that can end this missive. One song that sums up Israel, Jews, Judaism, and our lives. Hope, The Hope, the words of Hetz-Imber that became todays National Anthem of Israel, and of the Jewish people. Hatikvah

I present you with two versions. One is children who in all probability went up the chimneys of death of the Nazi horror and the anthem of today in our proud and beautiful nation

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Shabbat Shalom and Happy 66th Birthday to Israel and to all of us.