Thursday, 30 October 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila - Yehuda Glick shot, Rafiah, Silwan, Visitors

30th October 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I hope you are not all shaking in your shoes from the spiders, cobwebs, bats and witches that decorate so many homes in time for All Hallows Eve. Believe you me, we have enough scary things happening in the world without ghosts and ghouls and things that go bump in the night!!!!

Last night a group of men met in the Begin Centre in Jerusalem for a conference on "Israels return to the Temple Mount" because Jews are not allowed to pray at their holiest of sites, the Temple Mount. As they left the meeting a motorcycle rider walked up to Yehuda Glick, spoke to him and pumped several bullets into his torso and neck. By miracle he survived and is in Shaare Zedek Hospital in critical condition. The attacker was from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor, a known member of the Islamic Jihad and possibly the perpetrator of other attacks. The police found him in the early hours of this morning and shot and killed him when he refused to give himself up. Incredibly the killer worked in the restaurant of the Begin Centre! Heaven only knows what Silwan and Abu Tor will be like this weekend.
Egypt is pulling down 800 houses in Rafiah on the border with Gaza - Egyptian houses - so that they can create a buffer zone between Egypt and Gaza - to prevent the building of tunnels inside homes. A brilliant solution but can you imagine if we did it!!!! 

Brenda Katten is a clever and thoughtful woman - a real lady. I had the pleasure of meeting her in the UK and recognise the wisdom of her words.

Dr Ron Katz is a lovely man and he and his wife Rena have moved to Israel to see what it is like - and love the life! Ron wrote an outstanding article about our (the Jewish People) biggest problem - the lack of religious morality leading the way in our world and the fact that the Jewish People can now be compared to the 4 sons of Pesach. The Wise, the wicked, the stupid and the ignorant one who doesn't even know enough to ask.

I am very pro-American. I want the USA to be the world leader in all aspects of democracy but right now I am furious! Please excuse my language but do you realise that a member of the cabal that surrounds Obama called my Prime Minister "chicken-shit"!!! How dare they? Do they even begin to understand that if anyone said that about any of the Arab leaders you would instantly have another September 11th but bigger and wider? I am disgusted beyond words. How anyone can defend the behaviour of this administration toward its greatest ally - and the only country that actually erected a memorial to the victims of September 11th. 

Two American citizens died last week. A 3 month old baby girl was killed by an Islamic fanatic from Jerusalem while her family was on their way home after travelling to the Kotel on the light rail in Jerusalem and the US State Department did not see fit to console the family -  but when Orwah Hammad was killed because he was throwing Molotov cocktails on to a busy thoroughfare, endangering the lives of all who passed by, a letter of condolence was sent to his family! I find it offensive! 

The entire area is burning, aflame, there is ethnic slaughter of Christians and this President and his Administration is worried about some houses in our capital city - in an area which is clearly between Talpiot and Gilo. The only housing that has ever been on this land is an absorption centre for Ethiopian Jews. Actually I went past the area today and saw, to my delight, that the Israeli Arab neighborhood of Beit Tsafafa, right next to Givat ha Matos, is expanding and lovely new apartments are going up. Is Israel complaining? Is the US telling Israeli Arabs that they can't build on the land because it is occupied.......... of course not!!!!

If the American President continues in this vein he will lose the mid-terms to the Republicans and go from important to impotent and take his wonderful country with him. Is Paris burning? Not yet but Washington is on its way.

Sir Nicholas Winton, aged 105 flew to Prague to receive the highest Czech Honour - The White Lion. Sir NIcholas saved no less than 669 children prior to WW2.

Courage in Motion held their 7th annual bicycle ride from Jerusalem to Eilat. Riders are both able bodied and IDF disabled riders just look at the photos and recognise true courage.

Last night I went to a beautiful function with my daughter Rachel, a function organised by Rosa Romanowsky. The Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi spoke and I understood that a woman can be incredibly bright, highly educated, beautiful, fashionable and deeply religious and none of the above attributes negates the other. She said many important things but she also related to the dreadful news of last week, the terror killing of  baby Baby Chaya Zissel and Karen Yemima Muscara, an Ecuadorian citizen who came to Israel to convert to Judaism after discovering she was descended from Conversos, Spanish Jews who were forcibly converted to Catholicism after 1492. Both Chaya Zissel and Karen were 3 months old - Karen because it was just 3 months since the completion of her conversion. Rabbanit Yemima said that both gone to special place in heaven for those who died as a result of terror and that Karen would take care for baby Chaya Zissel.

This week has been a marvellous week of visitors, more importantly of old friends, friends who grew their children beside mine; friends who were so close that my car used to find its own way to their home; friends- real friends. Valerie and Martin, Adrienne and David came to Jerusalem on Tuesday. I met them at the Central Bus Station and we set off to the most important place in Jerusalem - our veranda! After the veranda and the explanation of the view (you already know what I say!), we went to the Hass Promenade in Talpiot for the phenomenal panorama of Jerusalem. While there we met up with a group of Nigerian Christians on Pilgrimage. Of course I chatted to them and asked if they know of my friend and former Ambassatrix Christy Mbonu, and they asked if they could be photographed with me. It was a delight when they told us how much they loved Jerusalem. We then went on a car tour of Jerusalem including Gilo and the view to Bethlehem winding our way to the First Station car park and the bus to the Old City. It was a fun ride, chatting to the driver, the other driver who rushed into Silwan to buy his fruit and veg and to the South African passenger........just because! We came back to the First Station and ate a wonderful lunch.

Finally we made a quick trip to the German Colony to meet up with my beautiful daughter Rachel and her son Yosef. For Rachel, Valerie and Martin were the closest thing to another set of parents a child can have. It was so wonderful to see that the love is still there and also that Yosef gave each and every one of them a "Yosef Hug"!

Today was a joy. Today I met up with another friend from Reading, Berkshire although he was a child when I last saw him. Stephen and Gaynor Ryde and daughter "Beanie"were waiting for me in the car park of the Botanical Gardens where we went for breakfast. I was deeply impressed by their knowledge and understanding of Israel and the importance of the hard work done by wonderful people like Stephen on the information front in the UK, so much so that I immediately took them home to see the view from our veranda, Zvi's office wall of photos with every Israeli leader and for a wonderful Q&A with Zvi. I was so proud of them.

Tonight we have more people from my past coming to dinner, Adrian and Mynetta Christie who are originally from Cardiff but are now Americans. I have no doubt that the talk will turn to politics because Adrian is also very involved. Tomorrow - Friday - we are supposed to go for a trip to all sorts of wonderful sites around Beit Shemesh with Zvi's Parliament friends, if it doesn't rain, and then in the evening we have a family Shabbat Dinner here with Leor, Shiri and and the children and hopefully Danny and Judit Liwerant. Thank heaven I am good at cooking ahead of time!!!!

I would love to wax lyrical about Shabbat in Jerusalem and the glorious views and panoramas but I am certain that your patience is about to be tested.......... this is a long letter!!!! 

When I chose to go forward and come to live in Israel I identified with this weeks Torah Portion "Lech Lecha" when G-d told Abram to go to a land He will show him, after all that is what I did, I went to a Land that G-d chose. This is possibly the most relevant portion of the Torah because in this reading we see the Jewish and Moslem future set out all too clearly.

Finally music - wonderful music, traditional music to remind us of Jerusalem. 
Im Eshkachech Yerushalyim "If I forget thee oh Jerusalem let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth and my right hand lose its power " and 

Shir l'Maalot, song of Ascents both of which were written right there in Jerusalem by King David who walked the very streets and lanes that we have kept in our hearts for three millenia.

With love from Jerusalem, Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Next week I will tell you all about Canon Andrew Whites lecture in Jerusalem.


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

Friday, 24 October 2014

Shabbat Shalom from Sheila in Jerusalem

23rd October 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear Friends. Shabbat Shalom.

Chaya Zisel Braun, American and Israeli citizen, 3 months old, was murdered by a Hamas terrorist yesterday in Jerusalem. Our hearts go out to the Braun family as the entire nation of Israel mourns with you.  Her father, an American-Israeli from Los Angeles, CA, is also in our prayers as he is in critical condition from the attack: Shmuel Elimelech Ben Ester Matil.,7340,L-4583138,00.html

The perpetrator has been honoured and lauded by the Silwan Fatah movement and indeed by Mahmoud Abbas himself.

Ismael Haniya's daughter was cared for in an Israeli hospital when her Gall Bladder became inflamed. When a senior IDF Officer was asked why we were willing to treat the daughter of the leader of Hamas he said "Because in Israel we do not differentiate between patients. When someone needs medical help we give it unconditionally" Wherever in the world we are needed we give our hearts and souls - IsraAid and MASHAV - an example to the world.

The Death of Klinghoffer is a really awful title for an ill-intentioned attempt at an opera about a heinous crime, the hijacking of a cruise ship and the diabolical murder of an ailing, elderly man in a wheelchair by throwing him, alive, off the ship all in the name of enlightenment and art. Are the Jewish donors to the Metropolitan Opera insane or simply trying too hard to "fit in"? Don't they understand that if they cancelled their donations they could have changed their world? 

The situation on American Campuses is dire, yet Americans are so busy pointing the finger at Europe that they have no concept of what their young people are doing in University. This is must be addressed by the leadership.

The shooting at the Ottawa War Memorial in Canada is yet another aspect of what is happening. World leaders offer support but they do not react - they do not preempt

Incredibly there is some good news from one of our neighboring countries! Lebanon, while Lebanon has lost its Christian identity it still upholds some of the principles apparently. An old synagogue is being refurbished in the capital Beirut.

I told you about Philip Bloom, clown and volunteer here in Israel and I wrote an article about him in the Jerusalem Post. Philip desperately needs sponsors and paid gigs to sustain his volunteer work. My thanks to Steve Linde the editor for choosing to place this article in a very busy news week.

The Shabbos Project is an exceptional idea, a very Jewish notion, a truly beautiful project. This Shabbes, Shabbat, Sabbath, Jews and non-Jews around the world will keep Shabbat. The project provides the how and what in clear and uncomplicated instructions and will start in Melbourne spreading throughout the world as the clock ticks. Shabbat will become a signal for unity and togetherness. Read all about it!

Pat Condell's video Bye Bye Sweden says what others do not dare to utter and Boo Hoo Palestine even more so  Pat Condell says what others only dare to think.

The young Israeli who ran a campaign which encouraged young Israelis to move to Berlin because of the cost of a chocolate dessert is moving back home. Apparently Berlin isn't as welcoming as he thought!!!

Well it was yet another insane week! Danny and Judith Liwerant are here from Mexico City, Danny for the Jewish Agency Board of Governors meetings and Judith to give her fascinating lectures on Jewish History at the Hebrew University. We managed to grab them for a lunch at home for a short respite from meetings and of course to wonder at the view from our veranda!

Yesterday I met my beautiful friend Andrea Kovens beautiful friend Renee Rubinoff from Toronto who is here with part of her family to take her amazing little grand-daughter Evie to the famous  Fuerstein Centre for courses. The Fuerstein Institute follows the teachings of their founder whose firmly believed that we can all reach our full potential including children with special needs. 
It was such a delightful lunch that I almost forgot to leave in time to go with Zvi to Tel Aviv to babysit our littlest grandchildren!!!

This morning Zvi and I went to Kibbutz Ramat Rachel for the wedding of Amy Oppenheimer and her David. Amy is the daughter of our friends Elaine and Marc. It was such a joyous affair and the bride came out to be greeted by her girlfriends while sitting happily on a garden swing. The singing and dancing was so Israeli and as the girls danced around Amy, David was brought in by a highly enthusiastic group of his friends and checked his bride was indeed Rachel not Leah (Biblical references!!!) before the ceremony beneath the traditional canopy. The ceremony was traditional and delightful and the views over the Judean Hills and Bethlehem astonishing. 

Aba and Pamela Clayman were at the wedding. They are such are good kind people, religious Jews who find no contradiction between their religiosity and their deep commitment and love for Israel and Israeli soldiers. Their project to  show gratitude to the boys and girls who defend our nation for three full years of their lives is quite exceptional.

Last night was pure fun! We were back on the road to Tel Aviv to meet with my old and dear friends Val and Martin Myers with Adrienne and David Jackson all of Reading in Berkshire. We all grew our children together! We met in the Maganda restaurant just near the Carmel Market in the old Yemenite area of Tel Aviv for some honest to goodness, delicious Israeli food and a great deal of memories and laughter. They loved the way that everyone is part of everyone elses conversation and Zvi and I were the stand up for the couple near us. All four are coming to Jerusalem on Monday and I will show them all our wonderful sights and sites from Mahane Yehuda to the Kotel, from the panorama of the Hass Promenade to the gentle quiet of the Botanical Gardens........... hopefully, if I don't exhaust them the day will culminate in a "moment"on our veranda. Zvi will be in Ashkelon at the Jewish Agency Board of Governors meetings but on occasion he allows me to use his information to treat our guests!!!

Shabbat is nearly with us and Jerusalem is already wearing her Shabbat robes,the warmth of the autumnal sun slowly disappearing into the crisp evening Jerusalem air. The cooking aromas are less evident as the breeze takes them away to our neighbours rather than up to our veranda. As I sit outside I can still identify who is cooking what though. From Shoshanas Hamin, to Daisy's Tunisian fusion salmon on grilled vegetables, we all use vegetables and loads of them in salads or grilled they are straight from the fields of our kibbutzim to our kitchens. 

Shabbat dinner is special and always bears a huge degree of tradition as if we bring our forebears into our kitchens and they sit beside us at our family Shabbat dinners. We can only hope to make them proud as their traditions remind us that Jews survive - as each and every one of our festivals remind us. We survived the Egyptians, Greek and Roman Empires, the Ottomans and the Spanish Inquisition and we even survived Hitler - we can survive this loathsome period too. All we need it to remember exactly who we are and be proud of our past, present and future. 
Adon Olam, that song/prayer that speaks of the past, present and future is a natural choice today and I dedicate it to my lovely friend Peter Cooper who was the first person I ever heard singing this version at my son Gideons bar mitzva 29 years ago

Never forget our love for one another and Israels determination to save her people. This short clip is of the song Hinei Ma Tov Umaneim as the aeroplane from Entebbe landed in Israel. The words come from Psalm 33 "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" written by King David right here in Jerusalem.  Let's not forget the words but use them as our cri de coeur

With love from our beloved Jerusalem our past, present and future

Shabbat Shalom


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

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

141015 Chag Sameach Happy Tabernacles!

15th October 2014

I don't quite know which Chag to bless and what is happening when and how!!! I could just say Chag Sameach and cover the lot but then tradition tells us to say Moadim le Simcha - Happy News (or something close) and in Israel we celebrate just about all of the upcoming festivals in one fell swoop whereas in the Diaspora it is three quite separate issues. Gosh this is hard!!! In principle and most importantly tonight Jews all over the world will dance around the synagogue in groups, in a very specific fashion, carrying a Torah scroll on their shoulder until the next group gets "called up". Why? In celebration, in delight, in joy at completing the reading of the Torah (Deuteronomy) and then starting at the beginning (Genesis) again. Each week the portion of the Torah is read until another year will pass. Why? TRADITION!!! We are a people that loves a reason to celebrate and since this is virtually the only festival that is simply celebratory rather than relief of survival over adversity it is all the sweeter. Oh and talking of sweets, they will fly through the air as delighted children scrabble on the floor to collect their booty, barely believing their fortune at being allowed to eat as many as they want!!!  

A few weeks ago a new campaign started here in Israel to lower the cost of food, housing and services. Unlike the previous campaign of cottage cheese this one involves an over-sweet chocolate dessert called Milky. What struck me as sinister about this particular campaign is that comparisons were made with costs in Berlin and it joined with a campaign to get young Israelis to move to Berlin with many enticements from the German government. It horrifies me. MK Yair Shamir expressed my feelings entirely

Any bad feelings I had, any insecurities were cast aside as Zvi and I walked into the VIP reception hall of the new Pais Arena for the spectacular evening of the Annual Tabernacles week organised by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. Director Jurgen Buehler greeted his guests and Zvi and I found ourselves surrounded by friends. Tim King, Jay and Meridel Rawlings, Malcolm Hedding (all founding members of the ICEJ) and Jay and Meridels son David. Then over my shoulder I saw Earl Cox - to our absolute delight! I love Earl and cherish the times we worked together to found his and Kathleens international media campaign to help Christians understand Israel. I was also thrilled to meet Susan Michael who is a recipient of these missives for some years now and promised she would be "looking for you" at the event. I don't have words to describe the sheer joy of walking into the auditorium and seeing 5,000 Christians from all over the world who came for this festival of Tabernacles, under the auspices of the ICEJ, to tell us they love Israel. Their words, love and prayers were so strong they were tangible. Also Beverley Dwyer, the incredible PA to Jurgen Buehler did a phenomenal job on the spectacular show. 

Our wonderful friend Canon Andrew White had spoken at so many events that he did not come to the Arena that night but I will get my hug soon. Andrew is not going back to his beloved Baghdad, it has become too dangerous even for him and the Archbishop of Canterbury has asked him not to go.

President Rivlin expressed his delight at the event and Ron Lauder also spoke out saying  Israel allows itself to be defined by her enemies

Mr Lauder spoke out to rousing applause saying how the World Jewish Congress has taken on the support for and publicity about the plight of Christians in Moslem countries. Bravo Mr Lauder - at last someone is speaking out.

The Temple Mount is not holy to the Jews they should not be allowed to go to this deeply holy site. The mere presence of Jews is a profanity, so believes MK Taleb Abu Arar when he spoke to a Jewish activist on Friday 

The UK Labour Party and its leader Ed Milliband put a one line whip on the vote to recognise the Palestinian State. I was most distressed by Jack Straw and the odious Gerald Kaufman who are out and out anti-Semites despite Kaufmans Jewish ancestry. I happen to know that there are very good people trying to combat the out and out anti-Israel feeling and Prime Minister Cameron has assured us that it does not have any bearing on the UK's alliance with Israel. Please listen to this excellent debate on Voice of Israel. Am so proud of my friend Danny Seaman on this one - indeed on every one.

Ban Ki Moon toured the Gaza Strip, the tunnels and the Southern Israeli towns and villages yesterday. The media only reported his statements on the destruction in Gaza but in fact he said far more. When he went into the tunnels and was horrified at their construction and sympathised with the Israeli children who were bombarded. 
Making clear his position on Hamas’s actions, Ban commented, “I have condemned time and time again Hamas’s rocket attacks and their use of tunnels. It is not acceptable. Nobody should live in constant fear and under the threat of rockets and tunnels.”

The real ethnic cleansing of the Middle East: From 1948-1978, over 850,000 Jews were expelled from their homes in Arab countries throughout the Middle East. Learn more about Jewish Refugees of the Middle East:

OK. I know that our prayers are usually answered but this time the Almighty used his natural ESP to give us an absolute downpour prior to our prayers!!!! It already happened in Tel Aviv and is expected in Jerusalem any time which of course means flooding in the Negev!! It fascinates me that King George Street is the divider between the rainwater that goes south to the Dead Sea and Negev and the rainwater that goes to the sea. You don't feel anything when you are standing there but apparently it is true!!!

Talking of rain - in Hebrew Geshem - I had to give you one of my very favourite songs by Israeli superstar Eli Luzon. You can even sing along because it has transliteration and translation.

Tonight is Simchat Torah but there are two kinds of Simchas. One is the Simcha or joy when a new Sefer Torah is given to a synagogue to celebrate a wedding, bar-mitzva or birth. That can be on any day of the week and is a festive affair the other is the festival of Simchat Torah. In Jerusalem there are two days of celebration called Hakafot (circles with the Torah) ha Shniya (second), more religious in the Rav Kook Yeshiva but just as joyous!!

I wish you a joyous Simchat Torah and a blessed Tabernacles Festival.
With love from Jerusalem, our city of Gold, heart of our hearts.

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

Friday, 10 October 2014

Shabbat Shalom and Succot Sameach from Sheila in Jerusalem

10th October 2014

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Succot Sameach

I was going to write all about Succot but decided it was pointless when it has already been written beautifully by Rabbi Jeremy Rosen.

Another person who says things much better than I with perhaps a lot more courage and zeal is the feisty Pat Condell who hits the nail on the Middle Eastern head again.

My amazing husband Zvi Raviv was interviewed on the excellent radio station Voice of Israel ( by Judy Lash Balint. He spoke about his experiences of the Yom Kippur War and you can hear him too! Just click on the link 

Before talking about Succot I want to tell you about a friend of Zvi's. His name is Philip Bloom but he is much more famous as Rami Salami, the clown. Philip is a long time volunteer for Israel in many capacities but right now he is performing in front of audiences big and small for children in the South of Israel. Philip began a campaign to help traumatised children who have suffered years of bombardment from Gaza - it is called Beanie Babies Buba. You can see his work on Facebook - befriend him - and also if you wish to send beanie babies contact Philip's campaign Project #BeanieBabyBubas 

It is a while since I wrote. Yom Kippur came and went and Zvi and I found a tiny Masorti synagogue right near our home. It was so small that I felt thoroughly at home - having grown up in a small community and grew my children in a small community. The sounds, tunes, niggunim, smells and most importantly the service was familiar, fitting in well with my late fathers Machzor (prayer book).  It makes one feel needed.

The moment the Ne'ilah service ends (the closing service of Yom Kippur) a strange and fascinating sound is heard all over Jerusalem, nay all over Israel. A strange tap, tap, tapping sound resembling a woodpeckers incessant attempts to find grubs inside the bark of the tree but no, it isn't a bird, nor a is the sound of Succah building. The Succot are built in the most unlikely places - on seemingly tiny verandas high above the street, perching like birds nests,  on the sidewalk outside apartment blocks, in gardens and car  parks - indeed everywhere that allows a succah to exist!

In the neighborhood next to us - Bayit ve Gan - the Succot Fair opens with every conceivable type of Succah and Succah decoration, here we don't hang fruit but rather glittery glitzy balls and bells - and the essential 4 types of flora, the 4 species - willow, hadass, palm leaves which make up the Lulav and the Etrog, a strange lumpy lemon-like fruit with the Latin name of Citrus medica. Religious men spend hours checking the tiny protrusion at the top for its purity and the quality of the 4 species while the children vie for the best decorations. All in all a huge crush of humanity with smiles all round! 

Our succah is obviously on our veranda. We finished it just in time for our celebratory meal, the table set for all 16 diners, underneath the slatted roof with its sprigs of palm and willow, all was ready when............... whoosh the skies opened!!!! Pouring rain! It took me back to our Succah days in the UK! Thanks to the speedy assistance of Leor we managed to bring everything into the house, open the dining-table and seat everyone within about 6 minutes! chaos reigned, since 6 out of the 16 were children, but our festive, Succot meal took place. Succah literally means a Tabernacle, or temporary hut to remind us of the wanderings in the desert before coming to the Land of Milk and Honey.  I was told off for my explanations of Jewish traditions - an insult to the informed, however, since I know how the rest of you love to know and learn I will continue to explain and recognise our incredible similarities.

Talking of similarities. The wonderful International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem has its annual Tabernacles Festival this week to coincide with Succot and Zvi and I are going to an enormous celebratory event at the new Basketball Arena. I love these events! It was at one of the Embassy events that I met Ambassadrix Christy Mbonu of Nigeria, a meeting I embrace and enjoy until today. Christy and I have many exchanges concerning the plight of her country and the Christians who live there.

The wind is blowing furiously and the intermittent rain is about to recur - indeed the wind is so strong that our flimsy tabernacle is about to take flight!!! We decided to remove all electrical decor and probably anything that can fly through the air and harm a passerby! The weather is most unusual for this time of year but we are praying for rain this festival so one cannot complain about the blessing of water which brings us back to Rabbi Jeremy's essay this week!

Next week I promise to write to you about the news but decided that we all need a week off from the dreadful turn our world has taken. This week we will rejoice. We will rejoice the Torah, ending the reading of the 5 books and beginning over again. This is such a joyous event that we have a festival named for it!!! Simchat Torah - the Joy of the Torah. Congregations all over the world will dance with the Torah Scrolls, the sheer and pure joy of our religion.

Zvi and I are thrilled that Zvi's cousin Billy and Ruth's grand-daughter Dalia is here with us for this Chag. Dalia is here for four months with a group from Mexico on a MASA trip of the Jewish Agency, working on Kibbutz, doing courses and generally familiarising with Israel. She is so much fun and such a joy to be with. Her knowledge is wide, her Hebrew excellent and she is just a lovely young woman!!! The Mexican Community has exceptional ties with Israel and this video of Mexicans, Jews and non-Jews, showing their love of Israel and peace is wonderful.

I want to congratulate my beautiful Great-Niece Carly and her James for making me a Great-Great- Auntie! I am so proud! Little Sebastian George brought untold joy to my beautiful sister Doreen and her Melvyn, Steve and Claire and to all the wonderfully close Bloom family.  Mazal Tov to us all!

I wish you joy, from our Torah, from life, from your families and most importantly from yourselves. If you exude joy then life becomes more beautiful, for you and for all who meet you.

Azriel David Farshtag wrote this Niggun (music) on the train to Auschwitz brought to the  Admor mi Mositch in the USA by a young man who jumped from the train. Ani Ma'amin, I Believe to remind us that even in the most extreme of circumstances our faith can win through.

Shabbat Shalom, Shana Tova and of course Chag Sameach


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

Friday, 3 October 2014

Shabbat Shalom, Gmar Chatima Tova - Givat ha Matos, Canon Andrew, Kippur

3rd October, 2014

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. 

Shabbat Shalom and "tsom kal". Tsom Kal  is an expression which means easy fast. This evening Jews all over the world will eat a special meal before entering the fast of Yom Kippur. The purpose is not to starve oneself as some kind of punishment for a year of sins - the purpose of the fast is that one is so deeply into the prayers of this Holy Day that one does not need to eat or drink. In principle those prayers ask for forgiveness from the Almighty; one asks forgiveness for just about every sin that one can imagine or not - because we do not only beg forgiveness for ourselves but rather for our world, our people. Don't think we get a free pass to sin as we wish in the coming year because we don't - forgiveness comes only to those who truly repent.

Canon Andrew White was interviewed on Fox News concerning ISIS and Iraq.

Jim White is a friend, a musical producer friend Jim loves Israel and wrote this amazing song for Israel. Please tell me what you think of it and how to promote it.

I was thinking about two news stories concerning Israel this week. One is the building of houses in a Jerusalem neighborhood, between Gilo and Talpiot. Suddenly the American Administration and media is distressed about the building of houses within Jerusalem. As if there are no more important issues in this world!!!!

The second issue is connected to the last. Jews legally bought a property in the predominantly Arab Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan and moved in. Their timing was pretty stupid, with the PM in Washington etc, but I fail to understand their sin. I don't want to live in Silwan but think of it another way, if some Arab families moved into my neighborhood would the Jews throw stones and complain to the international court? It is racism pure and simple to disallow Jews to buy homes anywhere! The owner of the property has a very large Fatwa on his head for selling to Jews - can you imagine if that happened in Sydney, Washington or Manchester? The part that is hardest to swallow that while we are condemned for building houses the PA is building like it is going out of style. Seems like racism takes many forms, whether denying the right to buy a home or condemning only one side in the argument. 

I received the following from Adrian Christie, a childhood friend and wanted to share it with you for this special day: Let us take this moment to wish you a Happy New Year.  Next week we Jews will begin our 5775th year on this earth!  Who would have believed this possible?  If anyone had told Abraham that his people would be around this long, he probably would have been astounded.
Imagine, we did this without beheading anyone, without a single suicide bomber, without kidnapping and murdering school children, without slaughtering Olympic athletes, and without flying airplanes into skyscrapers.
We lasted this long despite 400 years as slaves in Egypt, 40 years of  wandering in the desert, the mighty Roman army who nailed us to ten thousand crosses; despite the best efforts of the Christian crusaders, the Spanish Inquisition, Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, Stalin's gulags, Arab wars of annihilation, 100 years of Arab Terrorism, and 800 hate-filled UN resolutions!
How did we Jews do it?  We did it by concentrating our efforts on education, love of family, faith, hard work, helping one another and a passionate dedication to life no matter what evil befell us!  We hung in there in hope the rest of the world would one day overcome it's hatreds, jealousies, violence and join us in a life of cooperation and mutual respect.  We're not there yet, but we're still hopeful. And when we enter our places of worship this weekend, this is what we'll pray for with all the strength  in our hearts.

Talking about new beginnings, there is a rather famous personality who is now looking for work. Not an easy task since he is over 90 with limited technological abilities. Former President Shimon Peres.

I loved this blog written by a young American on her first trip to Israel and how it changed her life.!3-Things-Israel-Confirmed-For-Me-in-One-Day/cmbz/4979D5D4-C924-4E08-BCF6-D131E1C76DB2 

Yom Kippur, Yom ha Kippurim, is different in Israel than anywhere else in the world. I don't mean the prayers or the rumbling tummies, I mean the silence. Buses stop running at 13:30 and cars before candle-lighting time. White clad families walk to the synagogue to hear Kol Nidre, the prayer which heralds the Eve of Yom Kippur. Silence, pure and forgiving descends over the entire country. Actually, not completely true. Children see Yom Kippur as an opportunity to ride bicycles wildly on every car-free road in Israel whooping noisily and delightedly at the same time! Beit Tsafafa, like most Moslem towns and neighborhoods, becomes a fair, with stalls and fun along the main road to Gilo. After all it is not a Moslem holiday.......... wait a minute, actually it is, tonight the Moslem festival of Eid-Al-Adha begins. Eid-Al-Adha, the festival which celebrates the near sacrifice of Isaac by Abrahama when Abraham recognises G-d's will and Isaac lives. Ah, if only we could celebrate together in peace - blow the shofar (Ram's Horn) to declare Shalom, Sulcha, Salaam, Peace.

I just walked out onto our veranda, our mirpesset and thought of Stanley Roth! No seriously! The sheer magnificence of the view, the lemons, still green but thriving on the little tree which was a gift from my amazing Cardiff girlfriends; the kumquats, little green balls promising their sweet/sour juiciness; the herb corner - thyme, garlic chives, rosemary, sage, basil, oregano, lemon grass, lemon balm and louisa; the hedge of Hadass (box) which gives of a wonderful scent, the pomegranate tree in the corner and the bright splashes of colour from the hibiscus, geranium and of course my "Valerie" fuschia which survived last winter beautifully. It is difficult to put into words the incredible peace that descends over me when I sit on the garden swing and just.......... sit. I just absorb the joy and honour of our home above the most glorious city in the world.

Last night Zvi and I met with two very special people, Robert and Anita Simons, visiting from Sydney. We met at Gabriela, just about my favourite restaurant in Jerusalem. Jacques, the owner, treated us like film stars with all sorts of special treats. "Tasters, just tasters" he said! The meal was delicious, sophisticated and beautifully presented and the company could not be better. There is something special about old friends - no need to prove oneself.  Alan and Bonnie Cohen, in whose home we were married so many years ago, passed by and came in to chat - and discovered that the couple at the next table have many friends in common - from LA!!!

If, over the last year of writing, I have in any way offended, caused pain, distressed or hurt you please accept my deep apologies. I try to be a good person but even those of us who try can hurt unintentionally. I wish you a good Kippur, a day of contemplation and that you find inner peace at the end of it.

My choice of music today is obvious, Kol Nidrei, the central prayer of Kol Nidre, the Eve of Yom Kippur. I chose the Johnny Mathis version, not by chance, but rather to express my deep belief that one does not need to be Jew, Christian, Moslem or any other religion in order to step into the shoes of the other.

Wishing you Gmar Chatima Tova,
With love from Jerusalem, the most special city in the world


If the media does not inform us we must inform the media
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