Sunday, 26 April 2015

IsraAid to Nepal. Please donate

26th April, 2015

Today I am asking you to opens your hearts and your purses. A gentleman by the name of Shachar Zahavi began a small organisation with enormous hopes and intentions 10 years ago, to go out and change the world. IsraAid.

IsraAid, along with the IDF, is sending teams to help in the aftermath of the horrendous earthquake in Nepal.

As you know, IsraAid has been first on the ground at so many disasters around the world, remaining long after others to support the affected communities.
In the last decade, IsraAid has...
Responded to crises in 22 countries
Reached over 1,000,000 people
Distributed over 1,000 tons of relief and medical supplies
Trained more than 5,000 local professionals
Mobilized over 750 staff, volunteers, and professionals (among them 156 doctors and nurses and 100 therapists and social workers).
Now, IsraAIDs disaster response team on route to affected areas in Nepal.

They will focus their efforts on relief which includes distribution of food and non food items, child protection and medical aid. IsraAid has already a prepared platform and infrastructure ready to absorb the teams. IsraAID is also coordinating efforts with the IDF/israeli Government.

IsraAid is seeking additional financial support to be able to offer a wider, impactful and professional assistance to those affected.

Israel reaches the places other countries never reach - IsraAid is the perfect example of "Tikkun Olam"
With love from Jerusalem

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

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

150422 From Remembrance to Independence


  • 22 April 2015 = 3rd of Iyyar, 5775
  • ג׳ בְּאִיָּר תשע״ה

Today is Israel Remembrance Day. Today we mourn the loss of all those who died in battle and in terror attacks, today we honour their families.

Shops and restaurants closed from dusk last night. At 20:00 the first siren wailed for one minutes silence as Israel stood to attention and families attended ceremonies in their home towns or at the Western Wall. Prime Minister Netanyahu knows all to well the sense of loss, he himself is "Ach Shakul" a bereaved brother, his brother Yonatan was killed in the heroic rescue mission of Entebbe. Here in Israel loss of son, father, sister, mother is close. In this tiny country every one knows someone who lost a child, or we have a child who saw friends killed in war.

The dreaded words, the families have been informed,

Since last night the faces and names of those who fell are a constant on Israeli television, one after another, after another, to beautiful Israeli songs. Children in schools hold ceremonies, again singing Israeli songs and all of those songs, ALL of those songs express a desire for peace, never a desire for revenge. As todays siren wailed for a full two minutes, cars, buses and trucks stop on the highway or byway, those inside stepping outside to stand to attention.

It is in stark contrast to our every day life. I have written more than once that our life is schizophrenic - but in the most positive manner. We know that we have enemies, deadly enemies, but we live life to the very utmost.

My favourite Israeli song teaches us that life is honey and sting, the good outweighing the bad - because with all this, we have a beautiful country.

The epitome of Israeli Schizophrenia is displayed this evening. After a day of solemn ceremony and families visiting the graves of their beloved fallen Israelis gather at Mount Herzl for the end of sadness and hope for the future. The speeches end, the guard changes in military exactness, then - then come the torch-lighting, music and dance as we flawlessly flow from pain to joy. This years torch-lighters come from all areas of society. From Danny Gold, the inventor of Iron Dome defence system which saved so many lives during the last Gaza war, to the first woman pilot; from medical scientists to young entrepreneurs; from lyricist to everyones favourite, Rami Levi who introduced inexpensive basic foods for all in his supermarket chain. Israeli society is truly represented

As I travelled the length and breadth of Israel this week with dear friends, I was yet again reminded what a joyful life we lead. Incredible agriculture, exquisite countryside, glorious vistas, amazing forests planted to ensure future fertile lands and antiquities ad infinitum. Our friends were amazed at the plethora of Biblical history, each step revealing another Holy Site.

So today we mourn and tonight we celebrate Israel's 67th birthday. 67 years of phenomenal growth and achievement despite constant attempts to wipe us out. 

We are strong because we remember history - we know that every Empire that tried to enslave us or destroy us is now history - they no longer exist and we not only survive, we thrive!

With love


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

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

150415 Yom ha Shoah

15th April, 2015

Yom ha Shoah, Israel.

Tonight Holocaust Remembrance Day begins at dusk in Israel. The significance of this day is intense, a reminder of what was and what can be again. If we really look into what is happening in the world today we would hear forbidding echoes of a time not too long past that its tragedy reverberates throughout our souls. Todays Kristallnacht has passed and persecution of Jews is fast becoming acceptable. We have been dehumanised and demonised, echoes of Goebbels can be found in the words of Imams and Ayatollahs the world over. Even more disturbing, those in the West who should know better are perpetrating the dehumanisation and providing a catalyst for the next Holocaust. In a country near you, yes you, anti-Semitism has become socially acceptable.

 If one examines the current trend one must choose to resemble the three (un) wise monkeys to ignore the persecution of Christians, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.

In the words of Canon Andrew White
 "It was the Israelis who first came beside me when the massacre began against our Christians in Iraq. They said we have been there and know it must never happen again and it is."
Canon Andrew put this website on his Facebook page to ensure that his followers understand.

Stephen Hughes created this reminder. Israel did not come about as a result of the Holocaust but her very existence gave hope to those who thought there was none. It is not by chance that our anthem is Hatikva - the Hope

Tonight, we will attend the memorial service at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial Museum. The President, Prime Minister, Chief of Staff, Chief of Police, Members of Knesset, Foreign Diplomats and Holocaust Survivors will all be in attendance. The generation where the Prime Minister and President themselves were survivors has gone, the number of survivors, together with their stories, diminishes each year as they grow older and pass on. We have to tell the stories, we have to keep their memories alive - it is up to us. Lt Col Shai Abramson will sing El Maaleh Rachamim ( G-d full of mercy), the prayer for the dead, at the ceremony. 

Tomorrow, at 10:00, Israelis will stand in bowed silence wherever they are, whatever they were doing, as the siren wails to honour those who passed and those who survived with memories that no human being should suffer. Everyone stops - be it on the by-way or highway, the store or the hospital, wherever you are.  Once it was thought that Holocaust Day was an Ashkenazi time of mourning until we began to understand the plight of the Jews of Turkey, North Africa, especially Morocco, Asia and everywhere that the Nazis spread their evil grip. 

Today we no longer go as sheep to the slaughter. Today we have pride, today we have a Defence Force but, always that but, how many people have to die in distant lands at the hands of terrorists before we wake up?

The IDF sends this message.
Light a candle in memory of the six million lives lost. Six million people who lived, learned, thrived, struggled, laughed, worked and loved. Light a candle to keep their memory alive.

How long will it be when religion is a cause for love not hate? How long will it be until we celebrate our differences rather than use them as a cause for war? How many? The answer is blowin in the wind.

May their beautiful souls rest in peace and their memories live on through those brave souls such as Stephen Spielberg whose testimonies help their words to live on when they can no longer speak. I leave you with videos of survivors testimonies 

Never again is more than a banal statement - today we have Israel and we must recognise that our enemies use that pride as a weapon against us. It is up to us.


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

Thursday, 9 April 2015

150409 Chag Pesach Sameach, Shabbat Shalom

9th April, 2015

Moadim le Simcha, Chag Sameach, Shabbat Shalom, hope your Easter was blessed.

Lent and the Counting of the Omer . For Christians it ended at Easter for Jews it began with Pesach (Passover) and ends with Shevuot, penitence, atonement,  the holding back on music and feasts, the recognition that giving up certain celebrations and fancy food helps us think of more important things. The similarities are endless.

Pesach was wonderful. Seder night, the night on which we tell and retell the story of the journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Land of Israel. We tell the story with very important sidetracking. We begin with blessings and symbols and then traditionally the youngest child at the table asks the four questions, but little Ella (2) needed help so we all became the youngest children!!! Ma Nishtana - literally what has changed but known as Why is this night different to all other nights? We then continue by answering the childs question.

Perhaps the most relevant to todays life is the comparison between the four sons - the four types of Jews. The Clever son, the one who has asked the questions of himself and others and searches for answers. The Wicked son, the one who has knowledge but mocks and denies his traditions. The Simple son, the one who hasn't thought to question or seek answers. Finally the one who is too young to ask, the one who needs to be given the means to seek answers. How true that is of us today? Totally!!

Israelis go out on Pesach! We go to parks and funfairs, Nature Reserves and into the desert, each with their own cold box full of food. There is no park without picnic tables and the crunch of matzos must have reached up to the heavens as lunchtime neared! Israelis love to travel and find new places and our family was no different. Whether Superland and its swings and roundabouts, including ones that bear no resemblance to the ones with horses or the brand new and wonderful Ariel Sharon Park which was everything we expected and more. Shiri, Zvi's daughter in law is one of the senior project managers of the park so we got a wonderful guided tour. Zvi and the children went South to the Salad Path which is beneath Gaza and before Egypt. There the children got to pick purple and white carrots and every kind of delicious vegetable while Rachel and the children headed North to Auntie Hannahs kibbutz where they got to ride a tractor and feed the animals. Indeed, it is a week of wonderful family events and happy thoughts of our freedom in this amazing and stunningly beautiful country - Israel.

While we were enjoying Passover, thousands and thousands of Christians were visiting Jerusalem for the Easter and Pascha festival. Here are some videos of the celebrations. and a tour with CBN

We were worrying about the potential agreement with Iran, about the attempts to form a coalition government and what about the strained relationship with the USA and the horrors taking place in Nigeria and Kenya, the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Yemen situation, the Houties and so much more but equally we chose to escape, to take the opportunity to spend time with our families as most offices closed for the entire week - or actually 10 days including Shabbat.

When I called my girlfriends the immediate response was "I would be happy to never see another supermarket or to get out of the kitchen for a few hours and do nothing" That is one aspect of Passover that does not seem to have an equivalent in other religions - 7 days of cooking in unfamiliar pots and pans and simplest of utensils that are used for just one week in the year!! The limitations on the ingredients are intense and really bring out the inventive side of the cook, especially if you happen to be Ashkenazi!!!!

Tonight is again Chag (festival). We decided to take it easy tonight with just Eva and Eli coming to join us for supper. Tonight we will light the candles again, the candles of the festival, and use matza instead of two Challot to represent the Manna from Heaven. We will drink our wine after the blessing and our meal will be traditional, gefilte fish, chicken soup with kneidlach (yes my family eats kneidlach on passover) roast chicken with roast potatoes and a great big green salad. To follow.......... pears poached in apple juice with cinnamon sticks.

Tomorrow we see the children and grandchildren in the morning then we are thrilled to have Zvi's Mexican cousins Jorge and Gina Kershenovitch with three friends for Friday night supper. The candles will again be lit as the festival goes out and the bride of Shabbat comes in. What will they eat? Well, we will begin with antipasti of local vegetables, incredible home grown whole fish and salmon fillets in lemon sauce with baby new potatoes that Zvi picked in the Salad Trail, and a myriad of salads ending with chocolate cake!!!

I chose to concentrate on the family aspect of Passover rather than the awful tragedies that this world suffers each and every day. I almost managed to avoid the diplomatic attempts to cure an incurable ailment, barely mentioned the diabolical killings of children and families in the name of religion - almost but in the end, our struggle for freedom and the tale we tell at the Passover Seder (s) is our specific story but it is a never ending story.  Here are a few articles that I could not leave out.

U.K. May Fire 100 Islamist Educators in "Trojan Horse" Scandal 
Report: Internal French Document Shows Troubling Discrepancies With US on Iran Deal
Listen to journalist Alon Ben David on the assurances Israel must have when dealing with Iran

Finally the amazing Maurice Ostroff with 10 things you must know about the Iranian Nuclear Deal.

And so to the songs. What songs are most appropriate to this week? 
Shir Israeli - Israeli song- by Shlomo Gronich and the Sheba Choir tell the story of who we are and where we came from

and finally, to remind us that our freedom comes at a price, that we need protection as a tiny, truly minute dot of Judaism surrounded by most nations that want nothing more than our elimination from teh face of the earth. Mark Knopfler wrote a beautiful, wistful song, thinking of the IDF and it was put to a truly moving video presentation that brings me to tears every time I see it. Brothers in Arms, we thank you, our boys, our sons, of the IDF

Zvi will be back from his Parliament any minute and then we will go to rest, that all important rest before the arrival of the festival or Shabbat. The table is laid with a white tablecloth, the food cooked, the candles ready to light and our hearts ready for the festival.
Chag Sameach, Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem, so beautiful even as the weeks sunshine gives way to clouds. Nothing can take away from her 9/10ths of the worlds beauty.

With much love from our blossoming veranda and Jerusalem, lying before me.


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

Friday, 3 April 2015

150403 Shabbat Shalom, Blessed Easter, Chag Pesach Sameach

3rd of April 2015

Shabbat Shalom, Chag Pesach Sameach and a Blessed Easter to all.

Israeli ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor -details the anti-Israel record of the United Nations, "Israel is the only nation that is singled out for criticism by virtue of a special program, known as Agenda Item 7. A result, according to the Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch, is that more than 50 percent of all condemnatory resolutions are directed at the Jewish state."

The great ado about the talks with Iran suggest that something solid has happened but all that they have agreed to is that they will continue talking about coming to an agreement.  

From the New York Observer - Barack Obama has been compared to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain , who concluded the ill-fated Munich Pact with Hitler in 1938. But Chamberlain acted out of a sincere belief that he was avoiding a greater evil. Chamberlain was not thinking of his place in history. He was thinking only of the Britain that he loved, a Britain that was all but disarmed, exhausted, and vulnerable. In sharp contrast, Mr. Obama is acting out of personal aggrandizement. He believes he is replicating President Richard Nixon’s historic opening of China. For Mr. Obama, the Iranian nuclear arms deal is about his place in history. Mr. Obama is dealing from a position of strength that he refuses to use. The sanctions have hurt Iran. Falling oil prices only add to Iran’s vulnerability. Instead of using the sanctions to pursue his original promise that Iran would not get the bomb, Mr. Obama has moved the goal post.  Read more at 

Cleaning and cooking, preparing and changing, preparing the menus for today and tomorrow, recleaning after cooking one type of food then again for the Passover food and ............. why? There are those who do it because they are told by their Rabbis that it must be done in a specific manner; those who do it by rote; those who refuse to do all of it so do some; some who rebel completely and just dit down for the Passover Seder with a matzah or two. Me? I do it because my parents did it, Zvi's parent's did it and they all learned it from their parents. In one word TRADITION!!! I once wrote a poem about my beautiful Mother who passed away when I was just 17. She is with me in my every move, my preparations for Shabbat or for Festivals, her wonderful traditions make me smile even when I am working hard to prepare. My grandfather, my Zeidy, taught me to make Charosis, traditionally the mortar that was used in building the Pyramids (or more likely the mixture of sweetness and bitterness of life) trying to remember the amounts but finally relying on my taste buds! Grated sweet apples, ground almonds, a little sweet wine, a touch of cinnamon and some very finely shredded lettuce (the bitter). YUM! 

I remember how we used to send Zeidy outside the kitchen door when he grated the horseradish for the bitter herbs, him laughing at our tears from the pungent root. Daddy's tradition as we sat at the exquisitely set table - Mummy's favourite Madeira tablecloths gleaming white - and he would look around family and friends with a twinkle in his eye as he carefully spilt red wine on the cloth. "Now you can all relax, I already stained the cloth"! What a man!

Yesterday we went to the big car wash in Beit Safafa- hundreds and hundreds of cars being washed and cleaned inside and out for Pesach. Surprisingly, despite long lines, everyone was in a good mood!
Supermarkets have shrouded shelves, so that we cannot get to the chametz (non-Passover food); Young men stand beside the road with huge tubs of boiling water to dip and prepare utensils for use over Passover - I cannot bear the thought of my dishes going where others have been so I do my own. A big pot, boiling water, three stones heated to burning on the stove, dip them in and as they make the water boil up, dip the utensils!!! The array of new and different foods is exceptional, each year it is tastier to make Pesach, but the rules become more and more stringent. Why? Don't get me started!!!!

Tonights menu begins traditionally with the wine, Herbs and blessings, hard boiled eggs in salt water and on to Gefilte fish and Chicken soup with kneidlach - then I chose to do some different foods. Chicken Pastrami, Roast Beef, Beef Bourgignon, Roasted whole fish in herbs, traditional (Heimische) cabbage, ratatouille, roast potatoes and if I have time we will have Potato kugel too. Dessert is on its way when I finish writing to you!!!!

For a logical explanation of this festival I give you Rabbi Jeremy Rosen - Seder

Wishing you and yours a truly wonderful Pesach, a fun Seder night - we jazz it up with the best Chad Gadya ever............. I brought it with me from Wales. We make the appropriate noises for all the animals - then whoosh for water, bang the table for the stick, sirens for the fire, booooo for the Angel of Death and huge cheers for the Almighty.  We are now on fourth generation of laughing children who forgot the boredom which preceded it!!!! 

Another Seder song is Who knows One? This explains it all

Vehi Sheamda is one of my favourites -Yaakov Shwekey & Yonatan Razel [Vehi Sheamda]:

So dear Friends - my oven calls, the table is not yet set so I must away. I wish you all a beautiful week, whether Christian Easter, Jewish Passover from tonight, Samaritan, who follow Jewish traditions, indeed irrespective of your religion, race or creed - I send you love from Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom, Blessed Easter and of course CHAG PESACH SAMEACH!!!

With love

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