Friday, 31 July 2015

150731 Jewish Terror, Pollard, Iran, 50 most dangerous cities, Gay Parade

31st July 2015

Shabbat Shalom dear Friends.

Extremism is extremism is extremism and when one burns buildings one day people will be inside - that is the Price Tag. Price Tag is the foul group that chose to become terrorists in the name of Judaism - well all I can say is NOT IN MY NAME

In the village of Duma four Jewish terrorists wrote hate messages in Hebrew and burned a home. A baby died and three other family members were horribly burned. Personally I would put the thugs responsible in the same prison as the Moslem terrorists and let them fight each other and leave us to live in peace. IDF spokesman Lt Col Peter Lerner "This attack against civilians is nothing short of a barbaric act of terrorism. A comprehensive investigation is underway in order to find the terrorists and bring them to justice. The IDF strongly condemns this deplorable attack and has heightened its efforts in the field to locate those responsible.",7340,L-4686046,00.html

I never understood the Jonathan Pollard Affair. Pollard passed on information to a friendly country, information that in the agreement between the United States and Israel, should have been available to Israel anyway. As a result of that act of espionage Pollard was kept in prison for longer than any enemy spy, even those who committed treasonous acts. 56 people were imprisoned on charges of espionage in the USA, all were released early, excepting 3, even those who spied against the USA for countries of deep enmity and danger to the US. So difficult to understand. Now he is to be released, is it yet another diplomatic trick? Who will be exchanged for him?  Did the PM agree to reduce his anger over the Iran deal if Pollard is released? Why is it necessary for him to wait until November 20th? Why is the question of his  emigration to Israel an issue for the State Department? 

I kept very quiet on the question of Pollards release, not knowing the background facts, believing that a close ally like the USA would not use a sick man as a diplomatic pawn, but I admit I find the entire situation highly suspicious.  

So we appear to have saved the Ayatollas regime - sorry I mean we came to a nuclear agreement with Iran. Of course the various administrations still had time to condemn Israel for their treatment of the Palestinians but I thought you should know what happened to the Iranian people this week. Amnesty International reports that Iran has put almost 700 people to death so far in 2015, on pace to surpass the previous year's executions. It doesn't take a genius to understand that the last thing the world should be doing for the Iranian regime is adding $100 billion to their economy. The terrorist regime wins, and the Iranian people lose.

An Israeli airstrike Wednesday reportedly killed Samir Kuntar (his brother denies it) a senior Hezb-Allah operative in the Golan Heights; one of the most reviled terrorists in Israeli history. Kuntar was 16 years old in 1979, when he and three other members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine sneaked into Israel, killing a policeman and kidnapping a man and his 4-year-old daughter, Einat Haran, who he then killed by smashing in her head. Kuntar was released in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

The Jerusalem Gay Parade is a small affair, the main, international event takes place in Tel Aviv. The Jerusalem Parade includes young religious Jews, secular anti-circumcision, gay, lesbian and those who just support their right to be. 10 years ago a Haredi man, Yishay Shlissel, stabbed participants in the Jerusalem Parade. He was caught and served a prison sentence, and was recently released. Yesterday he attacked again, this time with a long blade knife injuring 6 people. Police, guarding the parade, caught him within seconds, through him to the ground disarming him. Under no circumstances can his actions be considered in accordance with Jewish ethics. If you disapprove then demonstrate but violence - never, never ever.

Happily, the parade continued and many Jerusalemites, secular, religious, straight, joined the parade to show solidarity. They went on to celebrate freedom at Ayn Yael, just beneath our home.

BDS, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, is ludicrous. They want to boycott our aid to the third world or is it our medical research that distresses them?

And then there are those who seriously fear coming to Israel!!! What? Jerusalem is one of the safest cities in the world and that isn't me saying so - it is a worldwide survey according to police statistics. The 50 most dangerous cities in the world and we didn't make it at all - not even the top 100!! What was that? You fancied Acapulco because it is romantic? Honestly - who is kidding who?

This week my daughter Rachel and her wonderful children ( all our grandchildren -and yours- are exceptional) flew to the UK to see Rachel's father and of course her brothers family, Stephanie, Sammy, Olivia and Zac, her lovely friends and ultimately next week she will go to Cardiff to see my sister Doreen (and all my family there) to give her a big hug from us all.

I managed to see the fabulous panorama from Samuels Tomb several times this week however. First when I took them to the airport, where they were thrilled to discover that Rachel's sister in law (Shiran) was their stewardess on El Al. She had changed with her friend and the kids got to visit the pilots cockpit!!! I love El Al. The food is always the best, the service friendly, the passengers chat to one another and the seats are comfortable - and best of all I step on board and come home!!!!

The second panoramic view was shared with Sue Yakir - I still call her Sue Gaba though!! We were on our way back from meeting up with Cardiff girlfriends. We grew up together, our parents and siblings were friends and we "understand" each other, indeed the evening after our meet my sister Doreen was at the home of Jill's sister Wendy and the guests were Jenny's former sister in law Truda and Sues sister Paula-  Cardiff has wrapped my sister in love -such is the warmth of a small community. We, along with many other Cardiffians, made Aliya. I am the new girl, just 25 years since I made the best decision of my life. It is fascinating that Wales is the same size as Israel and the Jewish community came there prepared to work hard as miners, handymen, salesmen etc, to survive and become Welsh - real Halutzim. The Cardiff community was exceptionally Zionist, we absorbed our love of Israel through our parents and to a large part, many of us through the words and actions of Norman Berg - the ultimate Habonim Madrich, who passed his love down to Andrew Stone, who passed his love .. so it happens. We came to Israel out of love not because we needed to escape.

Anyway, I digress, for a change!!! 

Ira, Valeri and Sheli came to see us. Just one year after I came to Israel on Aliya Zvi told me of this couple he met when he was in Moscow. Valeri spoke Hebrew since his Mother was Israeli and Zvi wanted us to "adopt" them. It worked out very well since they gave us Sheli and Tomer long before our children gave us grandchildren! Anyway, Valeri and Sheli stayed over because Sheli was going to Scout Camp at the crack of dawn. As we sat in the gorgeous Jerusalem air, eating a pulled together meal, Ira told us that they had been at the Flam winery,  met Israel Flamm the founder and learned that Chardonnay comes from Hebrew. The Gates of Adonai. I was sceptical so checked, lo and behold 

This Shabbat my husband decided to be romantic! On August the 8th we celebrate 25 years since the day I walked into his office and we fell in love. It really was like that - well almost. I was running Womens Division of the JIA in London at the time and no-one showed me how to do the work, until my divorce I had been a lay-leader and was then broke so needed to earn bread, so while on vacation in Israel I met with the world Director, then Batya Rekem. After a lovely day, Batya said "I have someone I want you to meet" Zvi was way too busy and expressed his dismay in no uncertain terms to Batya who came back and said "He would be delighted to meet you"!!! Both alone and in pain after coming from failed marriages, both wary, I guess we proved that hope never dies! I went to Zvi for instruction and he has been telling me what to do ever since!  

So we are going to Kfar Maccabiah, with it beautiful hotel, gardens and pools. There I don't need to cook, clean nor prepare - just enjoy my incredible husbands company! After Shabbat we come home and then go to a reunion party from our choir trip to Greece. The choir has made two new youtubes and a fabulous disc of Israeli songs - in Hebrew and Ladino. Here is one of their songs
In fact, this Shabbat will be different but still Shabbat, still beautiful.
Zvi has gone to his Parliament at the University coffee shop, leaving me to talk to you. As I write I look out of our huge windows overlooking Jerusalem. I wish my close family could know how incredible my life is here. I would love to show them my street, my view, that they could meet my friends and neighbours. I wish so deeply that they could understand what I see in this magical city, this amazing country and how much I thrive on the stimulation of life here and meeting and greeting such diverse visitors from all over the world who really "get" what I see and my love for this exceptional country. The joy of spending time with Canon Andrew White who loves Israel as I do and with whom I have the most empathetic relationship and crazy adventures yet laugh with him more than with anyone else.Each time I meet with people from IsraAid, MASHAV, Yrui Shtern, I learn of the incredible work done by Israel and Israelis to help others less fortunate. I want to brag, to boast, to convince those I love why I couldn't bear to live elsewhere.  I guess I just want my family to understand that I am the sane one!!!

If you want to know what crazy is - Jibril Rajoub, Hebrew speaking, former head of the Palestinian  Preventive Security Force and now the Minister of Sport and football at the PA, Jibril Rajoub, militant Palestinian has all his millions in Bank Leumi under the name of Gil Regev!!!

Incidentally, one of Zvi's friends at the Parliament, actually the only one able to control the rather strong expressiveness of some of the participants, is Elihu Ben Onn, radio personality and interviewer of Israelis and Hebrew speakers around the world. If you have something you want to say do contact Elihu and tell him what you wish to speak about. 

Must go and pack a few things - we leave soon and I can't believe that i don't have to cook! This week is Shabbat for me too - Sabbatical from preparations.

This song is a prayer, a greeting and blessing all at once. Heveinu Shalom Aleichem - we bring peace to you 

Finally Moti Mor sings Mi ha Ish - Who is the Man? The deep meaning of the words, the call to be  (Savlani and Sovlani ) Patient and Tolerant

With love from Jerusalem, the most beautiful city in the world which gives me solace in loss and joy always.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends

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

Friday, 24 July 2015

150724 Doctoroff, Wagner, Ari Shavit Iran, 10 years Gaza, Abdulla Dermibas, Melvyn

24th July, 2015

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

For us this has been a very difficult week, interspersed with meeting wonderful people but sad nonetheless. 

My beloved brother in law, Melvyn, passed away after a brave fight to survive. Melvyn was a quiet man but not quiet in the sense of weak, he had a rare moral and ethical sense which meant that he was a man who one could rely on, throughout, no matter what. For me when so many others were not by my side, Melvyn, together with my incredible sister, was loyal and never questioned or reasoned, he just was. He was an amazing father, what he didn't express with words he expressed with his magic hands, by making phenomenal toys and surprising for his children. He loved making things, from model boats to almost full sized planes.......... but above all that he was, quite definitely the most adoring husband to my beautiful sister Doreen. As a family we are heartbroken but if you are listening Melvyn, I promise we will take care of her as she has taken care of all of us. May his soul rest in peace and his family, the legacy he has left this world, be consoled. Melvyn, you left me with amazing memories, I miss you already.

Two days ago, our dear friend Bernardo Romanowsky passed away after travelling to Chennai, India for a heart transplant. Bernardo, fought so hard to stay with his love, his Reizeleh, and like my wonderful brother in law, saw his Rosa as his Queen.  שיהיה זכרו ברוך 

In the meantime, to my surprise, the world continues, the sun comes up each morning and brings more joys and more concerns with it. From the sublime to the ridiculous.

One ridiculous news item was written by one Daniel Wagner in the Jerusalem Post who decided to take a photograph of HM the Queen, as a small child, giving an apparent Nazi salute. While true that her Uncle, the Duke of Windsor, followed his American wife in adopting several Nazi sympathisers as friends, but nothing suggests that the Queen was a Nazi sympathiser, indeed, the opposite. She, and her parents, constantly supported the troops who fought Nazi Germany from 1939 and throughout the war. Mr Wagner also suggests that Britain stopped refugees coming to the UK - what? The Kindertransport and many Jewish refugees were absorbed at a time when the USA did not allow refugee boats to land. Wagner also claims that the pressure from the USA caused Britain to allow 1,500 immigrants per month into Palestine - I understood that was in the White Paper!! The Royals are not perfect but are not responsible for British policy during WW2, nor in Palestine - unlike the USA where the President used his Executive Power, the Queen is a titular head without such powers. 

And so we come back to Iran! Ari Shavit is wiser than I and better able to look at the situation clearly. "After a long, intensive work week and an intensive hour in Channel 1’s television studio, I took a plane and craved for the moment in which I could finally close my eyes. But until take-off I decided to take a quick look at the thick document of the nuclear agreement with Iran. After reading all kinds of summaries, it was time to read the text itself. “The joint comprehensive plan of action” that was signed in Vienna on July 14, 2015, turned out to be a thriller. While my neighboring passengers plunged into their dreams, I couldn’t put down the 159-page document, which could turn the world we live in into a nightmare.

It is ten years since the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon, the warrior leader, decided to take all Jews out of Gaza. Despite media hype, the people of Gush Katif and the towns and villages of Gaza were secular and religious, farmers and ordinary businesspeople, indeed ordinary folk who just wanted to live their lives. I remember at that time taking our dear friend Earl Cox to interview Ehud Olmert, who at that time was Deputy PM. I went in first to see our friend and discuss what he would say in the interview. "Sheila, I know that it will not be popular but Hamas is taking over the Gaza Strip and I am terrified that we will have an awful lot of dead Jews if we don't take them out. This is a case of Pikuach Nefesh" whereby In Judaism, Pikuach Nefesh the preservation of human life overrides virtually any other religious obligations. Was it done well? Was it done efficiently? Was it essential? We can never know but the government and several donors decided to leave the highly successful farms intact for the residents of Gaza - and rather than benefit from them they destroyed them.

When are our leaders going to refuse to fund the United Nations? It has become worse than biased, it is a time and money wasting source of extreme racism and incitement to hatred. In the latest move the UN decided that Israel is the worst abuser of human rights in the world....

American Jewry was noted for its generosity, support and connection with Israel, led by the UJA and others. Sadly that truth has changed and some of those leaders have led their flock astray. UJA President Alisa Doctoroff apparently represents the new generation of apologist Jews in her support for the New Israel Fund and other negative organisations which support BDS. I am horrified.

Zvi and I went to the stunningly beautiful International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem to hear a fascinating speaker, a visitor from Turkey, Abdulla Demirbas. His visit was even more emotive because that morning there was a homicide bombing on the Turkish border with Syria where over 30 youngsters were killed. The former mayor of a city in Turkey decided to change his world - and thus our world. Beginning with a relatively small project to revitalise and rebuild an old area of his city he began a magnificent journey of tolerance. On one street he built a Mosque, a synagogue, church, chapel, temple but instead of just building them, each sector had to rebuild the prayer house of another. Abdulla served time in prison for his ideas and there is a FATWA on his head, but as he said "You can kill me but never kill my ideals" From small acorns huge oak trees grow and he is here to meet and talk with other leaders. Impressive.

Saturday night and Sunday bring Tisha B'Av - the Ninth of the Hebrew month of Av. It is a day of fasting, of reflection and of determination to do better. It is primarily the remembrance of the destruction of both Temples and of many disasters which befell the Jewish people. Here I give you two different meanings, the traditional and Rabbi Jeremy Rosen who gives it a modern touch.
“Those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana was not referring to Israel, but he might have been. When all is said and done, the fast of Tisha B’Av, the Ninth Day of Av, is a fast that symbolizes and commemorates bad decisions. The Israelites were always very good at that. The wonder is that they survived at all.

So, as always the food is already safely in the refrigerator. Spicy Middle Eastern fish, Stuffed veggies, multiple salads including, beetroot in lemon, Moroccan mushrooms, Butter bean humous, normal humous, Veggie Noodles, Aubergine in Tehina, lettuce, tomato and endive and a few more........ I will set up the table outside on our veranda, the day is searingly hot and maybe, just maybe we will get the relief of the incredible, balmy mountain air of Jerusalem.  The children love it when we eat outside, it gives them the freedom to play as the grown ups talk about the week. I love their delight as Jerusalem spreads out before them, the lights twinkling, the fireworks from Moslem weddings and festivities in Beit Tsafafa attracting their attention. 

So life goes on, the vacuum slowly recedes and becomes a memory, never filled, just finds its own place. Tonight we will count our blessings as we watch the children play, as they help us make the blessings over the wine and the two loaves of plaited bread. Tonight will bring us Shabbat - time to gather our thoughts, to say thank you for our blessings and go through the virtual photo album of our happy times.

A couple of months ago I went with my daughter Rachel and her beautiful children to a concert of Yaacov Shwekey. This song, above all others, caught my heart. If I forget thee oh Jerusalem. Never 

Yerushalyim Shel Zahav, we usually hear this glorious song in a very Western way, but when you hear Omer Benayoun sing it it takes on depth and a very appropriate Middle Eastern flavour.

The final song I want to give you today has nothing to do with Shabbat, but rather a tribute to my brother in law Melvyn and his love, his absolute love for my beautiful sister. Nat King Cole singing When I Fall in Love -

Shabbat Shalom. Remember to show appreciation for your loved ones every day, in every way. Be remembered for your kindness, your warmth, your humour and your generosity.

With love from Jerusalem


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

Friday, 17 July 2015

150717 Iran, Mengisto, Greece, Rosen, Hammond, Rabbi CapersFunnye

Friday, 17th July, 2015, Jerusalem

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I know we are all sick and tired of hearing about Iran so I may just decide to tell you about Persia instead.

 Persia isn't Arab, just in case you were under the illusion perpetrated by the media. Persia was the home of the original Aryans, it was the Greeks who decided to change the name and call it Pers, just like the Greeks called Yehuda and Shomron Palaestina. The Persians, not always kind, were not only not Arabs but always suffered attacks because they didn't belong. The last Shah, the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi of the Iranian monarchy. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi Pahlavi changed the name back from Persia to Iran (Aryan). Iranians are still not accepted by the Arab world and their politicans led the country to isolation and hatred in their attempts to find favour with the Arab Moslem world. By expressing hatred for the West (USA in particular) they hoped to curry favour with their former enemies but it simply led to greater isolation.

What about the nuclear threat, I hear you say? Oh that is imminent and obvious, in media speak "clear and present danger", no question but you have heard the politicians, diplomats and media flog that horse to death, maybe with good reason, but the problem is that we reach the point of not hearing the truth for the sheer quantity of information. Today, while listening to the radio, I learned that the people of Iran, those who are not extreme Moslems, love Israeli music, Rita in particular (she just made an album in Farsi) and crave fashion and fads from the West. 

The stories were told by, I think his name is Ran Arani, who when he was a child in school in Teheran, got into one too many fights with his Moslem classmates so his mother managed to find an illegal broker who got him out of the country through Afghanistan and ultimately to Israel. I am certain his assessment is right - not the hate-filled pictures we see. No, I am not naive, I am sure the hate and the nuclear facilities exist, and threaten the West in general and Israel in particular, but maybe our view is a little coloured by what we hear? David Horovitz puts everything into perspective in this article 

Greece came to an agreement with the EU! They agreed to pay back at least a portion of the monies lent to them by irresponsible banks and funds, of course they don't have a snowballs hope in hell to return it but an agreement has been reached. Some 350 billion Euro debt when ones Annual GNP is about 200 billion Euro is simply unachievable.It may well be the Fall of the European Economic Empire. De Gaulle was right with his Non, Maggie right keeping pound sterling.

The Mengisto Family, on the advice of the Secret Services, wanted to keep the disappearance of their son quiet. They knew that he had wandered into Gaza, they knew that he was mentally unstable, they knew that the Government was doing what they felt was right - which meant doing things quietly - after all we paid a horrifically high price for Gilad Shalit It was not racist, although it has been claimed that it was, it was a hard earned lesson. Now the price on their sons head has risen dramatically - we don't know yet what they want, but it will cost lives. Sometimes good deeds are not helpful.

What happens when money and numbers decide justice rather than the word of the law? The Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court, for the first time in its history, has ordered the ICC Prosecutor to pursue an investigation she has decided to close. The Chamber ruled that the Prosecutor was wrong to close the preliminary investigation into war crimes charges against Israel for crimes allegedly committed in boarding the Mavi Marmara and other vessels during the flotilla incident of 2010. The case was closed after the Judge saw the videos of the foul attacks UPON THE IDF by those aboard the Marmara. My thanks to Jack Winnet for this article

To put things into perspective, the whole "Siege of Gaza"excuse is pure rhetoric and lies. Egypt is banning all trade and aid to Gaza but Israel is providing all staple needs. See this and Bassem Eid's assessment of the situation 

Rabbi Jeremy Rosen's letter this week studies the dichotomy of freedom, such as given by Napoleon to the Jewish people, and the theologists who claim religious freedom caused the downfall of Judaism. Enlightening as always!

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall at the meeting between British Foreign Minister Hammond and Prime Minister Netanyahu as they discuss the agreement reached with Iran. Hammond represents a country that was undecided whether or not to sign - but did. 

Rabbi Capers Funnye has been named leader, or Chief Rabbi, of the Black Hebrew Israelites of America. Nothing odd in that? Well, it would be just another news story except for one simple fact - he is Michelle Obamas cousin!!

We had a relatively quiet week (as opposed to the weekend to come), but met up with our dear friends the Nankins of Mexico and San Diego. They are here for the bat-mitzvas of their grand-daughters and despite a very heavy schedule we grabbed the chance to meet with them at the First Station in Jerusalem. Gosh it was buzzing!!! Luckily we found a table for 10 on the platform, having walked down the boardwalk tracks to get there. It was fun to see the hive of activity around us. Every Wednesday there is a big screen showing of old Israeli movies; children rent electric cars and go off on the bicycle tracks nearby; families enjoy browsing the craft stalls and buying delicious ice creams.

For Pablo Nankin it was a different kind of treat,  he wanted information - answers to questions that had been burning since last time we met! Iran, Netanyahu, economy, politics, diplomacy, BDS indeed everything that Zvi and I could answer to the best of our ability!
Tonight we have friends coming for Shabbat dinner - just 10 of us tonight. I decided that since the weather is steaming we would go for a Milk meal - refreshing. Of course we begin with an array of Israeli salads - aubergine, courgette, tsatsiki, green and chopped salads, followed by soup, then Spinach and feta strudle, cauliflower quiche and salmon teriyaki with farfelle pasta and green beans. To finish - Danby and Marvin are bringing a fruit salad to accompany the chocolate cake, lemon cake, Eddies Peach Pud and chocolate chip cookies - my oven has been working overtime but then the children and some friends are coming tomorrow - another 16 people!!!

I wish I could say that our veranda was ding well, but I can't. The fact that the computer of the drip irrigation system failed me when we were in Greece - and the weather in Israel was exceptionally hot - meant that I lost most of my plants. Stanley, don't worry, the lemon, orange and kumquat trees survived, as did most of the herbs, but I lost all of the wonderfully scented myrtle bushes have gone, dry and brown. It is sad but as Zvi said - it is an opportunity to refresh the veranda and buy new pots and bushes.  At least my Valerie fuchsia and the hibiscus survived.

Now I am going downstairs to our store-room to find the paddling pool and fill it ready for the children tomorrow - they will be happy for hours!!!

Must set the table, get out the best china, glassware and cutlery because the bride of Shabbat deserves nothing but the best.
Be well, please remember to pray for the well-being of Ezra Dov ben Iska and Moshe ben Rachel - we love them.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends
Shabbat Shalom


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

Sunday, 12 July 2015

150712 Greece, Iran, Hillary, Maslow

12th July 2015,
Dearest Friends, Shevu'a Tov, a Gutte Voch, a good week to you
I started to write to you from Greece but then I decided that it was too hard to write on my tablet and waited until today! Here is the beginning from Greece and the remainder from Israel.

Shabbat Shalom from Greece. This has been a fantastic week of friendship,  success and  warm receptions. 

We are here at a pivotal period and are slowly learning about many Greek tragedies.  Their inherited memory of the Third Reich which rampaged, pillaged and burned Greece has created a sense here that it is Germany, not Europe or the IMF, or the irresponsibility of their own politicians that is the cause of their fiscal ills.Indeed Greece bears a strong resemblance to the Madoff tragedy except here it was a government's greed and the willingness of the wealthy countries to lend what could not be repaid. 

We found a confused people that wants to regain its pride.
Their history and ancient mythology, runs alongside our own on many levels,  including the flood, but no-one mentions the Hellenists who tried to dispose of the Jewish people, not by killing us but rather by making kashrut, brit mila (circumcision ), Shabbat,  daily prayers illegal so we would assimilate into the Hedonistic Greek way of life.

I cannot emphasise sufficiently the warmth with which we have been received; be it Karpenisi, Delphi, the amazing Tagli Lodge in Arachova, indeed when we arrived in one restaurant we found a baby naming in progress. The family were so excited by the fact we came from Jerusalem that they invited us to sing, to their thrilled excitement the choir sang in Greek!  Athens awaits, we'll see.

Now from Jerusalem.
Athens was terrific, we went to the Parthenon, to Delphi, to Tavenas and to the Plaka area. While the monetary situation was clearer in the countryside many shops were closed or empty, but on the other hand, sales drew customers in. Coffee shops and restaurants that were empty during the day were still full to overflowing at night, about half-half locals and tourists. As usual Zvi and I spoke with taxi drivers and locals and as if with one voice they voted OXI - no - to the idea of paying back their debt as set out by Merkel. One said it was because he had to ensure his childrens future but none, not one person understood that their inability to repay meant that pension funds around the world would suffer.

In several hotels I was amazed to discover they had Israel 24 news for us 

I saved the best for last............
HaKol Yachassi Jerusalem, the choir that Zvi sings in, won first prize in the Folk section of The International Choir Competition in Karpenisi!! In the Parade HaKol Yachassi sang and danced our way through the streets of Karpenisi and at the end, Zvi presented the Mayor with a Jerusalem Flag. The Mayor fell on Zvi in gratitude, tears in his eyes. There was also a choir from Serbia, The Jewish Choir of Serbia, who sang Israeli songs and again, my lovely husband brought each and every one of them a little Jerusalem plate. Life is good!!!

In the meantime, a young, mentally unstable Israeli from Ashkelon wandered across the border to Gaza and disappeared. It took time to understand what had happened since Hamas denied his existence at first then said that they had found him, realised he was unstable and released him. Former Prime Minister of the UK Tony Blair is conducting the negotiations for his release and for the release of a young Bedouin man who also crossed the border.

The limping negotiations with Iran continue, led by a limping John Kerry. It is hard to accept any reports because, as I told you, the IAEA, the organisation responsible for overseeing the Iranian nuclear programme for all the years it was flourishing, was in fact a member of the Moslem Brotherhood!

Hillary Clinton has never been know for sitting on the fence and to my surprise has come down firmly on the question of boycotting Israel and of the establishment of the Palestinian State. She is clear and forceful in her condemnation of the BDS movement, recognising that it is totally negative to any negotiations with the PA

Al Quds Day was celebrated in most capital cities around the world. At least it purported to be a Moslem celebration but in fact it was yet another opportunity for unadulterated incitement to hatred of anything Jewish and of Israel.

The disgraceful Jon Snow yet again met his match in his war of words against Israel. I tired of reasoning with him but the indomitable Mark Regev, spokesman of the PM's office, managed to keep his sang froid and responded with clarity and poise.

According to Maslow's Pyramid of needs, Israel should be in a constant funk of misery unable to reach out to others or enjoy life in any way yet we defy every aspect of "the "rule Well, they say the exception proves the rule and Israel is exceptional in so many ways. One could put the pyramid on its head and Israel would still reach out to help those in an even worse situation!

The best part of coming home is getting onto that El Al aeroplane, knowing that the pilot was an Israeli Air Force Pilot with battle experience, and then it happens, "Shalom, welcome to El Al" as the smiling stewards and stewardesses joke with the passengers, help me put my hand luggage on the rack despite the rules, hug the children and chatter away in Hebrew. It makes me feel I already arrived. 

Landing in Ben Gurion Airport (yes that's the name, not Tel Aviv) is exciting, crossing over that coastline excites me and landing in that oh so familiar airport is special. This time our luxurious minibus was not waiting for us so we piled into a Sherut (Nesher Minibus Shuttle), which was bound for Jerusalem, prolonging our vacation by an hour and dropping us right next to Gadis home and our car.

I have spoken to you about the incredible work of the Yuri Shtern Holistic Centre, which provides free holistic therapies for cancer patients and their families in Shaare Zedek Hospital and a small clinic in Jerusalem.  Over 140 therapists, including reike, reflexology and other touch therapies, and psychotherapy, give 2 1/2 hours a week as volunteers, and the method is so successful that Sloane Kettering hospital wants the Centre to teach them. Because it is a totally volunteer organisation we are strapped for money, seriously strapped for money. Please watch this emotive video and consider donating - please i beg of you. I am so proud of their work, have been a recipient and watch friends flourish after being treated.  Indeed to ensure that the Yuri Shtern Foundation can reach out to help more and more cancer patients and their families every penny counts. To donate - Your generosity will help so many people and I feel deeply that this cause is one that touches all of us at some time in our lives

We arrived home in plenty of time for Shabbat, and my first thought as we walked in the door was to press the button of the shutters to take in our view of Jerusalem. I was sad to find that the drip irrigation system had failed and I may have lost my little kumquat tree but I think I save all the others. I doubt if they will fruit but at least they are alive.

This week is already hopeful as our dear friend Bernardo, who is in Chennai India for a heart transplant, is off the respirator and breathing alone. He is talking and smiling. Keep praying though Ezra Dov ben Iska. Baby steps for him, but great news for Rosa and their son Moi who is there with them. To make life even better, their daughter Aliza had a baby girl last week! 

Hopefully this will be a good week, a happy week filled with good news. At least i have my view of Jerusalem and my wonderful veranda to look forward to and sweet memories of our trip and the choirs enormous success.

For your delectation here is a small taster of HaKol Yachassi and their disc is coming out soon, available right here.

This is the Serbian Choir that we met, giving a whole new touch to Hava Nagila!!!

With love from Jerusalem, beautiful Jerusalem


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

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

150701 Syria, Sinai, ISIS, London Metropolitan Police are great!!The week after London

1st July 2015

I hope you are having a good week and that you will have a good Shabbat. We leave for Greece tonight, yes we are taking plenty of cash not relying on banks, and will celebrate Shabbat in Kapernisi. It is always special to hear the entire choir sing Kiddush...... beautiful.

So you guessed why I am writing now, I intend resting in Greece!!!
Ramadan, Holy Ramadan, Blessed Ramadan, a time for introspection. That's how is should be, but here in Israel and the disputed territories it is a time of racist incitement as Imams take advantage of our freedom of prayer. As a result there have been individual killings - attacks call it what you will, as young people carry out the wishes of their religious leaders. So sad, so sad.

In Sinai nearly 50 Egyptian soldiers have been decapitated Such barbarity Such cruelty.
Syria and the slaughter continues, if not by ISIS so by the rebels. It never ends. Indeed slaughter continues all over the Middle East and Africa and to top it all ISIS has taken to decapititating women for sorcery, witchcraft - we really are in the Middle Ages!!!  What does the UN do about it?  They censor Israel!!!!

Not everything is bad however. The Metropolitan Police in London were determined to find a hook on which to hang a legal basis to stop the horrendous Neo-Nazi demonstration at Golders Green Station on Shabbat. (Golders Green is a very Jewish neighborhood) Well they succeeded!! The Chief of Police has retracted their licence and moved them to the middle of London, restricting numbers and times. I love this picture because it tells the truth of London not the imagined situation.

This article tells it all - this is Israel
Dr. Qanta Ahmed, a physician and Muslim intellectual:
"I found myself on one of my visits at Hadassah hospital [in Jerusalem]. I have visited many hospitals, but the most exciting thing was actually when we were in an elevator in Hadassah. I was with a very busy doctor, and I looked around the small, packed elevator. What I saw around me was a Muslim lady in an abaya and hijab, next to her a man who looked like he was from the 18th century with a striped jacket, white socks and a special hat, next to him was a man with payot. In front of me was the busy modern-Orthodox doctor, and I am the one who is the Muslim who looks like she is secular...And I realized that...all of my worlds collided in this elevator. And they don't collide anywhere else. It is little moments like that in which you can't help but become a Zionist."

And another, Israel helps California with its constant drought problem - even though some Californians tried to boycott us!!!

Wonders will never cease - a pro-Israel article on BBC!! All about our very real fears of a nuclear Iran

I hit the ground running when I arrived from London. We have had wonderful guests who chose to go out rather than make me work!!! They did their visit to the veranda then we left. The Claars came with us to the Opera in Sultans Pool - amazing. I love them and their determination for Tikkun Olam.

We visited Zion ha Gadol with the Gandel family, Linda, Ian, Nicky, Steven and the newest member of the family, the lovely Jo-Ann. Our guest was Professor Gabby Barkay and we went to his sifting site (together with Jacobo Eizen) and after Gabbys rivetting tales and explanations Jacobo found a piece of Byzantine Glass!!! 

On Friday we went to Kibbutz Beerot Yitzchak for Nitzas birthday party (that's where I left you I think) and it was really wonderful. I also managed to catch up with Tsippi, a dear friend of Jill - and mine!!!

We also managed to touch base with David Efron who came to Israel for two reasons. One is to help his daughter Libi to pack for her years MA course in the States and the other was to collect his papers as Israels Honorary Consul to Puerto Rico. Mazal Tov David.
In the meantime we packed, Zvi has been working with Eli Yaron and others to put the finishing touches to their video and amazing choir disc made in the Hariton Music Centre - I'll send it to you when I have the link.

Finally today Julio and Monica Jarak came for the day and wanted to go to Mahane Yehuda and the Kotel - and we managed to fit it in between packing, organising our insurance, seeing my grandchildren, and preparing the inevitable pills which tell our age!!!!

So that's it. I am sure I left so much out but it is hard to speed type!!!!
I may not write on Friday but then I just may!!!

With love from the ever beautiful Jerusalem. I hate leaving her but each time I come back I am astonished and excited anew.

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