Friday, June 13, 2014
I married and moved to Jerusalem with my husband and family.
But although I no longer live in Leicester, I can never totally leave the city as my parents are buried there.
While in Leicester on a visit we decided to drive round and see some of our old schools
and past homes
Not to mention the site of my first job as a journalist –
OK I admit it I exaggerate. It was a school holiday job and I was more a gofer than a writer – but the bug was already planted and never gave up.
About six years ago I reconnected again when an old school friend Rosalind Adam contacted me to see if I would contribute to a book she was compiling of memories of post-war Leicester through to 1960.
So having returned to Leicester many times in the past few years both literally and psychologically, it wasn’t surprising that I found myself glued to the news media when the story broke about ‘the body in the car park’ . Could it really be the body of that much hated/ much maligned King Richard III?
And when it was proved to be the body of the old King, the question then was – where should he be finally laid to rest?
Again I found myself rooting for Leicester to be the designated burial site.The High Court finally agreed that he should indeed be buried there, as he had been killed in battle in nearby Bosworth and had been ‘temporarily’ buried beneath the city for several hundred years.
And now for the full circle …..who was commissioned to write a children’s book on the history of Richard III?
None other than my old friend Rosalind whose book will be out in a few week’s time.
Good luck with the book Ros – I’m sure it’ll be a tremendous success.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
If you live in the present, then this is where your thoughts are.
But what if you’re a writer? Writer’s can rarely enjoy the luxury of living in the present. We always have to be a few months ahead.
In fact right now I’m thinking of Autumn subjects such as Back to school ( and the vacation hasn’t even started yet!!) and Rosh Hashanah ( The Jewish New Year)
But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean I never get to enjoy the summer sun. It just means that when you’re all shivering in the winter…….
I’m writing about the sea, sun and the sands
and while you’re eating your apple and honey
I’m already writing about Pesach
A HAPPY AND HEALTHY SUMMER EVERYONE
Monday, July 15, 2013
If location, location and location are the three most important points in real estate, then Aish HaTorah’s Jerusalem World Center must have the world’s most prime spot.
Situated opposite the Kotel, the Western Wall, the remaining wall of the Temple which stood closest to the Holy of Holies of the Temple, this beautiful new building is put to tremendous use.
Anyone, male, female, young, mature, from anywhere in the world is invited to drop in and join a class or two, or three of the constantly ongoing ‘Essentials’ program, just to get a taste of their Jewish heritage. No prior booking is needed.
Entrance is from the Jewish Quarter, off Misgav Ledach street and the classes take place on this entrance floor.
You don’t even have to take a class, you can just walk in and sit down and relax in the beautiful a/c rooms.
You can also take the opportunity to watch some of the videos of the teachings of Aish’s dean and founder, Rabbi Noah Weinberg who passed away in 2009 a short time before the opening of the new center. Thousands of young Jews owe their Jewish identities to Rabbi Weinberg who gave his entire life to helping Jewish kids ( and not so kids) realize what pleasure, fun, inner peace and excitement they were missing by not learning about their Jewish heritage.
Look up and savor the incredible glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly, the most successful and talented glass artist in the world. Entitled, “Fire and Water,” the multi-dimensional, two-story-tall sculpture encompasses the name of Aish HaTorah ( Fire of the Torah)
If you go up to the roof, apart from a breathtaking panoramic view of Jerusalem , the Kotel
and the surrounding hills such as Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus …
there is also a 1.2-ton model of the Holy Temple .
It is constructed at a scale of 1:60, built with authentic materials like gold, silver, wood and Jerusalem stone.
As we approach the Fast of the 9th of Av, the date of the destruction of both of our Holy Temples, there couldn’t be a better time to decide to learn what it is we are mourning and missing.
For more information about Aish click here.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
It safeguards the memory of those who were slaughtered and teaches future generations about the unspeakable horrors.
Many people think that if they’ve visited it once then there’s no point in going again – but they are so wrong. The area that Yad Vashem covers both physically and emotionally, is vast and there are new exhibits constantly being organized.
On a recent visit I saw the shul/ synagogue.
Apart from being used for regular prayers it is also used for people who want a place to say Kaddish, or to sit down and pray after an emotional visit.
It contains various items of Judaica from shuls all over Europe including four Arks for storing the Sifrei Torah which all came from Rumania and were procured for Yad Vashem with the help of Rumanian government.
Next door to the shul is a new exhibit to honor the Righteous Amongst the Nations who saved Jews during the Holocaust.
Inside there are five areas with seating to watch different films depicting the different ways in which people were saved, including those who took in children and returned them to the Jewish authorities after the war, those who hid families in cellars, countries where someone in the the government intervened and rescued them and those where both the Jews and the non-Jews were discovered by the Nazis and killed.
The stories are both fascinating and very moving and shed a new light on the history of Jews saved by Gentiles.
We then visited the new Learning Centre also known as the “Center for Major Questions Arising from the Holocaust,” which attempts to discuss and give opinions on the many theological, societal and military questions raised by the Holocaust.
Some are just not answerable, i.e. Why did G’d let the Holocaust happen, but are still discussed. Others are given a selection of answers from various appropriate people / authorities, i.e. Why did the Allied Air Force not bomb the tracks to Auschwitz.
Yad Vashem has also launched a new more urgent collection of personal items that are, or were, in the possession of survivors. Our guide told us many stories of items that children of survivors thought were of not much interest, but for others provided an only link to their parents/ grandparents who perished.
Yad Vashem works very hard to trace people ( or their descendents) mentioned in letters/ notebooks or identified on photos it receives.
As Eli Wiesel once said- Anyone who listens to a witness, becomes a witness himself.
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Do you know what wi-fi actually means?
It means wire-free…you know… without any wires.
Did you hear me, I said without wires!!!
Would you like to come to my home and see just how many wi-fi wires we possess…dozens, probably hundreds..in bags, boxes, closets shelves, drawers …full to overflowing with wires …with either an electric plug or a computer USB connection at one end and a VERY wide variety of other connections at the other end of every shape, style and size.
I don’t know where most of them came from and I haven’t a clue what they belong to. But I’m convinced that if I throw any of them out- tomorrow I’ll be sure to need it.
This is a very small selection of wires I use every day for my so called wi-fi stuff either to listen to my MP3, download photos, recharge my Kindle and cell phone and various other necessary activities in this wi-fi age.
I remember when the word wireless meant just that – no wires. The radio ran on batteries – no ifs and buts.
Ah - life was uncomplicated in those days.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Israeli drivers have a pretty awful reputation – and I have to admit that it’s often warranted. But that’s why I’d like to point out two really great professional drivers I met up with this week.
One was behind us driving a juggernaut when we approached the road works near Malcha Mall in Jerusalem. Suddenly the road was blocked and we were diverted to another road without any explanation of where this would take us. Our driver, not surprisingly hesitated, and the truck which was quite close behind us had to brake and swerved to overtake us with just a hairbreadth of room.
We followed behind him and as we both stopped at the next traffic lights he climbed down from his high perch and came over to us – we assumed to give us a piece of his mind.
But no, we were very pleasantly surprised when he signaled to me to open the window and said “ I can see you were confused by the detour. Can I help?”
The second incident occurred last night as I was standing at as bus stop inside Modiin Elite just after midnight waiting for the last bus back home to Jerusalem.
An internal bus passed by, and then another one pulled in. I waved for him to continue but he opened his doors.
“If you don’t want this bus then what are you waiting for?” the driver asked.
When I said I was waiting for the Jerusalem bus he signaled for me to get on . “ There are no more buses to Jerusalem from here. I’ll take you as far as I can towards the entrance to the town and with any luck you’ll still catch the last bus that leaves from there”.
And thanks to his thoughtfulness I did.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Making a Difference on your vacation.
Next time you visit Israel set aside 90 minutes to help the needy.
Visit Colel Chabad’s Pantry Packers center in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood and spend some time packing up healthy food products for distribution to needy families all over Israel.
After watching a video, explaining the importance of the work you’ll be doing, you’ll be given your own apron, plastic gloves and hat to keep everything clean. Then, using ultra modern equipment you will pack, label and stack family sized packages of food staples.
This organization provides 80 different food items to 5000 families every week.
It’ll add meaning to your visit.
Call 02-6260035 to arrange a visit. It’s free and suitable for all ages.
Of course you don’t have to be a tourist to help.
Everyone is welcome.