All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Monday, 29 January 2007

Hello Eilat

I guess I wrote too soon yesterday, what with the suicide bombing in Eilat this morning.

Did I happen to mention that I'm going to be staying in that very resort in less than two weeks? I suppose it comes as no comfort to know that this was the first such attack in Eilat. Presumably, security will be up and we'll certainly feel the effects when we land in Ovda airport.

The trip is designed to celebrate Talia's eighth birthday and we are both guests of my extraordinarily generous parents, who, if you recall, invited Dassi and myself to the States about a year and a half ago when she too hit the big number.

The bombing was not the best news I could have hoped for today and my prayers go out to the bereaved families (aside from the relatives of the bomber - apparently, his mother knew about the attack and felt pride at her son's sacrifice. Need I say any more?) .

However, we must keep our heads high and flash those smiles. I am of the firm belief that everything that happens to us is through G-d's will and with this in mind, He will protect all of us when we go out there for a week. If you consider the alternative, you might as well lock yourself up in your house and wait for the sky to fall in.

Sunday, 28 January 2007

A Heartfelt Message For Members Of Fatah And Hamas

Chevra (guys), Gaza City is all yours and I want you to know that you have my full support to do whatever you want to each other in your own territory.

Just keep it in-house ok?

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Much Ado About Something?

I was sitting in the car on the way to school musing, as one does, on whether the function of blogs was to react to events or shape them - or both. The traffic was pretty thick.

As you can see, there wasn't too much else on my mind. But seriously, I think it is a question worth considering. I naturally related the query to my own modest endeavour and came up with the notion that about 85% of my postings are indeed reactive. I then satisfied myself that the other 15% might have been made a tiny dent in the effort last summer, to fight the PR war for Israel during the Lebanon debacle.

I know that events happen and if I feel them newsworthy, they get recorded here. I don't do something in order to get a postingf of it out. Then again, I have found myself sitting through a movie wondering what rating I'll give it (now, how sad is that?)

So why maintain this blog. This strange monologue that I feel important enough to foister on those who express an interest? It's a funny question isn't it? What is it inside me that wants to share my experiences? Is it the wannabee celebrity thing (and no, I don't want to be one, thank you very much) or simply the need to justify my actions by describing them to what are mostly, total strangers?

I pondered on these no-brainers until the traffic lights turned green and for a fleeting moment, I decided that I would share these thoughts with you. Then my mind turned to school matters and suddenly, my thoughts became re-compartmentalised.

And there you have it. The inner workings of a teacher's mind at 8.23 in the morning. No wonder our education system is so screwed up.

Friday, 26 January 2007

Who Would Have Thought It?!

Thursday, 25 January 2007

This Embarrassment Must Go

In Judaism, there is the concept of being "Or Lagoyim". It means that our task, as Jews, is to be a "light unto the nations". We have a duty to set the benchmark by which all the other nations on earth should conduct themselves.

I wish I could say that we always succeed. Yes, we have our fair share of Nobel Prize Winners and personages who do us proud. Then again, we have the other lot.

We Jews are brought up to ensure that at all times, we do our best to promote the notion of "Kiddush Hashem" - sanctifying G-d's name through our behaviour, so that people who are not of the faith look at us and say, "I wish I behaved in the same way as so and so, of the Jewish nation". Of course, the obverse is then the notion of "Chillul Hashem", where we act in such a way, that it causes a desecration of G-d's name.

A prime example of being Or Lagoyim is the way in which Israel's behaviour is perceived by the rest of the world. I'm not talking about the rights or wrongs of the military situation or our dealings with the Palestinians/Lebanese etc. I am referring to the manner in which the prominent figures in that country behave or are seen to behave by the rest of the world.

I bring this up because of the shameful and repulsive performance of the current President, Moshe Katsav. You may or may not know that this man has been charged with rape and is currently doing his best to destroy any remnants of his shattered reputation. The problem is that he is doing so in the glaring light of the world's media.

Now, I don't know whether he did or didn't commit the said acts, what I do see - and it makes me cringe - is the ultimate example of a Chillul Hashem being perpetrated. This man, who is supposedly meant to hold the highest ceremonial office in the land went on TV last night and spent an hour protesting his innocence.

Fair enough you might say. Then again, with a hundred witnesses saying that he did what it says on the legal tin, he doesn't really come over as being all that innocent.

The Presidency, as I have mentioned is a ceremonial role. He's the guy we lift our toasts to after G-d Save The Queen and before the Hatikvah (Israel's national anthem) whenever we have a bar mitzvah or wedding celebration. He's the toast.

So you can understand that my feelings about the desecration of both G-d's name and the Office of Presidency are pretty forthright.

Israel, whether we like it or not, is that "Or Lagoyim" - light unto the nations and the quicker this embarrassment of a man leaves the Office of President, the happier I will be.

Right now, we need another Kiddush Hashem from Israel - but unfortunately, of late, they've been pretty slow in coming.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Cable Free

Last night, our cable company pulled the plug on us. We lost our telephone line, TV and Broadband.

Let me be a little kinder. It didn't really pull the plug, but all of the above did perish - albeit fleetingly. I suspect this has quite a deal to do with the flickering lights we've been experiencing over the last few nights, which is probably as a result of an electrical generator being damaged in last week's gales.

So at 10.00 last night, without access to a television, the internet or indeed a phone (although my mobile phone proved particularly handy) I decided to call it day and go to bed earlier than I've done in about a month. I woke up this morning refreshed and alert and relieved to see that all of the above have been restored.

So for once, it's all systems go, both electronically and biologically!

Saturday, 20 January 2007

No More Papas

I was very sorry to read that Denny Doherty, one of the surviving Papas from the famous group, The Mamas and Papas has died.

Who would have believed that 40 years on, only one single member would still be alive. I guess the only comfort I can get from this, is that the group is slowly reforming, up above the clouds.

All the leaves were brown and the sky today was definitely grey.

Monday, 15 January 2007

Federal Court Ruling from the Melbourne Age, Australia (AP)

A seven year old boy was at the centre of a courtroom drama yesterday.

When he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge initially awarded custody to his aunt, in keeping with the child custody law and regulations requiring that family unity be maintained to the degree possible.

The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her. When the judge suggested that he live with his grandparents, theboy cried out that they also beat him. After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him.

After two recesses to check legal references and confer with child welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the English Cricket Team, whom the boy firmly believes are "not capable of beating anyone."

Life Is A Lift (Elevator)

I know how he feels...

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Calling Jim Croce Fans

Are there any of you out there?

A friend gave me a copy of his greatest hits and it is absolutely wonderful. I bought his love songs compilation years ago and it's still amongst one of my all time favourite CD's (along with Carole King's Tapestry).

I was definitely born in the wrong decade. It would have been nice to listen to him whilst he was still amongst us.

This is truly beautiful music.

Sunday, 7 January 2007

Hiding The Disappointment

Recently, a Rabbi I know exhibited a behaviour that can only be described as unbecoming of his Office. I am extremely upset and to be frank, disappointed with the way in which he treated a very good friend of mine and the whole episode sits on my stomach like a badly digested meal.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I was brought up to respect people in high positions. I always look to men of the cloth (if that's the correct term to use), because I expect them, albeit naively, to be untainted by human frailties.

Am I wrong to hold these human beings up to a higher moral standard? Why can't I just accept that these people are just like me, only with a more developed sense of what is right and wrong?

I wish I could banish my childish fantasies that a Rabbi is a better person because of who he is and what he represents. I wish I wouldn't feel so let down by this particular individual, who has disappointed me to the degree, that I find it extremely hard to look him in the face.

The more I look, the more distaste I feel because in my eyes, his behaviour is all the more disgraceful, granted that he should know better. How do I continue to hide my disgust without being openly disrespectful, which is something that I want to avoid becoming?

I was brought up to respect people in authority, whether they be members of the Police, Military of Clergy. I therefore find myself in the unenviable position of having to hide my feelings towards someone that I held in high esteem less than a month ago.

Any ideas friends?

Thursday, 4 January 2007

Michal's Great Question

She asked:

"Is honey made from squeezed bees?"

You couldn't make these things up!

Monday, 1 January 2007

The Very First Post Of 2007

We were all invited to our friends' house for a sleepover. It would have been a perfect occasion had I not been lumbered with a nasty cold and cough. Saying that, with all things considered, we had a great time!

Happy 2007 everybody!