Thursday, May 24, 2007


Premier Peres poses with young Haim in Upper Nazareth on March 26, 1985. They are immigrants from Ethiopia. They were flown to Israel and many also were moved into Safed, Israel, where I lived. They came dressed in white sheets and were barefoot. In no time at all they learned Hebrew and how to shop in supermarkets. People set up clothing shops in their apartments and they were able to aquire western style clothing this way. While I lived in Safed, they put on an art display of things they had made.
The story is that when they landed in Israel they wondered where the Jewish women were. They were not used to seeing women wearing slacks, which many do.
On June 13, 2007 Shimon Peres was elected the 9th president of Israel. He was a former prime minister and Nobel laureate. He has had a six-decade political career.


The year is 1980. This is the Rimon Inn in Safed, Israel, where I lived for almost five years. This inn was marvelous. We went here for special dinners. All the food was kosher and delicious. We came to Safed on a field trip with our school in 1980 and later moved here in 1981. The brochure says that Safed is high in the mountains, and it is at the same level pretty much as Jerusalem. We had dry, cool mountain air in the Spring, and it was hot and dry in the summer. You could sit out at the inn amid gnarled olive trees. People came here to explore this medieval city of Jewish mysticism. The Cabbalists lived and prayed here. It is written about in James Mitchner's "The Source" with the chapter about the saintly men of Safed. Nearby is the artists' quarter which called to me as I do oil painting. The Rimon Inn is one of the fine hotels in the IRH Israel Resort Hotels chain. It was damaged in the recent shelling from Lebanon.

This is my apartment in Safed, Israel that I moved into in 1981 and moved out of at the end of 1985. It was at ground level and was a very high building with an elevator. Notice that the barred window also has a metal shade because terrorists could come in if it wasn't this way. All ground level buildings and stores had protection like this on windows.
I'm sitting on an extra bed in our living room in September. It is night. It's hot and I'm wearing a caftan. We had just moved in and were yet to buy furniture. There is no air conditioning, only a fan that we bought.
This is Beth Hatefutsoth, a museum of the Jewish Diaspora in Tel Aviv, Israel. We went here in 1981 with our class also. All the buildings are so modern, though Israel was born amidst a war in 1948. This is one of many museums. When you are in Israel, you may wind up doing a lot of walking as there is much to see even though the country is so little.
This is Hamat Gader (El Hama) with a pool. It is one of 5 mineral springs and is famous since ancient times. People with arthritis come here for relief. We were here with our class on January 23, 1981. It was great. We went into the water which was about 85 degree F. It looked like the garden of Eden to me, a truly beautiful oasis. This was a former Roman Springs. We had a wonderful trip through the Upper Galilee, and included seeing Lake Tiberias on the Jordan border. We planted trees for Tu Betshuat.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Why It Took 2,000 Years to Return to Our Promised Land

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                     
Moses with Ten Commandments
Moses decided to take the Jewish people out of Egypt and back to the Promised Land of Canaan. He not only received Ten Commandments for us to live by but 613 more. This created a society that was probably the most advanced in the world, showing a reverence of all life, including animal’s feelings of all sorts. Female babies were not killed. No human was sacrificed. This all happened at least 3,000 years ago. There was no other group of people that were so sensitive to living creatures or were so much in the here and now of the living and not the deceased.

We lost our civilization in 70CE when the Romans conquered Jerusalem. We had been carried off as slaves before this several times. Again our people were either killed or carried off as slaves. Yet some were able to hide in the small kingdoms of either Judah or Israel.
The Jewish survivors adjusted their thinking to fit the circumstances they found themselves in. Their prayers included returning to Jerusalem or losing their right hands as a reminder of its importance. During this time they found they had to live by their wits, not being allowed to own land in other’s countries where they were expelled to or taken. They already were a group who valued the art of reading and writing and found that trading was a skill they were good at. They kept to themselves, thereby preserving their inheritance of values and ideals.

After living in Italy, Germany, England and other places, they continued to be successful but lived according to their own values on foreign soil. This would cause jealousy and antagonism with the populace, causing them to be driven out. In the late 1800's several groups finally moved back to what was now called Palestine to live and prosper. By 1894 a reporter named Hertzl realized that anti-Semitism was on the rise again and looked for a solution. Not being a religious man, he thought of Africa as a home for the Jews. Then he realized that not once had their prayers strayed from the promise to remember Jerusalem and to return to her. "Palestine," that hot wasteland, was the only place that Jews could possibly return.to and strive to rebuild.

Then the 2nd world war happened, being declared December 7, 1941 in the USA. Six million Jews who lived in Europe were slaughtered. Many survivors made their way to Palestine because other nations still had rules barring Jews from entering. A deal had been made with the English, who were responsible for the land at that time to allow Jews to have their own homeland back. After being pressured by some Arab heads, they renigged on their promise with proclaiming their "White Paper", which barred Jews from entering this barren unclaimed parcel of land. However, by 1948, Israel managed to be born.

For two thousand years Jews have tried to live in other people’s countries. They have led the way in many areas of business, medicine and science. Knowledge and education have been the driving force in their families. Knowing that six million of their people were murdered for no reason other than being Jewish has been the driving force to have their own country once again. It has not been an easy road since all the surrounding countries attacked once the birth of Israel was announced. These are countries with more square miles than USA is made of, attacking the state of Israel which is one third as big as Oregon. At this writing only two of the countries have made some sort of peace with Israel; Egypt and Jordan. Lebanon is still trying to get on its feet and fighting there is very close to Israel. Israel is only 59 years old in this second birth and has had to fight in about seven wars. It took the Jews a long time to throw in the towel and return to their own land, and perhaps it will take us another two thousand years until our neighbors realize that we’re there for good and quit fighting us. For here we must stay. There is no other way. No, we never did forget Jerusalem.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Kassam Rockets
The Palestinian Hamas movement has been raining Kassam rockets on Israel. Hundreds have been falling, making life absolutely so impossible on nearby towns that the town of Sderot has been evacuated. General Normin has said that these simple homemade steel rockets filled with explosives are militarily insignificant. That may be in Iraq, but not for Israel.

One must remember that a range of distance of 3, 8 and 10 kilometers is deadly for Israel. Israel is only as big as 1/3 of Oregon. The surrounding countries are very close. General Normin may think Kassam rockets are militarily insignificant but he has never fought for Israel nor has he been on such a small turf. The joke in Israel used to be: don't put your arm out of the window on the train or it will be in Jordan.

When I moved to Israel in 1980 I moved to Safed after studying for 10 months in Haifa. On the way to Safed in the moving truck I was told that a Katusha rocket had fallen in the back of a nearby apartment building only two weeks before. Then, Katusha rockets were in vogue and continued to fall in the Northern Galilee. Now they use Kassams out of Gaza, but because they are easily home made, are falling by the hundreds.

Finally Israel is retaliating while trying not to enter the Gaza territory. They've been enduring these attacks for far too long.