Thursday, January 08, 2009

From my niece in Tsfat

There was an incident in Ashdod while Tal [my grand-nephew] was there with two sisters who heard the siren and got out of their car and huddled in a bus stop. The one sister said "Did you hear that?" to the other sister. They heard the hissing sound of the rocket falling. She said "It's here." The explosion yanked her out of her sister's hand, she flew up in the air, crashed down, and died.

The surviving sister told what had happened on the news so vividly and articulately you could imagine it as if you were her. The one who died was 39 years old and had 3 kids. She was on the cel phone to her husband and he heard the whole thing.

Unless the Hezbollah gets involved we will be OK in the North but there is no way to know what will happen next. I think this is the worst war of our history. I think Israel just got fed up with these assholes and is going for broke this time. No one I know here would want the government to even consider a ceasefire in all the pain of seeing the soldiers fall and civilians killed. We can't live like this any more.

-- Shelly


  1. Christy2:36 AM

    I'm sure the Palestinians can't live like this anymore either. What a great contribution to humanity you are Jack Kessler.

  2. You too, honey.

    My niece and her neighbors are not in favor of shooting at anybody who is not shooting at them.

    The same cannot be said for your proteges on the other side, can it?

  3. Christy4:06 AM

    I don't know, can your niece and neighbours account for the land they live on? The wall their government built around another nations land? The settlements their government continues to build and populated by religious fanatics? Their nukes?

    Lets not play the moral high ground game mate. It'll end badly for you.

  4. Yes, actually they can. They got it exactly the way you got the land you are on right now -- by purchase. Willing sellers sold to willing buyers.

    It is not the least surprising that you don't know this or that you deny it. The "They took the land" lie is absolutely central to the Palestinian claim of grievance. Yet it is absurd on its face.

    You cannot go next door and take your neighbor's house right now for a very good reason. It is breaking and entering. The police will be called and you will be hauled away. The same was true under Turkish rule before 1917 and under British rule after 1917 and it remains true under Israeli rule today.

    The source of the lie is well-known. As Arab xenophobia against Jews rose, Arabs who sold their land to Jews were in danger of their lives from vigilantes. So the prices to Jews were up to ten times as high as to other buyers. And once the price was paid and the Jews took possession, the seller, in fear of his life, immediately denied having sold to Jews and claimed that his property had been taken from him by force. No matter how obviously preposterous the claim was.

    Most of the people I know are the children or grandchildren of immigrants. Most of us have houses. Which we bought with down payment and mortgages. That is how the Israelis got theirs too.

    The fact that you believe it though it is false on its face, shows merely the force of repetition and perhaps of your inclination to believe it.

  5. The wall they built is not around somebody else's land, it is around their own land.

    Why do you think the wall was built after so many decades? Could it have had anything to do with the continually rising toll of suicide bombings in Israel?

    Have you noticed that you haven't heard about such bombings for several years now? Do you think that is a coincidence too?

    Once again the Palestinians blame the Israelis for the consequences of their own actions. No suicide bombers, no wall. Who is responsible for it?

    If someone you knew, a neighbor, a coworker, a friend, kept blaming other people for the consequences of his own actions, how would you describe that person? What would be your adjective?

  6. Christy, do you find it the least eensy-beensy tiny little bit difficult to square your objections to Jewish religious fanatics with your support for Hamas? Just the least tiny bit? :o)

  7. Could it be that your complaint about others having the moral high ground is really that you don't have it?

    Could it be that defending rocket bombardments of civilians doesn't give you the moral high ground? Could it be that your pretending away the perennial suicide bomb attacks on Jewish families does not give you the morel high ground?

    Could it be that your insistence that Israel is at fault in the face of all evidence puts you in the position of having to pretend away a lot of monstrous behavior on the part of your proteges?

    Could it be that your objection to someone else has the moral high ground is a recognition that you don't?

    When does it come to be time to recognize that you yourself really don't approve of rocket bombardments of neighborhoods and schools, and that you really don't approve of suicide bombers?

    Could it be that you are a little bit conflicted?

  8. Anonymous11:18 PM

    I am so sorry, Jack, that your family member died today. It makes it worse when you know someone who is hurt or dies senselessly.
    One would think or assume that each of us are touched by the loss of any life. Sadly, such is not the case.

    Again, Jack, my condolences to you and your family. Yitgadal vayitkadash shemay rabah...

  9. Christy7:41 AM

    I too, am sorry if any family loses a family member, no matter the circumstances. In fact, I was way too harsh in my earlier responses. I really sorry for what a crass and tasteless response Jack.

  10. Thank you both for your kindness and sympathy but you are under a misapprehension. My grand-nephew was in Ashdod when one of the two sisters was killed by the rocket and near to where it happened. They were not however part of my immediate family.

    My grand-nephew was brought home to Tsfat immediately.

  11. Dear Uncle Jack,

    My wife and daughter, as well as myself, can find no suitable words to offer by way of comfort.

    I would like to make an offering of the Yedid Nefesh, if it is appropriate. This is an extraordinary work of culture and spiritual depth. This piyyut continues to inspire and evolve. Here is a link to Yitzhak Yedid’s improvisation on the melodic structure. Perhaps you can embed the link (or your favorite version ) on your blog.

    Yitzhak YEDID plays 'Yedid Nefesh'

    Lover of my soul, merciful God,
    bring your servant close to Your will.
    Your servant will run like a gazelle, to prostrate before Your glory.
    For Your companionship is purer than any fine taste or flavor.

    Perfect, pleasing, radiance of the world, my soul desires Your love.
    Please, God, heal her now, as You show her the pleasantness of Your light.
    Now, strengthen and heal her, and she will be for You an eternal servant.

    Ancient one, many your mercies be made manifest,
    And have compassion on the child of Your lover.
    For it is so long that I have faithfully waited, to see the glory of Your strength.
    Please, my God, the desire of my Heart, hurry and do not hide!

    Please, my beloved, reveal yourself and spread over me the shelter of Your peace.
    Fill the world with the light of your glory, so that we may rejoice and be happy in You.
    Be quick, my lover, for the time has come, and have mercy on me for all time.

    By way of aside, and as you are no doubt very well aware, the Jewish National and University Library – Digitized Book Repository contains numerous examples of works written by intellectuals and spiritual leaders of the Jewish people living in the city of Safed during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

    Here is the XVI century Safed imprint of Rabbi Elazar ben Moshe Azikri’s monograph containing the Yedid Nefesh:

    These works, accessible to any who care to research, attest to long-standing presence of Jewish people and culture in Israel. In fact, these Safed works are recent given the historical context of Hebrew history.

    Rabbi Elazar ben Moshe Azikri (1533 - 1600) was a Jewish kabbalist, poet and writer, born in Safed to a Sephardic family who settled in Palestine after the expulsion from Spain.

    Safed, one of the four holy cities of Judaism, was located in the Ottoman villayet (province) of Sidon. The cultural impact of the Sephardim in Palestine during the XVI and XVII centuries was of the highest order.

    A Hebrew printing press was established in Safed in 1577 by Eliezer Ashkenazi and his son, Isaac of Prague. It was the first press in Palestine and the whole of the Ottoman Empire. It was on this press, that Rabbi Elazar ben Moshe Azikri’s works (including the beautiful Yedid Nefesh) were published and disseminated throughout the Jewish communities of the Ottoman Empire and the Diaspora.

    All of Our Love,

    David, Xiao, and Maximilienne