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Newsletter 222: Merry Christmas to Christians all over the world.


Merry Christmas to Christians all over the world.

One can’t easily pass over an amazing event, such as the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem on this night.

As a Jew I love my Christian friends and I can truly say that I am happy for all people who believe in Jesus and so are saved and I am happy to wish them happiness because their savior was born on this night. So I wish you, my dear Christian friends and Christians all over the world, a very Merry Christmas.

As you know I have a website but it doesn’t get much traffic so I’ve started organizing it so that it gets more visitors or traffic as they say. I have a lady helping me with this and she asked for some pictures and only when I started sending them to her I realized that the quality wasn’t so hot, so I visited the Old City and took about 100 pictures.

I started at the Italian Hospital, where Ettie dropped me off on her way to Mahaneh Yehudah Market for her regular Friday morning shopping, and ended up at the Wailing Wall.

Now all the pictures are on Google who grabs them, like a spoilt child, straight from my camera, but hopefully they’ll be on my new website with lots of other pictures.

Until now I haven’t been able to put pictures in my newsletters, now I’ve put them on my website. Each No Newsletter has at least one picture attached to it, which in my opinion sums up the content of the No Newsletter. But for this you need to visit the website: jerusalemwalks.com. I hope that this will satisfy Bradley, my niece Lisa’s husband, who’s often asked me to put pictures with my No Newsletter.

One of the pictures you can see with this No Newsletter is a picture of the remains of the broad wall, one of my favorite archaeological sites, because it is authentic and brings to life the troubled times that the Jewish lived through and how God helped them.

The Broad Wall of Hezekiah, whose massive remains we see in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, is where Jews lived in the 8th century BCE. We are looking at left-overs, 10 ft wide 15ft high and ½ km long, not at the wall as it was before its destruction, which is the way the ancient Israelites saw it, which we can only surmise was about 40 ft high.

King Hezekiah had been very wise to build such a wall.

In fact the Assyrians couldn’t break through and died of a plague which wiped out their entire army.

Isaiah’s interpretation of this event is passed down to us through the ages. According to him this was a miracle of God, who once again saved Israel.

This of course fits with the message of the Bible, namely that while rewarding His servants God punishes those who persecute them. Naturally the Jewish People, considering themselves God’s servants, like this idea.

Later, however the Babylonians succeeded in destroying the temple and carrying off the Jews to captivity and the explanation for this is that they were God’s instrument to punish His servants for disobedience to Him.

We like the first part of this axiom but not the second part, while our enemies like the second part, because it justifies their anti-Semitism: that they are sent by God to punish His servants when they disobey Him, in other words they are only the instruments of God.

This latter idea, popular during Roman rule over Judea, became the reason for the establishment of Christianity. Later Islam made this its credo also, namely that God sent them into the world as His instruments for punishing His servants, the Jews.

As you know I was born in South Africa and as a child, even as a young man I had the idea that this was God’s gift to me, that I was privileged to be born in such a paradise like South Africa. Today I realize that the education I received in SA taught me this idea by means of a biased form of education which hid the faults of my country, like the suffering of the black man, which was made to appear the natural way of the world, while lauding our strength in sport and scientific achievement.

I think that the South African education system kept the book by Olive Schreiner, the story of an African Farm, out of our hands, while the system was busy brainwashing us that we were a one race, nation of perfectly homogeneous individuals. Why else, I ask myself did I not read this amazingly beautiful, enlightening story, written in the 19th century, until I reached the age of 74?

The story is full of individuals with contrasting character traits, which I soon realized describes a cross section of the white population of SA in the days of my youth; it’s about an evil plot, which takes place on a God forsaken farm in the middle of the most desolate surroundings one can imagine, uncovered by two surprisingly wise and cultured young people, in which a kind old man, an immigrant to SA from Germany, is exploited by an unscrupulous Englishman, who’s only objective is to gain wealth by any means possible and chooses to cheat a rich, tough, cruel, egotistical, but gullible Afrikaner farm woman into marrying him.

Closing the book I said to myself “that is a picture of the white population of SA, sometimes loveable, other times cruel, other times very wise and at other times highly cultural.”

I find it totally disgusting that the SA government tried to hide this wonderful, colorful society from us. Together, Olive Schreiner’s characters form the the SA that I loved and was very sad to leave in 1976.

The Jerusalem Theatre’s computer booking service was down so I called to reserve tickets for “Elsa and Fred” and lo and behold I found myself talking to a pretty voiced lady, who also sounded young and attractive, suggesting I buy a subscription to the Jerusalem Theater.

I was only using the phone because the theater’s internet booking facility wasn’t working.

Was it possible that the Jerusalem Theatre had specially contrived the network breakdown to get me to talk to this temptress?

She was, however very persuasive and was obviously the champion subscription seller.

Many organizations employ cute voiced ladies to sell subscriptions, because they arouse romantic ideas in the minds of adult men, who will do everything a pretty girl suggests. In fact I’d already agreed but it was not to be.

A shout from Ettie warned me that Haim and Carmela were joining us and that Carmela was at the box office at that very moment, so there was no need for me to buy the tickets, she would.

Ettie indeed, often saves me from foolishness, but, the lesson I learnt from the movie I was trying to book tickets for, was that people, especially children of old parents, should not try to save them from doing foolish things because these are often the things that give the most pleasure to their lives.

The two people involved, Elsa (Shirley McLean) and Fred (Christopher Plummer) stimulate each other into doing things that are considered foolish for old people to do.

The things they do in the movie are not caused because they are old, but because they have diametrically opposite natures, which constantly clash; she is a romantic person who fantasizes about reliving pleasures which she enjoyed when she was young and he is a pedantic realist who, because of his debilities, which are the result of old age, totally refuses to revive past happiness.

Elsa, after much amusing difficulty, succeeds in bringing Fred into her fantasy world and so takes him out of his harsh real world and they have a lot of fun and so do we, the audience. The combination is a winner in real life and in the movies.

As often happens I read something in the newspaper about an Israeli movie that won a prize, and I’m all for seeing prize winning movies, but I couldn’t remember the name.

Being certain (an attitude I should never adopt) that it would be showing at Cinema City in Jerusalem and that I would recognize the name when I saw it, I went along and mistakenly saw “Bon Dieu”

which translates in Hebrew to “What did I do to deserve this”, thinking that that was the prize winning movie. It was a good movie with amusing action about a Moslem married to a Catholic with 4 daughters who each marry a man from other cultures, a Chinese, a Jew, a Catholic and finally a black man from Nigeria. It’s really amusing, but I didn’t think it could qualify for a prize. I continued searching for the prize winning movie and finally found it.

“Zero in human relations” also known as “zero motivation”. Ettie’s reaction was why would I want to see a movie about girls in the Israeli army?

Well I made a special trip to Tel Aviv to the Lev Cinema in Disengoff Centre to see it and it was worthwhile.

It was pretty good, amusing in parts, tragic in others with lots of slapstick but most of all one learnt

about the ambitions and feelings of young girls who have to serve in the Israeli army. This film is a must for the girls and parents with girls, but everyone can enjoy it and learn from it.

As I mentioned in one of my no newsletter my grandchildren have been looking for a dog to adopt. Well last Friday they finally found one. Two weeks have gone by and the dog is still with them so the relationship must be developing nicely. One never knows how things will turn out, but I hope it will carry on developing.

I think she’s a beautiful animal: her head is Alsatian, big, black and brown. Her body is small with a light brown color. I think she’s descended from the retriever and Alsation families. The kids call her Ollie, she’s only 8 months old and very well behaved, very playful and great with kids. I think she’s great for them, and I’m very happy for them.

Wishing you a great no newsday

Yours truly

Leon Gork

#movies #christmas #nonewsletter

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