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The Jewish New Year for Trees and a Remarkable Milestone at an Israeli Hospital
Last uploaded : Friday 13th Feb 2004 at 20:51
Contributed by : Sheila Raviv


13 February 2004

Oh how I wish you could have been with me today! I drove from Jerusalem toward Abu Ghosh and had to stop at the roadside just to take in the beauty. The hills of Jerusalem were simply smothered in glorious fragrant almond blossom! Oh how you would have loved the soft gentle colours of palest pink and white against the bare branches. It is amazing. I don't know about the swallow or the daffodil being the harbinger of spring, I would vote for the almond blossom any day. In Hebrew we call the trees "shkediot".

Today my heart sang for the trees, yesterday the earth moved for me!!!!! I am not joking; we had an earthquake of 5.1 on the Richter scale which lasted for 30 seconds. I know that doesn't impress any Californians amongst you but here it is very rare! The Knesset building suffered some small cracks and pieces of plaster interrupted the proceedings, but nothing can stop the government talking for long! What amazed me was that this incredibly resilient nation which returns to normal life after horrific terrorist attacks, went into mass trauma!!! No-one was actually hurt except one man who fell off his ladder in fright, but half the nation left work and went home to lie down in a darkened room!!!

Now for some incredible news from Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem

For the fist time anywhere in the world, orthopedic surgeons at Hadassah University Hospital, Mount Scopus are performing hip replacement surgery with the assistance of a computer navigation system. ?This technology is the most significant orthopedic improvement in the last 5 decades,? says Prof. Meir Libergall, Chairman of Hadassah?s Department of Orthopedics, who together with Dr. Yoav Matan, head or the Joint Replacement Unit at Hadassah, Mt. Scopus.

The first patient to receive the operation was Amram Weiner, in his 50s, from Kibbutz Yad Mordechai. Weiner, whose operation took place three days ago, says, ?Since the first few hours after the operation, I have felt no pain whatsoever.? His wife, Hagar, says, ?Before the operation he couldn?t walk more than 20 meters. Every movement, even to answer the phone, was difficult and he was taking 8-10 painkillers a day. Now he doesn?t need any, and his independence he been returned to him.?

The world is beginning to understand the extent of the fiscal shenanigans of the Palestinian Authority. Der Spiegel and even The Guardian are reporting misuse of funds, to the extent of EU money reportedly going directly into the pockets of the Arafat family. The French began an enquiry after realizing that Suha Arafat has $13,000,000 in her account in Paris (remember I told you about this eight months ago!). Maybe they will now realise that there are verbal as well as fiscal inconsistencies?.

Uri Geller and his wife Hanna live in the most glorious place on earth. Sonning-on-Thames is a small village in Berkshire which boasts some of the finest restaurants and hotels in the area. Their garden runs down to the River Thames and one would think their lives are complete. I know it well because we used to live a few miles up river from their home. Yesterday morning, Uri Geller took his dogs for a walk in the village as he does every day. Closing the gate behind him he saw, scrawled in huge red letters across his garden fence the word "Jew". He called the police who took the matter very seriously, never having seen anti-Semitism of this nature, and then he spoke on Israeli television. "This type of anti-Semitism is now rife in the world. We are seriously considering returning to Israel. It is the only place where a Jew can hold his head up and not be afraid."

Which brings me back to the French. The French Government has acted, in my opinion, bravely by banning the ra-alah, the head-covering worn by Moslem women. They included large crosses and large skull-caps in order to appear fair. The furious repercussions in the Moslem community caused one French spokesperson to say "I am sorry, they came to France as guests in our country. If they don't want to adopt our ways then let them go back to their country where they can do as they wish" France is the second country to ban such dress codes. Turkey, a Moslem country, was the first.

I just spoke to Kinneret Chaya!!! [Editor's Note: a victim of the 2002 Tel Aviv bombing] She is still in Boston with her Mummy Yaffa. The operations appear to have been a great success. Still on morphine to lessen her pain, Kinneret told me about the incredible treatment she is getting from Dr Joel Feldman and his team who have given their expertise and the clinic in Cambridge Mass for free, gratis and with love. "They treat us like royalty, and we couldn't have had better medical treatment. I am sure this time it will work, that will make it all worthwhile. Dr Feldman is such a special gentle doctor." I then spoke to Yaffa, who knows her daughters skin better than anyone. Yaffa told me that she really believes that the reconstructive surgery on Kinnerets chin, lip and eye-lid has taken. All being well they return to Israel on the 23rd of February. I can't wait to see them! Of course the first thing I told them about was??the "shkediot"!

With love



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