Simple Gifts

a) Watching Pixie Eat:

On Thursday evening, the moist veterinary diet food arrived. We’d been waiting for it for more than a week. The vet said there was a nationwide shortage. He managed to obtain just one box from the supplier and I had it brought round by special messenger. I was so relieved when Pixie seemed to like it. But I think that was only the novelty value, because the following day, she ate much less and today, she wouldn’t even look at it. Fortunately, today being Shabbat, she and Possum were due for their weekly ration of Fancy Feast – half a can each – and she ate some of that. Then, after I had administered her infusion (to which she submitted without a struggle), she ate most of the rest. She’s still turning up her nose at the dietary food. We’ll see how she goes along tomorrow. I know there are appetite-enhancing pills but I also know it will be a battle of wills to make her take them and I don’t want to make whatever time she has left a nightmare for her by forcing them down her throat.

b) The Rain:

It’s been raining quite steadily for five days now. There have been some sunny spells, and some lengthy periods of light drizzle but, blissfully, there have been long bouts of really heavy rain. It will, however, take many more days like this to restore the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) to its optimal level (it is currently 67 cm below the Red Line).

I love the smell of the rain!

c) Curling Up in Front of the TV to Watch a New Series:

I had been greatly looking forward to watching what is basically a sequel to “Upstairs Downstairs”, the immensely popular ITV series from the 1970s. Episode 1 aired last night. I was not disappointed. The new series looks most promising. And it follows on quite neatly from where the original series left off, even though it’s set some six years later.

I wish I could say the same for the so-called “remake” of “Hawaii Five-O”, the cult police series from forty years ago, starring Jack Lord. As a series in its own right, it was quite enjoyable. But “Hawaii Five-O” it was not. Apart from the location and the names of the major characters, it was nothing like the original series. Steve McGarrett, who was portrayed by the late Jack Lord as an experienced, reliable old-style cop, the head of Hawaii’s police force, is now a much younger man, a former US Navy SEAL, plucked from the Office of Naval Intelligence by the Governor of Hawaii to head up an anti-terrorist and serious crime task force. The new Danny Williams is on terms of much greater equality with his “boss” and the two are much more like partners than commander and subordinate. Kono has turned into a woman and is now Chin Ho’s cousin. Since Chin Ho was presumably meant to be of Chinese origin and Kono, native Hawaian, I’m not sure how this is supposed to work. To make matters more complicated, from something she said in the first episode, one gets the impression her background is actually Japanese!  Oh, and on the subject of the Japanese – I understand that the arch-villain of the original series, Wo Fat (a rogue Chinese Intelligence agent) is now a crime lord somehow connected to the Yakusa (the Japanese Mafia)!

In the first episode of the new series, McGarrett’s father, an ex-cop, is murdered and it is this which leads Steve to accept the Governor’s offer and head up the new Task Force. If, instead of trying to push this as a remake of the original series, they had written it as if the new Steve McGarrett was the son of Jack Lord’s character,  out to avenge his death, that would have been a fine premise for the new series – which, as I said, I found quite enjoyable in it’s own right. But when the series is promoted as a remake of the original, those of us who were ardent fans of Jack Lord come to it with high hopes and expectations which cannot lead to anything other than disappointment.

d) Curling Up in Bed With a Good Book:

Oddly enough, although I made aliyah well over thirty years ago and both read and speak Hebrew fluently, it is only over the past couple of years that I have begun to read modern Hebrew literature for pleasure. But having once done so, I have fallen in love with the language of the Bible and am currently enjoying “Kalman Kimmerling, Private Investigator – God Willing” by Asher Kravitz, author of “The Jewish Dog” which I read a few months ago.  The latter told the story of the rise of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, through the eyes of a small dog which belonged to a Jewish family in Berlin.  It was because I so enjoyed “The Jewish Dog” that I sought out more books by Kravitz. This latest book tells the story of a Hassidic Jew from Brooklyn, who makes aliyah to Israel, in order to realise his dream of opening a private detective agency in Jerusalem’s ultra-orthodox Mea Shearim neighbourhood. There, his useful connections and insights into the haredi world make him a welcome ally to a police officer investigating a violent attack on a young married woman which is somehow connected to a series of burglaries in that neighbourhood and to the mysterious death by snakebite of a respected rabbi. One of the things I like about Kravitz’s writing, both here and in his previous book, is the many references and allusions to things and places which are familiar to me as a Jew and an Israeli. The book is set in Jerusalem, there are many quotations from the Bible, from the Talmud and from the prayerbook and, although Mea Shearim is, in many ways, an alien world to me, there is still much about it that I can relate to in a way that I cannot relate to, say,  St. Mary Mead (much as I enjoy Agatha Christie).

I would like to leave you with a short excerpt from the book, in my own translation.  Chief Superintendant Turgeman of the Jerusalem Police has just asked Kalman, somewhat mockingly,  if he really believes everything that is written in the Bible and why he, an intelligent man, has chosen to live an orthodox lifestyle.  Kalman replies:

To the Godfearing Jew, living a life of holiness, the generations hold each other by the hand. Jewish existence is like an immortal chain stretched throughout eternity – and we are its rings of steel. Our Torah is the baton passed by the relay runners, from hand to hand. We celebrate the Water Drawing Ceremony at Sukkot just as the priests celebrated it two thousand years ago in the Holy Temple, we eat unleavened bread at Pessach just as our forefathers ate it in Egypt three thousand years ago and we circumcise the flesh of our foreskins just as our father, Abraham, circumcised his son Isaac four thousand years ago.”

Food for thought, for all those who may challenge our presence here in this land.

Shavua Tov.                                           שבוע טוב

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About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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2 Responses to Simple Gifts

  1. tootsnbob says:

    I hope your Pixie is doing better . . . I too enjoy the rain, it rained here most of the day. I love the comfort and peace of my home and to curl up with a good TV program or book is a treat. I find it increasingly difficult to find anything on TV worthy of my time so we spend most of our TV time watching Fox News, the History Channel, RFD TV (rural farming station) and the Hallmark Channel.
    God bless you and your country. You are in my prayers.

    • Yes, I like the History Channel. We used to be able to get Hallmark on cable TV, but they dropped it, for some reason – lack of demand, I think. We can also get Fox News, which I watch sometimes. What kind of programmes do they have on RFD TV?

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