Friday, April 27, 2018

Politics – April 2018 - In Memory of Betty Basan

What's wrong with the British Labour Party? Why it is related, time and again, to anti-Semitic, racist and abusive comments? Labour values have no place for such. Zero tolerance. Time to clear the air and clean the filth. 

Of all liberal values and principles – personal autonomy, liberty, equality, tolerance, pluralism, rule of law, justice and human rights - the latter two, justice and human rights, are the most important.

For PM Netanyahu: Knowing that there is an exit does not necessarily mean that one knows where the exit is. Try harder.

~Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Betty Basan
Reflections on Last Newsletter


Bloody Friday – March 30, 2018
Bloody Friday2 – April 6, 2018
Yasser Murtaja
Bloody Friday3 – April, 13, 2018
Bloody Friday4 – April 20, 2018

Israel Reaches Landmark Deal with UN to Resettle African Migrants. But then Retracts.  

David Grossman: Voice of moderation, of sanity, of wisdom
Spin Doctoring

British Labour and Antisemitism
Israeli Labour Party Suspends Relations with UK Labour Party

Millicent Fawcett

Zuckerberg’s Testimony in Congress

My New Article - Raphael Cohen-Almagor and E. Wesley Ely, “Euthanasia and Palliative Sedation in Belgium”, BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care (2018).

Wes Ely’s CNN Article

New Books – Amos N. Guiora, Earl Warren, Ernesto Miranda and Terrorism
Gem of the Month – Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Playing Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2

Spring Please
Monthly Poems
Light Side


Betty Basan

Sadly, I lost my beloved auntie, Aunt Betty. Betty was married to my mom’s brother, Uncle Jacques.  After WWII, they both immigrated to Israel from Bulgaria and started new lives in Palestine, soon to become Israel. Betty remained at home, taking care of their daughters, Shoshi and Etty. My mom used to call upon Aunt Betty to babysit me and to provide help when needed. Betty often took me to all kind of appointments that my working parents entrusted her. I grew to like this quiet, unassuming and gentle lady who did not say much, who whenever said something, it was positive and constructive. Betty was born to help others, not to harm. She celebrated rather than complained, always encouraging and giving.

For many years, my mom together with Betty and Aunt Clara would meet for breakfast on Fridays. I, sometime with other members of my family, joined them from time to time. I loved those Friday morning meetings with the three ladies who played an important part in my life, especially as I was growing up in Tel Aviv. As I joined academia and started to travel, my mom used to visit me in various locations. She took Betty as her companion. I recall their visit to Los Angeles, when I was visiting professor at UCLA. My family and I had a great time with them in LA, and later touring California, including Carmel, Santa Barbara and San Francisco. One evening as we were having dinner at a fish restaurant on Malibu I decided to surprise her doing something I was certain she never experienced. I decided that Betty will celebrate her birthday on that evening (it was not her birthday). I informed the waiters who came as a group to our table at the end of the meal, singing to her “Happy Birthday” and presenting her with a cake and candles. Betty did not understand from where this came on her. I recall the look on her face. She was utterly surprised and wanted to burry herself. She never liked to be at the centre of attention. Still, we had a good laugh. Aunt Betty remembered that evening until the end of her life.

Betty loved to travel and to explore. She was a well-rounded, curious person who was eager to learn, with firm social-democratic values, and healthy sense of justice. Later, my mom and Betty visited me in New York at winter, when NY experienced 14 consecutive snow storms. The two Israeli ladies were not deterred and explored NY, walking many miles each and every day, recalling their Bulgaria snow experience. For me, it was wonderful to have them around as I conducted my studies.

Betty was a kind and loving woman whose death leaves a hole in my heart. I will always relish her sweet memory. Rest in peace, my dear auntie.

Aunt Betty died at the age of 94 after a short battle with cancer.

Reflections on Last Newsletter

Re cyberbullying
I was very happy to receive positive comments about my cyberbullying article, acknowledging the importance of the subject matter.

Every year hundreds of young people die as a result of bullying. Each and every death is a tragedy. Each and every death is unnecessary and could have been avoided. We all need to fight bullying and cyberbullying with all our influence and power. Please circulate it widely to your many contacts. Awareness is a key.

Re Catalonia
Francisco from Barcelona sent me a newspaper article that, according to him, represents the tense situation

Re Bolton
You ask “what do you think?” about the Bolton nomination.  I think it’s bad for the world and bad for Israel.  He is an unreformed hawk who not only helped bring about our disastrous war in Iraq, but who thinks today that it was a good idea. Peace – Professor Art Hobson, USA

Dear Rafi
To answer your question, "is Bolton's nomination good for Israel" I think the answer is more likely to come from the past and not, as so many opinion expressors do, try to predict the future. History has taught us that appeasement and indecision does not work with bullies and despots. Churchill who was hated by the British establishment and most Brits almost as much as many Americans hate Trump, refused to be swayed by the likes of Halifax and Chamberlain. He understood that Hitler as is true about most bullies was not to be appeased. And Roosevelt had to learn the hard way that Japan was not going to be swayed by rhetoric. I think Bolton is the right man for the time. It is clear that North Korea and Iran understand that this man will not hesitate to take action when diplomacy has run it's course without the required outcome. And action against Iran must be taken. And as BiBi so rightfully always said, the choices are not only a bad deal or war. The best choice is very strong and sustained sanctions and then if necessary war. A nuclear Iran may it be tomorrow or 10 years from now is not tolerable for Israel or the world. And a Nuclear North Korea is not tolerable for Japan or South Korea or the world. 
Abe Silverman
Manager Public Affairs Bnai Brith Canada Alberta Region. 


Romania will soon move its embassy to Jerusalem. Romania will become the fourth country to move its embassy to Jerusalem, following the United States, Guatemala, and Honduras.

On 13 May Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushaleim) I will be in Manchester, speaking about Trump decision to relocate the American Embassy to Jerusalem.

Bloody Friday – March 30, 2018

Sixteen Palestinians were killed and more than 1400 were wounded by Israeli rubber bullets and live fire in the Gaza Strip on Bloody Friday, as a series of massive protests kicked off along the security fence surrounding the enclave.

The army said it estimated some 30,000 demonstrators took part in the protests throughout Friday, with some Gazans throwing firebombs and rocks at troops and rolling burning tires toward soldiers. 

The IDF said troops were "firing towards the main instigators" to break up rioting that included petrol bombs and stones being thrown at the fence.

Israel’s heavy-handed response to the mass protest, responding to stones with bullets, showed that Israel is determined to stop any such reoccurrences across the border.  Israel has no patience or tolerance to any act that might help Hamas in its internal rivalry with Fatah. Israel’s response, like in Friday, will be quick and brutal. The message to Hamas is loud and clear: Don’t try us.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted: “Israel is acting determinedly and decisively to protect its sovereignty and the security of its citizens”. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that “under no circumstances” would there be an inquiry into the incident and that the Israeli soldiers manning the fence “deserve a commendation.”

At the United Nations, the Trump administration blocked the Security Council from issuing a statement that called for an “independent and transparent
investigation” and affirmed the Palestinians’ right to peaceful protest.

According to the United Nations, some 1.3 million of Gaza’s two million residents are refugees and the protest is calling for them to be allowed to return to land that is now Israel.

Resolving the Palestinian refugee problem is doable only through direct or indirect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Inflaming the atmosphere, egging people to sacrifice their lives, killing people – all these are wrong. There are no angels, there is no trust between the rival parties, and there is lack of wisdom in this conflict. Bloody Friday reflects this brute reality.

Bloody Friday2 – April 6, 2018

Nine Palestinians were killed and more than 400 injured in another Bloody Friday. One of those killed was a journalist, Yasser Murtaja. At least five other journalists are among those injured. According to Ori Nir, all were wearing PRESS vests. Nir asks: Will the Israeli Journalists Union say something? Will Israel's Foreign Press Association?

Photos of unarmed Palestinians suffering injuries and killed by the Israeli army have flooded the media and the social networking. From Israeli perspective, this is media disaster. Israel cannot call these people “terrorists”. These people protest against the denial of free movement, against what Israel has created: a sealed territory which the Gazans see as their large prison. Killing scores of people each Friday is not a solution. The problem is that I do not see even one decision-maker in Israel who has fresh ideas as to how to deal with this civil protest.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman defiantly argued that every Palestinian in Gaza was an accomplice of the militant group Hamas. "There are no innocent people in the Gaza Strip… Everyone’s connected to Hamas, everyone gets a salary from Hamas, and all the activists trying to challenge us and breach the border are Hamas military wing activists” (Washington Post, April 9, 2018). This words may explain why the IDF is instructed to open fire against protestors. If all Gazans are Hamas, and Hamas is a terrorist organisation, then the IDF is merely killing terrorists. This is self-defence.

Israel has and will have difficulties selling this to the world. Israel is harming its best interest, alienating itself from many groups of people including those who up until the 1980s volunteered to work in kibbutzim, identifying themselves with the Zionist revolution. Not all people are anti-Semite. Granted some are. But many people, especially in my circles, are looking for justice for all; they are people who promote human rights and who protest against wrong-doing. Steadily, Israel is losing support in the world. Human rights organisations and individuals find it difficult to defend what Israel does. People of peace are more and more disillusioned. This saddens me a great deal.

Yasser Murtaja

Yasser Murtaja, a 31-year-old journalist, was wearing a blue vest that clearly identified him as a member of the press. On April 9, 2018, Loveday Morris of The Washington Post reported:

“Murtaja, who was married and had a 2-year-old son, died Saturday after being shot the day before while covering protests at the edge of the Gaza Strip. His work had appeared on networks such as Al Jazeera, and in 2016 he worked as a cameraman for Ai Weiwei’s documentary, ´Human Flow´, which covered the global refugee crisis, including Palestinians in Gaza. The Chinese visual artist posted photos of Murtaja on his Instagram account on Saturday”.

"Murtaja had tried tirelessly to see beyond blockaded Gaza, including to travel for a training course with Al Jazeera in Doha, Qatar, but he never managed to leave, friends and family said”.

"Only a tiny proportion of the 2 million Palestinians in Gaza are ever able to get out due to tight travel restriction by Israel — which says such limitations are necessary for security reasons due to the militant group Hamas controlling the area — and only sporadic opening of the Egyptian border. For many young people, the 140-square-mile strip of territory on the Mediterranean is the only world they know.”

Bloody Friday3 – April 13, 2018

One Palestinian was killed and 233 were wounded by live Israeli fire as more than 10,000 protested along the Israel-Gaza border on Friday, burning tires and Israeli flags. Clearly, on April 13, unlike the past two weeks, the IDF received orders to shoot in order not to kill.

The Israeli military said that attempts were made to breach and cross the border fence. An explosive charge was thrown in the Karni area, and firebombs were thrown at the border.

The IDF warned that if Hamas doesn’t stop the violence, Israel will retaliate by attacking Hamas positions deep inside Gaza. But it also offered an economic carrot in the form of expanding the zone in which Gazan fisherman are allowed to fish.

Overall, 33 Palestinians have been killed during the past two weeks; of them, 26 in border demonstrations. Almost 1,300 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire. An additional 1,554 Gazans have been treated for tear gas inhalation or injuries by rubber-coated steel pellets.

Bloody Friday4 – April 20, 2018

Palestinians report four people killed, and 156 wounded by Israeli fire in fourth Friday of Gaza protests.

Since the series of demonstrations Israeli soldiers have killed 37 Palestinians and wounded about 5,000, of whom 36 percent were wounded by live bullets.

Here is what I think in bullet points:

  • Israel is wrong to seal the Gaza Strip and making it into a prison.
  • The Gazans have the right to peacefully protest against this reality.
  • They can protest, sing, chant, fast and engage in any other non-violent protest on their side of the fence.
  • The Palestinians are wrong to think that their right of return can be promoted by breaking through the border. This significant issue should be settled in the realm of diplomacy and negotiations.
  • They should not attempt to break the fence by force.
  • Zero tolerance to all manifestations of Palestinian violence.
  • Israel has the right to deny Palestinians breaking the fence by force and to protect the integrity of its territory.
  • Such denial should not be in the form of shooting unarmed civilians.
  • Israel should resort to weapons used against demonstrators: water tanks, sound cannons, “Chatzatziot” (hurling gravel back at demonstrators), sound cannons, foul-smelling liquids and the like.
  • Freedom of the press is important. Journalists should be able to do their jobs.

Hope today will end with no bloodshed.

Israel Reaches Landmark Deal with UN to Resettle African Migrants. But then Retracts.  

What a relief it was. But it did not last long. Less than 12 hours. First, it was announced that Israel will cancel its plans to expel asylum seekers after reaching an unprecedented deal with the United Nations. According to the agreement, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will work to find homes in Western countries for at least 16,250 of the asylum seekers while Israel will agree to give permanent status to the remainder — estimated at around 18,000. The new deal was to be phased in over the next five years in three stages.

Human rights activists in Israel and major US Jewish organizations had long urged the Israeli government not to go ahead with its original plan to force the migrants to choose between jail and deportation. Many of the refugees are from war-torn Sudan and Eritrea.

But late on the same day, April 2, 2018, Mr Netanyahu said he was “suspending” the deal. There was a major rebuke in his coalition as the religious parties voiced their strong dissent and threats to leave the coalition. Minister of Education Naftali Bennett (I must say that whenever I write these words “Minister of Education Naftali Bennett” I feel tremendous embarrassment. What a man Israel has to educate its people, young and older), leader of the nationalist Jewish Home party, said the deal turned Israel into a 'paradise for infiltrators'.

About 4,000 migrants have left Israel for Rwanda and Uganda since 2013 under a voluntary program.

On April 24, 2018, the government announced that it has abandoned its plans to forcibly deport African migrants who entered the country illegally.  The migrants will be able to renew residency permits every 60 days, as they were before the deportation push. via @timesofisrael

David Grossman: Voice of moderation, of sanity, of wisdom

David Grossman represents beautiful Israel. He is not only a genius writer, blessed with a most sensitive pen to articulate beautiful, heartwrenching stories; Israel’s foremost public intellectual; a man whose heart, mind and mouth are equal. Grossman is Israel’s conscience and compass. In his direct, clear and most beautiful language, Grossman expresses my thoughts in a way that I could never express as my words are dull and simple in comparison.  Grossman is a beautiful human being, a mensch who I would love to multiply and spread around the world to enrich goodness. If only I could.

Recently I have heard so many hollow and empty speeches that distressed me. Speeches for the sake of speeches. Speeches meant to impress, or inflame, or enrage, or justify things that are not justified. The only speech with which I can identify as it expresses my innermost thoughts and sentiments is Grossman’s. You are welcome to listen to it (in Hebrew, with translation to English).

Spin Doctoring

After announcing the suspension of the deal, Mr Netanyahu blamed the New Israel Fund for failing the deal. He charged: “In recent weeks, amid enormous pressure on Rwanda by the New Israel Fund and sources in the European Union, Rwanda has withdrawn from the agreement and refused to accept infiltrators from Israel that were forcibly deported”.

PM Netanyahu provided no proof of the left-wing NGO’s involvement in Rwanda’s alleged scrapping of its alleged agreement with Israel. Both New Israel Fund and Rwanda denied these allegations.

Mickey Gitzin, Executive Director of the New Israel Fund, said that Netanyahu’s attack was an attempt to “distract the public’s attention away from his failure and to terrorize organizations such as ours to make us fearful”.

It is not the first time that Netanyahu blamed the NIF for all the problems of Israel. In the past he alleged that the INF had funded anti-Zionist organizations, “campaigned for Palestinian terrorists” and “endangered the security and future” of Israel as Jewish state.

If these allegations are unfounded, only part of Netanyahu’s mastership of spin-doctoring, then the NIF should take him to Court. This is the best way to fight lies and unfounded allegations. Instead of continuing spreading lies, this act will force Netanyahu to gather evidence to substantiate his claims.

And if the NIF does not press charges, a cloud will continue to hover above the organization, maybe the allegations are not unfounded after all.

British Labour and Antisemitism

Anti-Antisemitism is a world problem. It exists also outside Labour. But under Corbyn its ugly head is vivid. I do not think antisemitism is a Tory problem. It is a Labour problem. And it harms the Labour movement. Many Jews feel uncomfortable with their life-time support of Labour. Many have left the party, unwilling to pay dues under "leadership" of a person who seems to do very little to curb this disease from Labour ranks. Labour should be proactive in fighting this malady that is directly opposed to Labour values: Justice, solidarity, equality, pluralism, fraternity, and humanity.

Israeli Labour Party Suspends Relations with UK Labour Party

Israel’s Labor Party has officially suspended relations with Jeremy Corbyn in the wake of his handling of the antisemitism crisis.

The chairman of the Israeli party wrote to Mr Corbyn accusing the British Labour Leader of having shown “hostility” to the Jewish community.

Avi Gabbay said the temporary suspension was necessary as long as Mr Corbyn continues to “fail to adequately address the antisemitism within Labour Party UK”.

Mr Gabbay wrote: “It is my responsibility to acknowledge the hostility that you have shown to the Jewish community and the antisemitic statements you have allowed as Leader of the Labour Party UK”.

He added: “As such, I write to inform you of the temporary suspension of all formal relations between the Israel Labor Party and the Leader of the Labour Party UK. While there are many areas where our respective parties can and will cooperate, we cannot retain relations with you...while you fail to adequately address the antisemitism within Labour Party UK.”

Millicent Fawcett

On April 24, 2018, a statue of suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett was unveiled in London’s Parliament Square. Why I am mentioning this? Because, believe it or not, this is the first statute of a woman to reside in the British iconic political square, the one opposite Westminster Palace. Until April 24, all statutes were of men. No women in British history deserved this honour, so dictated the Great and the Good of British society, mostly (of course) are men.

Britain is marking the centennial of women (well, some women) getting the right to vote. In 1918, women older than 30 who owned property in Britain achieved the right to vote. 

In 1928, under the Equal Franchise Act, women in the UK were granted equal voting rights.

Do you know when the women of Switzerland received this right?

Zuckerberg’s Testimony in Congress

American Congress' priorities. Few words about terror. Few words about hate. No words about cyberbullying.

MANY words on privacy, data protection, political neutrality and privacy.

It seems only now Zuckerberg starts to understand what he has created. There is a huge gap between his beautiful aims of creating community, connections, friendships and reality. He sees users. Until recently he did not care about abusers.

My New Article - Raphael Cohen-Almagor and E. Wesley Ely, “Euthanasia and Palliative Sedation in Belgium”, BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care (2018).

The aim of this article is to use data from Belgium to analyse distinctions between palliative sedation and euthanasia. There is a need to reduce confusion and improve communication related to patient management at the end of life specifically regarding the rapidly expanding area of patient care that incorporates a spectrum of nuanced yet overlapping terms such as palliative care, sedation, palliative sedation, continued sedation, continued sedation until death, terminal sedation, voluntary euthanasia and involuntary euthanasia. Some physicians and nurses mistakenly think that relieving suffering at the end of life by heavily sedating patients is a form of euthanasia, when indeed it is merely responding to the ordinary and proportionate needs of the patient. Concerns are raised about abuse in the form of deliberate involuntary euthanasia, obfuscation and disregard for the processes sustaining the management of refractory suffering at the end of life. Some suggestions designed to improve patient management and prevent potential abuse are offered.

Draft of this article is available at

Wes Ely’s CNN Article

End-of-life concerns are universal and they concern each and every one of us. More and more people wish to decide the moment of their death. Is it the role of physician to provide such an assistance? Should liberal democracies enact physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia laws? The debate is very timely as more countries are moving towards such legislation.

What do people want:

People wish to be loved;
People do not like to feel like objects;
People need care, attention, compassion, understanding;
People wish to retain their dignity;
People do not wish to be a burden;
People do not want to be abandoned;
People do not wish to suffer;
People do not wish to be humiliated;
People do not like to be treated like “cases”. They wish to retain their humanhood.

In a recent article, Dr Ely addresses these concerns. It is a humane and compassionate article, a very personal piece of a physician who is attentive to his patients. One of the most important resources that physicians may have but for various reasons often decide not to utilise is time. Investing in patients, showing compassion for them, caring for them, making them feel that they matter – all these make huge difference. At end-of-life, you would wish someone like Wes to be next to you.

Wes writes that there is no better place to be than next to his patient. This is a rare thought. Many physicians, unlike Wes, erect are reluctant to invest in patients. Many physicians ignore their patients, talk over their heads next to their beds as if they do not exist, certainly do not merit their attention. They erect defence mechanism and establish distance, not to be disturbed by their nagging questions, by their hopes and wishful thinking. Wes told his patient: I WANT to be with you in the dying process.

Wes speaks of his NEED to help his patient. He understands his patient’s need to unpack, to tell his life story. He arranges for his patient music that the patient loves. He arranges for his patient a nurse who shares with the patient passion for theatre to sit with him and to engage in conversation. This is a model for good doctoring.

I wish to share with you Wes’ article. He invites comments, criticisms, and opinions which I will happily share on my blog and refer to Wes for response.

New Books

Earl Warren, Ernesto Miranda and Terrorism
Professor Amos N. Guiora

Earl Warren was a District Attorney, a Governor of California and a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. As Governor of California, Warren was tough on crime, a fierce proponent of law and order, and a proponent of Japanese Internment during WWII, a decision he would later describe as wrong. Warren was not a great legal theorist; he was not a brilliant scholar with an impressive track record of influential law review articles or books. Warren was, however, one of the most significant and influential Chief Justices in US Supreme Court history. 

His legacy is forever cemented in a number of momentous decisions. The obvious ones include Brown vs. Board of Education; Mapp vs. Ohio; and Terry vs. Ohio. The importance of these decisions to America and American’s is beyond doubt; their legacy is extraordinary. In Brown, a unanimous decision, the Court ended segregation in public schools; in Mapp the Court ruled that evidence seized in violation of the Federal Constitution is inadmissible in a criminal trial in a state court; in Terry the Court ruled law enforcement has the right to “stop and frisk” even in the absence of probable cause to arrest.

This book is not about any of those decisions; this book is also not a biography of CJ Warren. Rather, this book asks a very specific question: would Earl Warren apply Miranda vs. Arizona to individuals suspected of terrorism. Fully answering this narrow and specific question requires examining what led Warren to the Miranda opinion. What were his motivations in a holding widely assumed to be the pinnacle of the so-called “Warren Court criminal procedure-constitutional revolution?” Why would a Chief Justice whose background was deeply rooted in law enforcement carefully craft a decision whose primary focus was protecting a suspect? How did his experiences as District Attorney, Attorney General and Governor shape his understanding of the imbalance between the interrogated and the interrogator? How did America of the 1960’s influence Warren’s thinking?

Only by answering these questions can we determine whether the iconic phrase—-“you have the right to remain silent”——applies to those intent on attacking innocent Americans in the name of terrorism. To facilitate the reader’s understanding of this dilemma, I talked with lawyers, practitioners, members of law enforcement, prosecutors, and interrogators; in addition, I reviewed original source material including court documents, archival material and historical records. Regardless of whether the reader agrees with my conclusion, wrestling with this question is the essence of balancing legitimate individual rights with equally legitimate public safety concerns. 

While Warren deeply believed in the former, he was deeply schooled in the latter. That is a powerful tension that demands our attention.

Congratulations and Mazal Tov to Amos for his new book!

Gem of the Month – Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Playing Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2

The Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, is a concerto for piano and orchestra composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff between the autumn of 1900 and April 1901. Of all the piano concertos, this is my favourite. I love the drama, the sensitivity, the emotions it provokes. Rachmaninoff’s brilliance touches my heart.

Thus I have heard this concerto many dozens of times, and to hear it live played by RPO is a special treat. An evening to relish.

The concerto has made numerous appearances in big blockbuster films, including in David Lean’s Brief Encounter (1945), The Seven Year Itch (1955) and Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter (2010). It has also been feature in pop music, including in Frank Sinatra’s Full Moon and Empty Arms and, of course, the second movement in Eric Carmen’s All By Myself.

Prior to the concert we had an opportunity to meet with the pianist, Alexander Romanovsky. I asked him whether there are any pieces which he finds difficult to play. He said in the past, but not now. I also asked whether he had some difficult experiences, and he recalled instances where he was called to perform in a short notice, did not rehearse with the orchestra and hardly exchanged words with the conductor. He mentioned one incident in which the only exchange he had prior the concert was with the conductor, as they were on their way to the hall.

Sergei Rachmaninoff plays his Piano Concerto No. 2,

Spring Please

This has been a truly cold winter in Britain. And long. Some days I was reluctant to go out of home, if I could afford staying at home. Freezing cold. Snow. Harsh wind. Unwelcome guest storms from the East. Now it is warm, sunny and pleasant. I bid you all – storms, winds, rain and snow - farewell. Go to sleep and let the spring come, let flowers bloom and trees turn green. Let the sun in to warm our bodies and souls until November. As we read in the Hagadah: Dayenu!


Based on what you know about Israel and England, where is it tolerated for men to board a bus half naked, without a shirt, in Tel Aviv or in Hull?

Monthly Poems

April Love

We have walked in Love's land a little way,
We have learnt his lesson a little while,
And shall we not part at the end of day,
With a sigh, a smile?

A little while in the shine of the sun,
We were twined together, joined lips forgot
How the shadows fall when day is done,
And when Love is not.

We have made no vows - there will none be broke,
Our love was free as the wind on the hill,
There was no word said we need wish unspoke,
We have wrought no ill.

So shall we not part at the end of day,
Who have loved and lingered a little while,
Join lips for the last time, go our way,
With a sigh, a smile.

Ernest Christopher Dowson

Light Side


The Devil’s in the details

A guy dies and is sent to hell. Satan meets him, shows him doors to three rooms, and says he must choose one to spend eternity in. In the first room, people are standing in dirt up to their necks. The guy says, ‘No, let me see the next room.’ In the second room, people are standing in dirt up to their noses. Guy says no again. Finally Satan opens the third room. People are standing with dirt up to their knees, drinking coffee and eating pastries. The guy says, ‘I pick this room.’ Satan says Ok and starts to leave, and the guy wades in and starts pouring some coffee. On the way out Satan yells, ‘OK, coffee break’s over. Everyone back on your heads!’

Peace and Love. Yours as ever,


My last communications are available on

People wishing to subscribe to this Monthly Newsletter are welcome to e-mail me at
Follow me on Twitter at @almagor35