hope

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My dear friends,
I consider myself very lucky to have lived in this period of time. I had some very fine opportunities. For the most part, I enjoyed my life. I learned a number of languages, studied history, morality, philosophy, art and science. And during my lifetime, I’ve seen major changes in the world around me. I am grateful to the frivolous nature of fate that offered me the opportunity to learn the English language, and so, to be able to write you a bit about our lives here in Jerusalem, and to share with you some of the things I’ve learned from life. One of the many reasons I started blogging, was to overcome the many misunderstandings that exist between the Jewish people and other cultures and peace loving peoples. I had the hope that those things we loved, considered sacred, and shared would enable us to bridge differences and afford us communication.

At the present time, we in Israel are engaged in a war we didn’t choose. As many have declared, war is terrible; it is hell. I carry scars from previous wars, and don’t know if I will survive this one… don’t know what sort of person I will be, if I do survive it. But I can’t go on about my usual business while this is going on. I did try. But I just can’t anymore. I remember, as a young fellow, reading the letter of a Jew in the Warsaw ghetto who wrote of his experiences and then secreted the letter in a bottle, which was plastered into one of the walls of his home. These are different times, and I have been free to write my story by way of the internet, transcending borders and crossing from one continent to another. But I know next to nothing about countering lies. And the immensity of the conflict has weakened my broken heart. Perhaps some day, this blog will be my ‘letter in a bottle’.

At this point, I feel I have no choice but to retreat to the safety of my own little home. I would like to thank the friends I have met in the blogging world for what we’ve shared, and for what I’ve learned from you.

Our national anthem here in Israel is called ‘the hope’. I still have hope. I hope that this parting will be more of a ‘see you later’ than a goodbye. I might continue to post a picture now and then, just to let you know that I’m still alive. But I don’t think I’ll be writing anymore, until this is over. If I manage to survive it, I might write a little about what I’ve gone through. My best wishes to all of my readers, and my gratitude to all of you who’ve shared your lives and interests with me.
Shimon Z’evi, a citizen of Jerusalem.

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133 responses to “hope

  1. Shimon–so sad to read this. Keep safe, my friend, and never, ever give up hope. Love to you.

    • I’m not worried about my personal safety, my dear Loisa. But I am going through a difficult time emotionally. There are certain traumas we can bear once in a lifetime. Others that may happen once in a decade or once in a year. But being hammered by very negative experiences over and over again has its affect on the spirit. Thank you so much for your encouragement.

  2. I feel sad about your decision but I can see that it’s the right one for you at this present tragic time. I hope you can find a little peace and comfort for your troubled heart. As for those who make war, ruining lives with violence and terror, the mighty Lord will judge between them.

    • Thank you, Gill. Like you, I believe that truth and justice will eventually be seen. And meantime, I will find me personal peace, and the comfort therein. Thanks so much for your comment.

  3. Take care, my good friend. I have so enjoyed, and indeed valued, your company and insights. This is all very sad. All my very best wishes.

    • I too, have enjoyed your company, Tish. It is not easy to withdraw. But I am following my inner intuition. What I need most at this time is peace and quiet. My best wishes to you too.

  4. We do live with hope for change- I am sorry to see you go but can understand your reasons. I have enjoyed your bringing Israel into my home these past months, the beauty of the country and your words. Shabbat Shalom Shimon- and Kol Tuv ❤ Elisheva

    • Thank you very much, Elisheva. It has been a pleasure getting to know you, and I appreciate your kindness and good wishes. My consolation is found in the strength and righteousness of the younger generations. It is their turn now to face our challenges.

  5. War’s toll far exceeds any body count. There is a soul count, too. I will grieve your absence, and hope for your return, but I understand. Shalom aleikhem.

    • Thank you for your blessing of peace, Linda. What you say is quite true. I have had to face the inhumanity of man since my earliest memories… and now in my old age, I need the comfort of calm and peace. And that is what I plan to enjoy here in my little corner of Jerusalem.

  6. It saddens me deeply to watch how these last months have caused so much pain and affliction before the very eyes of an indifferent world, only too ready to condemn Israel for any attempt to survive. So many families are grieving for the lost of a beloved person. As you I hope that a permanent solution will come. We will miss you until then, as well as your unique way to depict a legendary city in a miraculous country. Be well, stay safe and shabbat shalom for now.

    • I truly appreciate your friendship, and your beautiful comments. It has been a wonderful adventure for me to venture out into the virtual world, and find many beautiful and sensitive friends. I do believe that eventually the truth will be known. Thank you for your sweet wishes, Labelle.

  7. Shimon , my friend ….my heart is sad , thank you for all the love , humanity , beauty of soul and the raw emotion of the days in Jerusalem …your writings have truly mattered to me , changed me , given me compassion and inspiration to have hope and to live my own live in different ways …you have been a transforming spirit for me in this past year and I am so very grateful and humbled …I will miss you here but will always feel your kind spirit when I see news of where you live and I pray for your safety ….love always , megxxx

    • My dear Meg, your words have encouraged me. It has been very good to meet you, and share what is precious in this life to the both of us, our friends and dear ones. There is a time for everything. But it seems that the time has come for me to find my comfort in my own little nook, surrounded by the books I love.

  8. Just few days ago a found your blog and I felt happy, I really enjoyed reading your posts. I appreciate your great wisdom and your sensitivy. I think you are a very good person and I feel sad about your decision. But I respect your choice. Take care and keep the hope alive.

    • I regret that we didn’t have the opportunity to meet earlier, edremu. I’ve seen your photography and I like it. I wish you pleasurable interchanges with the many good people here in blogland. For my part, I’m grateful to have seen the rise of a transcendent community where friends met beyond borders and across continents. Thank you for your good wishes, and your generous comment.

  9. I hope to see you and read you soon and hope peace will prevail. Take care.

  10. It took this very last post to make me realize how much I appreciated reading you each week. Your pictures, your words, your benevolence, will all be missed. Thank you for having touched my soul so many time in the last few months.
    And hold on old man, HaShem will shake the world soon.

    • Thank you very much for your sweet comment, Yves. I am so grateful to have lived long enough to taste this world of the future; the meetings of friends in cyberspace. I’ve seen so many improvements since I came to this world, that I have no doubt that still better things will come. It is hard to part from friends, but better than to suddenly disappear. My best wishes to you.

  11. I am sad to hear this. Hope things work out for you.

  12. Our best of wishes to you, Shimon. Bill & Jennifer

  13. Shimon,
    Thank you for your friendship and willingness to share you wisdom and wonderful photography. I will hold you in my thoughts and prayers and hope for better times when you are able to once again share them.
    You will be greatly missed.
    Cathy

    • It has been a mutual pleasure, Cathy. I do enjoy your photography very much, and thank you from my heart for your prayers. Let us have faith in truth and justice, and the strength to endure.

  14. שמעון תפילתי בשבילך

    כוון החנית שלך על כולם. . .
    מי צד אותי ,
    אבל מבטיח להציל אותי .
    4 תנו לכל מי רוצה להרוג אותי
    להיות מאוכזב
    ומושפל .
    לגרש ולבלבל
    כל מתכננים לפגוע בי .
    5 שלח המלאך שלך אחריהם
    ולתת להם להיות כמו קש
    ברוח.
    תהילים 35

    • I looked it up on Google translate. How beautiful.

      • We are living in miraculous times. How wonderful that we can talk to one another across the world, and even understand a foreign tongue.
        יהי רצון שעוד נזכה בשלום ושלווה, באהבה וסובלנות

        • Dear Shimon, Google translate is a great tool, but has its limitations. I did get the words love, peace and tolerance from it, though, so your message is received. What more could we all hope for?

    • Thank you so much, Lance, for your prayer in our own language. I know that you too have faced adversity, and have chosen the path of peace, beauty, and inspiration. At this time, when blood is spilled around me, and blind hatred has given rise to insanity… when children have been sacrificed by their own communities to turn into robots of murder, when they could be inspired by nature, poetry and art, I have chosen to withdraw to my study hall and find comfort in the wisdom of my forefathers. My best wishes to you, and my prayers for a better day.

  15. Shimon – Underscore all of the above and sign my name. I have looked forward to reading your dispatches and enjoyed each of them. It’s as if I’ve taken the walks with you as you. It’s always seemed like your readers were right t along side too. Thank you for sharing your world with us with your very excellent blog posts.

    Take good care. Keep your hope.

    • More than half a century ago, I had the pleasure of visiting your country, travelling by sea for more than two weeks, and then by way of trains and buses to the west coast, where I was impressed and joyful by what I saw and learned. It would have been pure fantasy then to imagine that one day I could exchange thoughts and opinions with friends across the world by way of the technology that has become commonplace today. I’m grateful that I have lived to see this new frontier, and it offers hope for better relations between men and women, and between cultures. Unfortunately, the heart and the bowels don’t always keep up with the advances of the brains. It’s been a pleasure meeting you, Bruce. You’ve reminded me of a lot that I loved in your country. I still have faith in the future. Thank you so much for your comment.

  16. To live in confusion, fear or anger, is to live in the mind, which is thought. We are not the mind, nor the body but something greater than intellect or logic can imagine. We are not who or what we think we are. That conditioning is one of the greatest limitations of life and the cause of all the worldly strife, heartaches and atrocities. To limit our spirit to that the conceptual wilderness of mind is to fail to understand our true potential. We are the divine expressing as human beings. We are one with the Ineffable, but ignorance (not knowing) veils the truth of being, so we continue to live in our phenomenal, apparent reality. Our conditioning is so hard-wired from childhood that we do not “see” that surrender of that limited identity of who we think we are will bring in the light that casts out all darkness.
    It is not possible to change another, but as each one changes themselves, so the world changes.
    I appreciate how you have shared your life journey and pray that the spirit of love be your guide.
    With Respect,
    Shalom

    • I appreciate your point of view, Walt, even if I don’t agree with you completely. I believe the mind and the body are part of whom we are, and that it is necessary for us to be grounded in our physical presence. But that we needn’t be limited by intellect or logic, just as we needn’t be blind appendages of our stomachs or our sex. The spirit is wonderful and transcendent, according to what I’ve learned, but the body too is sacred. But even so, we do have much in common, and truly, the spirit of love is my guide. With best wishes to you, and thanks for your comment. How I wish you were able to convince our enemies.

  17. Sending great love and wishes for gentle peace to you, Shimon. I will miss you so, but there are many paths to healing and to survival when our spirits and energy are assaulted, and yours are precious, unique and necessary. I have learned so much from your posts and photographs, and cannot thank you enough for the deepening and enrichment–and joy–you have given to me. My wise, wonderful friend: be well and know your welfare is carried in my heart and prayers. I will hope for your return but even more for your contentment and joy.

    • Thank you so much for your sweet blessing, my dear Kitty. It has been a great joy for me to meet you, and to share with you both your world and mine. I wish you health and happiness, and peace and love in the company of your human and animal friends. Though I have chosen to withdraw to my traditional living room, the wonderful experience I have had finding friends in the wide world will remain a part of who I am, and I am so much richer for it. This life has been full of surprises, and I do expect more ahead.

  18. Shimon, I will miss seeing you every Friday morning. Israel is in my prayers daily, as are you. Please do share a bit of you, from time to time. I watch the news and think of you, knowing I’ll hear nothing useful from the media. May you and Israel be blessed. Shalom.

    • It was a real pleasure meeting you, Judy. We pray together, and hope for better times. I do believe that one day all Moslem Arab parents will wake up to the realities of life, and will want the best for their children and their society.`There are many who understand such things already. But as a society, they do not condemn the vile acts performed by a minority, and even name streets (in the areas controlled by the Pal Authority) in honor of murderers. What I hope for, is a happy society for all.

  19. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    your words surround the hearts of many Shimon…they will be missed,
    though I will hope they are on a rest and pause , not silent forever as in goodbyes….
    with each post we get a window inside what you live with and through not some reporter that wants to make a name for himself and capitalize on such devastation and sorrow….
    I have gone quiet over this past year and half…losing my sisters,taking care of my mom, putting my life and its priorities in some sort of order
    has been a challenge, one I have made some hard decisions and some I have just let go of…
    watching the world turn more to a madness that I do not understand, and I know why so many people have chose to go home…I think my soul contract must be to see through the craziness and do what I can as little as that may be
    I watch this year of atonement unfold and I empathize with such sadness everywhere…one wonders where it will go from here, humans seem to be determined to repeat history instead of learning from the past …

    I will pray with you and for you in those dark moments if you don’t mind…I will whisper on the wind for your safety and well being….know you are loved Shimon and thought of with much respect ….a world apart yet so close with your posts….
    Take Care My Faraway Friend….You Matter much more than you know
    Always Blessings for you and yours
    maryrose

    • Very good to hear from you again, Mary Rose. Thank you so much for sharing what you’ve been going through. I am very aware that many of us have to endure difficult changes through our lives… ups and downs… all parts of life. Those close to us who have been lost remain apart of us, as we go on about life. From out of your hardship and heartache you come to wish me well, and I in turn wish you health and happiness and strength. May we meet again in better days and rejoice together.

    • LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

      I thought I would stop by and see how you’re doing…I keep thinking I will have some extra time to wander in your posts….maybe this evening if I get everything done and my errands finished…
      i’ve made my changes into challenges, seems to go more smoothly, all and all I have adapted patience and calm as my life’s theme this year 🙂 seems to be working…I cannot change any of the changes so I’ll be patient and see what I need to learn from them…

      I attempted to watch the news, but here we seem to have very little of the reality in our news…where our country is going bothers me…I don’t think it will be a good place,
      look at our politicians, is this really the best America has to offer ?
      then…why would any truly good person wanting to serve the people want to run…they would be destroyed by our press and the ones that control them… *sigh*

      I think of you and yours and send prayers on the wind Shimon, maybe they will be heard…
      Take Care…You Matter…
      maryrose

      • LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

        Good to see You 🙂
        I was wondering how you were..a picture is worth a thousand words
        yours spoke volumes
        Take care…You Matter Shimonz
        maryrose

  20. It was wonderful reading your posts. Hope you survive and we see you again soon. Shalom.

  21. Dear Shimon, we have only met recently but I have so enjoyed the insight into your life and I have to tell you that it has been really helpful for me to gain a better perspective on what you and your people are experiencing. I understand that you are in deep pain and must do what you need to do, but at the same time if you feel the need or desire to talk again, please do so as I for one will be waiting to listen to your wisdom with open ears and an open heart.

    • yes, mybrightlife, a blog life could serve as an allegory for life in general… so much is already happening when we enter life, and life continues and evolves when we are about to leave. I am sorry we didn’t have more time together. But it was a pleasure to meet you too. And I wish you a long and fulfilling blogging career, and in real life too.You have just recently chosen a new environment in which to build your home, and I am sure your adventures will be of great interest, and that you will find many new friends, and possibilities that you couldn’t imagine starting out. My best wishes to you.

  22. Your writing and your photographs have documented the heart of one person…a human being, Dear Shimon. The saddest thing about humanity is how we do not see one another as ONE people; however, ONE people described by the uniqueness of each person. We are always struggling and fighting our way to SAMENESS, instead of allowing the vibrant and dynamic nature of each person’s unique way of being and individuality to shine through. Individual BELIEF is to be celebrated. Every person must have a home. Your witness has enriched all of us, dear friend. We have learned more. We have opened the bottle that was so long buried in the plaster. You have put a human touch to a story that is amplified over the media, but refuses the voice of the person.

    I am sad for your decision, but I also understand it. You have made friends here and I will continue to pray for your well being and your family and the people of Jerusalem.

    You will remain my friend…

    Always,
    Kathleen

    • Thank you very much for your comment, Kathleen. I agree with you that there is a strong urge on the part of most human beings to be part of the herd. That is our collective characteristic; that we are a social animal. I agree with you too, that there is something very precious about the individual. And especially for those of us who are moved by the desire for creativity. But I believe that the social side needs a lot of development too, so that we will be able to live on this planet together in peace and tolerance. I have enjoyed our friendship, and of course, we remain friends. Thanks for your good wishes. I wish you continued creativity, learning and teaching in life. It is such a pleasure to follow your love of learning.

  23. I’m saddened to hear that you are leaving us, Mr. Shimon. Thank you for sharing your insights, joys, wisdom, thoughts, and stories with us; your words and photos will stay with me. I will miss you.
    Take care, Dear Shimon. ~ Love, Amy

    • It’s been a great pleasure getting to know you, Amy. Your photography has often excited and inspired me, but most of all I am inspired by your modesty and your gracious attitude here in blog land. Thank you very much, and my best wishes to you.

      • So wonderful to see you and hear from you, Mr. Shimon. Your words touched my heart. I’m humbled… Thank you so much for stopping by and letting us know you are doing well. 🙂 ~Love, Amy

  24. With gratitude for all that you have shared, wishing you well.

  25. My heart aches for you and your situation, Shimon. I understand the ‘why’ of your decision, in as much as I can – living in a country that has no knowledge of such brutal, demoralizing strife, but know you will be sorely missed. I count myself so very fortunate to have discovered you and to have had my own world enriched by all that you have shared. With hopes and prayers for peace and better days ahead for you and Israel, stay well, stay safe, my friend.

    • As a young man, I read a science fiction story that stayed with me through life, in which people were able to send holograms of themselves across the world, and make friends with others that they couldn’t possibly have me otherwise. It seems fantastic to me, that I have lived to see a similar phenomenon, and have made friends with people that I have never seen in the flesh. What I have learned from the experience has been much more inspiring than the technology that made it possible. I am very grateful for the friendships. They have truly enriched my life. Thank you very much, Myra.

  26. Holding you always in my heart and mind. Peace, Shimon.

    • Thank you very much, Nancy. It has been wonderful getting to know you. We both had to discover the beauty in life after a hard start, and I admire your ability to keep on growing. I send you my best wishes and love.

  27. Thank you for everything you’ve shared and stay safe.

  28. Thank you for bringing another way of being in this world into my life.
    I will miss this presence and remember you as I strive to become more present to a greater Reality.
    May God be with you
    Mary

    • Dear Mary, it has been a completely unexpected adventure to discover the world of the internet, and the beautiful people here with whom we share our thoughts and stories. Thank you for your blessing. I have no doubt that god is truly with us.

  29. Your capacity for intimacy, Shimon, is unique and has been a gift to us! I applaud you my dear Shimon and will miss your posts, which I look forward to and savor. You have beautifully accomplished what you set out to do in showing us your Jerusalem. You have given us a ‘sense of place’ which is invaluable. How I will miss you! Peace in your heart Shimon….

    • It has been a great pleasure getting to know you a bit, Jana. For poets, and the lovers of poetry, aspire to the essence. As some people amass experience they lose a bit of their sensitivity, grow a harder skin to protect themselves… but the lovers of poetry ask to become ever more sensitive. We learn to read between the lines; to listen to the pause; to appreciate even the quiet. Thank you for your company. I have appreciated your presence.

  30. Be well, Shimon. And all the best to you…. xoxox

    • Thank you very much, Nina. Though we come from different backgrounds, and lived somewhat different lives, I have often felt that you were my sister. My very best to you too. xxx

  31. Dear Shimon, I also consider myself lucky to have lived through this relatively quiet time in history. My children (it’s not how I raised them) don’t get my cynical change of perspective of the world and of human nature.

    You talk about a Jew in the Warsaw ghetto who documented his experiences and hid them for future generations to witness. He was too young to realize how quickly the world forgets or how it would prefer to pretend that it never happened or that it would say that genocide wasn’t really as bad as it was described. But he had experienced first hand how wicked the world can be and wanted to document it. There’s him and there’s this diary of a thirteen year old girl. If it hadn’t been for Spielberg’s project that would have been the end of it, because the holocaust survivors are dead or dying.

    I’m sure you know all about it, yet you say you know next to nothing about countering lies. I ask you Shimon, if you aren’t in a position to counter lies who is?

    It always gives me pleasure to see one of your posts in my reader. And those of us who have enjoyed them and your wonderful photos will of course respect your need to distance yourself from the world and settle down to quiet contemplation. But I hope that once you’ve had your quiet time, you will reconsider.
    My fondest wishes to you
    Mary

    • My dear Mary, in the fifties of the last century, there was a young American poet who stirred many hearts with a poem that began, “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness”. A few years later he came to Jerusalem and we sat together with his friends and mine discussing what we wished for this world. I was very moved by his poetry. But at the fork in the road, we chose different paths. And my great consolation these days, as life has passed and I’ve grown old, is that I can say I have seen the best minds of my generation flower and grow, reproduce and teach, I have seen a healthy and enlightened society establish itself in the place of desert and ashes. The madness is still here, but there is hope for something much better. Thank you for your kind words. We never know what surprises still await us. I hope for the best.

      • You’ve had some interesting experiences, Shimon. How tremendous it would be if we could read about some of them. So what did the young poet wish for this world? (I’ve seen some of the photos and can’t imagine him ever being young.) You say, you’ve ‘seen a healthy and enlightened society establish itself in the place of desert and ashes.’ That’s the best kind of poetry. It’s meaningful; it’s clear and it’s unaffected. How typical of you to be positive when the rest of the world is determined to be negative. Dear Shimon, I don’t have your temperament. I admire it and even envy it, so I’ll give hope a chance. Do please produce a post now and again to keep our spirits up.

  32. Dear Shimon – I share the sadness of your friends above and nurture a hope that you will be safe and well…and will return to us someday soon. Thank you for the presence that you have been in our lives these many months and years of our various friendships. I have shared this before, but you are often with me during my desert hikes, honoring your perspective that we will find beauty where we look for it…and I know you will still be there in the hikes of my tomorrows. Do be as safe as you can be…and know that you are in our many hearts and minds. Scott

    • Thank you very much, Scott. I have enjoyed your photography, the hikes in nature and the amazingly sensitive pieces about people on the edge who need just a little bit of human support and love to make it in this life. It has been a great pleasure getting to know you and sharing with you. I don’t know what the future will be like for me personally, but I have a great faith in the future for us collectively. My best wishes to you personally.

  33. When the urge to write or post a photograph enters your heart, do it!

    We all will still be here, waiting for your words or photos.

    I have always held the belief that the power of the pen can tunnel under any evil, external or internal. For now, you silence your pen. That is your option in a world of, perhaps, too many words and not enough action.

    No enemy will cow you, Shimon. No liars, no terrorists, no evil-doers will ever break your spirit. You are resting for now, regaining your energies.

    My mother Joan endured so much suffering in her life. Meningitis at age 67 stole her hearing, her balance, her job, many bodily functions. Just when she had recovered enough to ride a three-wheel bicycle to go take yoga, she was hit and run in an innocuous retirement community.

    My mother had a faith and spirit that no disease or enemy like Hamas or Hezbollah or Whothehell could ever take down.

    I choose to stay with that kind of fiery energy in a defiance of evil.

    I look forward to your return at some point.

    Your friend from afar,
    Cheri

    • My dear Cheri, thank you very much for your sweet comment. I am sure that your dear mother and I would have seen eye to eye. They say a little bit of light can push away a lot of darkness, and I am happy to say that I have the comfort of knowing that my children and grandchildren are doing their best to make this world a better place.

      Writing here in English, I have been communicating with people of a different culture than my own. For some time, I felt comfortable crossing the lines, and it seemed that what we had in common was more important than the differences. But all along, I knew I was an outsider. I knew I belonged to a different people. When I hear the secretary general of the UN express sympathy towards the ‘Palestinian struggle’, I realized that much of the world has forgotten that we Jews are the indigenous people of the land of Israel, and have accepted the myth that we are a colonial power. What can I say? It is not my place to correct the spiritual and political leaders who ignore history and the facts on the ground, and wish to teach us morality. I feel the time has come for me to close my mouth and go back to the company of my own people.

      Your friendship is greatly appreciated. I send you my best wishes, Shimon

      • Well, I ignore the UN, the EU, and the Pope. Sounds like the beginning the joke…well, there were three entities in a boat–the UN, the EU, and Pope…and then?

  34. Shimon you will be greatly missed. Like a light in the darkness. You are my friend, so do not leave us wondering…..please stay in touch. Love to you and your people – jo

  35. My heart goes out to you Shimon. You already know how I feel about you and yours. If I could only push a button or some other childish dream to help you. Your impression seems to be more than what we are getting here, and that alone is frightening. I love Maryrose’ note to you and mirror it. I don’t have the words, and that just frustrates me. Depression I’m told is the result of unresolved anger. I know it all too well.
    Be well, be safe and please tell us good news soon.

    • Meeting you, my dear friend, was one of the extras of adventuring out on the internet. This was long before I moved to this platform. And because we correspond regularly, I imagine we’ll trade ideas and opinions even if I don’t continue this blog. What we’re facing here is a type of war, but it has some very unusual and revolting aspects. Out of respect for a minority, we offered them great freedom and autonomy. Instead of using the radio and TV stations they received for the benefit of their people, they have used all the means and media to incite against us. They celebrate death. They send their own children to attack us in a perverse attempt to win PR gains. To me, it is more disgusting and revolting than it is scary. But we will have to find a way to deal with this, even if much of the world takes delight in our misfortune and preaches to us with self righteous authority. Thank you for your many beautiful comments, and the very well placed questions.

  36. Wishing you peace in your world. You will be missed.

  37. I am sorry to read this, as I have always enjoyed your poetic and deep meaning writings. I shall never understand why human beings just can’t seem to be able to live in peace. Just imagine how beautiful it would be with no wars. I hope peace will return to Jerusalem and to the world soon. Take care and come back when you are feeling up to it. 💗

    • Unfortunately, this is a very complicated issue. On the one hand, it is obvious to most sane people that life can be a lot more fruitful and pleasant without war. Not only does war take a lot of lives, but it leaves a lot of people handicapped, and also takes a lot of work and money from other projects which could benefit humanity and social considerations. On the other hand, what are we to do when an evil force subjugates another society or country. This has happened so many times in history, and is happening in a lot of places in the world right now. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the last few years in Syria, but most of the nations of the world don’t want to get involved. However, there have been cases in which the western nations rallied to the support of the unfortunate. In our case, seemingly because we are a democracy and allow free speech, our enemies make use of PR and propaganda to spread the big lie, and the UN and many western countries have joined the chorus against us. Thank you so much for your good wishes, Fatima. Your comments have always been a pleasure for me, and I’ve enjoyed reading some of your adventures too.

      • We are living in such uncertain times that one is not sure what to believe any more. The saddest thing of all is that we all seem to become so cynical and immune to fellow human suffering, hiding in our safe houses and work places, just thankful that it is not happening to us. But we are all connected now and these wars and conflicts will affect us all in the end. Best wishes to you and yours.

  38. Charlotte Gatling

    I understand dear Shimon. You are a very brave and strong man.

    • Thank you so much for your comment, Charlotte. I remember when you stopped blogging, quite a few years ago, and I was so sorry not to be able to read your blog, though you did comment from time to time on some blogs you liked. I still think of you often, and wonder how you’re doing. I know you moved, and am not sure whether I have your proper address. It’s hard keeping on blogging when our personal lives are in upheaval. Sending you my best wishes as always, Shimon

  39. Thank you for sharing so many wonderful words over the years x annie

  40. Maybe you were put on earth to write these illustrated essays and when things settle you may have new thoughts to relate which are at the moment in the Unknown. waiting to be born.Maybe nobody else can write these essays like you do .not to mention your photographs which combine so well.

    • We never really know what awaits us, Katherine. It’s just at times that life seems to run along as routine. But then there are surprises. I was quite happy to find this blog platform, and it widened my readership, and introduced me to a lot of interesting and good people. But when listening to the opinions of world leaders, such as your PM Cameron, I realize that I’m living in a different world… and it makes it hard to tell my story in the face of such prejudice and ignorance. It was very good getting to know you. And I appreciated your poetry very much. My best wishes to you.

  41. I’m shocked that you’re putting down the pen. I did not see that coming. However, let me be clear, I respect your choice. You know best.

    • You truly surprised me, Marsh, when I realized you were following my blog. I understand from a previous comment, that you too have gone through some real challenges lately, and I wish you health and happiness. Life is full of twists, and I suppose we are tested as long as we live.

  42. As long as you are safe, we can be patient and wait for more posts from you. I’m so sorry the world is currently such an ugly place for so many people. I wish it were in my power to change that.

    • Ah, Corina, the world is an infinitely beautiful place. But we seem to be constantly in struggle with our inherent human qualities. We have the capacity, it seems, to imagine a better world. But it is so hard to make a difference; so hard to have influence; so hard even to change ourselves. It was a great pleasure meeting you, and I send you my best wishes.

  43. Dear Shimon,
    I have read your blog since the days when you were writing on a different blog platform and followed you to WordPress. I am currently reading the last book in the trilogy ‘ The Deptford Trilogy’ which you recommended in a recent post and I am really captivated by it. I would never have known about this book, nor had the chance to enjoy it had I not read your blog.I also mentioned your rock badgers to a young woman from Israel that I know. She had never heard of them before !
    I am sure that your blog has influenced many people and would have influenced many more, had you felt able to continue. I am sad that you want to stop writing, but I hope it will be only a temporary situation. Thank you for the window into your world. We are all the richer for it.

    • Thank you so much for following me all these years, Caroline. I’m very glad you enjoyed reading the blog, and that you also joined me in my reading pleasures. It is hard to imagine an Israeli who doesn’t know about rock badgers because they are considered a prime example of shyness. Tell her that you’re talking about ‘shfanim’, and I’m sure she’ll remember them. With best wishes to you.

    • בוודאי נתראה שוב, סטיב. כי גם אם לא אכתוב עוד, אשמח ללמוד ממך ומן הכתיבה שלך כפי שלמדתי בעבר. מאחל לך כל טוב בטקסס הרחוקה

  44. Dear Shimon,
    You wrote this three days ago. I truly hope you see this comment, to wish you well, and know that your posts have always bridged a divide where there should be none. My heart aches just a little bit more now…I’ll keep you in my prayers.
    Love,
    Angeline

    • Thanks so much for your sweet comment, my dear Angeline. It has been a great pleasure getting to know you, and your fascinating photography encouraged me to try and use the telephone as a camera. I wish you many great adventures ahead, and hope to join you from time to time by way of the internet.

  45. Dear Shimon, I am so sad to hear this. My heart, my thoughts are with you, always. I do pray for the peace dear Shimon. “Hope” is great, and we will keep it always… peace should be the winner… You are very special person, your life experience and your wisely thoughts are always impressed me and I feel lucky myself to know you dear Shimon. Be in safe and please let us to hear you sometimes, you know me, there is not any seperation for me between people,.. I just appreciate the human, the beautiful human… and you are one of them dear, Thank you for sharing with us, Love, nia

    • It has been such a great pleasure getting to know you, Nia. And you symbolize for me the very best of the blogging world; always contributing, and relating to all with appreciation, love, and tolerance. Aside from that, I think we truly share much of the same taste, whether it be the appreciation of city streets, or the cats who live their separate lives right along side of us. I am sure that I will continue to visit and follow your adventures, and send you my very best… and my love.

  46. I sincerely hope that this is a ‘see you later’ Shimon. My thoughts are with you. I have no experience by which to understand your grief but I can understand how something like this could tear apart a sensitive thoughtful man that I know my friend to be so I’ll say ‘see you later Shimon’ in return..

    • Yes, see you later Chillbrook. I have enjoyed watching you grow as a photographer, and admire your courage and willingness to try yourself at new adventures. I don’t have to tell you how life continually confounds us and presents us with challenges. I wish you continued success in your new occupation, and will follow and enjoy your photographic efforts.

  47. Shimon. It saddens me to read your writing, at the same time that I can relate and empathize – having lived through the worst of Gaza 2 summers ago. I can’t imagine your own pain and sorrow, but I hope that this too will come to an end. Ve-she-yihiyeh tov. Shabbat shalom veh lehitraot. Amit

    • Dear Amit, I can only say that I am grateful that with every year of life, I’ve learned new things and seen the unexpected. I am most aware of this in the light of the technological advances that have amazed us in recent years. But it is true on every level, and there are always new people to meet and new adventures to experience. We just got to know one another recently, and so how good it was that I managed to keep writing till I had the pleasure of bumping into you. I send you my best wishes for health and happiness and continuous learning as you do so well.
      יהי רצון שנזכה לשמוע בשורות טובות, וליהנות משלווה ושלום

  48. Dear Shimon – I feel immense sadness reading this. I have valued the connection we have established and I have enjoyed, so much, your writing; and I have learnt also much about life in Jerusalem. I understand, at least I think I do, why you feel the need to withdraw from the blogosphere but I do so hope that you feel able to return and that this is a temporary hiatus. Do post the occasional image as reassurance that you are still with us, and I hope that you will feel able to read and view the blogs of so many of your friends who will miss your presence. Andy

    • I don’t have to tell you, Andy, about the way we become more fragile as we grow older, have less immunity to attack, and less of the determination that characterized our youth. You are still going strong, but as a doctor, you’ve certainly seen the signs. I remember that one of the books that impressed me in that vein, was ‘Flowers for Algernon’. And it’s not only that I’ve grown old. Reaching out to make friends with others in other countries and other cultures; reading and writing in English, has opened me up to what is said outside of my country by others as well. The words of your PM Cameron just the other day, about being shocked by the treatment of Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem is a fine example of what brought me to despair.

      The Arabs in Jerusalem have more freedom and better social services than in any of the neighboring Arab countries! Before 1967, there were no Jews living in Jerusalem, after Jordan conquered part of the city from us in the 1948 war. They killed the Jews or chased them out. None were left where they took control. They built a public restroom out of the gravestones of Jews who had been buried on the mount of Olives. And then when we won the eastern part of the city back in 67, we guaranteed the rights and the security of the Arabs, and gave them free medical treatment, social services, and even the right to vote.

      I thank you though, for your good wishes and friendship. It has been a pleasure getting to know you.

      • Who was it that said the first casualty of war is the truth? Politics is a nasty business, cosying up to some sections of society or a country, ignoring facts, and having a selective memory. Whenever I think of Israel I will think of you, Shimon.

  49. My eyes were moist when I finished reading this post, Shimon. Living on a powder keg is hard to comprehend, but that is what you are doing every day. It is draining is all ways. Your crie de coeur and your emotions are very just and are understandable?

    People have to make extraordinarily hard decisions in their daily lives in your society. It takes energy and courage whatever age group you are. You have to do what you feel you must, to benefit yourself and your loved ones.

    Take care my friend. It will be something to treasure If we do hear from you , when you feel you can.

    Hugs xxx

    • I do think the young have more optimism. But it is true, that there are challenges and tests all through life, and at all ages. In one country there is a tsunami, and in another there is a terrible epidemic. We have the bad luck to live in a very bad neighborhood of the world. There’s a lot of violence, a lot of cruelty, and the abuse of the rights of the individual in most of the countries in the mid-east. For some reason, the western world seems to take pleasure in attacking a sister democracy which most resembles them, and to ignore some of the worst examples savagery. I don’t care to try to justify our cause. So I’ll withdraw. It was a pleasure getting to know you. We met on a previous blog platform, and remained friends as we came here. I send you my best wishes. Let’s hope we’ll hear some good news one of these days. xxx

  50. Stay strong Shimon and always keep the hope or else what do we have. I’ll be coming to Israel in a couple of weeks. My son graduated high school last year and made the decision to postpone university and join the IDF. He is now a lone soldier and we couldn’t be prouder of him. He’s graduating basic training and we’ll be there to cheer him and his unit on. We’ll persevere…we always do.

    • Thank you very much, Edith. I am truly happy to hear that your son has come home, and is tasting the true Israeli experience these days. Who knows, he might be serving with one of my grandchildren. And I am encouraged by your beautiful positive attitude. Sending you my best wishes. I do enjoy your photography.

  51. Oh Shimon, blessings upon you. I hope that you can pass through this time and find the strength you need to keep on doing the things you love, even if it means not coming back here. I hope you keep safe and well. I’ll miss you.

    • Thank you so much for your generous blessings, Jess. It was a pleasure getting to know you, and I wish you success in all your adventures, and your search for beauty.

  52. Dearest Shimon, how terribly I would miss you if you ever stopped blogging, so I shall see this as a temporary thing! How I hope on your behalf that this dreadful war ends soon, and permanently. I know how deeply it affects you and breaks your heart, as it does mine for I loathe to see you suffering so, if only I could help…..I don’t have any fancy words, but know that I shall keep you in my heart and thoughts and will miss you, here’s to your return. Sending positive thoughts to you , always, my friend.xxx

    • I am very grateful that my blogging experience gave me the opportunity to find a few personal friends. Those friendships are precious to me regardless of what will happen to the blog. I don’t have to say goodbye to you, my dear Dina, because I’m sure we will continue to be in touch. I have no doubt that this war will eventually end. And though I can’t say anything positively right now, because I’m so shaken by the experience, it seems to me that I’ve come to realize some things that are not directly connected to this war. Listening to world leaders, and the leaders of countries that I once thought were friends of ours (including the secretary general of the UN, and your own PM), I see them trying to remain impartial, and to give the same weight to murderous barbarians, and to a peaceful people who are the indigenous people of this land, and have contributed to the cultures of all the western world, I realize that we are maligned and condemned in the same way that we were in the dark ages, and this has disappointed me to the core of my being. I am afraid that I was too naive in thinking that me and my people would be accepted as ‘citizens of the world’ according to the same standards by which others are judged. There seems to be a double standard. And I don’t see myself as the right person to try and explain to intelligent and learned people who are relating to us in this way. Thank you for your positive thoughts. You are truly a friend. xxx

  53. Shimon, don’t despair, your voice has been heard and your efforts have not been in vain, I have passed on your true account to so many people over the years….see it as ripples in a lake, and I’m sure it’s not just me….many of your readers will have done the same, so you are a force and you are forgetting about the impact you have, one man can achieve many things!
    As for politicians, well, our pm is a nightmare, desperately hanging onto power…and when you look at the likes of trump…JEEZ! All politicians and the media seem to have an agenda, their own…don’t worry, the tide will turn, one fine day….what comes around goes around!
    Personally, I think that Jews and Scousers should rule the world! What an interesting, friendly, fun place it would be! Just imagine the debates…both love a good conversation!
    Anyway….glad to hear that we’ll never lose touch….we wouldn’t anyway because I have your email!!! Your friend…always.xxxxxxx

  54. Shimon, I have been catching up on my internet reading which I missed over the last week or two, and I’ve just reached this post. I literally gasped out loud. I am so upset to read of your decision. I will greatly miss your gentle humour, your beautifully artistic eye and whimsical photographs. If you could just post every so often, you would help ease my own heart-ache at our situation here.

    Of course I understand you completely. Funnily enough, or perhaps not so funnily, I’ve been having the exact same thoughts about blogging. I feel myself descending into a deep depression at the violence that is surrounding us and attacking us, and there doesn’t seem to be any way out. Added to that, as you so rightly mentioned, the onslaught of lies and libels and smears about Israel upset me so deeply that I feel I want to scream out loud at the uncaring world (with the exception of our wonderful loyal friends). I have hardly blogged these last couple of weeks because I just can’t bring myself to write about yet more bad news, and my “Good News Friday” posts become harder and harder to write, either for lack of material, or more usually, for lack of the right mood.

    But I’ve decided to struggle on for the moment, maybe decreasing my posting, because I feel it is so important to get our point of view out to the wider world. But maybe I’ll come to the same conclusion as you.

    I pray that you will find solace and comfort in your home with your family and friends, and that your retreat from blogging will bring you ease of mind and comfort of soul. And when you feel refreshed and renewed, I will eagerly look forward to new postings from you.

    חזק ואמץ ואל תתייאש (which is good advice for myself too, I know).
    And let none of us forget:
    ישראל בטח בה’, עזרם ומגינם הוא

    שמור על עצמך, ותרגיש טוב.

  55. I don’t blog anymore, but a friend sent me something from WordPress. I decided to click on your link, and seeing that you’ve decided to “retire” from blogging makes me sad, even though I have not been following you (or anyone).
    Reading the reactions of your blogger friends touched me so much. You are so loved, and you do make a difference. If there’s one soul changed by you… לפיכך נברא אדם יחידי בעולם, ללמד שכל המאבד נפש אחת, מעלים עליו כאילו איבד עולם מלא; וכל המקיים נפש אחת, מעלים עליו כאילו קיים עולם מלא.

    I would urge you to reconsider, and to continue spreading your wisdom, life experience and images. Retreating can be comforting, but being who you are includes pain and suffering, and yet it is YOU. We all contain so much, and sometime it hurts, but disappearing is not what you are meant to do.

  56. Shimon,
    It has been a great pleasure reading your blog, I am so pleased that I found you in this sometimes mindless maze they call the internet.
    I have enjoyed the insight you have provided into the life of someone living in Jerusalem, wish you and all its inhabitants as much peace & happiness as can be found in difficult times.
    Shalom,
    David.

    P.s – I will keep a small eye open just incase you feel that you can share some of your thoughts in the future.

  57. Oh my lovely friend, I am wrapping you in love. Our connection is a treasure in my life and thus it will always be so. ❤ If you chose to write again, then here I will be. Hugs Xx

  58. I just want to say, how much I miss you, dear Shimon. Be sure, you can’t be forgotten, you are one of my special friends in this blogging world. But if it would be possible, it would be the first thing to travel there, to find you and to drink a cup of tea in the most beautiful cafe with you 🙂 Who knows maybe one day. I hope and wish you are fine, Love, nia

  59. Many emotions crossed my mind while reading this. From a selfish point of view, I’m disappointed in myself for not reading and commenting sooner. You’re a good man – thus deserve better than me getting to this so late. In the big scheme, trivial – but it still bothers me.

    Your situation reminds me of all the turmoil in the world. Some say the world is broken. After my pastor said those words in a Sunday school class, I asked “When has the world never been broken?” …. He responded, “Never.”

    Humanity has a difficult time understanding itself. Yet – I side with the title of your national anthem … Hope … after all, you know I’ve written this my belief system many times – yes, the majority of the world is good … and I thank you for the role you’ve played in helping me establish that belief. Blessings of comfort to you!

  60. Many thanks for your deeply thoughtful writing. I have been educated. Very best wishes. Thom.

  61. Dear Shimon,
    I’ve been catching up on my blogging friends and found the news of your retirement. It caught me by surprise. I understand your decision, but I was saddened too. I have so enjoyed sharing your thoughts, your unique perspective, and all the walks through your neighborhood with you and Nechama. I wish you peace and comfort and good health, dear friend. Thank you for all you have shared over the years.
    Love,
    Naomi

  62. Dearest Shimon,
    It’s been too long since I have visited your thoughtful and insightful blog. Reading this today fills me with sadness. Thank you for all that you have shared with us.

    Wishing you love and peace,
    Chris

  63. Hello, friend Shimon … how are you? I miss you. Love, cat.

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