Few Americans know all the reasons for Israel’s air strike against Hama targets in Gaza. Some see it as another show of force by a country the United States should no longer support. I hear only too often the code words “no more blank checks” and I wonder when was the check ever blank. Israel is the only democratic ally the United States has in the Middle East. That alone adds translate into valuable currency.
That the reasons go back to the ham fisted doings of the British during the Partition, is too long a story to go into at the moment. The fact is that Hamas, bankrolled and otherwise supported by the Iranian government, has been launching missiles at Israeli civilian targets for eight years. Imagine Cuba hurling Kassams at Florida and you get the picture. No country and certainly not the US would tolerate this state of affairs for so long. In fact, we have gone to war at lesser provocation. Point is, the Israeli action was not arrived at on an impulse. Lest we forget, it was Hamas that refused to renew the cease fire brokered by the Egyptians.
Israelis are well aware that world opinion is, as it has been for centuries, far from objective when it comes to Jews. For example, there was no hue and cry from the world press when the Islamic terrorists in Mumbai sexually mutilated and murdered a young rabbi and his wife. There were no demonstrations in European capitals in support of the victims of missile attacks in Sderot. But there were demonstrations against Israel immediately following the air strikes. For weeks there will be hue and cry all over the world against the “Zionist entity.”

It is important to remember that the Israelis had exhausted other possibilities. The blood is the the hands of Ahmadinejad and his Hamas henchmen. No self-respecting Jew rejoices at war. No one in his right mind fails to feel sympathy for the beleaguered Palestinian people Hamas so shamelessly exploits. No decent human being applauds the use of force against civilian targets. Yet Hamas gives Israel no alternative when it shells Israeli civilians, then hides behind Palestinian civilians when the Israeli military retaliates. Will the pc intellectuals if the First World see all these nuances or will their minds be so clouded by partisan propaganda issuing from sources such as Al Jazeera, that they will once again brand Israelis as ruthless aggressors? Quite possibly.

Where does that leave me, a Jew who us relatively safe in the Diaspora?Am I glad that the IAF is beating the tar out of Hamas? Certainly not. Alpha strikes are all very well on a computer screen, but the cost in human lives and the spiritual erosion they occasion is tremendous. Jews are people of peace. The average Palestinian, freed from the evil influence of rogue Moslems of Hamas & Company, no doubt wants what we all want–peace, a modicum of happiness and a healthy share of hope for the future. I grieve for Palestinian victims as I grieve for the young people of the IDF who must carry out these air strikes. Grief or no grief, in this fight, my heart is with Israel. Ein brera, no alternative.

Envelopes lined with origami paper.
Envelope lined with origami Waves paper. The coffee flavored Norwegian chocolate came from the travelling Cossack. Filigree, pearl and water sapphire earring from an undisclosed source.

Origami paper is not just for origami. I use my stash to line A2 Stardust envelopes.
Note to members of the Ravelry Pen Fetish group–fineartstore is one of the places I visit for decorative paper. They have a fabulous selection of art paper that includes An-Jing, Yuzen, Chiyogami, Cavallini, Nepalese handprinted, and much more. If you feel like being truly extravagant, visit Legion Paper for handmade Japanese at $490 a sheet. The fiscally cautious will prefer Dick Blick’s Fabriano Esportazione at $ 26 or finearts mulberry smooth at $2.75

Wine custard, pear and cashew pie

I have been updating http://www.jewelsoftheblueridge.blogspot.com/ to include some of my latest work–a stunning green turquoise necklace, a pearl necklace enhanced with a fine silver bead made by the extraordinarily talented Anne Choi, a sterling and turquoise pin. This is only a fraction of an inventory that must be photographed and catalogued. My conclusion is that self-employment is not for the faint of heart. The hours are long, OSHA is not on one’s side, the boss is grumpy when work does not go well and the wages are terrible. The good thing is when you are doing work you love, it does feel like play most of the time. If you are lucky, what you do pleases others–forget about pleasing yourself–artisans are driven to do better and better. It is the nature of the beast.

I think I have driven myself sufficiently for today. It is time to make myself a nice cup of coffee–let it be freshly ground Mirembe Kawamera from http://www.thanksgivingcoffee.com/
to go with a slice of pear pie there is no recipe. I just threw things together and hoped for the best. That is, I took a three very ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced them. Then I cooked them in a syrup made with one and a half cups of Merlot wine, one cup of sugar, a dash of ground Vietnamese cinnamon. I cooked the pears until they were tender, strained them and reduced the syrup to one cup. After the pears and syrup cooled, I beat four eggs, mixed in a tin of sweetened condensed milk, added the wine syrup and mixed well, Next I added the pears and one and a half cups unsalted, raw cashews. In poured the mix into a handmade–please applaud–butter crust and baked it at 350F for 50 minutes. Yes, it is rich, yes, it is sweet, aren’t we all? Join me in saying the benediction for delicious things. There is one, I am sure.


In descending order,
Turquoise and sterling silver pin. $105

Shin pin in sterling with blue paua and mother of pearl cabochons. $85

Mokume gane pin embellished with mawsitsit cabochon and two Akoya pearls. $120

When Mrs. Sufganiot wishes to announce that she is happy with her choices, she wears this sterling silver and garnet No Regrets pin on her lapel. $45 Entirely handmade and sterling silver


This is another variation on Simplicity’s M4905 tote bage pattern. I made it for a young woman who loves loves to knit. The project took approximately three hours to complete.
Folkwear www.folkwear.com carries bias tape makers, Asian knot templates and fabulous patterns for ethnic and retro clothing and accessories such as a Huichol wardrobe, Ukrainian shirts, tabi socks, Syrian dress and Gibson girl bloise. Sign up for their e-newsletter and they will send you the occasional free pattern.