Today is my English birthday and I'[m 58. I can't wait till I'm 60 and can travel the length and breadth of the country for free, or at least at a reduced rate.
It's also Hitler's birthday and Haaretz has an interesting article on the irony of today falling on Holocaust Remembrance Day:
This Pesach has been wonderful. The weather was remarkably sunny and warm. The shul services were excellent and I made many new friends who invited me for the Seders and other meals. There was also the outing to a Cromwellian stately home in Clitheroe; the panic of having to find a pharmacist open on Good Friday for one of my guests who became very ill; and today the flowers from both my children and future son-in-law - in Israel and India respectively.
On Tuesday, the local paper telephoned to interview me about the forthcoming launch next Monday of the paperback version of Deconstructing the Bible.
The journalist (a history graduate from Cambridge) had just found out that she was not to be made redundant as a result of the credit crunch. Thank goodness, as she is brilliant!
At lunch time the photographer came round and took about 20 photos, two of which were chosen for the local papers.
This morning, when I woke up, the garden looked and smelled like Eden itself. I attended the usual Monday morning piano and bassoon session and then went to the library. There, a Muslim woman told me that she was thrilled that I had written the book on the Jewish genius, Abraham ibn Ezra, and was looking forward to attending the book launch next Monday. She had read the article in the Salford Advertiser:
Both my children rang to wish me mazel tov. Various friends sent Happy Birthday wishes on Facebook, by e-card, or by snail mail.
All my life, my response to the fact of being born on the same day as Hitler (although the Hebrew birthday is on Erev Pesach) has been to try and work for understanding between different peoples and religions. My grandmother died in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Who would have thought that both my parents would have survived the Holocaust in Poland and that In one month my daughter will be married in Israel to an Israeli. Tel Aviv, her home town, is 100 years old this year. I will have Israeli grandchildren.
My Polish mother studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, (one of the best universities in the world) until the Nazis took it over. Today, my book is being taught in that university's department of Jewish Studies. My Polish Dad ended up being stationed in Scotland during the war. Today, my book is on the curriculum at Aberdeen University, one of the finest theology departments in the country. What a riposte to Hitler!
To be honest, I should have been born on April 21st, but the consultant was going on holiday and induced me one day early. So I would have shared a birthday with the Queen and been a sensible and practical Taurean!
As ibn Ezra would have said: 'It's all in the stars'