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Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it and, to all of those who don’t officially, religiously, celebrate it but who enjoy this time of year culturally, also have a super day.

Today, Christmas Day, is the day I most miss England (well, I also miss breaking the Fast at mum and dad’s after Yom Kippur…so it’s a joint first place).

You see, I am an Israeli but I am also a Brit., an Englishman – a GEORDIE! – and that part of me, my Englishness, it’ll always be part of my essence. I guess the fact that mum and dad still live in Newcastle is a weight that keeps my heart anchored in Newcastle but I’m sure that it’s not just that, that I am a Geordie to my core and that I’ll always have dual nationality in my heart, not just on paper and in passports.

For those of you out there who don’t know, 25 December is just an ordinary day here in Israel (I’ll be picking Raphael up from school shortly) – well, that’s true in most of Israel. Of course, in Arab Christian communities and villages, celebrations and happiness abound. I remember, some years ago, visiting an Arab Christian friend in her village, a warm December day, sun shining, the nativity scene built and taking centre stage…surreal in the warmth of Israel’s December, I remember thinking. It was a super day!

So, I’m sitting here now, on this ‘ordinary’ day, 25 December, just like any other day as it is now for me in Israel but acutely aware that it’s NOT like any other day, not in my heart as I feel the distance from England – more precisely, Newcastle – as I feel the distance between my house and mum and dad’s and I picture and ‘feel’ the welcome and warmth that will be drawing in their friends when they go to the house to spend the day, the outside of the house adorned in its wonderful Christmas ‘wonderland’ lighting (honestly, it is classy!), when they walk through the front door, welcomed by mum and dad’s smiles and the warmth and glow of the fire (and a glass of something bubbly), as they smell the food (and what a mouth-watering smell!!)….the love and friendliness, a special quality that is unique to mum and dad and how they entertain.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a proud Israeli, a happy-to-be Israeli, but I’m also a Geordie, a Brit, and, today, mentally, I’m with mum and dad in Newcastle.

Happy Christmas, mum and dad. I love you and miss you so much (yes, tears in my eyes!!) xxx

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