Falling in Love in Israel- Love Defeats Eating Disorder



Imagine coming across someone who is intellectually gifted, knows world history, all the dates, different cultures, all faiths and  uses Arabic words as if she’s a native Arabic speaker, but she’s not  a Muslim, nor a Christian but from Jewish faith and lives in Israel and has a vast array of knowledge to her disposal.

Dear Readers,

Allah sends people in our lives for a reason, have you ever taken a moment to think, how these people impact us and transform our lives? It’s amazing how some people enter our lives in response to meet a need we have. They assist us through our difficult times, provide us with  inspiration and a new perspective to life. I used to think I knew what kind of people I needed in my life. But overtime, I have come to learn that Allah knows what’s best. Allah sometimes sends us great friends that benefit us greatly. He sends people to us in order to fulfill what he has for us or to even answer our prayers. Indeed, Allah can do whatever He pleases. Allah has blessed me with a great friend, who came in to my life when I was ill. It was her love, compassion and kindness that took me through many testing times of my illness. She simply listened to all my ED talk with greater empathy and kindness.

I first met Jeanette in 2009 at our local Amnesty meeting. Our good friend Ailsa Moore often tells me how everyone would look up to Jeanette for the  answers to difficult Questions. Jeanette is a fluent thinker, she uses advanced vocabulary, processes everything to a greater extent, generalizes world problems skilfully, has a sharp memory, comprehends everything easily, is a  natural learner who Questions nearly everything and takes great pleasure in engaging in intellectual debates .

We became friends and then we became good friends and then she became a soul friend, companion and my savior when I became very very ill. She saw me go to hospital, come out of hospital, witnessed my relapse, my recovery and my journey back to life and living. An eminent intellectually gifted lady, whose gifts of abstract word knowledge, and abstract reasoning surprised many of us. She influenced many in our Amnesty group and in doing so she changed many opinions on people of Israel. She brought a new light, a new dimension to political problems of our world. I think her gifts were actually underutilized, she rarely fulfilled her creative potentials, because she didn’t fit the stereotype that society has for women.

He who does not thank people, does not thank Allah

I saw Jeanette go through many travesties of  life. She lived between Tel Aviv and Surrey. Whenever she flew in from Israel, we would meet at Cafe Americano, where I would have my usual Cappuccino made with soya milk and she would have a cheese croissant with Americano. I saw her cheat death on numerous occasions. Last month she collapsed at her home in Surrey and was in A&E for weeks on life support machine. But She survived. Our Jeanette has a greater capacity for enduring and overcoming challenges. With me and our other good friend Ailsa she has always been willing to lend support during times of crisis.

Love is a biggest healer. To recover from eating disorder, you need to receive love and a true love of a great friend is a great healer. I find it amazing how love gets into the body and influences your mind.

On July 7, 2012, she sent me a picture of Al-Quds from Israel.

We had lunch on Saturday at a rooftop restaurant with a view over the old city of Jerusalem and thought of you. Hope all is well.

Al-Quds view from the top

Al-Quds view from the top

I was deeply touched by her gesture. Little did I know what faiths had planned for me.


Life gets out of balance when you have an eating disorder, and with time that balance can be even more difficult to maintain. Jeanette taught me to see myself for who I am and to stop seeking perfection. She said you are still you; you are not your illness. Sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way we may have wanted it and mental illness can alter even the best laid plans, but that should not an obstacle from living your life.

Visiting Holy Land

In August 2013, I went on  a International Sufi Retreat with Sufi School of Teaching to Holy Land. We visited Jordan, Israel and Palestine. Jeanette and her husband drove all the way from Tel Aviv to see me at Commodore Hotel in Jerusalem.  She took me out for Dinner to American Colony Hotel- a former palace of Pasha, where we dined in Arabesque Restaurant located inside the hotel. This hotel is  listed as one of the “Thousand Places to See Before you Die”. She wanted to show me history and make my stay in Jerusalem memorable.

The Hotel where we dined together

In the company of a beautiful friend

In the company of a beautiful friend


For Coffee and Dessert, We went to Notre Dame Hotel. We went up the elevator to the Roof Top Restaurant. She wanted me to have a view of Old City from there. How thoughtful and how amazing?


Jeanette outside Notre Dam Cathedral

We had a perfect panoramic view of the Old City and of Al-Quds. The night was glorious as we sat and sipped our coffee and had some dessert. That was the moment , I fell in love with this great Woman all over again. She thought of me when saw Al-Quds and Allah created a way for me to be in Al-Quds. I treasure every single one of those moments spent in her company in Jerusalem. I lived my dream to visit Jerusalem and to see my friend in her homeland.

Notre Dam Coffee

A dessert that is shared is blessed

That glorious night I came to learn that Love is also about being with a treasured friend and friends are also a passage to good health and wellness. Friend’s love heals you and gives you courage to live. A treasured friend’s love is kind, compassionate, tolerant, forgiving, patient, trusting, faithful, generous, accepting and peaceful.  I am so glad that I had dinner with her and her husband and didn’t listen to my ED that was telling me to cancel the outing and hide in my hotel room.

Coping With Bad News….

Living and coping with an illness can be very difficult. Learning that you have a growth on your liver is inherently aversive and it’s very difficult to deal with such life-changing news, last week, my friend received this news. After receiving the bad news, she has become even more ill. She said “they may not be able to treat it, but may give me some time to live”. The next step for family is biopsy and seeing oncologist.  I pray it’s not something serious and that she will get well soon. We all know how cancer diagnosis affects the entire family and adds stress. She’s distraught, but didn’t fail to tell me to have courage and that she’s happy, because she lived a happy life.

A Great Woman…..

The monotony of a woman’s life is, perhaps, its greatest trial. Very very rarely you’ll come across a woman such as Jeanette, who exhibit such intellect and a quality of greatness which is submission to changing circumstances and putting others before her own needs. The self-control is another element in Jeanette’s greatness. The strong individuality of this truly great woman shone out in all the circumstances of her life. She has that subtle power, with which only a few people are trusted, but which is invariably felt by others. She’s a mother who sacrificed so much to be a good mother, a good wife and a good daughter, a dutiful sister and a most brilliant human being ever.

Our other good friend, whose also Jeanette’s Good friend and soul mate, Ailsa Moore taught both of us to take action and recognize the fact that worrying doesn’t solve anything and to find balance and joy in the moment.

Special People…

Special people in your life will always be there for you with love and compassion, and you should do the same. As you share your trials, heartaches and love with them, healing and peace will arise. Never allow the demon of Eating Disorder to take your loved ones away from you. Life is too short to waste such precious moments.

Allah said if you want to Thank me, thank my people. Today I thank my great great friend, who taught me compassion, kindness, agape love and respect for humanity.

I don’t know what future holds for Jeanette or for myself, indeed all is with Allah.  But I know whatever Allah will do by either of us, it will be for the best. I learned from my Qur’anic teacher, that prayers are powerful and they move heaven and earth, so from this day on, I pray for my kind-hearted loving friend and I will continue to do so as long as I live.



About Author

Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.


  1. My name is Edna, I am Jeannette’s sister. I just wanted to thank you for those wonderful words. I agree with every one. She has always been my Google, the person I have turned to for information, her knowledge and empathy – I wish I had your gift for words! I am in Australia and unable to travel at the moment, thank you for being such a good friend to her.

    • Dear Edna. I really am sorry about Jeanette. My heart goes out to you. We know that if you could have then you would have been here. We are blessed to have her in our lives. Words fail me when it comes to you. You’re in my thoughts and prayer. You are Jeanette’s sister. You don’t need words to express yourself . Jeanette knows your love for her is deep and profound.

      • Once again thank you for your kind words. I wish I could articulate my feelings as you do but you have touched my heart. Thank you.

    • I am so sorry about your sister. She sounds wonderful. I am very touched by this post and I hope you will find some peace . My father was diagnosed with primary bowel and liver cancer. I lost him last year. They told us they couldn’t do any more. Your sister needs for you to be strong. It was the smile on our face that made my dad’s death very easy and very pain free.

    • Edna, my heart goes out to you. you have to be strong for yourself and your sister. I know you’re staying strong and fighting with tears in your eyes. You are fighting.

  2. This is lovely, and such an accurate description of Jeanette. Our lives have been richer for her friendship

  3. Mary Holdstock on

    Thank you so much for sharing this with me. You have a great gift to express and Jeannette has also benefitted from your friendship during a very difficult time. Please keep in touch.

  4. She sounds like a wonderful woman. I wish the best for her and her family in this difficult situation. My prayers will be with her & her family

  5. Mashallah reading this has really touched me. You meet some incredible people in life and Jeanette is one who brings brightness and happiness. I’ve never met her but just by reading a few words it’s amazing what a wonderful person she is. So sad to hear about her illness. She will certainly be remembered in our prayers. Just stay strong and have faith in God!

  6. Thinking of you and your dear friend Jeanette. She sounds like an amazing lady and I am so glad to know you have had her invaluable support. I am sure she cherish’s you just as much as you do her. Sending strength and love. & thank you for so much for sharing the link to this blog with me. Claire x.

  7. This is a beautiful post. My friend told me and I had to read it for myself. A Muslim and a jewish freidnship of love. I am touched. I hope you will find some comfort in your faith Maha. This is an extremely difficult time not only for you but also for Jeanette’s family and friends. the greatest gift you can give your friend is the gift of your presence. I am a student of psychology and intrigued how this will affect your eating disorder.

  8. Jeannette passed away a few hours ago. She was surrounded by her family and cocooned in love. She slipped away very peacefully and was in no pain. I wish I could have been there but we spoke the day before and over the past weeks have said our goodbyes and expressed our love for each other. I know she will rest in peace as she deserves.

  9. May God bless Jeanette for the blessing she has been to others especially showing people that they are worth more than an eating disorder.

  10. Seeking Authenticity on

    Edna, Maha I am so sorry to learn that Jeanette has passed away. The goodness, warmth and beauty that she spread I’m sure will remain in hearts forever. Hold the precious memories of dear Jeanette close. Inspired by learning of her wonderful character, I pray the pain of loss and grief eases for you all with time xxx

    • Thank you Brenda. It gives me goosebumps, but my Friend a Saudi poetess in Turkey celebrating Rumi sent me a link to your post last night. She wanted my thoughts , what a small world and how we all connect. Beautiful Blog. Bless you.

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