Grapevine: ‘Hallowed peace’ – top of the wish list

Leonardo chef Shalom Kadosh joins exclusive club, Taiwan hails its visa waiver agreement with Israel, ‘Post’ bids farewell to Judy Montagu.

By
August 16, 2011 22:57
Arye Deri.

Arye Deri 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

■ IT WOULD seem that chef Shalom Kadosh, the legendary executive chef of Jerusalem’s Leonardo Hotel, formerly the Jerusalem Sheraton Plaza, has achieved just about everything an Israeli chef could hope for. He has led Jerusalem teams in international cooking contests and come home with many medals. He has prepared meals for presidents and prime ministers, as well as a whole host of other celebrities. He has brought renowned chefs from around the world to Israel for important culinary events, and even taught them the rudiments of kashrut, forcing them to adapt their secret recipes to Jewish dietary laws. He has belonged to a number of local and international chefs’ associations, and has trained scores of chefs who later went to other hotels or restaurants or set up their own establishments.

But one thing eluded him until recently, and that was membership in the exclusive Club de Chefs de Chefs, which is currently a 30-member club of the private chefs of presidents, prime ministers and monarchs. Strictly speaking, because he doesn’t specifically work as the private chef of any of the above, he didn’t really qualify for membership. But in view of his having prepared meals for so many local heads of state, as well as for King Hussein of Jordan and Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, he was invited to join this prestigious assembly that meets in a different country each year to prepare a gala banquet for the local leader.

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His first experience as a member was in Moscow, where he helped prepare a banquet for President Dmitry Medvedev.

Ironically Medvedev was supposed to have come to Israel in January of this year, but the visit was canceled due to sanctions by Foreign Ministry employees. Had he come, he would have missed out on Kadosh’s culinary talents, because an outside catering establishment is employed to cater state dinners and other banquets at the President’s Residence, and it is unlikely that the Russian president would have stayed at the Leonardo (heads of state usually opt for the King David or the David Citadel hotels, though some prefer the Mount Zion Hotel, which has a private house on the grounds that enables occupants to avoid contact with other guests).

Kadosh probably has the distinction of working in the one hotel for a longer period than almost any other chef in the country. While management companies have come and gone, Kadosh, who is now 64, has remained steadfastly loyal to his hotel kitchen, where he has practiced his culinary inventiveness for 36 years. He still has one major goal, which doesn’t really depend on him: He’s dreaming of the day Israel will make peace with all its neighbors, and Arab leaders from across the region will come to Jerusalem to celebrate the turning point in relations – and he will be the chef in charge of preparing the festive banquet in their honor. After all, given his name, which means “hallowed peace,” no chef would be more fitting for the occasion.

■ EVERY NATIONAL or ethnic immigrant group suffers the slings and arrows of those that came before it. Although logic would dictate that anyone subjected to adversity and humiliation would not inflict the same pain on others, it doesn’t always work that way. Ethiopian journalist and community activist Danny Adino Abebe, whose often serious attitude is veiled in charismatic humor and outrageous chutzpa, appeared with Charlie Biton, one of the founders of the Black Panthers, at a Tisha Be’av panel in Jerusalem’s Beit Avi Chai.

Just as Biton in his glory days bitterly complained of negative attitudes toward immigrants of North African background, and claims that vestiges still exist, so Abebe, in a much lighter vein, spoke of the discrimination against Ethiopians. Regardless of the fact that many are highly educated, he said, they are treated with two kinds of discrimination: Either people feel great pity for them, when there is no need, or they demonstrate outright hostility. Aware of the history of what one immigrant group tends to inflict on another, Abebe quipped, “We can’t wait for all the Bnei Menashe to get here.”

■ THERE ARE people on both the Left and the Right of the political divide who believe that former Shas leader and former interior minister Arye Deri should not be permitted to return to public life, but some felt the need to express this opinion in a quarter-page, front-page advertisement in Haaretz on Tisha Be’av.

Headlined “Social justice begins with public integrity,” the advertisement, which is signed by some 40-plus people including Ometz chairman Arye Avneri, New Israel Fund chairwoman Naomi Chazan and Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On, calls on the protesters who are demanding social justice not to enter into any dealings with Deri. Any effort to whitewash his deeds via the just and sincere citizens’ struggle will cast a blot on the battle, say the signatories, adding that they believe that no convicted felon has what to seek among the tent dwellers.

At the time that he was sentenced, Deri said he accepted his punishment with love. He’s been out of public life for a decade. Though he was convicted of taking the grand sum of $155,000 in bribes, it is worth noting that other public figures have embezzled or stolen millions and been cheerfully admitted back into mainstream society once they got out of prison.

■ ALSO ON Tisha Be’av, Moti Haziza, the union chairman of the employees of Pri Hagalil in Hatzor Haglilit, was notified by management that 58 of the employees were to be dismissed immediately, and another 60 two weeks later. Haziza refused to distribute the letters of dismissal on Tisha Be’av, but the word got out anyway and created instant panic.

There are no other work options in the area, and most of those who are losing their jobs are in their 40s and 50s. Even if there were jobs available, these people would be low on the priority list, which partially explains why they participated in the demonstration in Afula earlier this month.

■ THE VISA waiver agreement between Israel and Taiwan, which went into effect on August 11, symbolizes a new milestone in relations between the two countries, said Taiwan Representative in Israel Liang-jen Chang at a festive brunch at the Carlton Hotel in Tel Aviv last week.

This means more people-to-people and business-to-business contacts and more joint ventures and investments, he said joyfully, declaring it a win-win situation. Noting the benefits to Israel, he added that together with China, with which Taiwan has an economic agreement, Taiwan represents two fifths of the world’s population with great buying power and a vibrant economy. He also outlined his country’s tourist attractions. Not to be outdone, Noaz Ben-Nir, the director general of the Tourism Ministry, waxed lyrical about the attractions Israel could offer to Taiwanese tourists, and not just Christian Taiwanese who come on religious pilgrimages.

Rafi Gamzo, Israel’s former representative in Taiwan, was delighted to see the completion of the reciprocal visa waiver agreement, which had been initiated when he was still in Taiwan.

He also commented that the Taiwan-Israel Business Chamber had been inaugurated before he’d left Taipei, and he was sure that its members were happy to have a similar organization in Israel with which they could work in partnership.

The Israel-Taiwan Businessmen’s Friendship Association, which was launched at the brunch, is headed by Jacob Fass, chairman of Ness Ziona-based LEM (Laboratory of Early Detection and Experimental Medicine), who was the country’s first representative in Taiwan.

Attending the event were mainly people from the travel industry, as well as several people from other areas of business and celebrity chef Israel Aharoni, who recently visited Taiwan and who has written extensively about his gastronomic experiences there. Aharoni said that for him, the visa waiver could not have come too soon. He paid his first visit to Taiwan 31 years ago, he said, and when he applied for a visa, it was very difficult to get. He fell in love with Taiwanese cooking many years ago. “The best Chinese food in the world is in Taiwan.

It’s amazing,” he said.

Several young Israeli professionals who had been in Taiwan on short-term study tours said that people were extremely friendly and went out of their way to be helpful to the visitor.

To celebrate the visa waiver agreement, the establishment of the Businessmen’s Friendship Association and the 100th anniversary of his country, Chang had the Hertzberg winery make up a special batch of private-label bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon featuring English, Hebrew and Chinese characters, plus the flags of Israel and Taiwan. For those who received the bottles and want to hold out for a few months before toasting both countries, the wine is kosher for Passover.

■ APROPOS AHARONI, though known as an inventive gourmet chef and food critic, he’s also an occasional DJ, and he loves to make and fly kites – something he’s been doing since he was a little boy. Anyone who wants to fly kites with him is welcome to do so on Saturday, August 20, at 5 p.m. on Alma Beach near the Monte Rei restaurant in Tel Aviv-Jaffa.

■ EVEN THOUGH it’s the holiday season and many of The Jerusalem Post’s staff members are away, there was still a sizable gathering to bid farewell to Judy Montagu, who is retiring after 28 years, and to Gershom Gale, who is going into semi-retirement after more than 20 years at the paper. Farewells notwithstanding, Montagu is not entirely retiring. Her fans will be delighted to know that she was prevailed upon to continue with her popular weekly column, and she has agreed to continue writing.

Both Montagu and Gale talked about the personal satisfaction they derived from being journalists and from working at the Post with people who were “good, terrific, dedicated, decent, hard-working, kind and professional.”

Gale, who has worked more as an editor than a writer, won praise from Montagu for his editorial skills, his devotion to his work, and his consideration for the writers whose work he edited. Both recalled the late Alec Israel, the somewhat eccentric but enormously talented literary editor, whose talent as both an editor and a writer was surpassed only by his kindness and his concern for humanity, though he occasionally hid this beneath a gruff exterior.

Montagu, who assumed a new role two months ago as the wife of retired Canadian schoolteacher Sheldon Fossaner, remarked that “although it doesn’t pay a salary, it does have dividends.” As for her years of working at the Post, she said no one could quite explain the thrill of working on a daily newspaper. She worked in a variety of roles, all of which she found fulfilling.

There was no need for Galina Weinberg, assistant to Editor- in-Chief Steve Linde, to wrack her brains about a suitable gift for Montagu.

With her British background, Montagu had asked for the most obvious and least expensive of suitable gifts – a Jerusalem Post monogrammed cup and saucer. She got the last of what used to be a large batch. In presenting it, Linde said: “You’re our cup of tea.”

■ IT’S ALWAYS nice to have friends who are among the leading entertainers in the country. It’s even better when they decide to enhance your celebration by performing. One of the oldest friends of Tel Aviv social activist Alice Krieger is composer, arranger, conductor and pianist David Krivoshei.

One of her more recent friends is singer Shlomit Aharon.

The two got together at Krieger’s birthday party to give her a from-the-heart gift, and she’s already demanding an encore for next year.

Among the many guests at the party – some of whom joined in the chorus when Aharon was singing – were interim Labor Party chairman Micha Harish, would-be Labor chairman MK Isaac Herzog, Israel Prize laureates David Rubinger and Micha Bar-Am, Doreen Gainsford, Ruth Rapaport, Yehuda Ben-Meir, Yaniv Oppenheimer, Australian Ambassador Andrea Faulkner, Toby Cohen, Dr. Elias Issaq, Steve Felder and Munther Fahmi, the owner of the popular Bookshop at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem.

Ardently left-wing in her politics, and a frequent demonstrator against what she considers anti-democratic laws, the outspoken Krieger had been asked by friends to refrain from introducing politics into the festivities. She did restrain herself to some extent, but could not refrain from mentioning the names of some politicians to whom she’d like to give a oneway ticket out of the country.

Freely confessing that she’s the kind of person who speaks her mind, the one thing Krieger absolutely refuses to discuss is her age. In fact, she admitted to being quite rude to two guests who called to ask which birthday she was celebrating.

To excuse the coyness, which doesn’t jibe with her otherwise frank character, she quoted Oscar Wilde, who said: “One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell one anything.”

■ ISRAEL IS increasingly getting to see the best of global cinema as different embassies vie with each other to co-host film weeks representative of their respective countries. Czech Film Week opens at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on August 21 in the presence of producer and editor Adam Dvorak, Executive Producer David Rauoh, composer James Harries – and of course, Czech Ambassador Tomas Pojar and David Stecher, director of the Czech Centre, Tel Aviv.

Many of these international film festivals open in Jerusalem before they open in Tel Aviv, and this one is no exception.

The opening at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque is on August 22.

The opening film is Lidice, the story of the Czech village massacred by the Nazis as an act of revenge for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. The story is seen through the eyes of Frantisek Sima, the sole survivor of the massacre.

■ THE FESTIVE events in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market during the three-week mourning period between the 17th of Tammuz to the Ninth of Av proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back – or, rather, the match that kindled the straw – in the capital’s ongoing wars between the secular and religious communities. Mahane Yehuda is surrounded on all sides by observant Jewish communities, including some diverse haredi communities that were disturbed not only by music and merry-making within this extension of their neighborhood, but also by non-kosher restaurants in the market and the increasingly immodest attire of women who do their shopping there.

These are but a few of the complaints they are going to bring to the door of Mayor Nir Barkat, who is set to turn the center of town into a non-stop cultural paradise with rock and jazz concerts, art shows and other events. While these things do bring a lot of people to town, there are many residential premises on the upper floors of commercial buildings, and those people are presumably entitled to quiet and privacy. Representatives of several haredi factions have already held an emergency meeting at which a boycott of the market was discussed.

■ DEPARTING HEADS of foreign missions in Israel almost always promise to come back to visit, but seldom do so. Two, who are leaving soon, will most definitely be back. One is Petronila Garcia, the ambassador of the Philippines, who will return home to take up responsibilities for Africa and the Middle East in her country’s Foreign Ministry, which means she will be touring the region at least two or three times a year. The other is Korean Ambassador Young-Sam Ma, who will return for the grand opening of the permanent Korean Embassy for which he purchased the land in the Herzliya Pituah industrial zone. Former US ambassadors Sam Lewis, Martin Indyk and Dan Kurtzer are frequent visitors, and several ambassadors from other countries have also been back from time to time.

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