■ JERUSALEM POST staff members were usually notified about a birthday party or a
farewell via an e-mail message from executive editorial secretary Linda Amar,
who also took on the responsibility of providing refreshments and often baked a
But when it came to a farewell for Amar, who has left after
29 years at the Post, someone else had to take on organizing the
It became the joint effort of reporter Tovah Lazaroff
Magazine editor Amanda Borschel-Dan
. Just to be sure that former colleagues did
not miss out on the opportunity to wish Amar well, Borschel-Dan also put a
notice on Facebook.
Several people who wanted to come but were abroad or
who live too far from Jerusalem to come in on a Friday morning posted their own
Facebook comments to the effect that they were there in
Nonetheless, an incredible number turned up, testifying to the
esteem in which Amar is held.
Lazaroff made her delightful top-floor
apartment available for the occasion, and many past and present staff members
came with their children, ranging in age from 10 years to just a few months. The
oldest of the guests was the Post
’s most veteran employee, 90-year-old Alexander
, who climbed the steep flights of stairs and didn’t seem to be remotely
out of breath when he got to the top. As for the catering, it would have done
any dairy restaurant proud. Amar is so popular that the vast majority of guests
contributed to the laden buffets, and no one stinted on either quality or
A little over a year ago, her friends, colleagues and admirers
at the Post
opened a Facebook group called “We Love Linda Amar.” The spontaneous
fan club was in appreciation of, among other things, her being a problem-solver
par excellence, her patience, her willingness to help, her radiant smile and her
decency as a human being. Amar’s life has been much entwined with the Post
she first came 29 years ago, she was hired by Nechama Golomb
, then head of the
advertising department, where Amar worked for 10 years before becoming an
editorial secretary to N. David Gross
, the first of eight editors to whom she
was a valued assistant. The others were David Bar-Illan
, Jeff Barak
, David Makovsky
, Bret Stephens
, David Horovitz
and the incumbent Steve
, with whom she worked briefly as he took over from Horovitz.
husband Eli Amar
recalled that their wedding invitations had been printed at the
Post. In those days, the paper operated a lucrative commercial printing press.
Amar’s children were born during her years at the newspaper, and as she said
herself it was a place where she had made lifelong friends and even acquired
additional family (her brother Steve Leibowitz
, the editor-in-chief of IBA
English News and a former sports writer for the Post, is married to former
features editor and writer Ruthie Blum
– a happy union resulting from Amar’s
matchmaking skills). Amar worked with Horovitz for longer than with any of his
predecessors, and over those seven years, she became his sounding board and
relentless chaser of interviewees.
She was also the person who calmed the
tempers of occasionally irate readers on the phone. Describing Amar as “the
heart and soul of the Post
,” Horovitz said she’d regularly had insights and
comments that had helped improve his column. “I could not have done my job
without her,” he said.
Amar, who does not fluster easily, confessed to
being overwhelmed by the surge of affection and described her 19 years as
assistant to a series of editors-in-chief as consistently interesting and
challenging. She highlighted the period she spent with Horovitz, whose
leadership, integrity, decency and ability to motivate had inspired her.“These
last seven years have been a gift,” she said.Galina Weinberg
, who has
taken over from Amar as Linde’s assistant, promises to keep the Post on the
right course in the future.
■ ONE OF the greatest cantors and opera
singers of all time was the late Richard Tucker
, who came to Israel from the
United States to perform free of charge for wounded soldiers.
Shabbat, the Jerusalem Great Synagogue will honor his memory with two other
great cantors who occasionally sing opera while leading the service. The
synagogue’s in-house cantor Chaim Adler
will be joined by Yitzchak Meir Helfgot
There are indications that attendance will be close to that of the High Holy
Days, with people actually flying in from abroad to attend the service. For that
reason, a special tickets-only section of the synagogue has been reserved for
members to ensure that they get a seat. Joining regular congregants this Shabbat
will be former US ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer
and his wife
■ ISRAEL’S FIFTH and ninth presidents, Yitzhak Navon
, who have been friends and colleagues for more than 60 years, traded
reminiscences and compliments last Friday at Tel Aviv’s Cameri Theater as part
of Navon’s continuing 90th birthday celebrations. The Cameri, which put on a
special show last year for Peres’s birthday, decided to do so again for
The two were disciples of founding prime minister and defense
minister David Ben-Gurion
, though according to Peres, who turns 88 next week,
the difference between them was that while he had been Ben-Gurion’s pupil, Navon
had been his teacher: Ben- Gurion had decided that he wanted to learn Spanish,
and Navon, a teacher by profession who later became education minister, was
picked to instruct him.
Navon confessed that he’d had a few trepidations
about age when he’d turned 70 and again when he’d turned 80, but as he had
approached 90, he became a first time grandfather, which gave him a new lease on
■ SINCE TAKING on the presidency, Peres seems to have become
increasingly involved with the Orthodox community. He consistently quotes the
Ten Commandments as the universal guideline for civilized behavior, consults
frequently with the chief rabbis, visits with haredi rabbis and has now written
a letter in the El Al Torah Scroll for Israel Unity.
The brainchild of El
Al CEO Eliezer Shkedi
, a former commander of the IAF, the scroll, when
completed, will be brought along on flights of national and historic
significance, and will also serve worshipers at the synagogue of the airline’s
head office. Jewish community leaders around the globe have been invited to
participate in this project.
Peres wrote a letter in the scroll at his
official residence in Jerusalem, joining Israeli and US rabbinical leaders and
yeshiva heads, and the leaders of major Jewish organizations.
El Al’s Matmid Frequent Flyer Club are invited to write a letter of their choice
directly through the company’s website and at no cost, which halachically is not
quite the same as making the appropriate blessing and working with a Torah
scribe such as Yehoshua Wachsenberg
, the scribe who helped Peres.
JABOTINSKY INSTITUTE director Yossi Ahimeir
was in a bit of a
flap. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad
had been scheduled to deliver the
annual Jabotinsky lecture this Thursday night, July 28, but had to back out due
to an urgent trip abroad.
Ahimeir had to wrack his brains as to who would
be available and most suitable to take over. In a sense, he may have found
someone a lot better – Jabotinsky’s grandson, Ze’ev Jabotinsky
, whose topic is
“Right Does Not Only Mean the Right to Security.”
■ APROPOS OF the
Jabotinsky Institute, it has just a published a new edition of Jabotinsky’s
letters from 1936 onward, in conjunction with the Zionist Library. Ahimeir,
together with Mordechai Sarig
, the institute’s new chairman, and Arye Naor,
chairman of the institute’s Academic Committee, presented Prime Minister
with a copy. The book includes a letter to the prime
minister’s father, Benzion Netanyahu
, in which Jabotinsky apologizes for not
writing an appreciation of Rabbi Nathan Milikovsky
, the prime minister’s
The reason, explains Jabotinsky, is that for a
whole year, he was caught up in political matters and couldn’t focus on anything
The prime minister wanted to know whether his father had a copy of
the book, and on receiving an affirmative reply, gave a satisfied grin and
praised the institute for the work it does in disseminating Jabotinsky’s
■ OF COURSE, Naor is no less interested in Menachem Begin
in Jabotinsky. He was, after all, Begin’s first cabinet secretary and has
written about him extensively. In fact, his most recent work on Begin earned him
a citation this week at the annual awards ceremony for works about deceased
presidents and prime ministers. The two leaders chosen this year were president
and Begin.Prof. Uriel Bachrach
, who worked under the
former’s supervision in the IDF’s Science Corps – which Katzir founded – wrote
about the history of the Science Division and the contributions of young
scientists to national security in the nascent years of the state. The second
prize went to scientist and journalist Amos Carmel
for his book Ephraim Katzir
the Story of Life.
A citation was given to Grade Tet-1 of the IAF College
of Technology, which compiled a digital presentation of aspects of Katzir’s
personal life, his scientific work and achievements, and his term as
president.Dr. Udi Lebel
, a lecturer in political psychology and
political science who also does research into bereavement, memory and memorials,
won the Prime Minister’s Prize for his book on Begin, The Path to the
Naor has also authored several books, among them A Government
at War and Begin at the Helm, both of which deal directly with Begin’s term as
A citation was also given to veteran journalist Shlomo
, who was Begin’s media adviser toward the end of the 1970s.
ADDITION to his family, there were lots of Begin associates in the hall, among
them Yehiel Kadishai
, his faithful bureau chief; Ambassador Yehuda Avner
flew with Begin to Washington in 1977 and who has written extensively about him;
Nitza Ben- Elissar
, the widow of Eliahu Ben-Elissar
, the country’s first
ambassador to Egypt; and Navon, who succeeded Katzir and became the first
Israeli president to set foot in Egypt.
■ WHETHER OR not one agrees with
his ultra-right-wing politics, one cannot deny that Itamar Ben-Gvir
is a man of
Seeking to beef up the ratings for the upcoming season of Big
Brother, the show’s headhunters approached him and asked whether he would be
willing to join the residents in the shared household in which everyone’s
privacy is invaded.
Ben-Gvir said he needed time to think about it. After
a couple of weeks, he met with the show’s producers and said that he had to be
guaranteed that he would be able to properly observe Shabbat, including not
being filmed; be served strictly kosher food; be free to pray three times a day;
and not be asked to dress up in some ridiculous costume.
All this proved
a little too much for the Big Brother people, and last week, in somewhat more
polite terms, they said thanks, but no thanks.
■ THERE ARE very few
things that Felice and Michael Friedson
of Jerusalem would not do for their
charismatic, 22-year-old, Americanborn son Gavy, who recently completed his army
service – but they never figured on picking up an award in his name.Gavy
– who, in addition to his many talents, is also a paramedic – works as
a volunteer with Hatzalah. He began volunteering with Magen David Adom at age 15
and never looked back. While in high school, he also volunteered with the fire
department. He’s now been saving lives for seven years, and he answers more than
100 calls a month on his ambucycle, and on his own time, regardless of the hour.
He does not allow religion, race or politics to impede his enthusiasm to help
where help is needed. One example is Khalil Mousa Arakat
, a restaurant employee
who suffered a heart attack on the job; Friedson revived him with
Recently Friedson answered multiple calls from a single address over
the course of a week, treating three out of four generations of the same family,
from a two-week-old baby girl to her 100-year-old great-grandmother.
while in the army, first in a Nahal unit and then in the IDF Spokesman’s Office,
he always went back to being a Hatzalah paramedic whenever he was on
He was thrilled when the Jerusalem Municipality notified him that
he was getting an award for volunteerism, but missed out on the award ceremony
because he was in New York. He’s currently serving an internship there with the
prestigious public relations firm of Sunshine Sachs & Associates, whose
client list includes Barbara Streisand
, Leonardo DiCaprio
, Ben Affleck
, Jon Bon
and the New York Jets.
Tempting though it may be to stay in the Big
Apple, Friedson will be back in Israel in the fall to become a freshman at IDC
Herzliya, where he will study communications.
■ DERVISH, AN exotic arts
and crafts store in the heart of Tel Aviv, has long been a place of pilgrimage
for people who don’t follow the herd when it comes to clothes, jewelry and home
It began 45 years ago, when Miriam Mirvish
, an anti-Apartheid
activist, was given a choice: to stay in South Africa, where she was in danger
of being arrested, or to leave.
She chose the latter and moved to Israel,
where she was joined soon after by her younger sister Doreen Bahiri
, who had
been active in Habonim. Six months after Bahiri’s arrival, the sisters headed up
to Mount Meron in the Galilee to see the Lag Ba’omer festivities. On their way
back, they stopped off in Safed.
Someone suggested that they open an
antique shop in the Artists’ Quarter of Safed’s Old City. Still young enough to
take risks, they tossed a coin – heads they would do it, tails they wouldn’t.
Heads it was, and Dervish was born. The two sisters traveled around the Druse
and Arab villages in the North, learning about traditional Arab crafts and
jewelry and meeting wonderful people.
But Safed, for all its charm, was
not the best place for business, so in 1969 they decided to move the shop to Tel
Aviv’s Bogroshov Street. In that location, the quest for merchandise expanded.
Early back-packers, the sisters divided up the world – Bahiri went to South
America, Mirvish to Southeast Asia, and they shared Africa. Everywhere they
searched for and found beautiful items. As far as Israel was concerned, they
were pioneers in their field. True, there were examples of North African and
traditional Yemenite arts and crafts at Maskit, which had been started by Ruth
to give new immigrant artists and craftspeople a chance to earn an income,
but Maskit did not carry as much variety as Dervish.
sisters moved their enterprise to Gordon Street, settling in the building
between Uri Avnery’s Ha’olam Hazeh magazine and the monthly New Outlook – an
ideal place, considering their own politics. In recent years, Dervish relocated
to its present address at 21 Dov Hoz Street, close to the many art galleries in
and around Gordon.
Mirvish passed away four years ago, but Bahiri
continues to carry the torch of love for beautiful crafts and ethnic art. “Most
of our clientele is Israeli, and the best customers are the obsessive
collectors, lovers of beautiful arts and crafts,” she says. Among them are
artists, writers, professors, dancers, psychologists, activists, a mix of former
South Africans and native Israelis, as well as several Yemenites.
every shopping trip, the sisters used to have a party, complete with
refreshments featuring Bahiri’s Indian and Middle Eastern delicacies. She has
kept up this practice since Mirvish’s passing, and last Friday, in celebration
of Dervish’s 45th anniversary, she hosted a party for some 50 people, who
relished the cool punch and watermelon but were more interested in seeing the
hostess’s latest purchases.