ON CHANNEL 10, singer Dudu Aharon is looking for a bride among a bevy of
beautiful girls, who are chasing fame, fortune and glory in the contest to
become Mrs. A.
New York native Jared Morgenstern, a Harvard graduate with
a special knack for computers, cast himself a wider net. He has come to Israel
on a three-week jaunt, during which he’s hoping to find a nice Jewish girl who
is Ms. Right for him. If he succeeds, there’s going to be a wedding.
people who may not be familiar with his name are certainly familiar with his
thumb-up icon – the “like” indicator on Facebook. Whoever coined the phrase that
a picture is worth 1,000 words was unaware of the strength of an infinitely
smaller icon. It’s what one might call nanocommunication, in that one can say so
much with a single click – and “like” apparently says it all. Morgenstern says
he came up with the idea as a solution for people who don’t have the ability to
communicate their feelings.
In a whirlwind tour of Israel’s diversity,
Morgenstern found himself in Jaffa last Friday and attended a performance by
Mayumana, the rhythmic dance troupe in which the dancers use their feet as well
as their hands to drum on boxes, buckets and floors. Morgenstern not only liked
but loved it, and posed for photos with the dancers.
■ AT LAST year’s
Bastille Day celebrations, French Ambassador Christophe Bigot told his guests
that this was his last Bastille Day in Israel.
But then his replacement
had a change of heart and the Quai d’Orsay gave Bigot a reprieve, allowing him
to remain in Israel for another year. On Sunday, when he said “Lehitraot but not
goodbye,” he observed that this time it was for real – “even in the land of
In his emotionally charged address, Bigot expressed his
unreserved admiration for President Shimon Peres, a known Francophile who never
refuses an invitation to join in festivities hosted by the French
Bigot hailed Peres as a true friend of France, who in his
very being and ceaseless quest for peace between Israel and her Palestinian
neighbors symbolized the French values of liberty, equality and fraternity.
Speaking in a mix of French and Hebrew, Bigot greeted the guests on behalf of
his wife, Valerie, and their children, and underscored how much France
appreciated Peres’s recent state visit, which was his second in a five-year
Emphasizing France’s solidarity with Israel, Bigot declared that
Israel is not alone, and reiterated France’s commitment to preventing Iran from
developing its nuclear program. He also spoke of France’s battle against terror,
and in this context was proud of France’s contribution towards saving Mali from
He was also proud that fighting anti-Semitism is a top
priority in France. “We will never forget Toulouse,” he said, recalling the
three children and teacher murdered by a terrorist in a Toulouse Jewish school
in March of last year, and the visit to the school by Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu and French President François Hollande.
The meeting between the
two leaders was more than symbolic, said Bigot. France has long supported Middle
East peace initiatives, and acknowledges that Israel lives in a dangerous
neighborhood. Bigot noted the proximity of Syria, where more than 100,000 people
have been killed; and the unrest in Egypt, where the population is trying to
find the path to democracy. France fully supports the efforts of US Secretary of
State John Kerry to renew the peace process: “It’s time there was a sovereign
Palestinian state alongside that of Israel,” he said.
Paris and Jerusalem do not see eye-to-eye on everything, Bigot said that it was
normal for friends to have occasional disagreements, and indicated there was
more agreement than disagreement between the two countries. He was pleased that
Israel’s two French schools, Mikve Israel and College Marc Chagall, are so full
that neither has sufficient room for additional enrollments. There are some
150,000 French nationals living in Israel, said Bigot, as he congratulated their
newly elected representative in the French parliament, Meyer Habib, who was
present among the huge crowd of mainly French expatriates.
Speaking on a
personal level, Bigot said Israel had left a profound impression on him during
his seven years here – four of them as ambassador.
His most memorable
moment was when he embraced Gilad Schalit at the latter’s home in Mitzpe Hila,
the day after his release from Hamas captivity. Schalit is a dual national with
Another meaningful memory that Bigot is carrying back
to Paris is of the ceremonies for French citizens who were honored at Yad Vashem
as Righteous Among the Nations. He never missed one of these ceremonies, he
said, because the people who were being honored “had saved the honor of France
during World War II.”
Both Bigot and Peres praised the talents of
legendary and theatrical translator Giselle Abazon, who Peres declared not only
translates but improves upon what is said.
Peres also had a stock of
accolades for Bigot, whom he lauded as “a great representative of his country”
who has performed extraordinary service.
“I came to thank you in the name
of the State of Israel and the people of Israel for the wonderful relations
between us,” he said. Peres also offered some advice to French Foreign Minister
Laurent Fabius, which was not to allow Bigot’s unique talents to go to
As for Habib, Peres said he was happy that the representative had
not run for the Knesset “because then I wouldn’t be able to congratulate him,
because people would say I’m interfering in politics. The French don’t
In thanking the French for their universal gift to the world of
liberty, equality and fraternity, Peres described them as unifying
On bilateral relations, Peres said that Israel will never forget
the assistance she received from France in times of extreme need. He was also
appreciative of the stance taken by Hollande on Iran.
He has known the
French president for a long time, he said, having first met him when Hollande
was working for president François Mitterand. In toasting France, Peres said
that “Bigot may be changing his place of residence, but we’re not changing our
Though no longer in office, and absent for several months
from media headlines, former defense minister Ehud Barak and his wife, Nili
Priel, were invited to join the official party on the balcony.
become trendy for embassies to bring in opera singers from their home countries,
or Israeli opera singers who have appeared in the ambassador’s country to sing
the national anthems. The French Embassy was no exception. Opera singer and
actor David Serero came specially to Israel for the occasion, and gave inspiring
renditions of both anthems. Audiences tend to give polite applause to anthem
This time it was frenzied – and it was
Bigot will be succeeded by Patrick Maisonnave, a
first-time ambassador, who is currently director of strategic affairs, security
and disarmament at the French Foreign Ministry. He is due to take up his
appointment in late August.
■ LAST THURSDAY, only three days prior to
Bastille Day, Bigot opened a new exhibition at Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the
Jewish People, located on the Tel Aviv University campus.
was dedicated to the works of David Kirszenbaum.
Born in Poland to a
rabbinic family in the village of Staszow in 1900, Kirszenbaum moved to Germany
when he was 20 and joined the Bauhaus. After 10 years, he left Germany with his
wife and went to Paris, where he discovered French Impressionism and painting
Like many of the great Jewish artists whose work was
influenced by their Parisian environment, his paintings were infused with
elements of Jewish mysticism and symbols.
Kirszenbaum’s studio was
destroyed during the Holocaust and more than 600 of his paintings and drawings
were looted by the Nazis, and he was imprisoned in a concentration
His wife was deported and murdered along with nearly all of his
After the war, he had to rediscover himself. In this, he was
aided spiritually and financially by Alix de Rothschild.
initially worked in Paris, then in Brazil and Morocco, returning eventually to
the French capital, where he died from cancer in 1954.
The exhibition is
due to the perseverance and dedication of Kirszenbaum’s great-nephew, Nathan
Diament, who painstakingly traced the remnants of the artist’s lost career – due
to his conviction that Kirszenbaum’s contribution to the art world was worth
salvaging and resurrecting.
In so doing, Diament has restored Kirszenbaum
to his rightful place in modern European art history.
itself was created by the Museum of Art at Ein Harod.
Among those present
at the opening at Beit Hatfutsot were: Irina Nevzlin Kogan, chairwoman of the
museum’s board of directors; museum CEO Dan Tadmor; businessman Gad Propper;
Stefan Kobsa, cultural attaché at the German Embassy; Yossi Ahimeir, executive
director of the Jabotinsky Institute; Sallai Meridor, international chairman of
the Jerusalem Foundation and former ambassador to the US; exhibition curator Dr.
Caroline Goldberg Igra; and chief museum curator Dr. Orit Shaham-Gover.
MANY ISRAELIS don’t really know what it means to feel Jewish until they go out
into the Diaspora. Even those who may be religiously observant or who came on
aliya from other countries experience a different sense of identity when they
are abroad, especially if they go as representatives of Israel. Official
representatives are always primed about what to expect, but for many this
information is superficial – until they actually put their feet on foreign
In this way, Jews from Israel or elsewhere who have never before
been to Poland are amazed at its many signs of Jewish life. After learning for
years that whole communities of Polish Jews were snuffed out during the
Holocaust, many have come to falsely believe that Poland is
That is certainly not the case, and as time goes by, more and
more Poles who can prove their Jewish ancestry are coming out of the woodwork
and openly identifying as members of the Jewish people. Some are not
halachically Jewish because they have non- Jewish mothers, and although they are
aware that this is problematic, it does not stop them from joining in Jewish
communal activities in their hometowns and traveling to other parts of Poland
for major events – such as the annual Jewish Culture Festival of Krakow, which
attracts thousands of people from around the world and many parts of
A small group of MKs and political advisers, among them MKs
Robert Ilatov and Aliza Lavie, were part of a delegation who visited Krakow and
experienced the amazing diversity of the festival, which is one of the biggest
summer events in Europe.
They were able to see the various Krakow
synagogues, most of which have been turned into museums, but some of which have
been restored and now have regular services. They also had a chance to tour part
of contemporary Poland and meet with members of Polish parliament, including
Deputy Speaker Wanda Nowicka. And of course, no visit to Warsaw by an official
Israeli delegation would be complete without a meeting with Poland’s Chief
Rabbi, Michael Schudrich.
The delegation also met with Zygmunt Rolat, a
Czestochowa-born Holocaust survivor who lives in New York but commutes
frequently to Poland, and has been instrumental in influencing reconciliation
between Poland and Jews of Polish origin.
Rolat is a generous
philanthropist who has donated to many projects in his native Czestochowa, but
has been equally generous in other parts of Poland – most notably the Museum of
the History of Polish Jews, whose North American council he
Naturally, the delegation toured the museum and while in Warsaw,
discussed Poland-Israel relations with diplomats from the Foreign
By the way, travel to Krakow for next year’s festival will be
cheaper for Israelis. This is because in November, Wizz Air will launch three
flights a week – on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – from Ben-Gurion Airport to
Katowice, which is approximately the same distance to Krakow as Tel Aviv is to
Jerusalem. The cost of a one-way fare will be 49.99 euros.
VISITORS to Poland at the beginning of August might be interested in attending
the dedication of the Treblinka Education Center on August 2, to mark the 70th
anniversary of the Treblinka Revolt. The center is the brainchild of sculptor
Samuel Willenberg, 90, who lives in Tel Aviv and was one of the leaders of the
revolt. Willenberg is possibly the last living survivor of Treblinka.
event has been organized by the Jewish Historical Society in Warsaw, which will
provide transportation to Treblinka and back from its premises at 3/5 Tiomackie
Street at 9 a.m. Reservations can be made by telephoning
Jews from Czestochowa and neighboring towns were
transported to the Treblinka death camp. The Czestochowa- born Willenberg was
sent to Treblinka in 1942, and when sorting through the clothes of murdered
prisoners, recognized the dresses of his two sisters. Following his escape, he
fought with the Polish forces in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. He and his wife,
Ada, who is also a Holocaust survivor, have been living in Israel since 1950 but
have traveled widely, taking many trips to Poland to make the world aware of
Treblinka, where more than 850,000 people – most of them Jews – were
It was Willenberg who designed the Holocaust memorial monument
in his native Czestochowa. He has left his mark on other places in Poland as
well, but his sweetest revenge against the Nazis is that the Treblinka Education
Center was designed by OKA, an Israeli architectural firm founded by his
daughter, Orit Willenberg Giladi, together with Keren Jedwab. Their firm has
designed public buildings in Israel and abroad, including the Israel Embassy in
Berlin. But nothing could be more meaningful for Willenberg- Giladi than
designing the education center in Treblinka, which holds the ashes of so many of
her people and members of her family.
■ IN RESPONSE to Poland’s recent
ban on kosher and halal slaughter, Warsaw-based lawyer Monika Krawczyk, CEO of
the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland, which is part
of the World Jewish Restitution Organization, has sent out an email listing
Polish embassies and consulates around the world. She is urging people in those
countries to petition the listed ambassadors and consuls, to pressure the Polish
parliament to retract the ban.
Krawczyk, who is Jewish, writes that the
decision by parliament sends out a very disturbing message, which simply says:
“You have no rights in our country.” She is not sure whether the decision was
based on anti-Semitism or lack of awareness.
She can be contacted at
■ BANK MANAGERS have a reputation for being
hard-hearted, but there are exceptions to the rule. Last week, Yediot Aharonot
ran a feature story about child Holocaust survivor Jenny Rosenstein, an artist,
who in recent years has been confronted with mounting financial difficulties –
to the extent that she was NIS 65,000 in arrears to her bank. The most precious
thing that she owned was a framed drawing she had made in the Mogilev-Podolski
transit camp, in what is now Ukraine, when she was seven years old. She has
managed to preserve it for more than 70 years, and understandably, it was of
great emotional value to her.
On the day that the story appeared, Bank
Hapoalim spokeswoman Ofra Preuss notified Iris Lifshitz-Kliger, the journalist
who wrote the story, that the bank was interested in purchasing the drawing for
the amount that was owed to it by Rosenstein, thus eliminating her debt. In
consultation with Rosenstein, the bank decided to donate the drawing to Yad
It is not exactly surprising that Bank Hapoalim took this
initiative. For the past 14 years, the bank has sponsored an annual fund-raising
exhibition and sale for the benefit of the Israel AIDS Task Force. The two-day
exhibition has been held at the bank’s Tel Aviv headquarters. In addition, Bank
Hapoalim supports numerous social welfare endeavors, and chief shareholder Shari
Arison has a family foundation that is run by her eldest son and gives to many
Moreover, the instant response in the Rosenstein case proves that
the power of the press has not yet dissipated.
MEMBERS OF the audience at
the Cliff Richard concert at Nokia Arena on Saturday night were so focused on
the Peter Pan of Pop that they did not notice the couple canoodling in the VIP
box – though some people might have wondered about the beefed-up security
detail. The couple in question has been known to sneak into the movies once the
lights are dimmed, and to sneak out again just before the movie
Their names are Binyamin and Sara Netanyahu, and like so many
Israelis of their peer generation, they’re fans of Richard, and decided to enjoy
his show after meeting him earlier in the week and receiving a personal
They were having fun just like regular people – well, not
quite. After the performance they went backstage to congratulate him, as did
British Ambassador Matthew Gould and his wife,Celia.
■ THEY COULD have
picked a better date, as it is the opening night of the Maccabiah Games, but the
intentions were only the best. The Armenian community in Israel, which is
headquartered in the Old City of Jerusalem, is organizing a special tribute for
veteran journalist and Israel Prize laureate Ya’akov Ahimeir, in appreciation of
his ongoing television and radio coverage of the community and its efforts to
gain Israeli recognition for the 1915 mass genocide of the Armenian people at
the hands of the Ottoman government. Many attempts have been made in Israel to
silence all references to this catastrophe, but journalists such as Ahimeir have
refused to remain silent.
■ THE MORE technological the world becomes, the
greater the nostalgia for the days when life was simple.
restaurateur Assaf Granit – who with partners Uri Navon and Yossi Elad, opened
the popular Machneyuda restaurant in the Mahaneh Yehuda market in 2009 – has
fond childhood memories of the old ice cream vendor who used to go from
neighborhood to neighborhood in a noisy truck, whose engine could be heard long
before the truck arrived. The children of Jerusalem used to run after the truck
to buy an ice cream.
A little yearning for the atmosphere of yesteryear
prompted Granit to revive the truck, and to drive around Jerusalem from July 17
to August 12 as part of the Jerusalem Season of Culture.
The project has
been given the title of Auto-ochel, or Foodmobile.
The menu will change
daily, and each day the truck, with a well-known Jerusalem personality on board,
will feature a different menu in accordance with the palate nostalgia of the
guest of honor. The idea is to ensure that everyone can enjoy the meals, so they
will not only be reasonably priced but will also conform with the regulations of
kashrut and halal – though during Ramadan, Muslim diners will have to wait until
after sunset before they can eat.
Anyone interested in getting a meal
from the back of a truck should telephone (02) 653-5854 to find out where the
truck will be traveling on any specific date between now and August 12.
THREE MONTHS ago, when The Jerusalem Post moved into its new offices on Jaffa
Road, there was a parting with history on many levels. The Romema building that
housed the paper for decades had accumulated rooms full of archival material,
ranging from dozens of file cabinets containing rare photographs of everything
from David Ben-Gurion’s premiership to the 1976 raid on Entebbe.
addition, there were thousands of manila files containing clippings of almost
every article that appeared in the Post until 1992, when a computerized archive
system was established.
Many of the files, categorized according to both
subject and author, were meticulously clipped and catalogued by the paper’s
veteran archivist Alexander Zvielli, and were scrupulously maintained by archive
staffers Elaine Moshe, Chaim Collins and Louise Loveall.
shortage of space in the streamlined new offices, the plan was for the multitude
of these historic documents to be transferred along with the bound volumes of
all Post editions since 1932 to a warehouse for safekeeping.
over the last two weeks, it became apparent that even the warehouse could not
hold the sheer volume of material that had been accumulated at the Post. With
the former premises being dismantled piece by piece ahead of the planned
demolition, time suddenly became of the essence.
A number of
organizations expressed interest in helping the paper find a home for the
treasures, including the Jerusalem Press Club, the Journalists Association in
Jerusalem, the Government Press Office, the Ben-Gurion University library in
Beersheba, the State Archives of the Prime Minister’s Office and the National
Archives in Jerusalem.
Last week, a partial victory occurred when a
moving truck transported the filing cabinets of photos to the new building,
where they now nest in every available nook and cranny in the Post’s
Negotiations are continuing, with some of the interested parties
coming over and transporting the remainder of the print archives, salvaging a
valuable part of the country’s and the paper’s past. Everyone realizes the
significance of this historic treasure trove – but no one has room to store it
THERE’S A wedding coming up in the families of Shas spiritual mentor
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and current MK and former construction and housing minister
Ariel Attias. Yael Yosef, the daughter of Rabbi Moshe Yosef and granddaughter of
Ovadia Yosef, recently got engaged to Haim Attias, the brother of the
legislator. Both are sons of Petah Tikva Chief Rabbi Binyamin
SANCTIONS NOTWITHSTANDING, the Foreign Ministry continues to hold
farewell luncheons and dinners for heads of foreign missions who are in the
process of completing their tours of duty. Last week, they feted Romanian
Ambassador Edward Iosiper and his wife, Tatiana, who is a diplomat in her own
right. In many countries, when both spouses are diplomats, only one of them is
permitted to serve in the country to which the senior of the two has been
posted. The Romanians are much more understanding and don’t expect a diplomatic
spouse to put his or her career on hold. Thus, Tatiana Iosiper has served as
minister counselor at the Romanian Embassy.[email protected]