AGE IS not a deterrent for some people, such as Ralph Goldman, 97, who is best
known for the years of sterling service that he gave to the JDC and
philanthropist Fred Worms, 91, longtime mover and shaker in the Maccabi World
Union and B’nai B’rith of Great Britain and Ireland.
The two, who now
live in Jerusalem, were among the many guests attending the recent annual
tribute dinner in honor of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. There may have been other
nonagenarians in the room at the Leonardo Plaza Hotel, and there were certainly
a lot of octogenarians, many of whom are frequently seen at benefit
events. Goldman, sporting his signature bowtie, proved that one can teach
an old dog new tricks. He had no trouble in expertly operating his smart phone.
He also gets onto his exercise bike nearly every morning.
speaker at the dinner was Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaacov Amidror, the national security
adviser to the prime minister and chairman of the National Security Council.
Amidror, who shared a table with Ron Dermer, a senior adviser to Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu and a talented speech writer, said that had he known that
Dermer would be attending, he might have thought twice about accepting the
Amidror is a great admirer of Dermer’s and even
though he was speaking in jocular fashion, it was obvious that he felt just a
tiny drop ill-at-ease with such a gifted wordsmith listening to him. Giving a
speech in Dermer’s presence, he said, was like talking about a flood in
Jerusalem with Noah sitting in the audience. The main thrust of Amidror’s
address was Israel’s geographic, demographic, political and other asymmetric
relationships to its surroundings.
Relating to Israel’s victories in war
despite the asymmetric relationship in the size of Israel’s army and the
combined forces of the enemy, Amidror said: “We can win a hundred wars, yet we
won’t change the Middle East; but if we lose only one war that will mean the end
of the State of Israel.”
■ IT IS not only newspapers and magazines that
select a person of the year. In Israel, the Netanya Academic College has also
gotten in on the act and has chosen Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for
Regional Development Silvan Shalom as Real Estate Man of the Year. The title
will be conferred on Shalom at a special ceremony on Tuesday January 3 at the
NAC’s Real Estate Convention, which will be held at the Leonardo Hotel in Ramat
Gan. Shalom was selected for the honor in recognition of his support for
important projects in the Galilee and the Negev such as the School for Medicine
in Safed and the airport in the Negev.
■ SHALVA-BEIT NACHSHON, the
Jerusalem-based facility that helps children with physical and mental
disabilities to realize their potentials, keeps attracting important figures.
Not so long ago, opposition leader Tzipi Livni joined the youngsters by playing
the drums in a jam session.
The VIP visitor for Hanukka was US Ambassador
Dan Shapiro, who joined in the candle lighting ceremony and distributed
chocolate coins. Himself a father of young children, Shapiro got on famously
with the Shalva youngsters and joined them in the singing of Hanukka songs to
the accompaniment of the enthusiastic musicians in the Shalva Band. Prior to
joining in the holiday celebrations, Shapiro took a tour of the center, and met
with Shalva’s founder and director Kalman Samuels and with Esther Wachsman, the
mother of murdered Israeli soldier Nachshon Wachsman for whom the center is
WHILE IT’S true that people will sometimes travel overseas to hear
a concert by a star performer, it’s still a comparative
rarity. Admittedly, there have been special overseas guests attending the
75th anniversary performances of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, but one
hardly expects someone from abroad, much less a state premier to come to Israel
to attend a concert by young musicians. However that’s what Christine
Lieberknecht, premier of the German state of Thuringia, did this
week. Accompanied by a small delegation, Lieberknecht, whose visit
concludes today, was invited to listen to performances by Jerusalem-Weimar
Aside from the concerts, the purpose of her visit
was to enhance the German-Israeli dialogue, to strengthen the ties between the
two countries that are rooted in Holocaust memories, and to celebrate the fact
that despite the grim past, Germany and Israel have succeeded in creating joint
educational and cultural projects beyond anything related to politics or
Weimar, which is historically associated with the rise of
Nazism, is located in Thuringia. Aside from the dark and notorious chapters of
its past, it has several claims to fame, notably that it was the seat of the
signing of Germany’s first democratic constitution in the aftermath of World War
I and it was also the home of great writers and artists such as Goethe and
Schiller as well as the birthplace of the Bauhaus movement. The Jerusalem-Weimar
orchestra is a collaborative effort between students of the Jerusalem Academy of
Music and Dance and Weimar’s Liszt School of Music. Presumably some of the
antecedents of the Weimar musicians were Nazis, while some of the forebears of
the Jerusalem musicians were Holocaust victims or survivors. Yet the descendants
of both the Nazis and the Holocaust survivors, though mindful of the past, have
managed to overcome and to harmonize.
■ NO ONE seems to be immune to the
burning haredi-secular controversy. People from both sides are calling in to
radio talk shows to express their opinions or to explain that not only don’t
haredi women mind sitting in the back of the bus, they actually prefer to do so.
But even when one defies the rules that haredim set within their own
communities, the outcome is not always negative. Case in point is that of
governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer who on Wednesday told Channel 1’s
economics reporter Yair Weinreb of an experience that he had on Succot when
invited to visit someone in a haredi Jerusalem neighborhood. His wife was
expected to walk on one side of the street and he on the other. As far as
Fischer was concerned this was not acceptable, so he and his wife walked
together in the middle of the street. Despite the fact that they were not
supposed to walk together, they emerged unharmed. The moral of the story is that
the best path is always to take the middle of the road.
photograph of Nava Barak and Shalom Zinger that appeared in Wednesday’s
“Grapevine” was taken by Israel Sun.