WHEN HER son Jonathan, who with his wife Sarah volunteers at Jerusalem’s Carmei
Ha’ir soup kitchen, suggested to Joanne Caras that she write a cookbook of the
world’s best Jewish recipes to raise money for Carmei Ha’ir, she never thought
that the book would do a lot more than that. She didn’t even know, when she
returned to her home in Florida, what she was going to do about the book until
Sarah’s grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, passed away. Caras instantly thought
how important it was to safeguard the legacies of Holocaust survivors and
decided that her cookbook would contain not only the recipes preserved by
survivors, but the stories of the survivors, the photos of when they were
children in Europe with the families they lost, and photos today, with the
families they have gained.
It took some two years to collect well over
100 recipes and stories. Initially there was no response. Then after six months
there was a trickle that turned into a flood.
Caras and her family, who
had been involved in the preparation of the book, had no inkling of how many
copies to print, but decided that 5,000 was a reasonable number. The book is now
in its seventh printing and Caras, who has received many more recipes and
stories, is working on a sequel. She sells bulk copies at a reduced price to
organizations which then use them as fundraisers for their own projects, and she
passes on the profits to Carmei Ha’ir, which so far has received
Caras is currently in Jerusalem as part of a 55-city world
tour. She tells the stories of some of the contributors to the book as well as
some of the reactions that the book has generated. One woman told her that all
her other recipe books have food stains, but the pages in this one are stained
with tears. Caras was particularly gratified when a non-Jewish school in the US
bought a large consignment of books for its students, who prepare recipes for
other students, study the stories and take on the persona of the person whose
story they’ve studied to tell it anew.
With non-Jews as well as Jews
buying the book, Caras hopes that sales will eventually reach 6 million. Many
organizations feature the book on their websites.
■ IF HE ever decided to
throw in the towel on the presidency, Shimon Peres might find work as a stand-up
He demonstrated a gift for telling jokes at a large literary
gathering at Beit Hanassi, aimed at taking an exploratory look at humor. Close
to 300 people who filled the hall – among them former president Yitzhak Navon
and his wife Miri, Reuma Weizman, the widow of former president Ezer Weizman,
Peres’s daughter Dr. Tzvia Walden and her husband Prof. Raphael Walden, the
president’s personal physician, and Cinematheque founder Lia Van Leer in her
signature shades of lilac.
Weizman was wearing an eye-catching aqua scarf
that the late Esther Rubin had bought for her at the National Gallery in London
and was keeping as a birthday gift.
At the unveiling of Rubin’s
tombstone, her daughter Ariella presented the scarf to Weizman, telling her how
much her mother wanted her to have it.
On stage with Peres were satirist,
illustrator and designer Danny Kerman who acted as moderator; comic book artist
and writer Rutu Modan; author, playwright and satirist Ephraim Sidon, and
illustrator and comics artist Yirmi Pinkus. There was consensus that there is a
clear distinction between Jewish and Israeli humor. The latter lacks the
subtlety and irony of the former, and whereas Jewish humor can be
self-deprecating, Israeli humor by and large cannot.
Jews in the Diaspora
always couched the truth in humor, said Peres, citing several well-known Jewish
authors whose tales of misfortune were sufficiently laced with humor to take the
sting out of the story without compromising the truth. Pressed by Kerman to tell
some political jokes, Peres refrained from any related to living
He told one about long-serving cabinet minister Dr. Yosef
Burg, of the National Religious Party, who was rumored to be a hypochondriac.
Burg frequently went to see a doctor who found nothing wrong with him. “What
ails you?” asked the doctor.
“My colleagues,” replied Burg.
the deceased politicians, Levy Eshkol was best known for his sense of humor.
Still laughing at the memory, Peres recalled that Eshkol used to say: “When will
we finish building the country so that we can go home?” As for his personal
mentor, David Ben-Gurion, Peres acknowledged that the founding prime minister ,
whose animosity toward Menachem Begin was legendary, did not have a sense of
humor. When Akiva Govrin, the country’s first tourism minister, asked Ben-
Gurion whether he could tell him a joke, he replied in the affirmative. “You and
Begin were driving in the same car,” began Govrin, at which point Ben-Gurion
butted in angrily to ask “When?” “It’s a joke,” explained Govrin. But Ben-Gurion
didn’t get it, denied ever having been in a car with Begin and persisted with
his interrogation of Govrin.
Actress and singer Rama Messinger, who
provided comic relief from the discussion, had the president’s security detail
as well as the audience roaring with laughter, when she turned to Peres’s
personal bodyguard, and ignoring the real purpose for his hovering so close,
thanked him aloud for looking out for her safety.
■ DEFENSE MINISTER Ehud
Barak, who is a product of Kibbutz Mishmar Hasharon, feels perfectly at home in
other kibbutzim even though he lives in a multimillion dollar apartment in Tel
Aviv. He is also known for having a penchant for devices that can be taken apart
and put together again, so he had a field day when he visited Kibbutz Na’an and
was taken through the plant of its internationally respected irrigation company
NaanDanJain Irrigation Ltd. by CEO Avner Harmoni. Accompanying them were Peter
Weiss, head of the Gezer Regional Council, and Eitan Broshi, Barak’s adviser on
Knowing that Barak likes to tinker with machinery, Harmoni
invited him to take apart and put together several pieces of equipment, and he
gladly rose to the challenge.
■ EVEN SOMEONE with the political and legal
savvy of former justice minister Tzachi Hanegbi can be taken for a ride. He must
have felt his hackles rising this week when Calcalist
, the financial supplement
of Yediot Aharonot, revealed that leading attorney Ya’acov Weinroth, currently
on trial for bribery and money laundering, had charged him through the nose in
comparison to what he had charged some of his other celebrity clients. Whereas a
judge whom Weinroth represented was charged NIS 16,600, a fellow lawyer NIS
57,600, president Ezer Weizman NIS 34,519, Nehama Ronen, former director-general
of the Environment Ministry NIS 44,500, Ya’acov Ganot, the former head of the
Prisons Service NIS 252,051, Hanegbi was charged a whopping NIS 1 million – and
he’s still not out of the woods.
■ RABBIS, JUDGES, lawyers, lie detector
technicians, private detectives, academics and even accountants will flock to
Eilat today for the annual four-day law conference under the heading “Lies,
Secrets, and Desires – the Shadowy Side of Family Law in Israel.” Among the
speakers will be heads of rabbinical courts, district courts and family courts.
Among the rabbis will be Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, who presides over the
High Rabbinical Court, Rabbi Eliahu Heishrick of the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court
and Rabbi Ariel Yanai of the Netanya Rabbinical Court.
Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu has not been invited, but he’ll have his time in
front of the microphone in Ramat Gan on Thursday night at the Manhigut Yehudit
third annual Israel Dinner, where he will receive the Rabbinic Leadership Award
– presumably for patriotism, though many would see it as racism. Manhigut
Yehudit is the movement led by Moshe Feiglin, who is considered to be a thorn in
the side of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
■ ALTHOUGH FOREIGN
Ministry workers have intensified their sanctions, the Knesset is apparently
optimistic that the situation will be resolved before the end of the
Veteran prize winning photographer David Rubinger, whose works
adorn the Knesset walls and help visitors to remember legislators, ministers and
visiting dignitaries, was supposed to have an event at the Knesset at the end of
the month, but this week was notified that he can no longer do so because German
Chancellor Angela Merkel will be visiting on that date.
■ IT WOULD be
almost superfluous to ask whether Egyptian Ambassador Yasser Reda gave his copy
of Peace in the Making to a certain member of his staff. The book by Harry
Hurwitz (the late founder of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center) and Yisrael
Medad contains the correspondence between president Anwar Sadat and Begin. The
book, presented to Reda by Murray Greenfield, founder of Gefen Publishing and
Begin Center director Herzl Makov, would be of particular interest to Ahmed
Sadat, first secretary at the Egyptian Embassy, who is Sadat’s grandson. It will
also be of interest to the first secretary’s father, who may be visiting in
■ AT LEAST two ambassadors will be in attendance at the Tel Aviv
Cinematheque Thursday night when the French Institute hosts the screening of the
film Saviors in the Night, a true story based on the book by Marga Spiegel,
which tells how her family was hidden by German farmers during the Holocaust.
French Ambassador Christophe Bigot and German Ambassador Harald Kindermann will
be in the audience for what has been touted as the premiere of the
In fact it isn’t. The film was previously screened here in October
2009 at the Jerusalem Cinematheque and before that in Europe.
Jerusalem showing was attended by Spiegel, some of the leading members of the
cast and director Ludi Boeken. The film, which was made in 2008, has since been
shown elsewhere in the world.
■ SEVERAL HOMES in the artists’ village of
Ein Hod belong to people who live in other parts of the country or abroad. Some
of those houses survived the recent Carmel Forest fires. The homes of several
permanent residents were almost totally gutted.
Most are interested in
repairing the devastation, but when the Ein Hod Residents’ Committee turned to
the nonresident owners to ask whether those who had been left without a roof
over their heads could live in their premises until their homes were restored,
the response was largely negative.
Among the exceptions was Israel Prize
laureate, lyricist and poet Haim Hefer, who has penned some of the country’s
most enduring songs.
Hefer, 85, who lives in Tel Aviv, heard about the
multiple tragedies that befell the Keiner family, that was in mourning for the
father who had been killed in a traffic accident less than two weeks before the
fire broke out. Only days before the accident, he and his rock musician son
Yuval had repaired all the flaws in the house and had painted it inside and out.
Almost everything the family owned, including musical instruments, was burnt to
ashes or beyond repair.
Hefer readily allowed the Keiners to stay in his
house for several weeks until their house could be rehabilitated.
STUDENTS FROM the Yemin Orde youth village gladly returned home last week,
though some still have to sleep in the Givat Olga army camp until the final
repairs to damaged buildings are completed. However, as far as studies go, all
500 youngsters are using the facilities. Founded in 1953 by the British Friends
of Youth Aliya, the village was named in memory of Orde Wingate, the British
Army officer who was a Christian Zionist and helped train Hagana units prior to
the establishment of the state. Yemin Orde initially took in Holocaust orphans
of the Holocaust and children from needy families who flooded into the country
in its early years.
The student population grew to include children from
dysfunctional families, refugees from countries with totalitarian regimes and
children of Jewish background who were discovered in orphanages in the former
Retired nurse Marion Silman and friends in her quilting
group in Mevaseret Yerushalayim have ensured that 24 of the youngsters will have
warmer beds during the cold winter nights. Working with donations of fleece,
fabrics, squares and partly made patchwork tops, the quilters sewed the squares
together and made 24 quilted, fleece-lined blankets. Some 50 people were
involved in this labor of love. One of the quilters is related to
Benny Fisher, the director of Yemin Orde.
■ TRAGEDY IS the
glue that binds people together. The loss of life coupled with the destruction
to nature’s beauty has turned the Carmel forest into a place of pilgrimage and
dedication. Many local and visiting groups have traveled to the North to inspect
the devastation and to pledge to raise money to replace the trees that were
Among such groups were 150 Orthodox rabbis from 37 countries,
who concluded their three-day day annual conference organized by the World
Zionist Organization at Mount Carmel.
Rabbi Yechiel Wasserman, who heads
the WZO’s Center for Religious Affairs in the Diaspora, noted the importance of
the theme of this year’s conference: “The Rabbi as an Advocate for Israel in His
Community.” The conference opened at the Knesset, where the rabbis were
addressed by Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein and
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.
■ CONGRATULATIONS ARE in order to
singer, musician and composer Kobi Oz and his wife Batsheva, who last week
become the parents of twin girls who have not yet been formally named. Oz is
expected to remedy the lacuna at his local synagogue this coming
■ CHABAD IS arguably one of the bestknown and most diverse
outreach organizations in the Jewish world. In Jerusalem, for instance, it is
amazing how much Chabad activity exists between Rehavia, Sha’arei Hessed,
Nahlaot and Nahalat Shiva, which are within relatively easy walking distance of
There’s even more in other parts of the city, not to mention
the rest of the country.
Chabad’s varied outreach activities include
operating soup kitchens, here and abroad. In an online contest run by Bank
Leumi, which distributed NIS 1 million to not-for-profit organizations, Chai
Ashkelon, a Chabad soup kitchen network, came in second out of 50 nonprofits. At
a ceremony in Tel Aviv, it received a check for NIS 100,000. Chai Ashkelon
director Rabbi Menahem Lieberman said that the money would be used to upgrade
the network’s central kitchen run by Rabbi Chaim Attias and, known as Eshel
Ashkelon. The kitchen feeds 260 people daily, including housebound elderly
residents of Ashkelon to whom meals are delivered.[email protected]