•   THE APPOINTMENTS of professors Bili Shapira and Shai Arkin as vice presidents of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem were ratified at the recent meeting of the university’s board of governors. The appointments are landmarks in that Shapira, 57, is the first woman to rise so high in the ranks of the Hebrew University; and Arkin, 45, is the youngest vice president in the university’s history.

  • EVEN RABBIS have public relations advisers these days. While many great rabbis have spokespeople, there is a difference between a spokesperson and someone purely engaged in PR. Be that as it may, the public relations adviser to Rabbi Netanel Shriki, who is spiritual mentor to some of the leading exponents of North African Jewish music, is the grandson of renowned sage and scholar Rabbi Shalom Ifergen, who was also known as the Baba Shalom. Last week Shriki hosted a special tribute to the memory of his grandfather in the Kinor David banquet halls in Beit Shemesh with the participation of popular singers Dudu Aharon, Lior Farhi, Pini Hadad, Ron Shoval, Ami Or and many others.

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  •   US AMBASSADOR James Cunningham was present at Be’er Tuvia last month for the official reopening of a Ben & Jerry’s production plant, albeit in a new location. Also present was Yudka Segev, the CEO of the Manufacturers’ Association of Israel. The original Ben & Jerry’s production plant in Israel was located in Yavne, but it closed when it failed to meet the export standards set by the B&J global corporation. The new plant, which opened at an investment of NIS 8 million, will also produce frozen baked and fried goods under the brand name Rosie’s. Retail outlets have already been established in Modi’in and Glilot. Others are in the planning stages in Rishon Lezion and Jerusalem. All together, at least for the foreseeable future, there will be 16 retail outlets around the country – some of them ice cream parlors and others kiosks.

  •   MORE THAN 250 Australian students who are in Israel as part of education abroad programs arranged by Jewish organizations in Australia, recently participated in an advocacy and public diplomacy conference in Jerusalem that was hosted by StandWithUs International. It was the first time that the international Israel education organization had partnered with the Zionist Federation of Australia for such an intensive seminar that included workshops, meetings with experts and in-depth tours of Israel to prepare students for challenges they will face on their respective university campuses.

    Among the public figures who lectured to the students were Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency; Australian-born Mark Regev, spokesman for the prime minister; MK Nahman Shai, who inter alia is a former head of Army Radio; Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor; and Yuli Edelstein, minister for public diplomacy and Diaspora affairs.

  •   AFTER 23 years of active membership in the Hatzvi Yisrael congregation, Rabbi Eddie Abramson and his wife, Miriam, have left because they moved out of the neighborhood. At a kiddush the synagogue board held in their honor recently, Miriam said she realized when packing and discarding how much nostalgia is fading from our lives. She gave all her children the material pertaining to them specifically, such as their school report cards, but there were boxes of greeting cards, thank-you notes and other messages that had been penned by numerous senders, which she could not bear to throw away. The art of writing and of keeping written messages is disappearing, she said. “Today you send an e-mail – and nobody keeps those for very long.”

  •   Q: What is the link between geriatrics and aerospace medicine?

    A: Dr. Yehezkel Caine, the director of Jerusalem’s Sarah Herzog Memorial Hospital for geriatric and mental health care.

    Caine was the 2010 recipient of the Won Chuel Kay Award for his contributions to international aerospace medicine. The award, sponsored by the Korean Aerospace Medical Association, was presented last month in Arizona. Caine is well known internationally and is highly respected. He has been most effective in collaborations in aerospace medicine policy and has been a guest lecturer at various professional forums worldwide. He is president of the International Academy of Aviation and Space Medicine. He established a new format, procedures and protocols for peer review while he was chair of the Scientific Committee of the International Congress of Aviation and Space Medicine that improved the scientific content of the program and led to collaboration with other European aerospace medicine organizations in improving their academic programs.
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