(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA)
IN THE Book of Leviticus we are enjoined to love our neighbors as we love ourselves; but in an era in which psychologists often teach us that we do not really love ourselves, due to the various hang-ups that we have accumulated, it’s not all that easy to love one’s neighbor. Then again, the current trend is to be accepting of the other, regardless of ethnic, religious, political or physical differences. Among those who espouse this philosophy is Tel Aviv-based veteran stage and screen actress Esti Zackheim, who has what is called in politically correct terms a fuller figure.
The late fashion designer Rikki Ben-Ari, who was also based in Tel Aviv, had a figure much like Zackheim’s, which to her was very frustrating because her designs were intended for women of much more svelte proportions. Ben-Ari was often miserable about her excess weight, until a fashion writer acquainted her with the slogan “The more there is of me, the more there is to love.” She promptly wrote it in lipstick across a large mirror and became a much happier person.
Zackheim’s figure somehow suits her personality. She would not exude the same charm and empathy if she were slim and trim.
However, not everyone would share such an opinion, and it annoys her that so many people, including physicians, tend to attribute health problems to overweight. When a person with excess body mass complains of pain to a doctor, says Zackheim, the first response is the person has to shed some weight. According to social norms, she continues, one can find happiness and true love by losing 10 kilos.
But the real way to find happiness, according to Zackheim, is to be true to yourself and to accept others for what they are. Life, in every other respect is full of variety, and different genres of music and art are perfectly acceptable. The same should apply to people, whether slim or stout.
■ IT’S NOT unusual to rename a street that was originally named after a place mentioned in the Bible, or a war or a flower or a tree. It’s much less common to rename a street that was originally named after a person. However, in Or Yehuda, Bali Street, which achieved national notoriety last year because it had been named for the mistress of former mayor David Yosef, whose nickname for his lover was Bali, municipal leaders determined that the street should be renamed after one of Israel’s leaders, and decided that since it is now in vogue to give women’s names to streets, from now on the former Bali Street will be known as Golda Meir Street.
Although the former prime minister, who was Israel’s first female foreign minister and only female prime minister, explicitly stated that she wanted nothing named after her, her instructions have been ignored, and streets, buildings and projects have been named after her in Israel and in the United States, where she spent her youth.
■ THE QUICK thinking of Roi Levy, an Egged bus driver in Haifa, may have saved the life of one of his passengers. Levy was approaching Beit Hagefen in the Hadar neighborhood when the son of one of the passengers came running up the aisle shouting that his mother had lost consciousness. Levy didn’t know whether she had simply fainted or whether it was something more serious, but without hesitation, he turned the bus around and sped in the direction of Rambam Medical Center, with all the other passengers still on board. It was a 20-minute drive, and on the way Levy alerted the hospital’s emergency department. He drove the bus straight into the grounds, stopping at the emergency door, where waiting hospital staff quickly boarded, attended to the woman, revived her and took her inside the hospital for an examination and possible treatment. Levy then drove the bus back to its route.
When the woman’s son had approached him, he said, he had visions of what his own children would do if he suddenly blacked out while riding in a bus, and he knew that it was incumbent on him to do all he could to help the boy and his mother. Although he received a lot of praise, Levy did not consider what he had done to be such a big deal. He had merely rerouted the bus, which may have temporarily inconvenienced some of the passengers, but he was soon back on track.