Local Israel

Grapevine: Hooked on helping


INDIVIDUALS, BUSINESS enterprises and organizations are all busy looking for ways in which to help people living on the confrontation line, where they are under constant threat of rocket attacks. Lani Bannet, a volunteer from the US working at the OneFamily Fund in Jerusalem, has found a successful way to raise funds for terror victims in Sderot and the surrounding communities, involving women from all over the country. Because the crocheting of kippot is a common pastime from women and girls in Israel, Lani and her friends are turning to all women to spend some time crocheting as many kippot as they can. OneFamily volunteers are collecting the kippot, which will be sold to individuals and Judaica stores. Proceeds from the sales will be given to needy terror victim families in the southern region. Lani has received an enthusiastic response from individuals who are interested in purchasing kippot that have already been donated. More than 3,000 families in which at least one member has been a victim of terrorism are being assisted by OneFamily. US AMBASSADOR James Cunningham, his wife Leslie and their daughters Emma and Abbey, who are pretty au fait with Tel Aviv, Herzliya Pituah and Kfar Shmaryahu, decided to familiarize themselves a little more with Jerusalem and visited the Bible Lands Museum, where they were greeted by museum director Amanda Weiss. WHEN THEIR oldest grandson Ithamar Waller got married a couple of years back, Jerusalemites Chana and Jonathan Sheink had leeway to invite as many of their friends as they wanted to the wedding. The Sheinks, who belong to a very wide social circle, would have liked to do the same when Ithamar's younger brother Nachum got married last week to Chana Sharansky. The problem was that the bride is the daughter of Avital and Natan Sharansky, whose social circle is not only local but global. There simply wasn't room in the Ramat Rachel banquet room to accommodate everyone. Thankfully, in religious circles there is the compensatory factor of the Sheva Brachot, the week of festivities following the wedding, which aside from its halachic purpose, provides a marvelous opportunity to assuage the feelings of those people who believe themselves close enough to one or both families to merit an invitation to the wedding. The one hosted by the Sheinks was certainly large enough. They had at least 200 guests, who made merry in the banquet hall of Beit Maiersdorf on the Hebrew University's Mount Scopus campus. The groom's other set of grandparents, Prof. Louis and Wendy Waller, flew in from Melbourne, with other members of the Waller clan; his great uncle Lord Janner flew in from London with other members of the Janner clan; and his aunt Naomi Nevies, her husband Mark, and their children also flew in from London. The only thing that marred the joy of the Sheva Brachot was the fact that Ithamar Waller had been called up for reserve duty the previous evening. His absence weighed so heavily on the family that neither the groom nor his maternal grandfather could keep from weeping while making their respective speeches. Native Israelis present were few and far between. Some of the guests hailed from the US and the UK, but by and large it was an Australian affair, and something in the nature of an Aussie reunion. Naomi Nevies, who is the co-chair of the London branch of the OneFamily Fund and is used to moderating social events, did so on this occasion, poking a little fun at her father while simultaneously paying homage to him. When she introduced her nephew's new father-in-law Natan Sharansky, she listed the qualities for which he is best known, including his prowess as a chess player. When Sharansky approached the microphone, he good-naturedly chided her for omitting to say that he was also a good dancer. He really is. The groom's mother, Michal Waller, who was very young when she married her husband Anthony, whom she has known since they were in kindergarten, noted that it was a tradition in her family to get married at 20, and said she hoped her daughters would not break it by marrying at an earlier age. JERUSALEM'S INBAL hotel, which ranks second only to the King David in hosting international dignitaries, has a new general manager in the person of Bruno de Schuyler. He replaces the legendary Rodney Sanders, who has decided after a very long stint at the Inbal that he wants something new and different. He's not saying just yet what that might be, but given his penchant for long-distance bicycle riding, he might very well decide to cycle around the world. ALTHOUGH HE did not win the Eurovision Song Festival last year, singer Boaz Mauda did succeed in moving up a few rungs on the ladder of fame and is in the process of completing a new video in which he sings a song of peace, the lyrics for which were written by President Shimon Peres. Since one of the many names by which Jerusalem is known is the City of Peace, Mauda decided to shoot the video in the capital and chose as the venue the Akirov Mamilla Mall, and as his partner in action dancer Rona Lee Simon. The two attracted quite a lot of attention when they arrived at the mall this week. In the video Simon, clad in white, represents the dove of peace. When she spreads her "wings," she symbolizes enduring hope. AFTER A very long association with the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, internationally renowned cantor Naftali Herstik can now append the word "emeritus" to his title. Herstik attracted a huge attendance on Friday night and Saturday two weeks ago when he led the services for the last time in his non-emeritus capacity. Rabbi Zalman Druck spoke movingly of Herstik's contribution to the synagogue and the world of hazanut, and synagogue vice president Eli Jaffe said that Herstik will always be integral to the Great Synagogue. A proper farewell is being planned. In addition to being one of Israel's best cantors, Herstik also teaches young talents, and it would be most appropriate to have some of his fine students perform in concert as a tribute to the master. WHEN Henry Moskowitz, owner of the Prima chain of hotels, passed away recently at a very ripe old age, it was a sad moment for Rabbi Jerry Robbins, who had been one of the Jewish chaplains stationed in Berlin at the end of World War II. Robbins had been among those officiating at the wedding of Henry and Rosa Moskowitz and was also present at the circumcision of their first son in Badneuheim. When Moskowitz celebrated his 100th birthday, Robbins, who now lives in Jerusalem, attended the birthday party in New York at the newly remodeled Royale Hotel. Robbins, who currently assists needy Holocaust survivors, notes that Moskowitz was not only a significant factor in the tourist industry in Israel and America but was also a major contributor to worthy causes in both countries. KNOWN MORE widely in tourism circles than in art circles, Avi Ela, CEO and owner of the Caesar Hotel chain and a former chairman of the Israel Hotel Association, is also a talented sculptor who trained in Switzerland and participated in workshops in Greece, Italy and the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. Ela is currently showing some of his works in a group exhibition at the Givatayim Theater. The exhibition will remain on view for the month of January.

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