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(photo credit: Jerusalem Post archives)
* For more than half a century, Suzy Eban was the woman at the side of Abba Eban, Israel's most articulate statesman. She was privy to all his secrets and shared his joys, his sorrows and his frustrations. Since his death five years ago, she has been busy sorting his papers and writing her own autobiography, which is no less fascinating than her husband's biography. A British publisher has already expressed an interest, and her relatives and friends, who are aware of her literary talents, are eager to read the book once it comes out in print.
* In the family of Minister for the Interior Meir Sheetrit, they take turns in celebrating. Last Saturday night, Ruth Sheetrit, successful businesswoman and socialite, hosted a 59th birthday party for her husband at a restaurant in Ashdod, and on Sunday night, he accompanied her to Beit Hanassi in Jerusalem to watch with pride as she received a special citation for her work on behalf of the Israel Cancer Association. She also received a kiss on both cheeks from President Shimon Peres.
The Sheetrits, who established the Miri Foundation 15 years ago in memory of their teenage daughter who died of cancer, have been heavily involved in helping child cancer patients and their families, and have regularly been sending such families to Orlando in Florida for fun-filled vacations. So far they've sent more than 400 families, providing an all-expenses-paid relief from pain, tension and sorrow, and opening a gate to joy and laughter. Sometimes it's the last truly happy all-round experience for the family of a terminally ill patient.
* Always excited when their daughter Racelle Weiman visits Israel, Millie and Paul Rosenblatt of Haifa are particularly keen to welcome her on this occasion because of where her work as the Executive Director of the Temple University Department of Religion Dialogue Institute is taking her. The institute is dedicated to interreligious, intercultural international dialogue, with a special emphasis on developing leadership and creating opportunities for successful community building.
Weiman's position and reputation have generated invitations to different parts of the world, most recently to Macedonia and Jordan. She was officially invited by Macedonia's Ministry of Culture to participate in a world conference on dialogue between civilizations. From Macedonia she continued to Jordan at the invitation of Prince Hassan to coordinate a major conference to be held next year between the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies and her Dialogue Institute.
She is coming to Israel in November not only to see her parents but to identify Israeli academics and institutions for possible participation in future international dialogue conferences. The Rosenblatts, who are well known in Haifa's English-speaking circles, will host a luncheon in her honor at a Haifa hotel where Weiman will speak about her work and the global possibilities for transformative change. She will subsequently return briefly to the US to prepare for a US State Department-sponsored trip to Indonesia. Weiman will be the only Jewish member of a six-strong team traveling to Jakarta in December to inaugurate a major academic exchange. The team will focus on religion and society.
* As far as is generally known, the Jewish Daily Forward is the oldest and most influential Jewish newspaper in the United States. Founded in 1897, it continues to publish in English and Yiddish and in the dim and distant past was able to boast a readership larger than that of the New York Times. The Forward is now a weekly, and currently celebrating its 110th anniversary.
It is not as old as The London Jewish Chronicle, which was founded in 1841, and is believed to be the oldest continuously published Jewish newspaper in the world. However 110 years is nothing to sneeze at, and the Forward is celebrating not only in the US but also in Israel where it has numerous subscribers. On November 9, it will join forces with members of the Yiddishpiel Theater to put on a gala matinee performance at ZOA House.
For the occasion, it is bringing prizewinning entertainer Mike Burstyn back to Israel. Though born in New York, Burstyn, who has been acting, singing and dancing since age three, spent a large slice of his life in Israel and is often referred to as an Israeli American or an American Israeli. He celebrated his 50th anniversary in show business with a concert tour of Israel, and now he's coming back again to celebrate the 110th anniversary of The Forward. Burstyn is just as much at home on the Yiddish stage as he is on the English or the Hebrew stage. And he doesn't do too badly on the Dutch stage, either.