Grapevine: Jared says ‘Like’

ON CHANNEL 10, singer Dudu Aharon is looking for a bride among a bevy of beautiful girls, who are chasing fame, fortune and glory in the contest to become Mrs. A.

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July 16, 2013 21:47
JARED MORGENSTERN with Mayumana.

Mayumana group shot 370. (photo credit: court)

 
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ON CHANNEL 10, singer Dudu Aharon is looking for a bride among a bevy of beautiful girls, who are chasing fame, fortune and glory in the contest to become Mrs. A.

New York native Jared Morgenstern, a Harvard graduate with a special knack for computers, cast himself a wider net. He has come to Israel on a three-week jaunt, during which he’s hoping to find a nice Jewish girl who is Ms. Right for him. If he succeeds, there’s going to be a wedding.

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Many people who may not be familiar with his name are certainly familiar with his thumb-up icon – the “like” indicator on Facebook. Whoever coined the phrase that a picture is worth 1,000 words was unaware of the strength of an infinitely smaller icon. It’s what one might call nanocommunication, in that one can say so much with a single click – and “like” apparently says it all. Morgenstern says he came up with the idea as a solution for people who don’t have the ability to communicate their feelings.

In a whirlwind tour of Israel’s diversity, Morgenstern found himself in Jaffa last Friday and attended a performance by Mayumana, the rhythmic dance troupe in which the dancers use their feet as well as their hands to drum on boxes, buckets and floors. Morgenstern not only liked but loved it, and posed for photos with the dancers.

■ AT LAST year’s Bastille Day celebrations, French Ambassador Christophe Bigot told his guests that this was his last Bastille Day in Israel.

But then his replacement had a change of heart and the Quai d’Orsay gave Bigot a reprieve, allowing him to remain in Israel for another year. On Sunday, when he said “Lehitraot but not goodbye,” he observed that this time it was for real – “even in the land of miracles.”

In his emotionally charged address, Bigot expressed his unreserved admiration for President Shimon Peres, a known Francophile who never refuses an invitation to join in festivities hosted by the French ambassador.

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Bigot hailed Peres as a true friend of France, who in his very being and ceaseless quest for peace between Israel and her Palestinian neighbors symbolized the French values of liberty, equality and fraternity. Speaking in a mix of French and Hebrew, Bigot greeted the guests on behalf of his wife, Valerie, and their children, and underscored how much France appreciated Peres’s recent state visit, which was his second in a five-year period.

Emphasizing France’s solidarity with Israel, Bigot declared that Israel is not alone, and reiterated France’s commitment to preventing Iran from developing its nuclear program. He also spoke of France’s battle against terror, and in this context was proud of France’s contribution towards saving Mali from Islamic jihadists.

He was also proud that fighting anti-Semitism is a top priority in France. “We will never forget Toulouse,” he said, recalling the three children and teacher murdered by a terrorist in a Toulouse Jewish school in March of last year, and the visit to the school by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and French President François Hollande.

The meeting between the two leaders was more than symbolic, said Bigot. France has long supported Middle East peace initiatives, and acknowledges that Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood. Bigot noted the proximity of Syria, where more than 100,000 people have been killed; and the unrest in Egypt, where the population is trying to find the path to democracy. France fully supports the efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry to renew the peace process: “It’s time there was a sovereign Palestinian state alongside that of Israel,” he said.

Conceding that Paris and Jerusalem do not see eye-to-eye on everything, Bigot said that it was normal for friends to have occasional disagreements, and indicated there was more agreement than disagreement between the two countries. He was pleased that Israel’s two French schools, Mikve Israel and College Marc Chagall, are so full that neither has sufficient room for additional enrollments. There are some 150,000 French nationals living in Israel, said Bigot, as he congratulated their newly elected representative in the French parliament, Meyer Habib, who was present among the huge crowd of mainly French expatriates.

Speaking on a personal level, Bigot said Israel had left a profound impression on him during his seven years here – four of them as ambassador.

His most memorable moment was when he embraced Gilad Schalit at the latter’s home in Mitzpe Hila, the day after his release from Hamas captivity. Schalit is a dual national with French citizenship.

Another meaningful memory that Bigot is carrying back to Paris is of the ceremonies for French citizens who were honored at Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations. He never missed one of these ceremonies, he said, because the people who were being honored “had saved the honor of France during World War II.”

Both Bigot and Peres praised the talents of legendary and theatrical translator Giselle Abazon, who Peres declared not only translates but improves upon what is said.

Peres also had a stock of accolades for Bigot, whom he lauded as “a great representative of his country” who has performed extraordinary service.

“I came to thank you in the name of the State of Israel and the people of Israel for the wonderful relations between us,” he said. Peres also offered some advice to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, which was not to allow Bigot’s unique talents to go to waste.

As for Habib, Peres said he was happy that the representative had not run for the Knesset “because then I wouldn’t be able to congratulate him, because people would say I’m interfering in politics. The French don’t care.”

In thanking the French for their universal gift to the world of liberty, equality and fraternity, Peres described them as unifying values.

On bilateral relations, Peres said that Israel will never forget the assistance she received from France in times of extreme need. He was also appreciative of the stance taken by Hollande on Iran.

He has known the French president for a long time, he said, having first met him when Hollande was working for president François Mitterand. In toasting France, Peres said that “Bigot may be changing his place of residence, but we’re not changing our friendship.”

Though no longer in office, and absent for several months from media headlines, former defense minister Ehud Barak and his wife, Nili Priel, were invited to join the official party on the balcony.

It has become trendy for embassies to bring in opera singers from their home countries, or Israeli opera singers who have appeared in the ambassador’s country to sing the national anthems. The French Embassy was no exception. Opera singer and actor David Serero came specially to Israel for the occasion, and gave inspiring renditions of both anthems. Audiences tend to give polite applause to anthem singers.

This time it was frenzied – and it was well-deserved.

Bigot will be succeeded by Patrick Maisonnave, a first-time ambassador, who is currently director of strategic affairs, security and disarmament at the French Foreign Ministry. He is due to take up his appointment in late August.

■ LAST THURSDAY, only three days prior to Bastille Day, Bigot opened a new exhibition at Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People, located on the Tel Aviv University campus.

The exhibition was dedicated to the works of David Kirszenbaum.

Born in Poland to a rabbinic family in the village of Staszow in 1900, Kirszenbaum moved to Germany when he was 20 and joined the Bauhaus. After 10 years, he left Germany with his wife and went to Paris, where he discovered French Impressionism and painting techniques.

Like many of the great Jewish artists whose work was influenced by their Parisian environment, his paintings were infused with elements of Jewish mysticism and symbols.

Kirszenbaum’s studio was destroyed during the Holocaust and more than 600 of his paintings and drawings were looted by the Nazis, and he was imprisoned in a concentration camp.

His wife was deported and murdered along with nearly all of his family.

After the war, he had to rediscover himself. In this, he was aided spiritually and financially by Alix de Rothschild.

Kirszenbaum initially worked in Paris, then in Brazil and Morocco, returning eventually to the French capital, where he died from cancer in 1954.

The exhibition is due to the perseverance and dedication of Kirszenbaum’s great-nephew, Nathan Diament, who painstakingly traced the remnants of the artist’s lost career – due to his conviction that Kirszenbaum’s contribution to the art world was worth salvaging and resurrecting.

In so doing, Diament has restored Kirszenbaum to his rightful place in modern European art history.

The exhibition itself was created by the Museum of Art at Ein Harod.

Among those present at the opening at Beit Hatfutsot were: Irina Nevzlin Kogan, chairwoman of the museum’s board of directors; museum CEO Dan Tadmor; businessman Gad Propper; Stefan Kobsa, cultural attaché at the German Embassy; Yossi Ahimeir, executive director of the Jabotinsky Institute; Sallai Meridor, international chairman of the Jerusalem Foundation and former ambassador to the US; exhibition curator Dr. Caroline Goldberg Igra; and chief museum curator Dr. Orit Shaham-Gover.

■ MANY ISRAELIS don’t really know what it means to feel Jewish until they go out into the Diaspora. Even those who may be religiously observant or who came on aliya from other countries experience a different sense of identity when they are abroad, especially if they go as representatives of Israel. Official representatives are always primed about what to expect, but for many this information is superficial – until they actually put their feet on foreign soil.

In this way, Jews from Israel or elsewhere who have never before been to Poland are amazed at its many signs of Jewish life. After learning for years that whole communities of Polish Jews were snuffed out during the Holocaust, many have come to falsely believe that Poland is Judenrein.

That is certainly not the case, and as time goes by, more and more Poles who can prove their Jewish ancestry are coming out of the woodwork and openly identifying as members of the Jewish people. Some are not halachically Jewish because they have non- Jewish mothers, and although they are aware that this is problematic, it does not stop them from joining in Jewish communal activities in their hometowns and traveling to other parts of Poland for major events – such as the annual Jewish Culture Festival of Krakow, which attracts thousands of people from around the world and many parts of Poland.

A small group of MKs and political advisers, among them MKs Robert Ilatov and Aliza Lavie, were part of a delegation who visited Krakow and experienced the amazing diversity of the festival, which is one of the biggest summer events in Europe.

They were able to see the various Krakow synagogues, most of which have been turned into museums, but some of which have been restored and now have regular services. They also had a chance to tour part of contemporary Poland and meet with members of Polish parliament, including Deputy Speaker Wanda Nowicka. And of course, no visit to Warsaw by an official Israeli delegation would be complete without a meeting with Poland’s Chief Rabbi, Michael Schudrich.

The delegation also met with Zygmunt Rolat, a Czestochowa-born Holocaust survivor who lives in New York but commutes frequently to Poland, and has been instrumental in influencing reconciliation between Poland and Jews of Polish origin.

Rolat is a generous philanthropist who has donated to many projects in his native Czestochowa, but has been equally generous in other parts of Poland – most notably the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, whose North American council he chairs.

Naturally, the delegation toured the museum and while in Warsaw, discussed Poland-Israel relations with diplomats from the Foreign Ministry.

By the way, travel to Krakow for next year’s festival will be cheaper for Israelis. This is because in November, Wizz Air will launch three flights a week – on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – from Ben-Gurion Airport to Katowice, which is approximately the same distance to Krakow as Tel Aviv is to Jerusalem. The cost of a one-way fare will be 49.99 euros.

■ JEWISH VISITORS to Poland at the beginning of August might be interested in attending the dedication of the Treblinka Education Center on August 2, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Treblinka Revolt. The center is the brainchild of sculptor Samuel Willenberg, 90, who lives in Tel Aviv and was one of the leaders of the revolt. Willenberg is possibly the last living survivor of Treblinka.

The event has been organized by the Jewish Historical Society in Warsaw, which will provide transportation to Treblinka and back from its premises at 3/5 Tiomackie Street at 9 a.m. Reservations can be made by telephoning 48-22-827-9221.

Jews from Czestochowa and neighboring towns were transported to the Treblinka death camp. The Czestochowa- born Willenberg was sent to Treblinka in 1942, and when sorting through the clothes of murdered prisoners, recognized the dresses of his two sisters. Following his escape, he fought with the Polish forces in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. He and his wife, Ada, who is also a Holocaust survivor, have been living in Israel since 1950 but have traveled widely, taking many trips to Poland to make the world aware of Treblinka, where more than 850,000 people – most of them Jews – were murdered.

It was Willenberg who designed the Holocaust memorial monument in his native Czestochowa. He has left his mark on other places in Poland as well, but his sweetest revenge against the Nazis is that the Treblinka Education Center was designed by OKA, an Israeli architectural firm founded by his daughter, Orit Willenberg Giladi, together with Keren Jedwab. Their firm has designed public buildings in Israel and abroad, including the Israel Embassy in Berlin. But nothing could be more meaningful for Willenberg- Giladi than designing the education center in Treblinka, which holds the ashes of so many of her people and members of her family.

■ IN RESPONSE to Poland’s recent ban on kosher and halal slaughter, Warsaw-based lawyer Monika Krawczyk, CEO of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland, which is part of the World Jewish Restitution Organization, has sent out an email listing Polish embassies and consulates around the world. She is urging people in those countries to petition the listed ambassadors and consuls, to pressure the Polish parliament to retract the ban.

Krawczyk, who is Jewish, writes that the decision by parliament sends out a very disturbing message, which simply says: “You have no rights in our country.” She is not sure whether the decision was based on anti-Semitism or lack of awareness.

She can be contacted at Monika.Krawczyk@adwokatura.pl

■ BANK MANAGERS have a reputation for being hard-hearted, but there are exceptions to the rule. Last week, Yediot Aharonot ran a feature story about child Holocaust survivor Jenny Rosenstein, an artist, who in recent years has been confronted with mounting financial difficulties – to the extent that she was NIS 65,000 in arrears to her bank. The most precious thing that she owned was a framed drawing she had made in the Mogilev-Podolski transit camp, in what is now Ukraine, when she was seven years old. She has managed to preserve it for more than 70 years, and understandably, it was of great emotional value to her.

On the day that the story appeared, Bank Hapoalim spokeswoman Ofra Preuss notified Iris Lifshitz-Kliger, the journalist who wrote the story, that the bank was interested in purchasing the drawing for the amount that was owed to it by Rosenstein, thus eliminating her debt. In consultation with Rosenstein, the bank decided to donate the drawing to Yad Vashem.

It is not exactly surprising that Bank Hapoalim took this initiative. For the past 14 years, the bank has sponsored an annual fund-raising exhibition and sale for the benefit of the Israel AIDS Task Force. The two-day exhibition has been held at the bank’s Tel Aviv headquarters. In addition, Bank Hapoalim supports numerous social welfare endeavors, and chief shareholder Shari Arison has a family foundation that is run by her eldest son and gives to many causes.

Moreover, the instant response in the Rosenstein case proves that the power of the press has not yet dissipated.

MEMBERS OF the audience at the Cliff Richard concert at Nokia Arena on Saturday night were so focused on the Peter Pan of Pop that they did not notice the couple canoodling in the VIP box – though some people might have wondered about the beefed-up security detail. The couple in question has been known to sneak into the movies once the lights are dimmed, and to sneak out again just before the movie ends.

Their names are Binyamin and Sara Netanyahu, and like so many Israelis of their peer generation, they’re fans of Richard, and decided to enjoy his show after meeting him earlier in the week and receiving a personal invitation.

They were having fun just like regular people – well, not quite. After the performance they went backstage to congratulate him, as did British Ambassador Matthew Gould and his wife,Celia.

■ THEY COULD have picked a better date, as it is the opening night of the Maccabiah Games, but the intentions were only the best. The Armenian community in Israel, which is headquartered in the Old City of Jerusalem, is organizing a special tribute for veteran journalist and Israel Prize laureate Ya’akov Ahimeir, in appreciation of his ongoing television and radio coverage of the community and its efforts to gain Israeli recognition for the 1915 mass genocide of the Armenian people at the hands of the Ottoman government. Many attempts have been made in Israel to silence all references to this catastrophe, but journalists such as Ahimeir have refused to remain silent.

■ THE MORE technological the world becomes, the greater the nostalgia for the days when life was simple.

Jerusalem restaurateur Assaf Granit – who with partners Uri Navon and Yossi Elad, opened the popular Machneyuda restaurant in the Mahaneh Yehuda market in 2009 – has fond childhood memories of the old ice cream vendor who used to go from neighborhood to neighborhood in a noisy truck, whose engine could be heard long before the truck arrived. The children of Jerusalem used to run after the truck to buy an ice cream.

A little yearning for the atmosphere of yesteryear prompted Granit to revive the truck, and to drive around Jerusalem from July 17 to August 12 as part of the Jerusalem Season of Culture.

The project has been given the title of Auto-ochel, or Foodmobile.

The menu will change daily, and each day the truck, with a well-known Jerusalem personality on board, will feature a different menu in accordance with the palate nostalgia of the guest of honor. The idea is to ensure that everyone can enjoy the meals, so they will not only be reasonably priced but will also conform with the regulations of kashrut and halal – though during Ramadan, Muslim diners will have to wait until after sunset before they can eat.

Anyone interested in getting a meal from the back of a truck should telephone (02) 653-5854 to find out where the truck will be traveling on any specific date between now and August 12.

■ THREE MONTHS ago, when The Jerusalem Post moved into its new offices on Jaffa Road, there was a parting with history on many levels. The Romema building that housed the paper for decades had accumulated rooms full of archival material, ranging from dozens of file cabinets containing rare photographs of everything from David Ben-Gurion’s premiership to the 1976 raid on Entebbe.

In addition, there were thousands of manila files containing clippings of almost every article that appeared in the Post until 1992, when a computerized archive system was established.

Many of the files, categorized according to both subject and author, were meticulously clipped and catalogued by the paper’s veteran archivist Alexander Zvielli, and were scrupulously maintained by archive staffers Elaine Moshe, Chaim Collins and Louise Loveall.

With the shortage of space in the streamlined new offices, the plan was for the multitude of these historic documents to be transferred along with the bound volumes of all Post editions since 1932 to a warehouse for safekeeping.

However, over the last two weeks, it became apparent that even the warehouse could not hold the sheer volume of material that had been accumulated at the Post. With the former premises being dismantled piece by piece ahead of the planned demolition, time suddenly became of the essence.

A number of organizations expressed interest in helping the paper find a home for the treasures, including the Jerusalem Press Club, the Journalists Association in Jerusalem, the Government Press Office, the Ben-Gurion University library in Beersheba, the State Archives of the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Archives in Jerusalem.

Last week, a partial victory occurred when a moving truck transported the filing cabinets of photos to the new building, where they now nest in every available nook and cranny in the Post’s offices.

Negotiations are continuing, with some of the interested parties coming over and transporting the remainder of the print archives, salvaging a valuable part of the country’s and the paper’s past. Everyone realizes the significance of this historic treasure trove – but no one has room to store it all.

THERE’S A wedding coming up in the families of Shas spiritual mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and current MK and former construction and housing minister Ariel Attias. Yael Yosef, the daughter of Rabbi Moshe Yosef and granddaughter of Ovadia Yosef, recently got engaged to Haim Attias, the brother of the legislator. Both are sons of Petah Tikva Chief Rabbi Binyamin Attias.

SANCTIONS NOTWITHSTANDING, the Foreign Ministry continues to hold farewell luncheons and dinners for heads of foreign missions who are in the process of completing their tours of duty. Last week, they feted Romanian Ambassador Edward Iosiper and his wife, Tatiana, who is a diplomat in her own right. In many countries, when both spouses are diplomats, only one of them is permitted to serve in the country to which the senior of the two has been posted. The Romanians are much more understanding and don’t expect a diplomatic spouse to put his or her career on hold. Thus, Tatiana Iosiper has served as minister counselor at the Romanian Embassy.

greerfc@gmail.com

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