There no branch of Lord and Taylor, North America’s largest luxury goods chain,
in Israel, but there is a Lord and Taylor offshoot interest in
No, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to see a Lord
and Taylor store there.
However, the children of Richard Baker, the
governor and CEO of Hudson’s Bay Company, which operates Lord and Taylor, have
invested in Netanya’s future. Six years ago, Baker’s son Henry chose to use his
bar mitzva money to help a group of boys from the Ethiopian
Henry established a club at Netanya’s Shapira High School,
where the boys were students, and over the years encouraged them to join an
enrichment program, through which they received tutorials in various
He maintained personal contact with them, ensuring they passed
their matriculation exams and then, as a treat before they went into the army,
he took them on an all-expenses- paid trip to the US.
Not to be outdone,
Henry’s sister Serena, who celebrated her bat mitzva just over a year ago,
decided to donate all her gift money, amounting to NIS 500,000, to the Netanya
Foundation, headed by city Mayor Miriam Fierberg-Ikar. The money was allocated
towards the establishment of a graphic arts classroom in which female students,
mostly from Ethiopian families, can enjoy a creative learning experience. In
addition, the girls receive private tutorials, lectures and help with their
The Baker family came to Israel to inaugurate the classroom,
which many years earlier had been used as a turnery and workshop, and which
through years of neglect had become very dilapidated. Serena’s gift enabled it
to be completely revamped into a modern, attractive and comfortable facility,
which blended her vision with the requirements of the Education
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At the dedication ceremony of the classroom, which is furnished
in bright colors and with non-institutional furniture, Richard Baker spoke of
how proud he was of his children, who had not only decided to give their money
to Israel, but had also developed their own philanthropic projects and followed
through on them.
Baker, who is a highly successful businessman, began his
career not in retail but in real estate, working with his father Robert C. Baker
– who founded National Realty & Development Corp., reputed to be among the
largest private owners of shopping centers. Baker purchased Lord and Taylor in
2006, and earlier this year Hudson’s Bay Company purchased Saks Fifth Avenue, so
Baker really knows the meaning of having luxury at his
Fierberg-Ikar commended Baker and his wife, Lisa, for raising
their children in the spirit of giving to others who are less fortunate than
During their stay in Israel, the Bakers met with President
Shimon Peres, Education Minister Shai Piron and other notables.
SITUATIONS in which he cannot attend particular events because of security
reasons, or simply due to previous commitments, Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu sends a videotaped statement or greeting.
That will be the case
this coming Sunday at the 90th-anniversary celebrations of Betar, the youth wing
of the Revisionist Movement.
Betar was founded in Riga, Latvia, on
December 23, 1923, by a group of young people inspired by Ze’ev Jabotinsky, who
stood at the head of the movement. Betar was first and foremost an educational
organ, which participated in turning the Zionist dream into a reality with the
founding of the State of Israel.
At the festive celebration at the
Jabotinsky Institute in Tel Aviv, Tamar Tennenbaum, who currently heads the
movement, will present its history to the present day. There will be other Betar
personalities past and present, delivering greetings and sharing nostalgic
anecdotes, among them former foreign and defense minister Moshe Arens, who was
born two years and four days after Betar was founded. Israel Radio’s Dan Kaner
will read excerpts from Jabotinsky’s letters.
■ THE CHINESE are known to
be extraordinarily disciplined people. An example was this week, when Chinese
Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on President Peres. Unlike delegations
accompanying dignitaries from other countries, Wang’s delegation did not have to
be asked to sit down during the traditional photo opportunity when Peres and
Wang shook hands. No sooner had the two men adopted the pose, did the delegation
sit down so as not to be in the way of photographers.
■ DIFFERENT PEOPLE
have different ways of expressing appreciation, sometimes recognizing needs on
the basis of their own experiences. When Nisim Ankava of Hadera suffered an
accident in his jeep, the outcome of which was a severe leg injury, he was
admitted to the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center’s orthopedic department. His was a
complicated injury which required a lot of rehabilitation work.
was about to be discharged, Ankava decided to show appreciation for the
treatment he had received. Instead of making a monetary donation that might have
earned him a plaque on the wall, he decided to equip the orthopedic department
with 30 new wheelchairs, which he felt would be of use to other patients whose
mobility had been temporarily or permanently curtailed.
his gift when he was almost out the door, saying he urgently needed speak to the
hospital director, Prof. Meir Oren: “I want to donate 30 wheelchairs to the
department. It’s my way of saying thank you,” he said. “As a matter of fact,
they’re on their way and should arrive within the next two hours.”
credited the doctors and nurses with saving his leg by giving him the best
treatment, from the emergency room through his entire convalescence in the
orthopedic department. Oren and his staff were thrilled, noting that this was
the quickest and most unexpected donation the medical center had ever
Moreover, no one had to ask for it.
■ STAFF AT Barzilai
Medical Center in Ashkelon this week celebrated the 100th birthday of Dr.
Michael Lavi, who served as Barzilai’s first director from 1961 to
Lavi, who was born in Czechoslovakia and fought in the Jewish
Brigade and the Red Army, arrived in Israel in 1949 and was immediately
recruited into the medical corps of the nascent Israel Air Force, with the rank
of lieutenant-colonel In 1961, he was asked to doff his uniform and take over
the running of the newly established hospital. Over the years he received
numerous awards and in 2010, was named a Distinguished Citizen of
Just under three years ago, he attended the inauguration of
Barzilai’s Founders’ Square, which marked the beginning of the hospital’s
In addition to the hospital staff who attended his
centenary celebration, there were people who had worked with Lavi at various
stages of his life. Special greetings on the occasion of his triple-digit
birthday were voiced by Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni and current hospital
director Dr. Hezi Levy.
■ FIVE AMBASSADORS-DESIGNATE who had been looking
forward to presenting their credentials this week to President Peres were
victims of the aftermath of the snowstorm. The ceremony was postponed because of
the ice in the area, said a spokesman for Peres. On the previous day, a ceremony
honoring outstanding exporters was also postponed for the same
The writer of this column and several other media people had no
difficulty in getting into another event at the President’s Residence on
Tuesday, however, and found most of the access roads to be fairly clear of snow
and ice – though the same could not be said of the sidewalks.
Welfare and Social Services Minister Meir Cohen, who lives in Dimona, managed to
arrive at the President’s Residence, as did several members of the president’s
staff who live outside Jerusalem.
For that matter, Peres himself went out
on Sunday, when weather conditions were much harsher than on Tuesday and
■ ISRAEL’S SOCIAL gap tends to become more glaring when
results of fundraising benefits are announced the same week that the National
Insurance Institute’s poverty report is published.
While a third of the
nation’s children are living below the poverty line, Friends of Rabin Medical
Center – Beilinson Campus, at their annual gala at the Tel Aviv Hilton this
week, raised NIS 4.5 million. The funds are earmarked for the purchase of
technological equipment for the new Jusidman Center for Emergency Medicine and
Trauma, which aims to be the largest facility of its kind in the Middle East.
Friends chairman Pini Cohen said that the target for the fund-raiser had been
selected in the face of the bottleneck in all hospital trauma centers throughout
Israel. The dire need had dictated the cause, he said.
At the gala a
special citation and statuette created by Menashe Kadishman were given to
Eliezer Peleg, in recognition of his tireless efforts on behalf of the Rabin
Medical Center. Another citation of appreciation was given to Nava Barak, who
has concluded her tenure as president of the Friends.
■ TO MARK
International Human Rights Day, the Interfaith Encounter student group, in
cooperation with the student union and the Department of Comparative Religion at
the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, held an interfaith panel discussion on the
theme of “Human Rights in Religion.” Panelists at the event on the Mount Scopus
campus included: Sheikh Dr.
Raed Fathi, lecturer in the Dawa faculty and
researcher at the Center for Contemporary Studies; Fr. Dr. Peter Madros, scholar
on Christian theology and New Testament science; and Rabbi Dr. Shmuel
Jacobovits, dean of the Torah Institute of Contemporary Studies. Also
participating in the discussion were Bill Van Esveld, a senior researcher in the
Middle East division of Human Rights Watch; and Dr. Yehuda Stolov, executive
director of the Interfaith Encounter Association.
■ ROTARY DISTRICT Gov.
Shaul D’Angeli and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai will both be in attendance at the
Israel Rotary Conference on Inter-Ethnic Understanding, which will be held today
at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa. The occasion will also be used to
publicly acknowledge and honor Ami Ayalon, former director of the Shin Bet
(Israel Security Agency) and current chairman of the University of Haifa
executive, for his efforts towards Israeli-Palestinian peace.
being honored include Dr. Farid Hamdan, an expert in environmental education for
promoting tolerance between Arab and Jewish youth; Dr.
Baron-Harlev, deputy director of Schneider Children’s Medical Center for Israel,
for cooperating with the Palestinian Authority on health issues affecting
Palestinian children; journalist, scriptwriter and author Sayed Kashua, for his
writings on Jewish-Arab relations; and Neve Shalom, a Jewish- Arab cooperative
village which proves that coexistence is possible. Awards will also be given to
various Rotary leaders and chapters.
■ WHIILE HE has yet to reveal the
source of his income and how he made his fortune, it seems that for a wealthy
man, Moti Ben-Moshe has some unexpected debts. Ben-Moshe, who is in line to take
control of IDB Holdings unless Nochi Dankner can pull a rabbit out of a hat at
the last minute, has apparently not paid off his mortgage or his car. According
to Channel 2 and Yediot Aharonot, Ben-Moshe, who deposited NIS 600 million with
the court as a sign of his fiscal ability to keep IDB solvent, has yet to pay
off the NIS 700,000 mortgage on his home in Modi’in and his model 2007 Hyundai
When challenged on this score, Ben-Moshe replied that he had
purchased his home with the help of a mortgage on which the interest payments
were very favorable, and therefore it wasn’t worth paying it off in one fell
swoop. As for the car, he would think about paying it off, he
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