Grapevine: To sing another day...

Rita, Sarit Haddad escape crashes unscathed, post-centenarians have their say, and ‘Kaddish’ concert commemorates Holocaust.

By
August 25, 2011 22:27
Shimon Sheetrit

Shimon Sheetrit. (photo credit: Courtesy)

■ JUST HOW much is a photo of a celebrity worth? For some photographers, it means risking life and limb, and for the celebrity who doesn’t want to be photographed, it’s not only an invasion of privacy, but can also lead to dire results, as happened with Britain’s Princess Diana. In the case of singer Rita, it didn’t quite come to that, but it could have, when in her attempt to avoid the paparazzi motorcyclist who was chasing her car, she lost control of the wheel and hit him.

Neither was seriously hurt, but after her hospital check-up, she did file a report against him with the police, and he, in turn, filed a report against her. For the time being, they’ve been told to keep their distance from each other.

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Fellow singer Sarit Haddad was also involved in a road accident this week, when the car in which she was traveling home from a concert in Karmiel was suddenly hit from behind with such force that it turned over three times. Miraculously, even though the car was a total loss, Haddad and her manager Avi Guetta escaped with only a few bruises. The two were able to extricate themselves from the BMW even before the arrival of Magen David Adom and the police. They were taken to Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, where they were examined and released.

Given the number of motorcyclists who ignore traffic regulations, the number of drivers of cars and trucks who ignore red lights and crosswalks, and the number of jaywalkers who blithely cross against the lights and in the face of oncoming traffic while talking on their cellphones, it’s truly a miracle that there are not more accidents and fatalities.

■ HEBREW UNIVERSITY law professor, former government minister and former member of the Jerusalem City Council Prof. Shimon Sheetrit has been appointed chairman of the academic council of Impact-SE – the research institute for monitoring peace and cultural tolerance in different countries’ education systems, with regard to how pupils are instructed in formulating attitudes toward different religions, societies, democratic values and the “other.” He succeeds Dr. Yohanan Manor, who founded Impact-SE in 1998. Sheetrit is also a candidate for the chairmanship of Keren Kayemet Le’Israel, The Jewish National Fund.

■ IN JEWISH tradition, it is customary to bless people on their birthdays that they should live to 120, which was the age at which Moses went to meet his Maker. As far as anyone knows, there is no one in contemporary Israel who has reached that age, but according to a report in Yediot Aharonot, which quotes the Population Registry, there are 669 Israelis who have passed their 110th birthdays.

With the next Knesset elections only 18 months away at most, the people responsible for the Population Registry want to be sure that all the triple-digit citizens who are registered for voting rights are indeed still alive. Election scams in the past have included making use of the ID cards of deceased people whose deaths were not reported to the Interior Ministry. According to the report, Population Registry head Amnon Ben-Ami has asked these super senior citizens to contact his office within 30 days of receiving a letter asking for confirmation that they are still living. Anyone who doesn’t contact the office will lose their voting rights.

Telem Yahav and Akiva Novik, who wrote the story, discovered Zacharya Broshi, a 111- year-old Jerusalemite who was born in Kurdistan and who, despite his advanced age, lives alone, is self sufficient and has all his faculties. A former employee of the Jerusalem City Council, he is also a Worthy of Jerusalem and has received other significant recognition as well. He has been living in the Land of Israel since 1936 and helped to build the Burma Road during the 1948 siege of Jerusalem.

He has numerous descendants, and one of his great-great grandchildren has just been inducted into the army. When the Yediot reporters asked him to what he attributed his long life, he said that it was written in the Torah that one must honor one’s mother and one’s father in order that one’s days be long. He had indeed honored his parents, he said, because it was such an easy thing to do. When the reporters persisted and asked whether he did any exercise, he replied that he dances in the middle of the circle at family celebrations.

■ WITH SPECULATION increasing as to whether journalist Yair Lapid will run for the Knesset in the next elections, coupled with the ongoing debate over whether journalists need to take a cooling-off period before entering the political arena, it’s interesting to take a look at some involved in the game of musical chairs between journalism and politics.

For instance, Nir Hefetz, a former Yediot journalist who was the spokesman for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu until just over half a year ago (he was replaced by Gidi Schmerling, who had previously been the spokesman for the mayor of Jerusalem), has just been appointed the new editor-in-chief of Ma’ariv. During his stint in the Prime Minister’s Office, Hefetz was privy to a lot of information that is generally kept from journalists. One wonders how this will impact Ma’ariv’s future political coverage.

Likewise, Schmerling is being replaced in October by Yoaz Hendel, a strategic military affairs columnist and commentator with Yediot and Makor Rishon, as well as a talk show host on Army Radio. Schmerling is rumored to be moving to the spokesman’s office in the Tel Aviv Municipality, where he could undoubtedly advise the mayor on certain strategies to adopt when dealing with the Prime Minister’s Office.

Hendel – the prime minister’s fourth spokesman since he took office nearly two-and-a-half years ago – was a lecturer in military history at Bar-Ilan University. Even if this government, unlike most of its predecessors, runs a full term, it is unlikely that Hendel will stay in the job for more than 18 months – but he will acquire a lot of additional knowledge that could serve him well if and when he returns to the ranks of the media.

■ DIFFERENT PEOPLE are moved in different ways to commemorate the Holocaust and ensure that it does not fade from universal consciousness.

Dr. Lawrence Siegel has chosen to use the medium of music to create Kaddish, a work comprising 15 original songs for soloists, chorus and orchestra, inspired largely by testimonies from Holocaust survivors.

A special concert under the title “Kaddish – I Am Here,” which is a testament to the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis and the ongoing miracle of Jewish survival, will be held at Yad Vashem’s Warsaw Ghetto Square on September 8 in the presence of President Shimon Peres.

The program, featuring the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, will be conducted by Gil Shohat, with soloists Maria Jette, soprano; Adriana Zabala, mezzo soprano; Thomas Cooley, tenor; and James Bohn, baritone – along with the choir of The New Israeli Vocal Ensemble, led by choirmaster Yuval Ben-Ozer.

■ THE SOCIAL gap is more dangerous than rockets or the Iranian threat, says Israel Prize laureate Dov Lautman, who, despite being confined to a wheelchair as a result of being stricken with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), continues to be active in numerous organizations and institutions and to fight for equal educational opportunities for all sectors of society.

Lautman, 75, who is chairman of Hakol Hinuch (It’s all Education) and of the Lautman Foundation for the Advancement of Education, sits on the executive boards of the Peres Center for Peace and the Yitzhak Rabin Center, the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency and the boards of several other organizations that deal with peace, education and the well-being of society.

He has not allowed his physical condition to get in the way of his efforts to narrow the country’s social gaps. The founder of Delta Galil Industries, he was known for treating his Arab, Druse and Circassian employees with the same degree of fairness as he treated his Jewish employees. He is an ardent advocate for the rights of Arab citizens, as well as for other Israelis in the low socioeconomic sector. He’s been to Rothschild Boulevard to speak to the tent-dwellers, and he has also been among the speakers at the mega-protest demonstrations. This week, he appeared before the Trajtenberg Committee to reiterate his conviction about the dangers of the social gaps.

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