Gapevine: Sharing by twinning

A roundup of news from around Israel.

December 24, 2016 20:14
TZVI PERKAL with William Haberman and William’s father at the Western Wall.

TZVI PERKAL with William Haberman and William’s father at the Western Wall.. (photo credit: LIRAN SHEMESH)


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Many families from abroad, when celebrating a bar mitzva in Israel, seek to find an Israeli boy celebrating his own bar mitzva at more or less the same time, to twin with the honoree.

That was the case with the Haberman family of New York. When Brook and Regina Haberman and their son William were planning William’s bar mitzva, they knew for a fact that they would have the celebration in Jerusalem, but that they also wanted to do something else to add special meaning to the celebration.

Following in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents as generous supporters of Reuth, which next year celebrates its 80th anniversary, the family decided to twin the celebration with the family of a patient at the Reuth Medical & Rehabilitation Center.

The asked the hospital administration to find a boy whose bar mitzva was close in time to that of William, and so they invited bar mitzva boy Tzvi Perkal and his family to join them for four exciting days in Jerusalem.

Perkal’s three-year-old brother, Aryeh, is in a severe brain-damaged condition, and has been hospitalized in the children’s department at Reuth for the past two years.

He simply stopped breathing when he was 11 months old. His father, who was right next to him, started CPR and called for an ambulance. Unfortunately, the brain damage suffered by the little boy is irreversible, and he is in a semiconscious state, receiving all the love and care that Reuth’s Weingarten children’s department provides.

The Perkals are a close-knit family who visit Aryeh regularly, and they have become an integral part of the department. They were a natural choice for an opportunity to lift the spirits.

The Perkals made aliya from the United States and speak English, so the boys had no problem in communicating and hit it off right away. They shared the prayers at the Western Wall, toured the Old City, and then spent the entire Shabbat as a “team,” with William reading his Torah portion at the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem. For both families, it was a unique opportunity to epitomize the true meaning of the word “re’ut,” which translates as “friendship,” and means much more than a four day experience.

■ ISRAELIS SIT in many international forums with people whose governments are hostile to Israel. That does not always mean that the representatives of those governments are hostile. There are often clandestine liaisons that develop into genuine friendships. Abba Eban used to frequently speak of the friendships that he made at the United Nations with people whose leaders wanted to throw Israel into the sea.

His successors had similar experiences, and quite possibly something along the same lines will happen to Uriel Lynn, the president of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, who was last week elected to serve on the World Chambers Federation General Council, an umbrella organization of industries and chambers of commerce, which is reputed to be the largest representative body of employers in the world, comprising 12,000 chambers of commerce from 130 countries. Other countries represented on the council include Pakistan, Iran, Qatar and Lebanon, so there are interesting times ahead for Lynn, who was elected on a blind vote.

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted last week when speaking to journalists and diplomats at a Government Press Office event, even when diplomatic ties with Turkey were at a low ebb, economic ties were not affected, and there was even an increase in trade. So who knows what may happen when the WCF council convenes? ■ EVERY HANUKKA, the nationwide pastry company Roladin, which operates bakeries and coffee shops, introduces sophisticated varieties of doughnuts to the market.

Now it has serious competition in the person of the Hilton Tel Aviv’s new pastry chef, Idan Hadad.

With renowned French pastry chef Jérôme Langillier as his mentor, Hadad brings energy and experience and a whole new variety of desserts and cakes. Having graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Pâtisserie in France and working with some of Israel’s leading upscale hotels, Hadad is sure that he can bring some new taste sensations to the palates of Hilton guests. He is sufficiently confident in his abilities to be able to say that he knows that they will enjoy his creations.

His first major project in his current surroundings was to present several new kinds of Hanukka doughnuts, which are served in the hotel’s lobby lounge. Choices include a doughnut with cheese crumbs and mascarpone Chantilly cream; coffee cremeux; and coffee Chantilly. Other choices include pistachio cream and raspberry coulis, chocolate cremeux, salty caramel and white chocolate Chantilly.

It’s rare to be able to get something other than a bottle of soft drink for under NIS 50 in a hotel lounge, but a doughnut and a hot drink are available for 36 NIS per person till the end of Hanukka. It can be characterized as a latter-day Hanukka miracle.

■ THIS WEEK Israel’s Ethiopian community was justifiably proud when two of its members were appointed to serve as judges.

They were no less proud in 2013 when Yityish “Titi” Aynaw, who was born in Ethiopia, was crowned Miss Israel.

Aynaw’s is a real Cinderella story. Her father died when she was a little girl, and her mother when she was 10 years old.

When she was 12, she and her brother Yellek came to Israel to be with their grandparents in Netanya.

Multitalented Titi was elected president of the student body in high school, won first prize in a national student film contest and showed great athletic ability competing in track and field. After graduating from Kfar Hadassim, a religious youth village, she joined the army and served as a lieutenant in the Military Police.

After completing her army service, she worked in a dress shop. A friend who thought that Aynaw had a good chance of winning the Miss Israel contest, even though no member of Israel’s Ethiopian community had previously done so, entered her name. The friend had sound judgment. Aynaw was indeed selected as Miss Israel for 2013. In the same year, US President Barack Obama visited Israel, and then-president Shimon Peres hosted a state dinner for him, to which Aynaw was also invited.

She subsequently took up a modeling career, but, aware that she had to serve as a role model for her own ethnic community, she decided to establish a community arts center in Netanya and is still working toward that goal. Meanwhile there’s no shortage of modeling assignments. She’s currently modeling the 2017 Turquoise swimwear collection. Turquoise is a subsidiary of Gottex, which is Israel’s leading swimwear brand.

■ SA FED’S ZIV Medical Center is one of the hospitals in the North in which casualties of the Syrian civil war are being treated.

ZMC has treated more than 700 adults and children who have been severely wounded as a result of the ceaseless war raging in Syria.

The casualties all reach the border, by any means at their disposal. Among the wounded are children and young adults who arrive on their own, unaccompanied by a family member. Some have lost their families during the course of the war. Most of them have sustained severe, complex war wounds from bullets, shrapnel or blast damage, suffering from internal injuries and amputated limbs.

In contrast with routine treatment of patients hospitalized in Ziv, these casualties are treated over a long period of weeks and even months without the comfort of a family member by their side, arriving without even the most rudimentary items required by a patient.

In addition to the lifesaving treatment given to the patients, Ziv also provides the support of its social services as well as physiotherapists, to assist the casualties in dealing with the traumatic experiences they have undergone.

Ziv is raising money to purchase much-needed medical items for the Syrians.

Their time in Israel is limited, and they return from Ziv to unknown circumstances in Syria, to places where there may not be medical services, hospitals or rehabilitation possibilities that would ensure their recovery. Ziv is therefore making every effort to provide the patients with medical items that will enable them to function following their return, including medical equipment, medication, bandages and guidance for continued self-treatment.

Dr. Salman Zarka, director of Ziv Medical Center, says to the many Israelis of all faiths who have contributed to this effort: “We wish to thank each and every one of you who have expressed their wish to offer assistance and contributions. We are awed by the widespread responses we have received and are pleased that the public understands and appreciates the importance of the work done by the staff at Ziv, who work day and night to treat the Syrian casualties.

“Financial contributions are translated into medical assistance, increasing our ability to offer aid to the Syrian casualties, who are returning to a war-torn country, in which they will have difficulty in functioning without appropriate medical items to take home with them.”

While the war continues, all contributions continue to be gratefully accepted.

Anyone who wants to send a contribution should make out a check to the Society of Friends of Ziv Medical Center, nonprofit organization No. 58-000-510-6, Bank Leumi No. 10, branch 975, Safed, account No. 20005/55. All contributions received will be used exclusively for the treatment of Syrian civilians seeking medical assistance in Israel. For further inquiries contact Yael Shavit 04-693-0530, or friends@

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