Grapevine: No sale

May 18, 2017 22:44
3 minute read.
Waldorf Astoria

THE PALACE Restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem. (photo credit: SARKA BABICKA)


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THE SALE of the Jerusalem Waldorf Astoria Hotel was almost a done deal, but the would-be buyer could not quite meet the Reichman family price tag of $160 million, so the hotel is back on the market. It has sparked interest in other circles, but there’s a tiny snag that goes with the price tag. The hotel has a long-term management contract with the Hilton, and whoever buys the hotel inherits the contract as part of the deal.

The contract is fairly iron-clad but not unbreakable. One only has to ask Alfred Akirov, who had a contract with Hilton to manage his David Citadel Hotel, but in the final analysis, Akirov and Hilton did not see eye to eye on how a hotel should be managed, and they parted company.

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Also on the market is the impressive Gesher building adjacent to the Waldorf. Gesher moved to another part of town and its building has been empty for more than a year.

AS MENTIONED in this column last week, several of the city’s arteries are going to be closed to traffic for at least three days. On May 22, the day that US President Donald Trump is scheduled to arrive in Israel, the annual Yakir Yerushalayim ceremony will take place at the Tower of David Museum. The honorees are usually people who are aged at least 70. Depending on where they are coming from, access to the museum may prove to be very difficult, because all roads anywhere near the King David Hotel will be sealed off for security reasons. Perhaps Mayor Nir Barkat should give thought to moving the ceremony to City Hall or an auditorium in the Hebrew University, of which some of the honorees may be alumni.

THE TAMAR chapter of Hadassah may also suffer some difficulties with regard to guests attending the Annual Benefactors’ event on Sunday evening May 21, at the home of Nina and Ron Spiro who live just behind City Hall. Again, depending on where some of the guests live, it will be either easy or impossible to get to the venue.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Hadassah Mount Scopus.

AWARDS IN relation to the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem are being conferred by several of the organizations and institutions of the city. The Kehilat Moreshet Avraham Congregation in East Talpiot is honoring one of its founders, Rabbi Reuven Hammer, whose name is very familiar to regular readers of The Jerusalem Post for the many enlightening articles that he has written over the years.

The congregation is hosting a gala evening on May 25 in honor of Hammer, who will be the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award. Hammer has served as a leader in Conservative/Masorti Judaism in Israel and throughout the world, for more than half a century, most notably as chaplain, pulpit rabbi, founder of the Masorti Movement in Israel and the Schechter Rabbinical School, professor, head of the Rabbinical Court for Conversion, award-winning author and the first Israeli president of the International Rabbinical Assembly.

He champions the embrace of all Jews. As a member of the Israeli Law Committee, he provided the halachic basis for the Masorti Movement’s groundbreaking Bar/Bat Mitzva Program for the Special Child and was appointed by the government to the Ne’eman Commission, which was charged with integrating Masorti Judaism into the Conversion Program in Israel.

His global leadership and influence led him to the position as a distinguished guest professor at the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano in Buenos Aires and to fill the rabbinical pulpit position of the New London Synagogue in London, upon the retirement of the late Rabbi Louis Jacobs. In addition, thousands of people around the world read his column in the Post and his scholarly publications.

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