n JERUSALEM MAYOR Nir Barkat was in the US this week and participated in the New York marathon. While in the Big Apple, he was verbally attacked by haredi anti-Zionist demonstrators but took their barbs in his stride, having already had good practice during the spate of Shabbat riots at home. Barkat was busy promoting Jerusalem as a destination for pilgrims and tourists, and announced that Jerusalem will have a marathon in 2011. A few days earlier, the prestigious Caspi law firm in Tel Aviv made an even more convincing argument for Jerusalem, using the old technique of seeing is believing. When Yair Caspi, the son of Ram and Etti Caspi, married Lee Bachar, the couple decided on the romantic setting of the rooftop of the Mamilla Hotel from which there is a spectacular panoramic view of Jerusalem. The groom, who is a partner in his father's law firm, naturally invited several of the firm's major clients, as did his parents. Because they live in Savyon, they have many friends who live there as well. There were also friends from Herzliya Pituah, Kfar Shmaryahu, Netanya and environs, thus the Caspi family was able to bring some 400 people from out of town to the Holy City to join in the celebration. Among the guests were Yitzhak and Haya Tshuva, Idan and Batya Ofer, Nochi and Orly Dankner, Benny and Anis Steinmetz, Galia and Yehoshua Maor, Sammy and Aviva Ofer, Rani and Hila Rahav, and the hotel's owner Alfred Akirov and his wife, Hava. None of them are strangers to Jerusalem, but for most it was their first view of the city from the roof of the hotel, giving them yet another perspective.
n THERE IS no greater compliment to a speaker than when people brave the wind and the rain to come and listen to him. Thus when Dr. Alon Liel, the first speaker at the Israel Council on Foreign Relations discussion evening on Israel and Turkey, got up to speak at Beit Shalom, there was already a full house. His colleagues Prof. Ofra Bengio and Prof. Efraim Inbar expressed their opinions on the subject as well. Beit Shalom, a private two-story home that belonged to British-born attorney Shalom Horowitz, who was known to be a lover of the arts and most gracious host, was bequeathed by him to Keren Hayesod, which preserved its ambience and rents out the premises to organizations, institutions and private people for conferences, seminars and celebrations. It is frequently used for a bar mitzva kiddush, especially in the summer when hosts and guests can take advantage of its spacious garden. Many people prefer Beit Shalom to a hotel or a convention hall because they like the idea of meeting in someone's home, feeling that it creates a more intimate atmosphere.
n AND ON the subject of full houses, Shalshelet, the Jerusalem-based organization dedicated to solving marital problems - both before and after the wedding - held a musical evening featuring its new partner, singing rabbi Yehoshua Rubin. The event, held in the spacious and tasteful apartment of Gita and Tommy Freud, was a sellout. People just kept coming and coming. Rubin, an educational psychologist, runs a coaching service for men and women searching for life partners and is the founder of Ahava Rabba (Great Love), which helps men and women discover each other through music. Rubin has a Carlebach repertoire and had the audience, young and old, singing with gusto. Carlebach believed that music was a powerful vehicle for bringing people together. Rubin, who brought together several couples whose introduction through his music led to marriage, is proving Carlebach's point.
n GUESTS AT the relaunching of the refurbished branch of Yad Sarah in the Harel Mall in Mevaseret Zion included local resident MK Rachel Adato, who is a well-known gynecologist and lawyer. When she was practicing medicine, said Adato, it was patently obvious that Yad Sarah, even though it was a voluntary organization, had become an integral part of the network of health services. "Today, it's impossible to imagine the system without Yad Sarah," she said.
n IT'S A recorded fact that Nobel Prize literature laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer was not happy with the film version of his short story about Yentl, the girl who wanted so desperately to be a yeshiva student. He did not like the performance of Barbra Streisand who starred in the title role. However, when his son Israel Zamir saw the Hebrew stage production of Yentl at the Haifa Municipal Theater, he said that he enjoyed it and even posed for pictures with lead performers Olla Shor-Selector and Yehezkiel Lazarov.
n PHILANTHROPISTS FROM Jewish Diaspora communities contribute to an enormous variety of projects in Israel, yet it is doubtful that most of them have ever donated money to buy a goat. But that's exactly what happened when members of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors convened in Jerusalem toward the end of last month. When they heard that 52 goats had been stolen from the Agency's Ben-Yakir Youth Village near Hadera, which is home to some 135 Ethiopian boys aged 12 to 18, they unhesitatingly decided to replace the loss. In addition to regular studies and extracurricular activities such as karate, horseback riding, music and dance, arts and crafts, ceramics and carpentry, the students at Beit Yakir have a farm and a petting zoo. Although nothing can completely replace a beloved pet that has disappeared, the boys were delighted to again have a herd of goats to command their attention.