Grapevine: A designing woman

A round up of news from around the country.

April 14, 2015 20:16
DIPLOMATIC SPOUSES Johanna Stegen (Chile) Rachel Lord (Australia) and Celia Gould (UK)

DIPLOMATIC SPOUSES Johanna Stegen (Chile) Rachel Lord (Australia) and Celia Gould (UK).. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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The man with a camera slung around his neck, who was wandering between the lobby and the exhibition gallery at Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art in Ramat Gan, was British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould, who was endeavoring to stay as far out of the limelight as possible. He was there to more or less play second fiddle to his wife Celia whose many talents include designing luxury scarves that are marketed in England at a very pretty penny.

Celia Gould developed her artistic bent in Israel. It was almost accidental. An avid photographer, who seldom goes anywhere without her camera, Gould said that she would walk down the street, not doing any shopping, but always coming back with something – namely scenes captured through her lens. While waiting at traffic lights in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, she snapped a photograph of the municipal building and something clicked: She wondered how the building’s little boxes façade would look on a scarf, and in her mind’s eye she saw a check pattern.

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One thing led to another, and before she knew it she was in the design business encouraged by Shenkar president and former MK Yuli Tamir and Orit Efrati, who heads Shenkar’s Friends in Israel, to prowl the corridors of the college and observe what the enormously creative students were doing. She loved every minute of it. Over time, she built up an eye catching collection of scarves in bright vibrant hues, as well as in soft pastels and woodland tones – all inspired by photos she has taken and bearing titles such as Cairo, London Spring, Galilee Peacock, Ayalon, Tel Aviv Commute, Umbrian Sunflowers, Old City Jerusalem and Italian Meadow. Gould established a business in London where her Italian and oriental silk and silk-satin scarves are sold for prices ranging from £165 to £195. In Israel they are reduced to £95 or NIS 550, which is what they were selling for at Gould’s first ever exhibition entitled Metamorphosis.

On one side of the gallery, the scarves were stretched out almost like paintings so that viewers could get the full impact of the design. On the other side they were draped alongside the photographs that had inspired their concept.

Many of Gould’s friends from the International Women‘s Club and the Diplomatic Spouses Club showed up and several purchased scarves. Not quite stealing the show from the artist, were Ehud and Aliza Olmert, who indicated no sign of the ordeal under which they are laboring. They looked calm and relaxed despite their legal problems, and the broad grin on Ehud Olmert’s face was reflected in his eyes. Both were lavished with hugs and kisses from numerous friends and acquaintances, and people were vying with each other to engage in conversation or to be photographed with the former prime minister.
Among those present were author and bed & breakfast proprietor Anne Kleinberg; Weizmann Institute president Prof. Daniel Zajfman; Julie Fisher, the wife of the US ambassador; Canadian Military Attaché Brad Smith and his wife Jane; British Military Attaché Nigel Jefferson and his wife Jo; Yaffa Weinberg the wife of former Shenkar president Amotz Weinberg; public relations executive Naomi Cherpak; Baha’i Jerusalem representatives Barbara and Kern Wisman; Rothschild Israel chairman and former fashion designer Oded Gera; Averil Weinstein, the wife of the attorney general; jewelry designer Suzette Reyna and her husband Morris; photographer Michal Yehezkel; socialite Eliane Recanati; and lawyer Michal Herzog, the wife of Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, who was pressed to tell her husband not to form a national unity coalition with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because to do so would be a betrayal to both left-wing and right-wing voters. Michal Herzog insisted that media reports about political liaisons between her husband and Netanyahu were untrue, and that journalists were dreaming up new stories every day.

But the following day news outlets were buzzing with reports of a secret meeting between the two men, which both vigorously denied. Time will tell.

■ After warbling about Jerusalem with singer Ruhama Raz at the Ein Gev Music Festival, and delivering a fine reading of the Passover haftara at Hatzvi Yisrael synagogue in Jerusalem, President Reuven Rivlin has gone a step further and has signed up with Shlomo Artzi to record a duet of “Ahavtia” with Artzi, who has been associated with this song that was written by Tirza Atar and composed by Yaakov Hollander since the beginning of his career. While still serving in the IDF and wearing his uniform, Artzi in 1970 competed in the Israel Song Festival singing “Ahavtia” (“I Loved Her”) and won first place. Not only that, but the song topped the charts for 1970 and Artzi was hailed as the singer of the year. The song, which is part of an Internet project to create the biggest ever Israeli choir, will be beamed from the President’s Israel Independence Day celebrations on April 23.

■ It's a busy week for memorials. On Monday of this week, led by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, the IDF General Staff gathered at Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory over the Nazis by the Allied Forces.

Former president Shimon Peres, who is a former defense minister and is credited with being one of the key architects of the IDF, was among the speakers and said that if the IDF had existed 75 years ago, Hitler would never have been able to bring about the Holocaust. Today’s murderers are well aware that because there is an IDF, Jews and the State of Israel will never again go like lambs to the slaughter, said Peres.

On Tuesday of this week, speakers of Ladino gathered at the Center for Ladino at Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv to remember loved ones – primarily Jews of Thessaloniki who were taken to Auschwitz. Of those who survived, most came to Israel, among them the parents of singer Yehuda Poliker, who carries their emotional scars as do many other second generation survivors. Wednesday and Thursday, municipalities, universities, schools, museums, synagogue congregations, theater groups, think tanks, survivor institutions and organizations throughout the country will host memorial events, with the central event as always at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

The tragedies and atrocities that befell people other than Jews are being acknowledged, and even the Romani (gypsies) whose war-time fate has for so long been ignored, are being acknowledged. Last week, on April 8, the world’s 12 million Romani scattered mostly throughout Europe, but also in other countries including Israel, marked International Romani Day, which reflects their struggle for equality.

There are still countries in which they are shunned as social outcasts and not accepted as full citizens. One of the shining exceptions to the rule, is Norway, whose Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced last week that in an effort to recognize and take responsibility for the injustice done to the Romani people, her government will pay compensation for discriminatory policies against the Romani. Such policies were prevalent before, during and after World War II, forcing the Romani to become beggars because they were denied employment or freedom of movement between Norway and other countries.

■ Events next week, in addition to Remembrance Day, will include both First and Second World War commemorations. On Friday, Australians and New Zealanders in Israel will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the landing of Anzac troops in Gallipoli at what is now known as Anzac Cove. The actual Anzac Day as it is officially known is on April 25, but because it falls on a Saturday this year, it will be commemorated at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Jerusalem on Friday. Meanwhile, thousands of Australian descendants and other relatives of the original Anzacs will be making a pilgrimage to Turkey this week. Among them will be Felicity Tangney, the daughter of Alec Campbell, who was Australia’s last surviving Anzac, and who died in 2002 at the age of 103. Campbell lied about his age when he joined the army and was shipped out to Turkey at age 16. Tangney, who was born when her father was 69, will meet a descendant of the last Turkish veteran who fought in the battle of Gallipoli, and will present him with copies of her father’s medals and other memorabilia.

■ As head of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel former MK and diplomat Colette Avital, who was a child Holocaust survivor in her native Romania, believes that because the Holocaust was such a searing episode in Jewish history that it should not be taught in schools merely as a historical event.

She believes a special book similar to the Haggada should be compiled and once a year throughout Israel and the Jewish world, families and other groups should gather to read it aloud to remind themselves of what was and what could be again, especially in a future period in which no survivors will be alive to tell the story. Just as Jews are enjoined to remember the Exodus from Egypt as if they were personally there, they should remember the Holocaust as if it was part of their own personal experience, she says.

■ Coming from 10 countries, numerous OurCrowd investors filled the banquet hall at the Jerusalem Waldorf Astoria for a Passover Tech Breakfast where speakers gave them a blend of hi-tech, politics, and venture capital advice. They were welcomed by OurCrowd founder and CEO Jon Medved, who in addition to sharing wisdom from the podium also mingled with the crowd. Participants received updates from ElMindA CEO Ronen Gadot, creator of the ground-breaking Brain Networks Activation technology, who shared his company’s innovative approach to neuroscience and management of brain disorders; and Syqe CEO Perry Davidson, who revealed the future of medical cannabis with a 3-D Printed, Wi-fi Enabled Medical Marijuana Inhaler. The latest in Adtech Technology was on display via BIScience, competitive intelligence for the $140 billion digital advertising market.

Keynote speaker Dr. Tal Becker, principal deputy legal adviser at the Foreign Ministry, presented in-depth insight into questions surrounding the Iranian nuclear threat and the future of Israel-US. relations. Guests were asked to support Israeli nonprofit organization Toldot Yisrael, which is documenting Israel’s 1948 generation, the founding fathers of the Jewish state.

■ While rain washed out many Mimouna events around the country last Saturday night and Sunday, the Israel Religious Action Center, which is the legal and advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel, went ahead with its Jewish-Arab Mimouna festivities at Jerusalem’s First Station where some 200 people gathered to listen to Middle Eastern music and to sample moflettas and a variety of regional pastries. All the regular eateries at the First Station were almost bereft of customers due to weather conditions. The IRAC event was organized for the second consecutive year by IRAC director Rabbi Noah Sattah.

Instead of sitting around tables, guests sat on rows of plastic chairs while latecomers had to stand. There seemed to be more Ashkenazim than North Africans, but since Mimouna has become a national holiday, that’s probably cool. Only a handful of people were actually dancing although there was plenty of enthusiastic applause from those who were seated.

Former Labor MK Rafi Elul and his wife Ofra used to entertain all the Who’s Who of Israel at their Mimouna festivities in Mazkeret Batya where Elul was mayor before moving on to national politics. But this year they decided that enough was enough and that they wanted to enjoy the Mimouna strictly with family and very close friends. So they went to their sister-inlaw’s house instead and all the Who’s Who had to look for other venues.

■ On April 9, former president Shimon Peres, in addition to sending out Passover greeting on his Facebook page, also congratulated his friend of almost seven decades, former president Yitzhak Navon on his 94th birthday, adding that he was pleased to have met him earlier in the week and to have received Navon’s new autobiography.

■ It's a far cry from Nabucco to The Beatles, but then again, a good opera singer can sing anything. Fans of songs written and performed by The Beatles, can hear Israeli Opera stars Yael Levitas, Efrat Ashkenazi, Anat Czarny and Nimrod Grinboim singing “Hey Jude,” “When I’m 64,” “Oh Darling,” “Michelle,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Let it Be” and other hits at Zappa Tel Aviv on Thursday at 10 p.m. They will be accompanied on the piano by David Sebba, who is also the musical director of the show.

Meanwhile, classic opera buffs can go to see and hear Nabucco at the Tel Aviv Opera House in the complex of the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center.

■ British film, theater and television actress, comedienne, author and columnist Maureen Lipman will address members of the Israel, Britain and the Commonwealth Association at the annual reception hosted for them by British Ambassador Matthew Gould. Jewish, and fiercely pro-Israel, Lipman was a long time UK Labor Party supporter up to October of last year, when she quit, citing Labor’s backing of Palestinian efforts to be recognized as a state. She frequently argues Israel’s case on television and in print, and in a debate on BBC in 2006 aggravated a large percentage of British Muslims when she argued that “human life is not cheap to the Israelis, and human life on the other side is quite cheap actually, because they strap bombs to people and send them to blow themselves up.”

In January of this year, The Guardian quoted her as saying that the sharp rise in anti-Semitic attacks in Britain might prompt her to move to the United States or Israel. She has not yet packed sufficient luggage for aliya. This time, she is just visiting.

■ The Israel Communication Association has elected as its chairman Prof. Eytan Gilboa, director of the Center for International Communication and a Senior Research Associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.

Gilboa will serve in his new position for the coming three years. The ICA, which was founded two decades ago, brings together professors, researchers and graduate students in higher education, as well as mass media professionals, for conferences and symposia devoted to a critical study of the media in Israel. The association works towards strengthening ties between academia and public discourse in communications.

Specializing in US-Israel relations, US policy in the Middle East, American and Israeli politics, public opinion, international communication and public diplomacy, Gilboa received his PhD from Harvard University and has been a visiting professor in several leading American and European universities including Harvard, Georgetown, American University in Washington, DC, Tufts, and the University of Hamburg. He is a frequently consulted authority and has authored many books and articles.

■ Fans of Mike Burstyn, who happen to be in New York on April 26 can catch him at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center where he will be the guest artist in The American Jewish Symphony produced by JLTV (Jewish Life Television). The American Jewish Symphony is an electrifying 50-piece ensemble dedicated to the performance of orchestral works of distinction that explore Jewish cultural heritage and experience. The Eastern European program features selections of music from Klezmer and folk traditions, to music of the American Yiddish Theater; which became a powerful influence on the Broadway musical. Burstyn, who recently performed with Yiddishpiel in Israel to mark a milestone in his career, is very pleased to be appearing in a production that explores Jewish culture, heritage and experience.

■ Chinese ambassador designate Zhan Yongxin, who is his country’s seventh ambassador to Israel, and who arrived in Israel two months ago, has yet to present his credentials to Rivlin. The general custom is that the president receives the credentials of at least three new envoys in a single day.

Zhan was waiting to be joined by other new colleagues. He might have been happy not to wait, but the Foreign Ministry makes the arrangements for the presentation date, and Zhan will finally be able to drop the word “designate” from his title on April 30.

■ Efforts to persuade the general public to be more accepting of people with physical and/or mental disabilities gain certain leverage when visibly supported by the rich and the famous.

The opening of a photographic exhibition “Giborim Ktanim” (Small Heroes) at the Ofer Lev Mall in Hadera was attended by Melisron chairperson Liora Ofer, several members of her executive staff, Hadera Mayor Tzvika Gendelman and Giborim Ktanim president Dr. Yariv Vinzer.

The little heroes whose photographs were on display, are all youngsters who are mentally challenged, but their various disabilities have not prevented them from capturing for posterity what their eyes see. The guests were deeply impressed by the subject matter and quality of the photographs, and wanted to know more about each of the little heroes whose works adorned the walls.

■ Members of Israel’s Diamond Exchange individually and collectively support a number of worthy causes, and therefore when they get together for a toast on the eve of any Jewish festival, they make a point of inviting some of the heads of the organizations and institutions that benefit from their sense of responsibility to the community, especially when the causes are headed by leading rabbinical figures whose blessings never go astray in the diamond industry. Thus Diamond Exchange president Shmuel Schnitzer was more than happy to welcome Israel Prize laureates Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv; and Rabbi Elimelech Firer, the founder of Ezra Le’marpeh, which was established to provide medical assistance for the needy, but in fact helps anyone with health problems. Also among the guests were Prof. Gadi Keren, the director of the cardiac division at Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, and Ramat Gan Mayor Yisrael Zinger.

The Diamond Exchange is located on the seam of Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan. In his address Schnitzer spoke of the promising signs of economic recovery in America, which he said was of great significance to Israel’s diamond industry as 40 percent of Israel’s diamond exports go to the US.

■ The two major fund raising seasons in Israel are just before Passover and Rosh Hashana. Among the recipients of the largesse of Israel’s affluent business community is Schneider Children’s Medical Center, which at its gala fund raiser at Reading 3 in Tel Aviv scored more than NIS 1 million towards its pediatric and neonatal division for premature babies in its new wing. The event organized by the Friends of Schneider Hospital featured Rami Kleinstein, but what really tugged at the heart-strings of the 500 guests was the reality of being able to contribute to the survival of premature babies. They were visibly moved at the screening of a video that showed premature twins born in the 24th week of pregnancy, which were recently released from hospital and allowed to go home in good health. But even more moving was the live appearance of a young soldier in uniform by the name of Elon Cohen, who said that he was born 18 years ago, weighing only 500 grams. At that time, no one would have imagined that this tiny baby would serve in the IDF, let alone survive. But after three months in an incubator under the care, of Prof. Leah Sirota, he was able to go home. Prior to his enlistment in the IDF, Elon, who during high school had been a Magen David Adom volunteer and worked with Holocaust survivors, had already thanked Sirota, the head of the hospital’s neonatal intensive care division for the wonderful treatment that he had received so many years ago, when she fought for his survival, but did so again publicly at the fund raiser, where there were not too many dry eyes afterwards.

■ The fact that their family owns one of the largest food processing plants in the North, does not exempt Yael and Zvia Zoglowek from rolling up their sleeves for hands-on labor. But it wasn’t in a division of the Zoglowek empire that the two women went to work just before Passover.

Together with members of the Zoglowek staff they joined warm hearted members of Enosh (Humane) in Nahariya to clean, paint walls and even bake kosher for Passover cakes for the less fortunate residents of Nahariya so that they too would have cause for celebration during the holiday period. Yael Zoglowek told Enosh CEO Dr. Hila Hadas that giving to the community was part of the Zoglowek company’s DNA.

“We contribute to the community all year round and not just at festival time,” she said, “and we have a long history of working with Enosh and other goodwill organizations.”

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