Grapevine: Signing off and out

The Israel Broadcasting Authority is in the process of liquidation.

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September 24, 2015 21:07
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IBA logo. (photo credit: COURTESY OF IBA)

 
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Veterans of Israel’s communications industry may be aware of New York-born professor of sociology and communications Elihu Katz, who has been living in Jerusalem for most of his lifetime. Katz, 89, was the founding director of Israel Television, now known as Channel 1.

At a time when the Israel Broadcasting Authority, which is the umbrella body over channels 1 and 33 and Israel Radio, is in the process of liquidation, Katz, an Israel Prize laureate, was honored not in Jerusalem but in Venice, at a conference on Bridges and Borders attended by communications researchers from around the world.

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According to a report on Israel Radio’s Reshet Bet, Katz said at the conference that public broadcasting is no less important today than it was when Israel Television was launched, because public broadcasting offers much more diversity of opinion than any commercial broadcasting outlet.

Almost every day now, broadcasters are saying emotional farewells to colleagues who for years have been editors, producers, researchers, sound technicians and so forth, and who have opted to retire rather than be dismissed, and don’t want to be around if and when the door finally closes on what they consider their second home.

There are also broadcasters who are leaving. Benny Dudkevitch, who for years has been covering the global rock and pop music scene, and who also covered the activities of the presidents of Israel, put out a notice on social media stating that after 41 years with Israel Radio, he has begun to pack up and leave the studio that he loves so much and that he will doubtless miss, but the time has come to move over and make room for the next generation, so his broadcasts will be coming to an end on September 30. He is not the only one, and there will be a flurry of on-air resignations and farewells next week.

■ SEPTEMBER 30 is also an important date in the life of former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who thus far has managed to evade the prison sentences meted out to him on charges of corruption. Olmert who turns 70 on September 30, will be able to celebrate in the bosom of his family and with close friends.

It’s not so certain that former president Moshe Katsav, who is serving a seven-year term for sexual offenses, will be permitted a furlough on December 5 so that he can celebrate his 70th birthday in the bosom of his family. But perhaps, having served more than half his sentence, he may be permitted that luxury if he asks for it. He actually went to jail two days after his 66th birthday, and he was allowed out for his son’s wedding, so perhaps he’ll also be allowed out for his 70th birthday.



■ ON THE subject of birthdays, opposition leader Isaac Herzog couldn’t celebrate in style this year, because his 55th birthday was on September 22, which coincided with Kol Nidre night. Former culture and sport minister Limor Livnat was also born on September 22, 10 years before Herzog.

■ ASIDE FROM Kol Nidre night, the date September 22 has horrific connotations for Holocaust survivors from the Polish city of Czestochowa and for descendants of Czestochowa victims of the Holocaust. It was the date of the liquidation 73 years ago of the Czestochowa Ghetto.

Alon Goldstein, the chairman of the Association of Czestochowa Jews in Israel and vice president of the World Society of Czestochowa Jews and their Descendants, reports that a memorial ceremony was held in Czestochowa on the site of the ghetto with the participation of Deputy Mayor Krzysztof Łozinski. Floral tributes were laid on behalf of the Jewish community by Halina Wasilewicz and Severin Sperling.

■ MANY PEOPLE deal with crises simply by paying lip service. The Hartman Institute is doing a lot more than that. It is helping to provide education for 600 refugee children who are at risk. A letter published on social media on the eve of the High Holy Days and signed by Donniel Hartman, Yehuda Kurtzer and Yossi Klein Halevi reads: “As we prepare for the High Holidays, we are deeply aware of the growing refugee crisis occurring around the world, and at our own helplessness in addressing this calamity. We can, however, take a small but significant step in beginning to address the refugee tragedy in our own backyard, and we ask you to partner with us in doing so.

“The Hartman Institute has decided to establish a daycare and learning center in Tel Aviv for children of African refugees aged three-six. The center will be launched in collaboration with the Elifelet organization, our hosts last summer, which cares for more than 600 children and infants. Three- to six-yearolds are the age group that Elifelet professionals have identified as being at the greatest risk. These children are released from their daycare environments at 1:30 every afternoon and have nowhere to go and no one to watch over or care for them, until their parents return home from work in the evening.

“Elifelet personnel will oversee the professional staff and educational programming at the Hartman- sponsored center. The Hartman Institute community will provide the financial resources and the backbone of the center’s volunteer infrastructure, which will include our high school and gap-year students, administrative staff, teaching and research faculty, and the parents of our students. The center will function from 1:30–6:30 p.m. daily, and will provide children with a safe, caring and nurturing environment that will offer nutritious meals, counseling, basic learning skills classes, and a game center.

“We intend to open the center after the holidays.

The cost of launching and running the center in the coming year is roughly $200,000, broken down in the following manner: Professional staff, $65,000; rent and utilities, $40,000; food, $20,000; transportation, $30,000; furnishings (start-up cost), $20,000; special programming, $25,000; total, $200,000.”

Caring people are asked to help raise the necessary funds. All things considered, it’s a fairly low budget, which could easily be met if only 400 people gave $500 each.

Elifelet is a volunteer rescue organization founded in 2013 and dedicated to rescuing refugee children from the cycle of poverty and hunger and providing for their welfare. There is no way to check the exact number of refugee children in Israel, because refugee parents are not permitted to register babies at birth. These refugee children do not exist, as far as the State of Israel is concerned. The state is not obligated to care for them. Most live in intolerable conditions and have no medical insurance. So much for welcoming the stranger in our gates.

■ THE HILTON Tel Aviv has a new executive chef in the person of Rafik Jabarin, who succeeds Avigdor Brueh, who after 50 years of service with Hilton Worldwide, primarily at the Tel Aviv Hilton, has decided to retire. Jabarin, 45, who was born in Israel, trained in a number of Hilton kitchens as well as in leading restaurants in Israel and abroad and has a wealth of experience. His Hilton background includes the Hilton Metropole and Hilton Park Lane in London. He has also worked at the famed Savoy Hotel, the highly acclaimed Square and Windows restaurants in London and the Laurent restaurant in Paris, all under a series of internationally acclaimed executive chefs.

Jabarin was also commissioned by the Foreign Ministry to create Israeli food festivals in coordination with various Israel embassies abroad. He is a firm believer in fresh, fat-free products, herbs and spices and his favorite cuisine is that of the traditional French kitchen. His experience in catering for special events helped to put him in the forefront when the management of the Tel Aviv Hilton was looking for a successor to Brueh. Hilton general- manager Ronnie Fortis says that Jabarin will have a lot of events at his fingertips.

Although there is a certain degree of rivalry among leading chefs, there is also a great sense of camaraderie in that many of them have appeared together on Israeli teams in international cooking contests, and some have also appeared together on televised food-oriented reality shows. They have fun in cooking together and learning from one another.

Several leading chefs from across Israel joined Jabarin in celebrating his new position. They included former Dan Hotels executive chef Avi Steinitz, who was also executive chef at The Avenue for three years and now runs his own business; Erez Komarovsky of the Erez Breads restaurant chain and the Galilean Cooking School; Eli Cohen, the living spirit of Yakimono Japanese restaurant, which he established more than 20 years ago with his late brother Avi; Victor Gloger of Chloelys restaurant; and Paul Assenheim of Paul Assenheim Cuisine. It was definitely not a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth.

■ NOTWITHSTANDING THE letter in which chief rabbis David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef accused the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem of missionary activity and denigrated its annual Feast of Tabernacles, some 5,000 Christian pilgrims from more than 80 countries are in Israel to attend the Feast of Tabernacles and are pumping an estimated $16 million into Israel’s economy.

They will be joined next week by close to 50 parliamentarians from around the world who will be in Jerusalem from September 29 to October 1, not only for the Feast of Tabernacles but also for a conference jointly sponsored by the ICEJ, the World Jewish Congress and Israel Allies. Among the parliamentarians will be several members of the European Parliament, including the Netherlands’ Bas Belder; Italy’s Fulvio Martusciello and Alberto Cirio, and Britain’s Mark Pritchard.

Aside from leading figures from sponsoring organizations, the parliamentarians will be addressed by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat; Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel; supermarket mogul Rami Levy, whose employees and customers include large numbers of Arabs and Palestinians, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.

The Korean contingent of pilgrims last Tuesday morning, a few hours before Yom Kippur, marched along Jerusalem’s Ben-Yehuda mall, singing songs of peace in Hebrew while carrying large blue-andwhite banners and distributing leaflets printed in Hebrew headlined “We apologize.” The pamphlet listed mass murders of Jews by the Crusades, the leaders of the Spanish Inquisition, and the Nazis who were responsible for the deaths of six million Jews with the silent approval of the Church. As Christians, the Korean pilgrims apologized for the barbaric acts of Christians of other eras. The tail end of the text is perhaps the most interesting. “We acknowledge to the Jewish people that the Messiah in which we believe is from among you. Jesus wants us to apologize to you. We are genuinely sorry.

Please forgive us.”

■ FAMILY MEMBERS from all over Israel, Canada and South Africa along with many friends congregated at Beth Protea in Herzliya on Thursday to join Lily Hyde in celebrating her 100th birthday, which actually falls on Saturday, September 26.

Born in 1915 in Durban, South Africa, to Lithuanian immigrant parents Jack and Polly Suskin, who arrived there in the early 1900s, she was destined for a nomadic existence. Her parents were in the hotel business and continually bought and sold hotel operations, which meant moving from place to place in Johannesburg and transferring the young Lily from school to school. A keen pianist, she qualified as a piano teacher, though she never got around to practicing her profession.

Following her marriage to Sam Hyde in May 1935, she moved to Pretoria and remained there for most of her life. Sam passed away in November 1981, and Lily remained in Pretoria till 1995. An excellent needlewoman, she held classes in sewing, knitting and crochet for young girls in her home. Outside of her home she was a keen lawn bowls player and won several championships.

With the passing of her eldest son, Herb, in 1992 and her daughter-in-law Tersia in 1994, Lily decided to join her younger son Rober and his wife in Sydney, and immigrated to Australia at the age of 80.

She became an Australian citizen on July 22, 1999, and lived at the Montefiore Home for senior citizens for the next 13 years.

With many family members now living in Israel, she decided that she, too would make aliya, and at age 97 arrived in Israel on September 1, 2012. She is believed to be the oldest immigrant from Australia.

■ REGARDLESS OF which position he may be holding at any given time, Immigrant and Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin is almost always present when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has meetings with Russian officials – be it in Moscow or Jerusalem. A native Russian- speaker, Elkin takes on the role of interpreter and told Israel Radio that the prime minister prefers to have someone who not only is fluent in Russian and Hebrew but also understands the subject matter being discussed, which is why he was part of Netanyahu’s entourage in discussions this week between Netanyahu and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

■ EVERY YEAR, the Shlomo Carlebach Foundation hosts a memorial concert on a date close to the anniversary of Carlebach’s death. In the past, these concerts have been held in Jerusalem, usually at the Jerusalem International Convention Center, which is one of the few places with premises large enough to hold the huge attendance of Carlebach fans.

This year the venue has moved to Modi’in – not to Moshav Meor Modi’im, which he established, but close by at the new Hevel Modi’in Cultural Center in Airport City, which is accessible via any bus that goes to the El Al junction. This year’s concert, scheduled for Wednesday, October 28, marks the 21st anniversary of Carlebach’s death. The popularity of the singing rabbi whose music is heard in synagogues and concert halls around the world has not diminished, and his melodies are heard to an even greater extent than when he was alive.

Performers will include Aharon Razel, the Solomon brothers and their father, Ben Zion Solomon, who has appeared at every Carlebach Foundation memorial concert in Israel as well as several abroad, and who is one of the original settlers of Carlebach’s moshav, and Dvir Spiegel. The musical director is Lipa Glantz, and the master of ceremonies is Natan Rigler, the director of the department of education and culture in Hevel Modi’in.

The theater holds far less people than the one in Jerusalem, and has a maximum capacity of 700 seats. Tickets can be reserved by calling (03) 723- 0000. Additional information can be provided by Nechama Silver, 054-479-5082.

■ BEST-SELLING, prize-winning prolific author David Grossman has given his personal archive to the National Library. The archive includes original drafts of all his books, as well as notes on the research he undertook in preparation for his books,.

Once all the material has been digitalized, it will become available to the general public.

greerfc@gmail.com

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