Grapevine: Defying the hurricane for a huppa

A close-call Chabad wedding weathers Irene, adults and kids play with paint, and Erdan checks out buses.

James Snyder and Michael Dayan paint with children (photo credit: Rafi Delouya)
James Snyder and Michael Dayan paint with children
(photo credit: Rafi Delouya)
ALL'S WELL that ends well. For a little while, it looked as if Hurricane Irene was going to interfere with the wedding plans of Shirli Pinchas and Menachem Mendel Bukovska, but Heaven smiled on them despite the hurricane, and the two got married on Monday night in Kfar Chabad in the presence of many relatives and friends who were no less relieved than the bride and groom that the wedding did not have to be postponed.
It’s a common practice among Chabad bridegrooms to go to New York to attend services on the Shabbat before the wedding at the late Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Scheerson’s synagogue at 770 Eastern Parkway. Bukovska and two other Israeli bridegrooms were there last weekend, and realized they were in trouble on Friday when it was announced that no flights would be leaving from New York. Bukovska was determined not to keep his bride waiting. His buddies were just as anxious about their brides, but his was the first of the three weddings, and he was desperate.
The three of them surfed the Internet, looking for the nearest airport to New York that would enable them at least to get out of the United States, but it was a lost cause.
Undaunted, Bukovska hired a car, and the three of them headed for the Canadian border. Thanks to cellphones, they were able to make calls en route and change their airline reservations. The drive was difficult and dangerous because of the heavy rainfall, but they put their trust in Divine Providence and were able to get on a plane was that was leaving from Toronto for Tel Aviv. They landed in Israel just in time for Bukovska’s wedding. Fortunately Kfar Chabad is only a few minutes’ drive from Ben-Gurion Airport.
He and his wife will certainly have a great story to tell their future progeny.
■ BELIEVING STRONGLY in hands-on philanthropy – literally – Tambour Paint CEO Michael Dayan, who supplies paint to the youth wing of the Israel Museum, decided it was a good place to encourage the creativity of his granddaughter while allowing her to get her hands dirty without being criticized.
They were joined by museum director James Snyder, and the two adults sat down with the children to play with color. The generation gap went out the window, and everyone had a lot of fun.
■ THERE’S A certain irony in the fact that the second anniversary of the death of comedian and variety show host Dudu Topaz coincided with the date on which singer Margalit Tsanani was charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, extortion, and threats.
Topaz, who in his hey-day was considered one of the country’s leading entertainers, became depressed when his popularity receded and he was unable to get work. The problem was reportedly not money but ego, and he decided to take revenge against three of the people he considered largely responsible for his decline. He became involved with criminal elements, whom he hired to physically harm his three targets. Eventually he landed in prison, where he committed suicide.
This should perhaps have been a lesson to other members of the entertainment community to be careful of the company they keep. While many of Tsanani’s friends and associates have not shown up in court to demonstrate their support, singer, actor and current affairs commentator Yehoram Gaon sent her an indirect message of empathy in his weekly radio show on Reshet Bet last Friday, when he played one of her hits – the chorus of which translates to “One day perhaps we’ll spread our wings.” Tsanani was in prison at the time, so the song had particular meaning.
■ THE ROAD to diplomacy evidently runs through The Jerusalem Post. Before he was appointed the country’s permanent representative to the United Nations, former ambassador Dore Gold was a regular columnist for the Post. Ron Dermer, currently a senior adviser to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and a former Israel economics minister in the United States, was a Post columnist for three years before his diplomatic posting. And now Eli Groner, 40, has been appointed economic attaché to Washington.
Groner started his career as an economics correspondent for the paper before moving into the world of high finance.
While other regular writers for the Post may not have been directly involved in diplomacy, many are or have been on the international lecture circuit, explaining facts about Israel to audiences around the globe.
■ AT SOME stage of his life, almost every small boy wants to be a bus driver. Even when these boys grow up to be men, the urge to get behind the steering wheel of a bus often doesn’t leave them. Thus, when Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan visited the Merkavim assembly plant in the Caesarea industrial zone, where most of the country’s buses are assembled, and was given the grand tour by Merkavim CEO Micha Micksner, he didn’t miss out on the opportunity to get into the driver’s seat.
Micksner explained the philosophy behind hybrid buses, which emit minimal pollution, and told Erdan that 2010 had been a record year for the company, which had sold close to 600 buses compared to 450 buses in 2009. Most of the buses were manufactured in accordance with the highest standards, he said.
■ TECHNOLOGY MOVES at so fast a pace, especially during the past 20 years, that it is easy to forget that things we take for granted in our lives did not exist less than a century ago.
There was a reminder of this last Thursday with the death of Leah Axelrod in Kfar Saba at age 98. Her husband Nathan Axelrod had been the pioneer of Israeli newsreels, screening the first of these on a weekly basis in Tel Aviv from February 1935. Prior to that, there had been occasional newsreels shown in local cinemas, but nothing of a regular nature.
His Carmel newsreels, created with the assistance of his wife, who was producer and editor and sometimes even filmed the events of the day herself, have become a national treasure of the Israel Film Archives and are frequently used in documentaries to present authentic footage of the development of the state.
Two years ago, in an interview with Haaretz, Leah Axelrod said that back in 1935, people had doubted that there would be enough material for a different newsreel every week. The Axelrods had more than enough, though, because in addition to what was regarded in later years as hot news, part of their mandate was to boost Zionist morale both locally and abroad. From the films they were commissioned to make, they were able to glean genuine newsworthy material for the weekly newsreels.
Today, of course, illustrated newscasts are part and parcel of television channels and are refreshed not once a week or even once a day, but every few hours as news erupts.
■ THE NUMBER of days IDF soldier Gilad Schalit has been held in captivity is frequently mentioned in the country’s electronic media, but not necessarily on a regular basis by specific radio and television personalities. One of those who makes a point of reminding the public is Yoav Ginai, who, on his weekly Friday morning show on Reshet Bet, unfailingly keeps score of Schalit’s period of incarceration.
■ WITH THE EXCEPTION of Shari Arison and Holon expatriate Safra Catz, who is listed as a citizen of the United States, no Israelis were named in the current Forbes List of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Bank Leumi CEO Galia Maor, Strauss Elite chairwoman Ofra Strauss and Kadima head Tzipi Livni have been listed in the past, but didn’t make it this time – possibly because more Asian women are gaining in global business and political influence, and possibly, in Livni’s case, because there’s a considerable difference between being a foreign minister and being the leader of the opposition.
The two most powerful women in the world are German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff is in third place.
Arison, who is certainly not making her maiden appearance on the list, ranks 57th, preceded by Queen Elizabeth II of England, who ranks 49th, and Queen Rania of Jordan, who ranks 53rd. Catz, 49, who is the president of business software giant Oracle, has spot No. 40 on the list and is one of several members of the tribe.

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