Grapevine: Greeks bearing gifts?

It’s going to be a very busy time for Greek Ambassador Konstantinos Bikas, who only a few days later will be co-hosting a Greek National Day reception on board the ship Psara in Haifa Port.

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March 15, 2018 21:35
Grapevine: Greeks bearing gifts?

Non-resident Ambassador of Malawi Agrina Mussa presents his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin. (photo credit: MARK NEYMAN/GPO)

A high level delegation will arrive from Greece next week to participate in the launch of the new Israel-Greece Chamber of Commerce.

The delegation will include Communications and Information Minister Nikos Pappas, acting minister for Economics and Development Alexis Charitsis, and the head of the economic division in the Prime Minister’s Office George Tsipras.

It’s going to be a very busy time for Greek Ambassador Konstantinos Bikas, who only a few days later will be co-hosting a Greek National Day reception on board the ship Psara in Haifa Port together with Commander in Chief of the Hellenic Fleet Vice Admiral Ionnis Pavlopoulos and the Commander of the ship Christos Athanasiou.

■ WITH THE exception of women diplomats or spouses attached to the Indian, Sri Lankan and Nepalese embassies, most members of the diplomatic community in Israel wear Western attire in their everyday lives. The exceptions are on their national days, especially amongst members of the African states, and when African and most Asian ambassadors present their credentials.

For this special occasion, they choose to wear their national costumes, a feature that added color to the presentation ceremony this week. The wife of Korean Ambassador Choi Yong Hwan came in a traditional Korean gown; Hanna Ama Nyatko, the ambassador of Ghana came in a fitted canary yellow hand woven lace jacket worn with a multi colored form-fitting skirt, while the men in her entourage wore brightly patterned togas Malawi’s non-resident Ambassador Agrina Mussa wore a long skirted floral patterned suit in the traditional style of her country. A couple of the men from Ghana changed into western gear for the ensuing Vin d’Honneur reception at the King David hotel, but the three women continued to express national pride through their attire.

■IT’S NOT often that a child gets to open trading at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange , but that’s what happened on Good Deeds Day this week when Amit Fabliakov rang the bell. Amit is one of those children with life threatening illnesses who get to realize a dream through Make-A-Wish, an organization whose members knock themselves out to bring joy into the life of a critically ill child by using all the means at their disposal to grant a wish.

Amit wanted to be a CEO for a day. Once upon a time, boys his age wanted to be firemen, policemen, cowboys... but we live in a more sophisticated and creative era these days and boys are more interested in being spacemen, high tech executives and CEOs.

■ TASE CEO Ittai Ben Zeev said: “Usually the opening bell ceremony is held on the occasion of a company making IPO of equity or a large amount of bonds. To mark Good Deeds Week, we are opening the trading today in an unusual manner that puts things in a very different perspective.

We are delighted to have Amit as our guest, a boy with a dream of managing a company one day. For a child to be dreaming of managing a company is a wonderful thing, since this proves that management is also an aspiration and that, if you become a really successful manager, your company can go public and be traded here on TASE, together with nearly 500 other public companies”.

Denise Bar-Aharon co-founder and CEO of Make-a-Wish Israel and actor Dvir Benedek, chairman of the organization’s Board of Directors were thrilled to have a hand in making yet another child’s wish come true.

■ LEGENDARY JERUSALEM mayor Teddy Kollek who was in office from 1965 to 1993, was born in Hungary. His family moved to Vienna in 1918 when Kollek was seven years old.

He grew up in Vienna and left for British Mandate Palestine in 1935. Although he spent many more years in Jerusalem than he did in Vienna, the Viennese have long regarded him as one of their own, and will honor his memory next month with the naming of Teddy Kollek House, plus a Teddy Kollek Symposium and the opening of an exhibition at the Jewish Museum under the heading: Teddy Kollek the Viennese Mayor of Jerusalem. Naturally Kollek’s film maker son Amos and artist daughter Osnat will be on hand for the two-day event taking place on April 10 and 11. The celebration will mark the centenary of the Kollek family’s move to Vienna A portrait that Osnat painted f her father will be unveiled at the dedication of Teddy Kollek House. The two-day event is being jointly sponsored by several enterprises including the Moses Mendelssohn Foundation and the Jewish Museum of Vienna.

In addition to the Kollek siblings, the opening of the exhibition will be attended by Jewish Museum Director Dr. Daniella Spera, Vienna’s Mayor Michael Haupl, Israel Ambassador Talya Lador Fresher, Moses Mendelssohn Foundation president Dr. Julius H. Schoeps. At the symposium.

Speakers from Jerusalem, Vienna and Berlin will present papers on Teddy Kollek between Vienna and Jerusalem; Two Viennese expatriates Teddy Kollek and Ari Rath; and Teddy Kollek founder of the Jerusalem Foundation. Following the presentations, there will be a documentary about Kollek, after which the three speakers will continue with a joint discussion.

Ari Rath, a former editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post was a very close friend of Kollek’s, and the two had a lot in common in their individual histories. Kollek died in January, 2007 at age 95 and Rath, who spent his final years in Vienna and died in January, 2017 at age 92. Each had strong connections in Germany as well as in Austria, and their close friends included German Chancellor Willy Brandt and publishing giant Axel Springer.

■ HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS are in the news because the passing of the budget will finally allow them to get an increase in their pensions. The Israeli media has for decades reported on the fact that in Israel of all places, Holocaust survivors are being short changed by the government.

It is truly shameful that in all these years they have received a mere pittance from successive government of Israel, when it is because of them that Israel has a special relationship with Germany, which over the years, has poured billions of dollars in reparations into Israel’s economy. The good news is that many Holocaust survivors have raised families in Israel and some have lived to be not only grandparents and great grandparents but also great-great grandparents, which is truly a cause for celebration. In recognition of this, Beit Avi Chai in Jerusalem is marking Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom Hashoah) with a special get-together on March 21 in which 600 Holocaust survivors together with their families will be united in song. Together with Koolulum and Zikaron BaSalon, the survivors and their families will sing “Chai” (alive), which was first performed by the late international Israeli artist Ofra Haza.

Written by Ehud Manor and highlighting life’s joy and hope despite hardship, the song has additional and profound meaning as it was first performed as part of Israel’s 1983 Eurovision contest on German soil with the Holocaust background and in the city of Munich, the site of the 1972 Munich massacre. The multi-generations event celebrates not only survival, but the beauty and richness of Israeli-Jewish life says Beit Avi Chai executive director David Rozenson, who adds: “When fewer and fewer survivors are with us, we must create meaningful experiences for our children and for society at large. Music and song enables this memory to be celebrated in a manner that will resonate with the young and the old, and create a living memory for generations to come.” The event will be recorded live and the video will be posted on line a few days prior to Yom Hashoah.

The commemoration is usually in line with the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the 75th anniversary of which will be marked this year.

■ THE EXTENT to which Yiddish is thriving in Israel would in all probability be a cause of amazement and disgust to founding prime minister David Ben-Gurion who banned it in the 1950s. Considered to be the language of Diaspora Jews, Ben-Gurion, though quite a convincing Yiddish speaker himself when necessary, wanted the revival of the Jewish State to be free of the language that did not exist in King David’s day. But Yiddish became part of the DNA of Jews of European background, and there wasn’t much that Ben-Gurion could do to suppress it. Last week, Yiddishpiel put on a Yiddish version of Dan Almagor’s popular Hebrew musical Ish Hassid Haya (Once there was a Hassid).

In the same week, Yung Yidish, together with the Nefesh Theater, staged Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Gimpl the Fool and will on Saturday, March 17, have a cabaret evening in which Mendy Cahan and David Serebryanik will sing songs by Mordechai Gebirtig, Itzik Manger, Y.L.Peretz as well as Yiddish folk songs and even some Jacques Brel favorites translated into Yiddish. But the cherry on top will be on Sunday, March 25, at Leyvik House in Tel Aviv with the launch of a book of poems in Yiddish that translates as Legacy or Heritage. The poet is Karen Alkalay- Gut – the London-born, prize winning poet, literary critic and editor who grew up and taught in New York and moved to Israel in 1972. Though best known for her English language poems, her poetry has appeared in Hebrew, French, Arabic, Yiddish, Romanian, Polish, Russian, Turkish, Persian and Italian. This time, it will be bilingual in Yiddish and Hebrew. The launch is by way of a birthday present to herself. She will be 73 on March 29.


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