Grapevine: A friend in need is a friend indeed

'I'd do anything for Reuth," said well-known media personality Yaron London at the organization's gala 70th anniversary celebrations at The Avenue in Airport City.

yaron london 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
yaron london 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
'I'd do anything for Reuth," said well-known media personality Yaron London at the organization's gala 70th anniversary celebrations at The Avenue in Airport City. It wasn't the kind of statement that one usually hears from a professional emcee. "I'm here because of a very personal debt," London continued. "Three-and-a-half years ago, my wife had a stroke and was hospitalized at Reuth Medical Center in Tel Aviv. As I came to visit every day for five months, I witnessed and experienced the very rare spirit of this place and its amazing staff. When my wife was sent home, I said to them 'I'm yours till the day I die. You just have to ask, and I'll do it.' Unfortunately, they don't ask me enough... " Over the years, thousands of people - some of them relatives of the 900 supporters of Reuth who attended the event - have benefited from the vision, strength and capability of one of Israel's most veteran and successful non-profit organizations, which in addition to its medical center maintains residential complexes with self-contained apartments for senior citizens in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The original homes in Tel Aviv were created for once-affluent Austrian and German immigrants who had fallen on hard times. Their fellow landsleit who were in a much better financial position decided to do something meaningful that would enable them to maintain their dignity and self-respect. That has been the guiding principle of Reuth for seven decades. It applies not only to the elderly but to every human being. Reuth also provides quality treatment and a warm and caring home to people in need, accident and terror victims, wounded war veterans, the handicapped and the chronically ill, regardless of age. The impressive 70th anniversary bash attracted leading figures from many sectors of Israeli society, who demonstrated their commitment to Reuth by pledging their support for its continued activities. Business leaders dined alongside and mingled with artists, heads of foreign diplomatic missions, Knesset members, former ministers, retired Israeli diplomats and senior IDF officers. The Israeli business community came to honor Bank Discount Chairman, Shlomo Zohar, the new President of Friends of Reuth Medical Center. Happily taking on his new responsibility, Zohar launched the capital campaign for building the Medical Center's new campus, announcing that the gala raised close to NIS 2.5 million. Health Minister Yakov Ben-Yizri congratulated Reuth on behalf of the government, and Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Jaffa and chairman of Reuth's Jubilee Committee, told the audience about decades of commitment to Reuth. The evening's program included a performance by singer-entertainer Gidi Gov and his band, who generously agreed to support the evening's goals. FOLLOWING THE amazing national and international success of Light is Heard in Zig Zag, Na Laga'at, the theater of deaf-blind actors created in December 2002 by theater professional Ada Tal and businessman Eran Gur has developed a new production, Not By Bread Alone. Equally exciting is the fact that alongside the theater in Jaffa port, Na Laga'at has just opened a drop-in community center for blind, deaf and neither. The center includes "Blackout," a darkened café in which the waiters are blind, and "Café Kapish," a café in which the waiters are deaf. Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog, who is arguably one of the busiest ministers in the government, showed up at the opening, where he was supposed to make a speech but had forgotten his obligation, and was literally on the run to another event. Herzog doesn't like letting people down, and photographer Aviv Hofi caught his anguished expression just before leaving - without having made the promised speech. IT WAS billed as a press conference, but it was more in the nature of a happening. After all, it's not every day that some 80 jaded and cynical representatives of the local media turn up at a press conference even for someone as important as a head of state. But they not only turned out for comedian Jerry Seinfeld - they gave him a standing ovation before he even opened his mouth. Seinfeld and Dreamworks chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg came to Israel to promote their animated production Bee Movie, and were introduced to the members of the Fourth Estate by local comedian Eyal Kitzis, who plays the straight man in the enormously popular satirical series Eretz Nehederet ("A Wonderful Country"). Chefs at the Tel Aviv Hilton, where Seinfeld and Katzenberg were staying, prepared a sweet-tooth buffet that included a large cake with a Bee Movie commercial as its centerpiece, and honeycomb and icing sugar bees that looked like spacecrafts decorating the edges. Most of the petit fours featured bee or honey motifs. Commenting on the difference between his first visit to Israel as a young teenager and the reception that he received the second time around, Seinfeld said that he hadn't met any prime ministers the first time. "Politicians and comedians have a lot in common," he said. "We say things to make people like us." Staff at the Tel Aviv Hilton showed Seinfeld how well he was liked by saying it with flowers. They greeted him by presenting him with long-stemmed red roses. ALTHOUGH RELATIVELY rare, Ataxia Telangiectasia (A-T) is a multi-system disorder which affects a small but growing number of children in Israel. In the course of time, it becomes completely debilitating. Few things move people in the entertainment industry more than the sight of a sick or disabled child - which is one of the reasons that organizations such as Variety are so successful. Variety has a big event planned for December, but before that several artists gave their services this week for a fundraiser that will hopefully benefit A-T children. Among the celebrities who came to perform or just do a little stage patter at Hangar 11 in Tel Aviv port were Yair Lapid, Anat Sarouf, Rami Kleinstein, Shalom Asiag, Danny Sanderson, Shimon Buskila, Mosh Ben-Ari and Shai Gabso. Business leaders, who are almost always seen at such events where tickets are highly priced and monetary pledges even higher, included Ofer Nimrodi, Udi Angel and Alon Aginski, among many others.