Spreading the Christmas cheer

IF YOU were hoping to see and hear Shiri Maimon in the second series of Bad Girls, you're going to be disappointed.

shiri maimon 88 224 (photo credit: )
shiri maimon 88 224
(photo credit: )
IT'S AMAZING what one learns when surfing the Internet. A search for a certain detail about former government minister and former chief of general staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak brought to light that he is listed as a public speaker with Grabow of Beverly Hills. There's nothing wrong with that. Dozens of Israelis in many walks of life are listed with American speakers' bureaus and pick up a pretty penny on the US lecture circuit. That's how Bibi Netanyahu and Ehud Barak could afford to go back into politics. But what intrigued us about Lipkin-Shahak was the blurb that went with the listing: "Booking Amnon Lipkin-Shahak for Corporate Events, Business Meetings and Special Events. How to book Amnon Lipkin-Shahak for your next Christmas Party Event. Information about Event Production Featuring Amnon Lipkin-Shahak. Appearance of Amnon Lipkin-Shahak at Corporate & Private Event. Planning your next Convention with Amnon Lipkin-Shahak as your special guest. Plan a Wedding, Birthday or Anniversary featuring Amnon Lipkin-Shahak." Did he see this blurb, and if he did, was he so naïve as to believe that none of the folks back home would see it? He's willing to appear at a Christmas party, but there's no mention of a Hanukka party? THERE WERE mutual compliments when British entrepreneur David Lewis, the owner of the Isrotel hotels, hosted President Shimon Peres at a gala dinner at the Royal Beach Hotel in Eilat last weekend. Lewis recalled his first meeting with Peres when the latter was Defense Minister and Lewis and his family had donated a rehabilitation wing for injured and invalided soldiers to Tel Hashomer Hospital. He also recalled Peres' inspiring and extremely well received address to the British Parliament when Peres served as Foreign Minister. Peres, for his part, had much to say about the sterling contribution that Lewis has made to the development of Eilat in more than two decades of dedicated activity in the southern resort area. THERE ARE only so many places that Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai can be on any given date, which is why the Women's Social Service organization Reuth is still waiting for an answer to see if he will attend their 70th anniversary celebrations at the Avenue, the convention and banquet center at Airport City adjacent to Ben-Gurion Airport, on November 20. Even if the mayor does not make it, another well-known Tel Aviv personality has promised to be there. Gidi Gov will be supplying the entertainment. BEING A diplomat or a diplomatic spouse in Israel is the most wonderful adventure because nearly every organization and institution is willing to roll out the red carpet for groups of diplomats, individual diplomats and spouses of diplomats. So that in the two or more years that diplomats spend in Israel they get to see more things and meet more people than the average Israeli does in a lifetime. In their private lives they tour whatever part of the country takes their fancy, and those who are religious often travel to Jerusalem for services, especially if they are members of one of the three great monotheistic faiths, because there's a certain aura about places of prayer in Jerusalem that one rarely finds in other parts of the country. Otherwise they're invited to academic, medical and cultural institutions; they're invited to gala concerts and dinners, to sporting events, to political briefings - just name it, they're there. Among the groups that are part of the diplomatic or international community is the Diplomatic Spouses Club, currently headed by Inara Eihenbauma, wife of the Latvian ambassador. Eihenbauma, who is very involved in almost everything that goes on around her, led a group of diplomatic spouses on their first tour of the Schneider Medical Center in Petah Tikva to give them an understanding of how much love and care goes into the treatment of sick children - not only Israeli children, but any child from the region who is brought there. The group included Alex Novak, Slovenia; Alona Mittal, India; Chikako Kondo, Japan; Eliane Carvalho, Brazil; Etsuko Katori, Japan; Gianna Meier, Switzerland; Janet Olisa, Nigeria; Jill Guliksen, USA; Margarita Stegniy, Russia; Reinoutie Artz, The Netherlands; Shruti Shuklam, India; Vuyo Gquiba, South Africa and Larissa Miculet, who is not a diplomatic spouse but the Ambassador of Moldova. There were also several members of the International Women's Club and the Parents and Friends of the American International School, organizations to which most of the members of the Diplomatic Spouses' Club also belong. This means that they see each other not just three or four times a week, but sometimes three or four times a day, depending on their various social schedules. In addition to meeting at outings and various diplomatic events, they have in-house groups for folk dancing, quilting, book reviews, etc. It's like being a multi-national extended family. In addition, as groups and individuals they support several Israeli and Palestinian charities. At Schneider, they were given an overview of how the hospital functions by Director General Prof. Marc Mimouni, after which they toured the facility to see for themselves the wonderful environment that has been created for the young patients beyond their actual medical needs. They also met with some of the many volunteers for whom the Schneider Medical Center is an important vehicle in reaching out to children, and learned that 43 percent of the children treated at SCMCI are Christian, Muslim, Arab and Palestinian and many come from neighboring Muslim countries. Thus the hospital sees itself as a bridge to peace. IF YOU were hoping to see and hear Shiri Maimon in the second series of Bad Girls, you're going to be disappointed. It's not that those responsible for the series didn't want the diminutive, blonde-haired songstress to come back the second time around. It was simply that Maimon is just too busy these days to take up all the offers that come her way, because among other things, she's working on a new album due to be released in the near future. HISTORY MAY very well be rewritten by Dr. Arie Morgenstern, a senior fellow at the Shalem Center whose book Hastening Redemption, which was published last year by Oxford University Press, has pulled the historic carpet from under the feet of the pioneers of the First Aliya. Contrary to popular belief, Morgenstern's research indicates that the first large waves of immigration to Israel did not begin in 1881 as is commonly believed, nor were they motivated by pre-Herzlian Zionist aspirations or fear of pogroms. According to what he has discovered and set down in his book, the first waves of immigrants were devout disciples of Rabbi Elijah Ben Solomon Zalman, the Gaon of Vilna. They came early in the 19th century because they believed that 1840 was the year of Messianic Redemption, and if so they wanted to be in Jerusalem when he arrived. Their enthusiasm, though premature, earned them an important place in history, even though most people are unaware or choose to ignore the fact that they were here several years ahead of the First Aliya.