Grapevine: A royal welcome

bike trail_521 (photo credit: Sonia Manchanda)
bike trail_521
(photo credit: Sonia Manchanda)
■ AS DEPUTY general manager and director of operations and diplomatic delegations at the King David Hotel, has met many presidents and prime ministers, but not many royals. However he did have a chance to greet and farewell Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Asturias, aside from making sure that all their needs were catered to.
■ “I’M JUST the appetizer, he’s the main course,” said Rabbi Ari Berman last Saturday at the Yeshurun Synagogue, where he delivered the Shabbat Hagadol sermon following morning prayers. Berman was referring to Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, who wandered in approximately a quarter of the way through Berman’s discourse on whether Pessah is a universal festival or one that is particular to Jews alone. Metzger delivered the sermon following afternoon prayers, but in the evening had the great honor of delivering another sermon at the Hurva synagogue in the Old City. Berman presented source material that affirmed both the contention that Pessah is universal and that it is particular to the Jews. Freedom from slavery and oppression is something that all people desire, he said, and in this respect Pessah is universal. It is particular to the Jews, because historically, this is when the Jews became a nation.
■ JERUSALEM CITY director-general Yossi Heiman, lawyer Elisha Peleg, who holds the sports portfolio in the Jerusalem City Council, and Uri Menahem, head of the municipality’s sports department, all proved to be proficient bicyclists as they joined scores of families last Friday, who were trying out the new bicycle trails in the Jerusalem Park at Emek Ha’arazim. Because the weather was so pleasant, and the area was so spacious, cyclists had the opportunity to combine their sporting passion with their appreciation of the beauty of nature.
■ LOOMING ON the horizon is Independence Day. There are several entertainment options in mid town, and much of the inner city will be closed to motorized traffic.
The main stage will be at Kikar Zion where Sarit Hadad will be the star attraction, as she was last year. There’ll be a street party at Kikar Hahatulot organized in conjunction with the students’ unions with Idan Ben-Hamo as the DJ, and a little live entertainment as well.
For those with a sense of nostalgia, the place to be will be Kikar Safra, where Moshe Lahav will spend two hours from 9 p.m. singing patriotic songs from 1948 to the present day; and for those who want to have their celebration tinged with a little old-time religion, the venue is the plaza in front of Hamashbir where Yossi Swed, Yehuda Katz, Udi David and their bands will be singing Carlebach, hassidic favorites and songs of their own. Those who have the energy to stay up till 2 a.m. can see a fireworks display in the vicinity of the Leonardo Hotel (formerly Sheraton Plaza).
■ FORMER DEPUTY Minister and before that former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Meir Porush, who is a leading figure in Agudat Yisrael, enabled many haredi families all over the country to acquire new clothes for Pessah. Porush reached a deal with the Broadway clothing company to give a 50 percent discount to needy families making a purchase of up to NIS 2,000.
Vouchers were distributed to needy families via contact persons in haredi communities.
The clothing company may have lost in profit per item, but its sales volume soared, and in the final analysis it certainly did well by the deal. As for Porush, he may soon need a new outfit himself. One of his 12 children just got engaged.