Grapevine: Celebrating a change of status

Knesset Member Yoel Hasson changed his status from that of the Knesset’s most eligible bachelor to that of a married man.

Veteran chefs meet at the Olive Leaf restaurant 370 (photo credit: Cherpak PR)
Veteran chefs meet at the Olive Leaf restaurant 370
(photo credit: Cherpak PR)
Knesset Member Yoel Hasson celebrated his 39th birthday on Tuesday with a change of status – and not just on Facebook. The Kadima MK who chairs the Knesset State Control Committee as well as a number of Knesset lobbies changed his status from that of the Knesset’s most eligible bachelor to that of a married man when he entered the institution of matrimony and took Tess Gadot to be his bride. The glittering wedding at The Avenue banquet halls near Ben-Gurion Airport was attended by MKs from across the board, many of whom let their hair down on the dance floor, some of them moving with far more verve than they display in the Knesset plenum.
A radiantly smiling Tzipi Livni, who did not attend the Kadima faction meeting to toast the incoming Passover festival, almost but not quite stole the show from the bride and groom, cutting a fine figure on the dance floor in the arms of her husband, advertising executive Naftali Spitzer.
Kadima’s new chairman, Shaul Mofaz, also attracted attention.
Mofaz left the festivities relatively early, but Livni stayed almost to the end and was on hand to watch the bride and groom cut the magnificent five-tiered wedding cake that was topped with a bouquet of white sugar roses.
President Shimon Peres, who was a member of the Kadima-led government prior to his election to the presidency, was among the guests, as was former prime minister Ehud Olmert. Members of various Knesset parties were included in the signing ceremony of the ketuba – the marriage contract – and in the reading of the seven blessings recited under the bridal canopy. The witnesses to the marriage contract were Ya’acov Katz of the National Union and Rabbi Haim Amsalem, who broke away from Shas to found Am Shalem. Among those who recited the seven blessing were Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin of Likud and Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism.
Although MK Nino Abesadze of Kadima, who will celebrate her 47th birthday next week, was prevented by the Knesset legal adviser from competing in Dancing with the Stars, there was nothing to stop her from dancing with fellow MKs. Inasmuch as she was prevented from showing her dancing prowess on the television screen, her dancing feet will in all likelihood come up on video clips of the wedding.
Among other MKs who looked as if they were having a really good time were Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz of Likud and Kadima’s Ze’ev Bielski whose dance floor exploits seemed to be a catharsis to the strains of their political responsibilities. Also enjoying themselves were Rachel Adatto and Ronit Tirosh of Kadima and Binyamin (Fuad) Ben- Eliezer of Labor. Although they have vastly different jobs, the bride and groom work under the same roof. The new Mrs. Hasson is an editor on the Knesset TV channel.
■ IT WON’T be the longest march that Jerusalem has ever witnessed, but it will be among the most heart-warming of marches when members of Aleh together with their relatives, friends and supporters march for the second consecutive year from Aleh Jerusalem headquarters in Romema across the Jerusalem Bridge of Strings. Aleh is Israel’s largest network of residential facilities for children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities.
The march is designed to increase public awareness of the fact that the disabled are as human as anyone else and should be integrated into the community and encouraged to live up to their individual potentials.
Organizers of the march invite individuals and families to join them. It’s one of the easiest ways of showing that one cares for one’s fellow human beings. The march is scheduled for next Monday, April 9, which is one of the intermediate days of Passover. Marchers will leave the Aleh building at 9 Harikma Street in Romema, which is also accessible from 66 Yirmiyahu Street just behind the Toyota dealership, at 3 p.m.
■ MERCHAVIM NEVE Amiel Youth Village, located on the northern Moshav Sde Ya’acov, is a therapeutic and educational youth village that is home to the most challenging cases of at riskyouth.
It is currently home to 65 severely challenged boys and girls ages 14 to 18 who are predominantly either new Ethiopian immigrants or first-generation Israelis. They are characterized by the traumas of immigration, displacement and abandonment.
Their families, which are from the lowest end of the socio-economic scale, suffer from severe financial problems, are single parents and have their own difficulties absorbing into Israeli society.
The youngsters have been exposed to violence, crime and, in many cases, alcohol and drugs. At the youth village they receive a warm and caring home, a sense of self-esteem, vocational training and access to high school matriculation and enlistment in the IDF.
Neve Amiel, which has a culinary school as one of its vocational tracks, last week participated in an ID- initiated pilot project based on the highly-popular TV program Master Chef. This comprised a series of four meetings between students in the culinary course and professional army cooks. Each youngster was paired with a soldier and together they had four hours to design and execute a menu to be judged by a panel of tasters. This was an opportunity for them to meet and work with the IDF, ask questions, learn about their enlistment options and have a culinary adventure that emphasized team work, communication and creativity.
According to the panel of judges, the results of these minipartnerships not only looked good but tasted good as well.
The tasters included Neve Amiel director Nimrod Rosenberg, chef Oleg of the ISS catering where the Neve Amiel youngsters intern, chef Natan Leflur, head of the culinary school and General Sammy Vaknin, head of the northern culinary unit for the IDF.
Vaknin pledged “I personally promise each and every one of you that wants to enlist in the army as a cook that I will be there to help every step of the way. Furthermore, I will be taking the entire culinary school on a tour of the army kitchens in the North of Israel to give you the opportunity to see our army at work.” Zamana, a 12th grade student and winner of the second round of “Master Chef,” enthused about working with Tomer, a soldier chef, and said that he had learned a lot from him and that it had been a great experience. Zamana is looking forward to enlisting in the IDF in August and hopes to be assigned as a cook in a combat unit.
The items prepared for the contest included: curried lentils served on a bed of roasted squash; chicken breast stuffed with a medley of dried fruit and rice, wrapped in a light pastry and served with a fried onion and potato pureed drizzled with a red wine reduction; and seasonal fruit salad served with coconut-dusted lady fingers. Yum!
■ ON THE subject of chefs, a bunch of chefs who were big names in Israel’s culinary elite in the 1980s and 1990s got together at the Olive Leaf restaurant at the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv to enjoy a gourmet meal prepared for them by executive chef Charlie Fadida. Most of the veteran chefs knew him when he was still little boy occasionally helping his father Eli Fadida and who, on his way up the culinary ladder, worked with several of them in their kitchens. Eli Fadida, now in his 70s, refuses to retire and currently runs a catering service for clients who want the taste of home cooking without having to do the cooking themselves. He used to cook for royalty, heads of state and diplomats, but these days the bulk of his clientele are Jerusalemites who are either too busy or too lazy to do their own thing.
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