The tale of an aguna

Many events around the country have been canceled or postponed due to security concerns.

Chief rabbi David Lau (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Chief rabbi David Lau
TWO OF the safest places in Jerusalem are the Cinematheque and Cinema City because their movie theaters are, for the most part, underground and have therefore been well attended over the past week or so. On Friday, the Israeli premiere of Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, starring Ronit Elkabetz in the title role, was screened to a full house.
The story, all too familiar to scores of Israeli women attempting to leave loveless marriages and/or abusive husbands, depicts Viviane Amsalem’s five-year struggle to gain her freedom. The film, which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival, was bought for distribution by no fewer than 25 countries and has already been seen by tens of thousands of people.
The cast of the film, which was written and directed by Elkabetz together with her brother Shlomi, includes Menashe Noy and his wife Keren Mor, Sasson Gabbai, Evelin Hagoel, Simon Abkarian, Eli Gorenstein, Avraham Celektar and Gabi Amrani, all of whom showed up at the Cinematheque for the screening as part of the Jerusalem Film Festival. Almost in tears, Elkabetz, standing on the stage of the Cinematheque, said she hoped the day would come when Israelis and Palestinians could talk to each other as friends, that days of quiet would come and that the bloodshed would cease.
MANY EVENTS around the country have been canceled or postponed due to security concerns. However, in the case of the affixing of the mezuza at the new Hillel Street premises of the International Young Israel Movement, originally scheduled for last Sunday, the event was postponed not because invitees were afraid for their safety but because, according to IYIM executive director Daniel Mayer, so many IYIM people were involved in activities related to relieving the pressures and assisting people in the South. The event has been postponed until after Tisha Be’av.
Meanwhile, with the assistance of American Friends, IYIM will be taking busloads of youngsters from southern communities for a fun day in the North.
WITH ALL the construction that is going on in Jerusalem, what is still sorely lacking is a feature common to most capital cities – an opera house. Eventually that too will come, but meanwhile there is a Jerusalem Opera Company, which is planning to present a production of The Marriage of Figaro in December. Production costs are estimated to be in excess of NIS 100,000. The Culture Department of the municipality is unlikely to hand over such a sum for the project, so initiators have to resort to a head start fund-raising campaign.
The Jerusalem Opera Company was launched in November 2011 and has since had a fully staged production of Don Giovanni at the Tower of David and several operatic concerts at the Gerard Behar Center and the YMCA. The founders of The Jerusalem Opera include Manon Weizman, Yonathan Dror and Omer Arieli.
NOT EVERYONE can boast of having the chief rabbi of Israel at his bar mitzva, particularly when the private home of the chief rabbi is in Modi’in and the bar mitzva celebration is in Jerusalem. But Ariel Maierovits, who last Saturday celebrated his bar mitzva at the Great Synagogue, was the exception to the rule. The son of Shmuel and Odelia Maierovits, Ariel read not only from the Torah and the Haftara but also part of the prayers. A member of quite a large family whose female representatives took up a whole section of the women’s gallery, Ariel acquitted himself well. His parents later hosted a mega kiddush for the congregation.
Rocket threats notwithstanding, the synagogue attendance was well above average. Ariel was not the only one to benefit from the presence of Chief Rabbi David Lau, who delivered the sermon. Newlyweds Benyamin and Sara Muller celebrated their sheva brachot at the synagogue. The groom is the son of Nina and Serge Muller, and the bride the daughter of Vivi and Sylvian Salamon of Antwerp, Belgium.
Lau’s sermon was largely devoted to the transfer of leadership from Moses to Joshua. Lau’s predecessor Rabbi Yona Metzger was never invited to spend Shabbat or the High Holy Days at the Great Synagogue, though Lau’s father Rabbi Yisrael Lau was frequently invited both during and after his period as chief rabbi. Whether it was a mark of respect or some other reason, Lau opted not to sit in his father’s seat alongside the ark; instead, he sat closer to the choir on the opposite side.