Grapevine: A Bond farewell

The sun shone on the Trust WIN (Women’s Interfaith Network) gathering of Christians, Druse, Jews and Muslims.

trust win (photo credit: Courtesy)
trust win
(photo credit: Courtesy)
■ TWELFTH-GENERATION Jerusalemite Yehoshua Matza, who is winding up a nine year period as president of Israel Bonds, was awarded the Herzl Medal by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Israel Bonds senior executive members Richard Hirsch, Mike Siegal and David Halpern at a farewell tribute in his honor. Matza is the longest serving president of Israel Bonds. During his watch, Israel Bonds sold close to $11 billion worth of bonds to aid the economy. Matza’s designated successor is fellow Jerusalemite Izzy Tapoohi, an Australian expatriate who has been living in Israel since 1979. Tapoohi and his lawyer wife, Regina, will move to New York for the duration of his tenure.
Jerusalem seems to figure prominently among Israel Bonds presidents. Matza’s predecessor Gideon Patt, though he no longer lives in Jerusalem, was born and raised in the city and kept coming back while serving as a member of Knesset and government minister. Matza was also an MK and minister before taking on the Bonds appointment.
■ ISRAEL PRIZE laureate, cultural icon, founder of the network of Cinematheques and founder of the Jerusalem Film Festival Lia Van Leer, 86, is well known in international film circles, and has been the recipient of many awards. This week, Van Leer received a life achievement award at the Berlin Film Festival and was present at the world premiere in Berlin of Tali Goldenberg and Amir Harel’s documentary film Lia. Van Leer has not allowed advancing age to prevent her from traveling around Israel and the world to attend cultural and social events and is generally present for important screenings at the Jerusalem Cinematheque.
■ FOLLOWING A week of rain, the clouds parted and the sun shone on the TRUST WIN (Women’s Interfaith Network) gathering of Christians, Druse, Jews and Muslims. They celebrated World Interfaith Harmony Week by planting trees at the observation point of the Goldman Promenade in Armon Hanatziv to honor the memory of promenade benefactors Richard and Rhoda Goldman and of landscape architect Lawrence Halprin. Artist Michelle Katz displayed a bright and colorful oil painting featuring women and trees that she had created for the occasion.
Blessings were recited by Rabbi David Rosen, Fr. Gusan Aljanian and Haj Ibrahim Abuhalwa. Veteran interfaith activist Elana Rozenman stressed that Jerusalem is filled with conflicts and violence, but TRUST WIN continues to conduct regular walks in the serene beauty of this walkway, which winds through the hills on the seam between east and west Jerusalem, to strengthen the energies of harmony and sisterhood among women of different faiths.
Naomi Tsur, deputy mayor of Jerusalem and former director of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, paid tribute to the Goldmans and Halprin for their inspiring gift to Jerusalem. She stressed that women are the key to ending conflict. Tsur mentioned her long struggle to keep the promenade area free of development.
The city created a small grove of four large olive trees that had been uprooted to make way for the Jerusalem light rail and were replanted as an eternal symbol of the sisterhood and holy work of the women of the four main faiths in Israel.
Noemie Nalbandian spoke of the three times that the olive tree is mentioned in Christianity, while Sarah Yehudit Schneider related the metaphor of the olive, which requires a lot of work to turn the bitter into the sweet. A Druse participant stated that we all share the quality of trees – being solid and stable. A Jewish woman expressed satisfaction that years of work together among women of different faiths had produced such a tangible symbol of beauty and endurance. Everyone present took turns to shovel soil around the bases of the trees, each of which is approximately 30 years old and will soon produce olives for all to enjoy.