Grapevine: Batter up!

California-born Haim Brown teaches youngsters in Har Homa how to play baseball.

baseball 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
baseball 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
■ FRIENDS AND neighbors of Haim and Nancy Brown, formerly from California and Colorado, were somewhat aghast a couple of months back when the Browns, together with their five dogs, decided to move from Rehavia-Talbiyeh, where they had been living for several years, to Har Homa. It was almost as if they were leaving Jerusalem. Aside from making new friends from different backgrounds and walks of life and, as a result, finding new conversation stimuli, the Browns have found some great projects and challenges.
In the very mixed neighborhood in which they now live, there are several young families that originate from the United States and England and are interested in having their children speak fluent English. The Browns discovered that there were no English books in the school library and promptly made up for the lacuna by not only donating a large quantity of books but by reading stories to the children and engaging them in conversation.
Haim Brown also started teaching all youngsters who were interested how to play baseball. It’s a little tough, he admits. The children, who come from a large variety of backgrounds, can’t get used to the idea that when the batsman hits the ball not everyone is supposed to run all over the field to try to catch it.
Brown would be thrilled if a couple of baseball teams (comprising anyone who knows how to play) would be willing to go to Har Homa to put on an exhibition match for the youngsters so they can get a better understanding of the game.
■ GUESTS MAY wonder why the special door prize at the annual benefactors’ luncheon hosted by the Tamar Chapter of Hadassah includes two round-trip tickets to Singapore when the event is being held at the Kohinoor Indian restaurant, and the speaker is its proprietor, Reena Pushkarna, who has long been known as an unofficial ambassador for India, where she was born. Not only does she host various Indian events and help each new Indian ambassador to feel at home in Israel, but she also wears only Indian-style clothing and accessories.
However, the Singapore factor is another important part of her life – more so since she became a grandmother of twins. Her brother has conducted business in Singapore for many years. Her daughter Sarina, who married Singapore businessman Raj Sundarson, works as the assistant manager for global media at the fabled Marina Bay Sands Resort Hotel that is owned by Sheldon Adelson, and her son Kunal last year opened a Mediterranean restaurant in Singapore that goes by the name of Pita Pan. Pushkarna and her husband, Vinod, who manages the business side of their operations, are on frequent commutes between Israel and Singapore, not just to see their granddaughters grow but also to make sure that Kunal is following in the family tradition of culinary success.
The luncheon is on Monday, September 3. The other guest speaker is Dr. Yuval Weiss, director of Hadassah University Hospital Ein Kerem. The proceeds will go towards Hadassah Ein Kerem’s Orthopedic Center.
■ THERE’S A little boy in every grown man, and it would not be surprising to learn that one of the thrills that Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has had in his municipal career was firing the Ramadan cannon to close the day’s fast towards the end of last week. Muslims do not eat or drink during the daylight hours of Ramadan, and last Thursday evening it was Barkat’s pleasant task to sound the signal for them to eat, drink and be merry. The family of Haj Yehia Sanduka, which has been responsible for firing the Ramadan cannon for more than 120 years, temporarily transferred the honor to the mayor.
Although Barkat has had some run-ins with the Arab community with regard to housing rights, Jewish incursions into Arab neighborhoods, unpaved streets and paucity of garbage collection, city hall claims that since the beginning of his administration, Barkat has made it a policy priority to improve the quality of life for Arab residents of the city and thereby bridge the gaps between the capital’s Arab and Jewish residents that result from years of neglect. To that end, the municipality has introduced a series of cultural heritage events in Arab neighborhoods throughout the month of Ramadan.