Grapevine: Extending a warm glow

Candle lighting with soldiers has continued throughout Hanukka.

sufganyiot_521 (photo credit: (Rachel Sarfin))
(photo credit: (Rachel Sarfin))
■ THE GENEROSITY of Pamela and Abba Claman, who open their beautiful home in the Old City to various Jewish groups but above all to the soldiers of the IDF, who regularly dine there on Shabbat and Jewish holidays, was again in evidence on the first night of Hanukka, when some 100 soldiers showed up for candle lighting and a little singing and dancing.
The Clamans are devoted to the IDF, on whose behalf they have arranged countless activities in their home and on army bases.
Their enthusiasm is so contagious that many of their friends and neighbors have been happy to join them in these efforts, and groups from North American Jewish federations have often been invited to join in celebrating with the soldiers in the Claman home and have been overwhelmed by the hospitality.
Candle lighting with soldiers has continued throughout Hanukka.
■ ISRAELI AMERICAN billionaire Haim Saban seems to have time for everything and loads of money to invest in Israeli business ventures or to give to worthy causes. On the same weekend that he hosted the annual Saban US-Israel-Palestine Forum in Washington, he signed the contract to purchase the controlling interest in Israel’s Partner Communications, forking out $65 million and also agreeing to take on the company’s $300m. debt.
Then he went back to Los Angeles, where he lives, to oversee the final arrangements for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Gala Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza that he and his wife, Cheryl, chaired for the sixth time. The FIDF dinners always feature a group of soldiers and some high-ranking officers, along with several big-name entertainers.
This year, despite the fact that Stevie Wonder dropped out, the amount raised at the dinner was $14 million, some of which must be credited to passionate, patriotic and charismatic Jerusalemite Miriam Peretz, two of whose sons, Uriel and Eliraz, were killed in the line of duty. Peretz, who is an extremely eloquent speaker with a great love for the IDF, is one of many bereaved parents whose sons and daughters paid the supreme sacrifice for the security of the nation. Peretz, who exudes a degree of pride that overrides her grief, is in great demand as a speaker both in Israel and abroad.
The master of ceremonies at the dinner was actor Jason Alexander, who played George in the Seinfeld series. Alexander was in Israel in October last year and, inter alia, met with President Shimon Peres.
■ READERS OF The Jerusalem Post will be familiar with the name of Isi Leibler, who is a regular columnist. But at City Hall, they’re more familiar with his sister-in-law Mary Leibler, who has been honored with the title “Involved Resident” in recognition of the fact that over the past year she has brought more complaints to the attention of the municipality than any other resident of the capital.
Altogether, she has lodged 123 complaints, most of them related to Katamon, where she lives.
In walking around the neighborhood, Leibler discovered many irregularities, which she dutifully reported in the belief that if one takes care of the small problems, the big problems are less likely to eventuate. Things she’s complained about include low-hanging branches of trees that are impediments to pedestrians; damaged street signs, unclean streets, dogs’ droppings and dangerous potholes.
Leibler, who is originally from Canada but spent a large portion of her life in Melbourne, Australia, before settling in Jerusalem 17 years ago, can’t get used to the lack of care for the environment by both residents and municipal authorities. In Commonwealth countries, there’s more concern for sanitation and aesthetics.