From tragedy to charity

Peace now, which organizes demonstrations, rallies and activities aimed at bringing about peace, is apparently not interested in the religiously observant.

Smoke rises following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike in Gaza (photo credit: REUTERS)
Smoke rises following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike in Gaza
(photo credit: REUTERS)
LAST THURSDAY was supposed to have been the happiest day in the life of Gali Nir – it had been designated as her wedding day.
However, the groom, Givati reconnaissance commander Maj.
Benaya Sarel – whose parents, Rabbi Shalom and Rabbanit Michal Sarel, were among the pioneers of Kiryat Arba – was killed at the beginning of the month in a clash with terrorists at Rafah.
Benaya’s friends, in consultation with his parents, decided to observe some spectrum of joy on the day that should have been a celebration, and in one of Jerusalem’s soup kitchens, provided a “wedding feast” for the poor. Using social media, they asked everyone who had been invited to the wedding to contribute the sum they would have spent on a gift, or any lesser sum towards the cost of the feast. The response was amazing, perhaps because it is a tradition in the Sarel family that in addition to rejoicing with their guests at every family wedding, they also make sure to provide food for the needy.
Benaya was one of eight siblings. In the midst of its grief, the Sarel family nonetheless had reason to celebrate. Haya Gelman, one of Benaya’s sisters, gave birth to a boy – whose brit mila took place last Saturday at Beit Shalom in Hebron. The infant was named Benaya Gedaliah, after his uncle and his great-grandfather, who had lived to a ripe old age.
Yael, another of Benaya’s sisters, gave birth to a girl just before the family was informed of his death. The baby was named on the day the family got up from shiva, and is called Kama – to signify that the family had risen to resume its normal life. Yet another sister is in an advanced stage of pregnancy.
the chefs employed at the King David Hotel have over the years won international renown. The most recent to do so was Ahmed Salameh, one of 10 chefs competing in the presentation and taste category of the S. Pellegrino Cooking Cup, held in Venice for the 14th consecutive year. The contest not only encourages talented young chefs from around the world to share their culinary inspirations, but also fosters an appreciation for new gastronomic creations. In this part of the contest, the judges gave Salameh top marks for his black garlic cannelloni stuffed with duck rillette and roasted pumpkin – which guests at the King David’s La Regence restaurant can sample.
PEACE NOW, which inter alia organizes demonstrations, rallies and other activities aimed at bringing an end to conflict and bringing about peace, is apparently not interested in the religiously observant who might have just as much interest in stopping the bloodshed as anyone else. Last Friday, the organization loaded its fifth peace bus from Jerusalem’s Liberty Bell Garden to the Gaza border, to spread the word of peace and call on authorities from both sides to cease hostilities and come together for sincere peace talks. Meanwhile, until that happens, Peace Now continues to collect money for humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza.
Last Friday’s journey began with the support of the family of Jerusalem peace activist Haj Ibrahim Abu el-Hawa from the Mount of Olives, whose son rode on the bus with others interested in spreading the seeds of peace. Next, participants went to Neveh Shalom to join the meeting of the Sulha Peace Project, which promotes peace and harmony among members of Abrahamic religions. From there they went Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, to commemorate lives lost on both sides of the conflict and to demand the cessation of hostilities and the beginning of peace negotiations. They then traveled to Sderot to meet with families living near the Gaza border. After the meetings, flowers were laid on the border in memory of victims on both sides.
Finally, there was the trip back to Jerusalem, which made it touchand- go for Shabbat observers. Those not celebrating Shabbat in the true sense of the word continued on to the home of Maya Bloom, the initiator of Beads for Peace, for beading, refreshments and a relaxing evening.
If the bus had gone straight to the Gaza Strip in the morning and then to Tel Aviv, anyone who was in a hurry to prepare for Shabbat could have taken public transportation from Tel Aviv back to the capital with loads of time to spare. A little consideration can go a long way.