Grapevine: Primary hang-ups

Labor MK Michal Biran 370 (photo credit:
Labor MK Michal Biran 370
(photo credit:
■ JERUSALEM-BASED members of the Labor Party are receiving phone calls from Jerusalemites running in the Labor primaries who are seeking their vote next week. MK Michal Biran, after stating her name, pleads “Don’t hang up. I’m a Jerusalemite, like you are. If you want me to continue to fight for Jerusalem in the Knesset, give me your vote.” Actually, it’s a recorded message, but presumably there are people who don’t realize this and fall for the “don’t hang up” ploy.
■ AN ENGLISH-language event is coming up on Sunday, February 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the National Library on the Edmond Safra campus of the Hebrew University in conjunction with the American Center of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Photographer Robert Dawson, currently on a Fulbright Global Scholarship photographing libraries throughout Greece, Italy and Israel, previously spent 18 years photographing libraries throughout the United States. Libraries mean different things to different people, especially the architects who design them, the librarians who stock and catalogue them, and of course the researchers and bookworms who use them. Dawson will show examples of his photographic work showcasing the importance of libraries in advancing inclusion and diversity and discuss some of his projects involving libraries and literacy.
■ THE SHALVA band is composed of young men and women with various disabilities. For example, the two singers with incredible voices, Dina Samteh and Anael Khalifa, who did so well in a television contest, wowing both the judges and the audience, are blind. They have appeared on many stages and have accumulated all the professionalism needed to represent Israel in the Eurovision contest. Following their audition, the Shalva band was put on the short list of options. The problem is that the final rehearsals take place on Saturday before the gala opening of the 2019 Eurovision song contest and Shalva is a religiously observant facility.
Commenting on this last Saturday, Rabbi Yosef Ote, the spiritual leader of the Hazvi Yistael Congregation, who happens to be very musical himself, said that he was moved to tears when he heard the band perform – and not only because of the high quality of the performance. He illustrated what he meant by recounting an incident he had witnessed during the week. He was in line at the post office in Emek Refaim when a well-known personality whom he declined to name walked in. Nearly everyone present took out their cell phones to pose for selfies with him. The clerk invited him to approach the counter and not wait in line like everyone else. Almost everyone with the exception of one woman moved aside.
“Just because you’re a well-known personality doesn’t mean you can queue jump,” she said. “Take your turn like everyone else.” The clerk ignored the woman, and again invited the man to approach, which he did. Ote noted the marked difference between the Shalva Band, which was willing to give up its place on the road to fame and glory rather than desecrate the Sabbath, whereas the well-known personality couldn’t spare a few minutes to observe proper social norms. Some congregants who tried to guess who the man was reached the conclusion that he couldn’t be a politician, because he would not have dared to behave that way prior to the elections.
As for Shalva, it was hoped that a solution could be found for them, perhaps rehearsing on Friday with time to get to their hotel in Tel Aviv in time for Shabbat, but in the end, they withdrew from contention.
■ ONE IS never too old to give to others. The residents of the self-managing retirement complex Nofei Yerushalayim decided to do something on behalf of Tenufa Bakehila (known in English as Building Hope), a nonprofit organization that carries out urgent home repairs free of charge for poverty-stricken families throughout Israel. The residents of Nofei Yerushalayim decided to a hold a “Bring and Buy a Gift” event in which people donated jewelry, clothing, household items, paintings, etc., and more or less bought them from each other, not always knowing who the original owner was. They raised NIS 6,000 which they donated to Tenufa Bakehila. Nofei Yerushalyim general manager Pnina Sulzbacher said that she was filled with pride and admiration at the initiative and enthusiasm of the residents. Yaron Artzi, who heads the national work force of Tenufa Bakehila, said the money will be used to complete the kitchen renovations at a hostel for 17 boys who have been classified as youth at risk.