Grapevine: The ambassador’s ambucycle

United Hatzalah dedicated an ambucycle in honor of ambassador Dan Shapiro for his work in garnering US support for Iron Dome.

Dan Shapiro
• Even after he concludes his term as America’s ambassador, Dan Shapiro’s name will continue to be associated with Israel in that United Hatzalah has dedicated an ambucycle in his name, in recognition of his services to the people of Israel and the essential support of the US Government in developing the Iron Dome anti-missile system. The dedication took place earlier this month when Shapiro visited the United Hatzalah headquarters in Jerusalem. Its president Eli Beer told him that during Operation Protective Edge, United Hatzalah volunteers treated some 850 people a day, which is 200 more than are treated daily during a regular period.
Beer estimated that the number would have been far greater had it not been for Iron Dome, which prevented thousands of potential casualties. Shapiro could not resist getting the feel of the ambucycle by sitting down on it. He was also given a miniature version of it as a keepsake.
• It's a feather in the cap of any educational institution when a prominent scholar takes a permanent or temporary position within its portals. Thus the Jerusalem branch of The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies was “extremely proud” this week to announce that Rabbi Dr.
Irving (Yitz) Greenberg will be its Distinguished Visiting Scholar for the 2014/15 academic year.
A world-renowned scholar and theologian, a uniquely influential author, and a beloved teacher as well as congregational rabbi, who has profoundly affected the lives of thousand of students, Greenberg has been a long time supporter of Pardes.
He is the founder of multiple institutions at the heart of American Jewish life, including CLAL, SAR Academy and the Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation. He also played a prominent leadership role in the movement that campaigned for the freedom of Soviet Jewry. His life’s work reflects a deep commitment to diversity, tolerance, openness and Jewish learning – the ideals propounded by Pardes.
The person most delighted that Greenberg will be visiting Pardes several times during the academic year is Pardes director Rabbi Daniel Landes who has studied and worked with Greenberg for more than 40 years.
Beyond his general presence at Pardes, Greenberg will also be teaching in the Pardes Kollel and will also address the entire student body in a shiur klali (general lesson) on October 6.
• The inauguration of the new premises of the International Young Israel Movement, which has moved its Israel region headquarters from King George Avenue to 24 Hillel Street, was supposed to take place in July, but was postponed due to Operation Protective Edge. President Ceec Harrishburg, executive director Daniel Meyer (Mush) and project coordinator Shelley Vogel decided to combine the inauguration with a toast for the New Year and together with members and supporters of IYIM raised a glass or two on Wednesday of last week. One of the organization’s major activities is the redemption of damaged Torah scrolls, the repair of which is funded by individuals, families and groups of friends or members of other organizations. The scrolls, once repaired, are presented to units of the Israel Defense Forces in festive ceremonies in which the donors and their guests participate. There’s a lot of singing and dancing and everyone has a great time. During Operation Protective Edge, IYIM organized several summer camps and other activities for children of the South, and also devoted much time to visiting wounded soldiers in hospitals.
• In addition to extraordinary art exhibitions that often include the works of artists from countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel and may even be hostile toward it, the Museum on the Seam has thought-provoking lectures and discussions. This week there was one on creativity during political crises. Coming up at 7:30 p.m. on October 21 is a very topical discussion on corruption among the upper echelons of Israel’s political and economic establishment. The discussion, in Hebrew, will be led by Arye Avneri, journalist, author and founder of Ometz, the organization that promotes clean government. Avneri will explore what Israel’s elite are trying to hide from the public.
• Almost everything we read in the Bible has a parallel of sorts elsewhere in history. This is the approach of the Van Leer Institute in its new Opening the Week series beginning with a festive celebration on Sunday, October 19 based on the Torah portions Bereishit and Noah. Following greetings by Prof. Gabriel Motzkin and Daphna Schreiber, respectively director and chairwoman of the Van Leer Institute, the opening lecture is to be delivered by linguist and sociologist Prof. Cyril Aslanov, who is associate professor of French and Romance Linguistics at the Hebrew University and who has also engaged in extensive research on Jewish civilization. All the lecturers in the series, with only two exceptions, have the title professor or doctor in front of their names. One is Yuval Rivlin who is a writer and lecturer on cinema and history, particularly in relation to the shaping of Jewish identity, and the other is Rabbi Naftali Rotenberg, a senior research fellow at the Van Leer Institute where he is editor of Identities: Journal for Jewish Culture and Identity.