Grapevine: Favorable prognosis

The Hadassah hullabaloo over the decision by the new director-general Ehud Kokia to publish tenders for the position of head of the department of general surgery.

New tower in Hadassah Hospital 370 (photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)
New tower in Hadassah Hospital 370
(photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)
■ FOLLOWING THE Hadassah hullabaloo over the decision by the new director-general Ehud Kokia to publish tenders for the position of head of the department of general surgery and trauma instead of allowing current incumbent and founder of the trauma unit Avi Rifkind to continue in the position until he retires, a compromise has been reached. Rifkind, who still has four years to go before he hits retirement age, can remain at his post for another year, after which time a tender will be published. Rifkind had filed a suit against Hadassah University Medical Center in the District Labor Court, but the court had rejected it on the grounds that Hadassah was within its legal rights to issue tenders. Rifkind appealed the decision in the National Labor Court, which came up with the compromise decision that enables him to continue in his position until March 31, 2013, after which he will still be a member of the Hadassah staff but will have to compete to retain his position.
■ FOR AS long as she can remember, artist and art teacher Maureen Kushner has had a special place in her heart for Moses, who led the children of Israel out of Egypt but was not permitted to lead them into the Promised Land. She has often wondered how Moses felt about this decree and what his thoughts were as he stood atop Mount Nevo from where he could see the Promised Land which he was destined not to enter. Seven years ago, she visited Mount Nevo on the anniversary of Moses’s death and has done so every year ever since.
She is not the only person for whom Mount Nevo holds a dramatic pull. Jordanian tour guides come with groups and individuals from all over the world, including many from this region, who are fascinated by the fact that such a great leader who had gone through so much on behalf of his people had to appoint a successor to complete the mission, as he stood alone on the mountain to watch the departing multitudes. The only comfort she derived, says Kushner, was from seeing the glorious, multi-colored carpets of flowers in bloom in the area.
Kushner is known internationally for her project, The Art and Soul of Peace Through Humor, which includes the works of Jewish, Arab, Druze and Beduin children, among them immigrants from Russia and Ethiopia, with whom Kushner worked over a twelve year period. Kushner used humor as a vehicle for breaking down barriers and building a trusting environment. She employed various imaginative techniques to help children integrate the values of loving-kindness, compassion, enthusiasm, truth, respect and gratitude through humor, art and the education of the heart. In this way, the youngsters were motivated to transcend their own fears and pain to create a vision of peace, tolerance and hope. The end result was a traveling exhibition that was shown in 182 cities in the US, Canada and Europe.
■ ANOTHER MOSES, Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Hager, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, who died last month at the age of 96, will have a haredi neighborhood in Jerusalem named in his memory. The new neighborhood to be built in the northern part of the city between Ramot and Ramat Shlomo will be called Yeshuat Moshe – the Salvation of Moshe.
The building of the neighborhood was proposed prior to Hager’s demise, but had not yet been given a name. Several architects have been approached to submit their concepts of the new neighborhood, which will include approximately 1,000 residential units.
■ AS FOR the biblical Moses and his siblings, Aaron and Miriam, none of the three the heroic leaders of the exodus from Egypt, is mentioned in the Haggada that is read at the Seder table, noted Rabbi Ari Berman in his annual Shabbat Hagadol address at Yeshurun Synagogue. The people who are mentioned, he noted, are the Tana’im – the sages of the Mishnaic era who held the first Seder after the destruction of the Second Temple and who took upon themselves the task of preserving Jewish history and tradition up until that time.
Today’s rabbinic leaders have similar challenges in that Jewish law and tradition are being distorted by extremists who not only force women to sit in the back of the bus but also eliminate photos of females, including small children, from all media, even to the cruel extent of not permitting a photo of terrorist victim Ruth Fogel to be published together with the report on the massacre in Itamar in which she her husband and three of their children were murdered.
■ AUSTRALIAN VISITORS Mark and Hannah Fagenblat, who came to spend Passover in Jerusalem with their philosopher son Michael and his family, were concerned about finding restaurants on Emek Refaim Street that do not serve legumes during the holiday period. On the one hand they needn’t worry. As Michael, who will be returning to Australia in June, has observed, there are more restaurants than ever that will be open on Emek Refaim, not to mention the large number in other parts of the city. Many cater primarily to an Ashkenazi clientele, and therefore are careful not to serve legumes or products that are derived from legumes.
On the other hand, the Jerusalem Religious Council has published advertisement in the Hebrew press warning the unsuspecting of the number of restaurants that have fake kashrut supervision certificates on display in their premises.
The advertisement states that there are eateries which are not under the kashrut supervision of the Jerusalem Rabbinate and yet pass themselves off as being of “mehadrin” standard, when many of them are certified by bodies that do not have the basic knowledge of what is required in Jewish dietary law throughout the whole year let alone the additional stringencies that are essential on Pessah. The advertisements cite examples of the cooking of meat that has not been salted and soaked, preparing food in vessels that have not been made kosher for Passover and the serving of wine that is not kosher.