Grapevine: Shall we dance?

Glatt kosher summer vacations, ballroom dancing, and boutique hotels.

Dancer 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Dancer 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
■ GENTLY GREGARIOUS American immigrant Barry Weiss, who hails from New York and Los Angeles, was taking the bus to the place where he had to pick up his car. En route, he struck up a conversation with a soldier. While they were talking, the soldier’s cell phone rang. He excused himself, explaining that it was his wife, who is a ballet dancer. “Do you dance with your wife?” asked Weiss when the soldier got off the phone. “I don’t dance at all,” replied the soldier.
“Well, I’m going to give you a little present,” said Weiss, who will be 79 next month.
An expert ballroom dancer whose specialty is Latin American dancing, Weiss, who met his own wife on the dance floor, got up and showed the soldier the basic moves, including how to shift weight to achieve the fluid hip swivel. The other passengers stared but didn’t say anything. The soldier was thrilled, and after alighting he kept waving to Weiss until the bus was out of sight.
How did the story end? Weiss doesn’t know yet, but he gave the soldier his card to call him for more tips about dance steps and to report on whether he has danced with his wife.
■ JERUSALEM LAWYER Tammy Raveh is the daughter of Gideon Hausner, who was the chief prosecutor in the Eichmann trial. She has been appointed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to chair the Board of Directors of the Channel 2 News Corporation, replacing former Israel ambassador to France and the United Nations Yehuda Lancry.
Raveh and her husband, lawyer Yehuda Raveh, are prominent figures on the local and national social scene. Raveh, who is a senior partner in her husband’s law firm, has worked for the Justice Ministry and has served as a member of the plenum of the Israel Broadcasting Authority and on the boards of directors of a number of major Israeli industrial concerns.
■ WHILE IT’S true that Abu Tor is a mixed Jewish/Arab neighborhood, it’s somewhat rare to see Arab men in traditional garb, although the women cover their hair with the hijab, and many wear the long traditional frock coat or embroidered dress. But recently, Arab men in keffiyehs, galabiyas and formal robes gathered at the Jerusalem Venture Partners Media Center at the invitation of venture capitalist and would-be Labor Party chairman Erel Margalit. They had come from Arab towns and villages to meet with Valerie Hoffenberg, the special representative for the Middle East of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Hoffenberg had persuaded several French companies, among them Renault and France Telecom, to join in the creation of an industrial park in Bethlehem. She and Margalit spoke of their plans to encourage the creation of more industrial parks as joint Jewish/Arab enterprises to be financed by the French government and private investors. The vibrant Hoffenberg, a lawyer by training with a master’s degree in political science and communication, said that such joint enterprises would do a great deal to pave the path to peace. Hoffenberg is an active and highly visible member of the French Jewish community.
■ IT USED to be every Jewish mother’s dream that her son would be a doctor or a lawyer and that her daughter would marry one or the other. But if one has the talent, it seems that a much more enjoyable profession would be a cantor or a singer on the haredi circuit.
Glatt kosher summer vacations for haredi families going to Prague or Pamporovo this week feature as attractions the Re’im Duo, Yoseph Haim Shwekey, Yishai Lapidot, Israel Rand, Yonatan Scheinfeld, Gershon Freishtat, David Heller and Amiran Dvir, who are all getting free trips and accommodation at five-star hotels, plus a hefty fee. Nice work if you can get it.
■ WHILE YOUNG people have become residents of tent cities around the country to protest the excessive cost of buying or renting apartments, hotels are charging almost as much for one night as some people pay for a whole month’s rent – and, what’s more, they have a steady clientele. Case in point is one of the newer hotels in Jerusalem, the Allegra in Ein Kerem, whose suites and rooms are all named for pairs of lovers. As a result, the Allegra, perhaps more than some of its competitors, lends itself to being a Tu Be’av getaway – if one can afford it.
The boutique hotel, which was once the private home of Jaber and Allegra Rachiel and was later a mini museum, has been converted by Yishai Malka and Gaddie Delman. The cost of a room for a couple on August 15 is NIS 2,200; the cost of a suite is NIS 2,500. The price includes champagne, chocolate and a massage, as well as an evening meal in which all courses will be served on plates for two with accompanying wines. To add to the romantic ambience are the fragrant fruit trees on the grounds of the hotel and in the immediate vicinity.