Grapevine: Family novelty

Movers and shakers in Israeli society.

 Israel's President Isaac Herzog at the Israeli pavilion at the COP27 conference, November 7, 2022. (photo credit: CHAIM TZACH/GPO)
Israel's President Isaac Herzog at the Israeli pavilion at the COP27 conference, November 7, 2022.
(photo credit: CHAIM TZACH/GPO)

It’s quite common for two-generation families to come to live in Israel, and a three-generation family is not all that rare, either. But when the oldest member of the group is 98 years old, that is somewhat of a novelty. 

In April 2021, Rose Zoldan, a Czech-born Holocaust survivor who had been incarcerated in various concentration camps, including Auschwitz, arrived on aliyah. In her case, it was not so strange because she had always lived a nomadic existence.

Born on April 14, 1923, she was a teenager when the Nazis came to power. After the war, she was completely alone. She had lost her parents and two brothers in the camps. In the displaced persons camp, she met another survivor, and they married. Eventually, they got to America and settled in Cleveland, Ohio, where Rose worked as a seamstress. When she retired, Rose moved to Long Island, New York, to live with her daughter. In 2018, she moved to San Diego to be with her son Sandor and his wife, Bertica.

Sandor, Bertica, and their son, Yossi, together with Rose, arrived in Israel on a Nefesh B’Nefesh flight. For Rose, it was truly a long-held dream come true. Unfortunately, Rose could enjoy it for only a year and a half before she died. Her family takes comfort in the fact that she could have been among the dead in Auschwitz, but instead lies in her final resting place in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Haim Drukman attends the campaign launch of the right-wing Yamina party, ahead of the Israeli general elections, February 12, 2020.  (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)Rabbi Haim Drukman attends the campaign launch of the right-wing Yamina party, ahead of the Israeli general elections, February 12, 2020. (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)

Happy birthday to Rabbi Haim Druckman

■ A SPECIAL tribute on the occasion of his 90th birthday will be paid to Rabbi Haim Druckman, head of the Or Etzion Yeshiva and the yeshivot of Bnei Akiva, at the National Education Conference at the Jerusalem International Convention Center on November 27, in the presence of President Isaac Herzog and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion.

Druckman is a former member of Knesset and Holocaust survivor who managed to get out of Poland in 1944 and to reach British Mandate Palestine.

■ IF YOU are wondering who is going to fill all those hotels that have been built over the past two or three years or those under construction, talk to Rakefet Iluz, VP of marketing and business development at the Jerusalem International Convention Center (JICC).

Iluz recently hosted 20 event producers and decision-makers from three continents to interest them in holding their international conventions and other large-scale events in Jerusalem. The main convention center is right at the entrance to the city, conveniently located within easy walking distance of hotels of varying standards and price ranges; the railway station, with trains running around the clock to and from Ben-Gurion Airport; the light rail; local and intercity buses; shops; places of worship; and the Mahaneh Yehuda market. Almost all spiritual and physical needs are no more than 15 minutes away, including direct transportation to the Old City and sites that are holy to Christians and Muslims, as well as Jews.

Iluz naturally informed her guests of all the different services and amenities that the JICC can provide, and also of its flexibility in meeting special requests.

The idea of having a group marketing meeting was initiated by Anat Landa, head of the Conventions Bureau, which works under the aegis of the Jerusalem Development Company.

■ SO MANY people in leadership positions live by a policy of “Do as I say, not as I do.” Among the exceptions is President Isaac Herzog, who frequently emphasizes the importance of listening to, understanding and accepting the other. As far as he’s concerned, that is the only path to peace. When people learn to understand each other’s cultures, traditions and lifestyles, without trying to impose their own values on others, serious negotiations for peace and anything else can begin. Anyone who watches him at events, be they at the President’s Residence or anywhere else, cannot help but notice the attention he pays to what is being said.

A voracious reader, he also prepares in advance for meetings with people from abroad so that a one-on-one conversation or a meeting with a delegation is not just some superficial public relations measure to keep everyone happy but a genuine attempt at understanding the other.

■ CLIMATE CONTROL, sustainable development and global nutrition are arguably among the most commonly discussed subjects nationally and internationally.

While religious leaders generally focus on the spiritual, there seems to be an increasing interface between faith and science, so much so that religious leaders are now becoming involved in the whole issue of sustainable development.

An example of this is the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, whose representatives last week issued a joint statement at the Foreign Ministry. The text, largely authored by Rabbi Yonatan Neril and David Miron Wapner, reads: “Inspired by the values and principles of our belief systems, faith, values and ethics, we recognize that the climate crisis is caused by unrestrained human activity.

“We have failed to protect Earth’s capacity to support life, impacting especially the poor and marginalized. As people of faith, we must with humility challenge greed, instant self-gratification, and short-term thinking. Abusing and degrading God’s creation for current and future generations is sinful behavior. We must urgently adopt a new development paradigm that integrates our common moral and spiritual values towards a new one of sustainable well-being.”

The statement goes on to affirm the power of religion to lead an essential transformation in human society, action and behavior, and calls upon the faithful in all religions to act in accord with the shared beliefs of all faiths.

The statement was the outcome of a conference held in advance of COP27, the UN Climate Conference, currently underway in Sharm e-Sheikh and attended by a huge Israeli delegation, as well as heads of state and government from around the world.

The conference at the Foreign Ministry was a joint initiative of its Department of World Religions and the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development.

Taub Center's conference on health inequality

■ ALSO IN the sphere of the common good is the Taub Center’s upcoming conference on November 14, titled “Inequality in Health: Defining Challenges, Developing Solutions.” The conference will be held at the Begin Center and live streamed on the Taub Center’s social media platforms.

The topic will not be confined to the situation in Israel, though most of the speakers are Israelis involved, in one way or another, with the medical profession. Non-Israeli speakers will include Sir Michael Marmot of University College, London, and Dr. Joreintje Mackenbach, UMC Amsterdam. The conference will be held in Hebrew and English, with simultaneous translation.

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