Bereft Barkat

This week's Jerusalem grapevine.

Mount Scopus campus, Hebrew University Jerusalem (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Mount Scopus campus, Hebrew University Jerusalem
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Pride goeth before the fall, according to the old adage, and it seems that this may apply to former Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, who appeared to be certain that he was going to be the next finance minister. But his name was not included in the unprecedented list of 34 probable ministers in the new rotation government that was published in the Israeli media on Sunday.

Among the many friends of David Ehrlich, the late proprietor of the popular Tmol Shilshom café bookstore, was Yaron Enosh, who hosts a two-hour program on KAN Reshet Bet every Friday. The two met close to three decades ago when Ehrlich returned to Israel after wandering around the world.

Ehrlich told Enosh about his dream of setting up a café and a cultural center in the heart of Jerusalem, and they went together to look at a dilapidated property at the end of an alleyway in Nahalat Shiva. Ehrlich immediately saw the potential of the place, and decided that this was where he wanted to turn his dream into a reality. Enosh helped him to some extent, but says that all the credit for the enterprise belongs to Ehrlich.

For the past few months, Enosh has been celebrating the 25th anniversary of his radio program, which has a steady following of listeners who are interested in acquiring books not available in regular bookstores via book detective Itamar Levy; listening to what other people are preparing for their Shabbat meals; learning about the wonderful health-giving properties of various plants; boning up on people and places in Greece; hearing anecdotes about Jerusalem – but above all, keeping up with the rhythm of Greek music.

Enosh is one of Israel’s leading Grecophiles, and says that he owes his love of Greece and all things Greek to Ehrlich, who first introduced him and his family to the island of Corfu, where they go several times a year, as well as to other parts of Greece.

Less than two weeks before Ehrlich’s death, Enosh wound up the cycle of 25th-anniversary events of his program, which in Hebrew is called Kol Shishi, which in spoken Hebrew can mean “Every Friday” or “Friday Voice.” Both are equally applicable to the nature of the program.

Because Ehrlich was such a close friend, and because he felt that he owed Ehrlich so much, Enosh decided to have his final 25th-anniversary event at Tmol Shilshom.

Due to restrictions placed on the number of people permitted to gather in any one place, the event was limited to a hundred people, and Ehrlich was pleased that so many had come despite the fact that coronavirus fears had already set in.

Enosh could not know on that night that this would be the last time that they would ever see each other.

The program was recorded, and in tribute to Ehrlich, it will be broadcast at 4 p.m. on April 3 on Reshet Bet.

Synagogues, hotels and various religious and social welfare organizations that traditionally host communal Seders are unable to do so this year. Some are using the controversial Zoom option, which enables families to celebrate together yet apart, and some are conducting pre-Passover model Seders via social media to help people who have never conducted a Seder before, but who are this year confined to their homes.

It is important to know that there is no hard-and-fast rule about reading the Haggadah in Hebrew. Most Haggadot these days are bilingual, so if it is difficult for you in Hebrew, better to read it in English than not at all, though if you can manage at least a few lines in Hebrew from the songs sung at the Seder, that would be preferable, because even in households where in bygone years all the explanations related to the Seder may have been in English, the actual Seder was not.

For those people who live alone and are quarantined and unable to go out to buy food for the Seder, Rabbi Yisroel Goldberg, the director of Chabad of Rehavia, will do his utmost to provide a full Seder meal that will be delivered to the door. The cutoff date for registration was actually on Tuesday, but Chabad can be flexible when there is a dire need. Contact [email protected]

Presumably, similar arrangements are being made by other Chabad centers throughout the capital, so people in need should contact their nearest Chabad Center.