GRAPEVINE: Rabbinic dynasty

Necessity and destiny sometimes meet.

TEL AVIV Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau delivers a speech in Budapest in 2011. (photo credit: REUTERS)
TEL AVIV Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau delivers a speech in Budapest in 2011.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
THE FATHER of former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lau, the former chief rabbi of Pietrekov in Poland, was descended from 37 generations of rabbi. He was murdered by the Nazis, but the Lau rabbinic dynasty continues.
One of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau’s three sons, Rabbi David Lau, is the current Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel and Rabbi David’s Lau’s eldest son, Rabbi Yedidiya Lau, the rabbi of the Alon community settlement in the Binyamin region of the West Bank, is currently delivering the weekly Thursday night lectures on the Torah portion of the week from the Book of Numbers (Bamidbar) at the Begin Heritage Center.
Most of the males in the Lau family are rabbis.
■ NECESSITY CAN sometimes lead to a very successful business venture.
Jonathan Miller, an international businessman who lives in Efrat and owns a company in Chicago called UStep that produces specialized walkers and other devices for patients suffering from neurological disorders, such as Parkinsons. The company owes its establishment to Miller’s late mother, who had been unable to walk unaided.
There was no product on the market at the time that could help her, so Miller put on his thinking cap and devised a solution: the laser cane. He also came up with other useful products that were of great help to other people with ambulatory problems.
As good as he was with creating devices to help people walk independently, his expertise did not extend to websites. His company website was outdated, not set up very well and in need of a complete overhaul. Miller put out feelers for a good website designer, discussed possibilities with several applicants and settled for a small Jerusalem-based company called Grow Corp. owned by Jacob Greenblatt. The actual Web design was subcontracted to a Rechovot- based Web design programming company called Manta Web, which is owned by Gabi Schnaider.
Working on the project together, Miller and Schnaider got to know each other. Miller was pleasantly surprised to discover that Schnaider was already familiar with UStep, because several years earlier, he had purchased the laser cane for his father who was afflicted with Parkinson’s. Given the laws of probability, the chances of finding a boutique website programmer from Israel who had some connection to Ustep were far from high, especially as Ustep products are not marketed in Israel as yet, and Schnaider had to import the laser cane from America.
As an Orthodox Jew, Miller believes in destiny, not coincidence.
He feels it was God’s will that he and Schnaider would work together.
Miller was delighted to find someone who could put his heart into the project because it touched him personally, given that his father had Parkinson’s.
Schnaider’s father died before the project was completed, a factor that gave Schnaider even greater motivation to help others by creating a first-class website. Miller was so moved by Schnaider’s dedication that he told him that he wanted to donate a wheelchair to someone in Schnaider’s father’s memory.
Last Friday, accompanied by his daughter and Schnaider, Miller travelled to Rehovot to deliver a specialized wheelchair to 62-yearold Pakinson’s partent Linda Burdman, who now enjoys greater independence than she did before.
■ ISRAELI ADVENTURER Yossi Ginsburg, best known for his book about how he managed to survive when stranded for three weeks in an uncharted part of the Amazon jungle in Bolivia almost 30 years ago, was a keynote speaker last week at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, in an open career day showcasing careers in hospitality.
Ginsberg spoke to 150 Hotel Management students from Universities and Colleges across the country, telling them about the power of motivation and dedication when obstacles stand in one’s way.
His survival story was adapted for the 2017 psychological thriller Jungle starring Daniel Radcliff.
The Waldorf, by the way, is no longer in the hands of the Reichman family who built it. The hotel was sold in December 2017 to French hotelier Michel Ohayon, but the sale was finalized only last week. Management of the hotel continues to be under contract to Hilton.