Grapevine February 14, 2020: Of marriage, children and hope

A roundup of news from around Israel.

Bible Lands Museum (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Bible Lands Museum
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
 BIBLE LANDS Museum Director Amanda Weiss found herself in the role of interpreter at the launch of the Indian Jewish Malida Festival, which was conducted in Hebrew. Seated next to Indian Ambassador Sanjeev Singla, she whispered to him in English to ensure that he knew what was being said. They also managed to have a conversation during which Singla was surprised to learn that Weiss had never been to India. He told the organizers of the event that before they meet again at next year’s Malida Festival, to make sure that Weiss gets to India and sees it in all its diversity. He was also hopeful that when he addresses members of Israel’s Indian Jewish community next year, he will be able to do so in Hebrew.
■ ONCE UPON a time, especially in religiously observant Jewish circles, boys and girls were married off soon after reaching the age of puberty. This ensured that restless hormones would be exercised within the sanctity of marriage. This often resulted in teenage mothers. But as time went on and young people became interested in expanding their education and pursuing careers, marriage was put on the back burner even in some Orthodox families. The upshot is that an increasing numbers of Jews – both males and females – ages 30-plus are still unmarried, and in many cases, are unlikely to ever get married. 
Most of them want some form of companionship – even if not on an everyday basis. It is for them that a new monthly dynamic dating series has been launched by marriage therapist and relationship coach Micki Lavin Pell who, together with Rabbanit Jenny Rosenfeld, will share their thoughts on sexuality and Halacha (Jewish law) this coming Sunday, February 16, at 8 p.m. at the home of Abbie Greenberg, 15 Negba Street, Katamon. 
Wine and snacks will be served and participants will be asked to pay NIS 20 at the door. To make sure there’s sufficient room to accommodate all those who want to attend, RSVP to [email protected]
■ IN THE late afternoon following the arrest of unordained “Rabbi” Eliezer Berland, his Shuvu Banim disciples bombarded the media with video footage of the pre-dawn arrest and subsequent riot in Mea She’arim.
It was perfectly obvious that Berland’s boys know a lot about PR and modern technology, proving yet again what a pity it is that very bright people in the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community – who could do so much for Israel without compromising their beliefs or their lifestyles – refuse to engage in anything that might be seen as acting under the Zionist flag. So many of them are very smart, and those abilities could be harnessed for any number of causes that don’t have a Zionist tag to them.
■ IN AUGUST 2001, 15 people, including seven children, were murdered by a suicide bomber in what was then the Sbarro Pizza Parlor, and which today is a branch of the veteran Ne’eman baked goods store and coffee shop at the Jaffa Road-King George Street intersection. Among the victims, the best known is Malki Roth, whose parents set up a foundation in her memory to help the families of children with disabilities care for those children at home rather than place them in an institution. 
Malki’s younger sister was born with severe disabilities, and Malki showered her with love and attention. Among the 132 injured survivors of the horrific explosion was seriously injured eight-year-old Haya Schijveschuurder, whose parents Refael and Tzira and three of her siblings Hemda, Yitzhak and Raya, were among the dead. Four other siblings were left to mourn. Haya had a long stay in Shaare Zedek hospital, and an even longer rehabilitation process.
Last month, Haya returned to Shaare Zedek to both close and open a circle. She had been a very sick little girl on the verge of death the first time she was admitted. In January she was a young woman who returned to Shaare Zedek to give birth to her first child – a boy. She and her husband, Meir, decided to give the baby a double name – Refael in memory of her father, and Matan in gratitude for the safe delivery of their son whom they consider to be a gift. 
The midwife who delivered the baby was Noa Preizler, who lived next door to Haya’s family when Haya was a child. News that Haya was in labor quickly spread through the corridors of the hospital, and before the delivery of the infant was completed, another nurse entered the room to tell Haya that she had been with her during the rehabilitation process 19 years earlier.
Shaare Zedek Director General Dr. Ofer Merin said the hospital staff were trilled to be able to help bring the next generation of Haya’s family into the world.