Grapevine: Lock around the clock

Movers and shakers in Israeli society.

Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (photo credit: DAVID VINOKUR)
Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra
(photo credit: DAVID VINOKUR)
Shaare Zedek President Prof. Jonathan Halevy says that if the public had complied with the regulations introduced by Prof. Ronni Gamzu, the country would not be in lockdown today. Speaking on Reshet Bet, Halevy said that the measures introduced in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus were not political, but based on the assessments of medical experts.
■ WHEELCHAIR DANCING takes on a whole new meaning in a coronavirus ward in which all the patients are senior citizens. At the beginning of this week, 102 COVID patients were hospitalized at Herzog Hospital in Givat Shaul – 40 of them in serious condition. Herzog’s occupational therapists do not believe in letting those patients who are not seriously ill just lie in bed and vegetate. Because they are precluded for health reasons from having face-to-face contact with any of their relatives, many are depressed, and it is important to get them out of that mental state. They also need to exercise inasmuch as it is possible for them to do so.
Hence the wheelchair dancing, which is a form of physical therapy. Occupational therapists and other hospital staff face the patients in their wheelchairs and hold both hands spreading their arms and moving them in much the same way as an infant is taught to synchronize his or her movements. While doing this, the therapists push the wheelchairs with their feet, and a good time is had by all.
Chana Yael Kook, one of the Herzog occupational therapists, says that this activity is important because the patients live in an aura of uncertainty, not knowing if they will ever see their families again. Contact with other human beings helps to lift their mood and the exercise is both physically and psychologically good for them. In most cases, says Kook, the response has been very positive.
■ THE GINOT HA’IR Community Center, which operates out of Emek Refaim, assures residents of Rehavia, Talbiya, Baka and Katamon that their help line operates Sundays to Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone who needs someone to shop for them, medications or information should telephone 050-239-4678. Many residents in these areas who have benefited from this service say it’s marvelous. People interested in being the representatives of the building in which they liv, and checking up on their neighbors to see if they need anything should be in touch with Flor Bryner, who can be contacted at [email protected]
People living alone and in need of conversation should get in touch with Tal Zilberberg at [email protected]
■ IF YOU happen to be a music lover, there are few greater joys than living near a music school.
Yes, the same piece of music being rehearsed over and over again may occasionally get on your nerves, but in general, it’s great to listen to classics one minute and jazz the next. That’s one of the pleasures in life for Kenneth and Irene Collins, who live near the Kaf Tet B’November Music School, which annually sends some of its musicians to London for a gala fund-raising event. This was impossible this year, so Peter Sheldon, who is involved with the school, arranged for the young musicians to record a concert in a local recording studio, and the concert was subsequently seen and heard on Zoom, with school principal Lena Nemirovsky as mistress of ceremonies. Among the musicians were several students of Ethiopian Jewish background, who featured prominently in the concert. According to Kenneth Collins, they were outstanding performers, with the youngest being only 10 years old.
In addition to classical musicians, there was a jazz ensemble, a violin soloist and a vocalist who sang an Ethiopian song. The windows of the Collins residence face the school, and they could see the youngsters coming and going and carrying their various musical instruments. For them, just watching the eager youngsters was an emotional experience. At the conclusion of the evening, Sheldon announced the gift of a new harp to the school, in addition to which some of the hundreds of people who had tuned into the concert pledged other new musical instruments to replace those that are of poor quality.
■ THE LATE Jenny Weil was a talented violinist and music teacher. She and her husband Max were also generous philanthropists giving to many causes. Even though both are no longer in the land of the living, their names are linked in perpetuity with the music they loved through AACI’s Jenny and Max Weil Music Program. On Monday, January 18 at 7:30 p.m., innovative and creative conductor and music director Maestro Harvey Bordowitz, who is also a talented raconteur, will share some of his personal experiences gleaned during the 40 years in which he conducted orchestras around the world, and will introduce listeners and viewers to the strange and wondrous environment of a conductor.
What exactly is the role of a conductor? What happens in rehearsals and at concerts – especially if something goes wrong? How do performances of the same compositions differ? What is interpretation? What makes a great conductor? All these questions and more will be answered by the maestro himself. The cost for members is NIS40 and for non-members NIS50. Registration for AACI’s Zoom programs is accepted until 1 p.m. on the day of the program. AACI cannot guarantee the processing of any registrations after that time. Credit is given should a program be missed or canceled.
Registration is at
■ THE JERUSALEM Symphony Orchestra has been putting on a series of free concerts on You Tube and Facebook. Coming up on Wednesday, January 20, at 8 p.m. is a unique concert with the magnificent Ladino singer and native Jerusalemite Yasmin Levy. The orchestra will be conducted by Gil Shohat, who invariably comes up with delightful surprises. Together, they will present a musical melting pot of both Western and Latin music, with all the passion that the latter conveys.
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