Grapevine: The lady is a yekke

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is scheduled to address the same group on Tuesday, February 12, at WeWork-Hazerem to explain the principles of The New Right.

Professor Alice Shalvi donates archives to National Library of Israel in January 2019 (photo credit: NATIONAL LIBRARY OF ISRAEL)
Professor Alice Shalvi donates archives to National Library of Israel in January 2019
(photo credit: NATIONAL LIBRARY OF ISRAEL)
Emeritus Prof. Alice Shalvi, Israel’s pioneering religious feminist, courageous educator, founder of the Israel Women’s Network, founding principal of the Pelech Religious High School for Girls, head of the English Literature Departments at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Ben-Gurion University, rector of the Schechter Institute, human-rights activist and Israel Prize Laureate, is living proof that time cannot erase the relevance of an inspiring leader or a good teacher. Shalvi, 92, is both a leader and a teacher, and is still in high demand as a speaker and as an interviewee on stage and on radio. But she realizes that at this point in her life, there are things that she must dispose of if she does not want them to be destroyed. Thus she recently deposited her personal archive at Israel’s National Library.
The archive includes family correspondence and documents, including letters written by Shalvi’s mother to her father in 1933-34, when he was already in England and the other family members were still trapped in Nazi Germany; notes, documents and records relating to Shalvi’s work and activism, particularly as a pioneer in the Israeli feminist movement; her personal diaries, lectures, articles and other materials chronicling the public and personal aspects of her life over the course of some seven decades; and more.
Although she has spent seven decades of her life in Israel, having lived previously in England and before that in her native Germany, she has not been able to rid herself of her Anglo accent when speaking Hebrew. When anyone remarks on this and banters about her being an eternal Anglo, she quickly corrects them and says she’s a yekke (of German origin).
Whichever – Anglo or yekke – despite all the accolades and prizes that have come her way, Shalvi has never felt herself to be completely an insider in Israel. This is reflected in her recently published memoir, Never a Native, which she will discuss in English at Beit Avi Chai on Tuesday, January 15. The discussion will be followed by a book sale and signing. People who have heard Shalvi know that she is an excellent public speaker who chooses her words carefully and strings them like pearls onto each sentence that comes out of her mouth.
■ SHALVI IS not the only one who refuses to be defeated by advancing age. Dancer and choreographer Rina Schenfeld, who recently turned 80, is as limber as ever, and for an 80th birthday gift for herself, created a new dance which is called Levaya (Lioness). She will perform it at the Tel Aviv Museum on January 24. The evening premiere on a Thursday night will be followed by a second day-time performance at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, February 22, at the same venue.
■ ANTISEMITISM IN Britain is very much in the news these days, and media reports do not necessarily tell the whole story. It’s a lot worse than people realize. To provide a clearer picture of the situation, CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting) together with UK Lawyers for Israel and IBCA (Israel Britain and the Commonwealth Association) are hosting a panel discussion on British antisemitism at Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People, on Sunday, February 10. Panelists will include Mark Lewis, the top British media lawyer; Mandy Blumenthal, a leading British Israeli activist (who recently immigrated to Israel); Hadar Sela, managing editor of CAMERA’s BBC Watch; Tamara Berens, UK associate for CAMERA on Campus; and internationally acclaimed author/journalist Melanie Phillips. The moderator will be Eylon Levy of i24 News. Andrea Levin, CAMERA’s executive director, will deliver greetings. IBCA has no shortage of well-informed British expats who frequently commute to the old country, but strangely enough none of them including those who are lawyers and rabbis have been selected for the panel. It’s as if IBCA was roped in to ensure an audience.
■ WHILE PRIME Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was making headlines in Brazil, his younger brother, Ido Netanyahu, was indirectly reaping fame in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, with the premiere of the play In Search of Meaning, directed by Ilgar Safat, which was enthusiastically received by the audience at the International Mugham Center. The production is based on the play of the same name by Ido Netanyahu, who professionally is a radiologist, but who devotes more time to writing books and plays.
His plays have been performed in Tel Aviv, New York, Saint Petersburg, Moscow and Tashkent.
In Baku, director Safat stressed the importance of the plot, saying, “The play tells about a famous psychologist, an eminent scientist Victor Frankl, who went through the horrors of the Holocaust, survived in four fascist death camps, and created such a powerful direction in psychology as logotherapy.”
Israeli Ambassador to Azerbaijan Dan Stav, who attended the premiere, emphasized the high level of relations between the two countries.
“Azerbaijan is historically a tolerant country where people of the Jewish community, all citizens, regardless of nationality and religion, are highly respected. There are strong ties between the Jewish and Azerbaijani people that were laid many centuries ago and today play an important role in further strengthening relations between our countries” said Stav.
Arye Gut, an Israeli expert in the field of international relations who heads the Baku International Center for Multiculturalism in Israel, said, “Azerbaijan has been and remains the homeland for representatives of many religions and peoples, a vivid example of multiculturalism and tolerance for many countries. As a citizen of Israel, I note with gratitude and pride that the leadership of Azerbaijan takes a careful and warm attitude to traditions and life as all communities living in Azerbaijan, including the country’s Jewish community, which has no precedent in the world.”
■ PAST AND present diplomats, journalists who write on diplomacy and hi-tech experts will come together at IDC Herzliya on Monday, January 7, for a conference on innovative diplomacy. In recent years there have been revolutionary changes in how diplomacy is conducted and how technology plays a significant role in that revolution. Some technology experts also brought their knowledge into the practice of local government. A prime example is former Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, a pioneer of Israel’s Innovation Ecosystem, who will take time out from campaigning for the Likud primaries in order to be among the speakers at the conference. Among the speakers are Ambassador Ron Prosor who currently chairs IDC’s Abba Eban Institute of International Diplomacy; Tal Shalev, Walla diplomatic correspondent; Lea Landman, head of Diplomacy 2030 at the Abba Eban Institute; former diplomat Nadav Tamir who is director of international affairs at the Peres & Associates firm; Aliza Bin-Noun, Israel’s ambassador to France; Chris Cannan, Australia’s ambassador to Israel; Andy David, director of innovation entrepreneurship and technology at Israel’s Foreign Ministry; Zohar Palti, director of the Policy and Political Military Bureau at Israel’s Defense Ministry, plus a bevy of other high-ranking personalities.
■ THE EVENT was organized long before the date of the Knesset elections was announced, but it’s a perfect platform for former defense minister Avigdor Liberman to try to woo new voters to his Yisrael Beytenu party. Liberman will be addressing the Tel Aviv International Salon of young professionals at Urban Place in the Shalom Tower on Sunday, January 13. The Q&A session will be conducted in English, and Liberman, who continues to talk on security issues, will discuss Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and international tensions vis-à-vis Israel.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is scheduled to address the same group on Tuesday, February 12, at WeWork-Hazerem to explain the principles of The New Right, the party she has formed with Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett. It’s quite possible, now that Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick has joined the party, that Shaked will ask her to come along and spread her influence among the audience of mostly native English speakers. Glick speaks with somewhat more passion than Shaked, and as a native English speaker she would probably have more impact than Shaked with an English-speaking crowd.
■ JUST A couple of hours before switching political affiliations and joining Likud, MK Yoav Gallant, still wearing his construction minister’s title, was in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem for the laying of the cornerstone of the reconstruction of the Tiferet Israel Synagogue that was destroyed by Jordanian forces in 1948, some 80 years after its original construction was completed. It goes without saying that Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion was also there, as were several members of the Jerusalem Municipal Council including Aryeh King and Dov Kalmanovich. Others present included Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin who failed in his bid to change his title to mayor of Jerusalem; head of the National Service Authority Reuven Pinski; Gush Etzion Mayor Shlomo Ne’eman; and many other notables, including Moshe Mandelbaum, a former governor of the Bank of Israel who wept as he poured concrete on the cornerstone. Mandelbaum, 85, was probably one of the few, if not the only person present, who had actually been inside the original structure.
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