Grapevine: Total separation

Movers and shakers in Israeli society.

Herzog Hospital

JERUSALEM’S HERZOG Medical Center has joined other Israeli hospitals in converting some of their units into special inpatient divisions for cases of COVID 19. According to HMC spokeswoman Ayelet Mishor, the 160-bed underground section of HMC will be reserved for coronavirus patients. This total separation from the rest of the hospital will protect other patients and will enable HMC to easily absorb coronavirus patients from Beilinson, Sheba and Rambam Medical Centers. HMC director general Dr. Yeheziel Caine underscored the importance of the total separation of the protected underground hospital section from the actual medical center, as the people in the medical center are in the high-risk age group.

AFTER INNUMERABLE prayers for Rabbanit Denah Weinberg (Denah bat Esther), her son Yehudah, along with other members of her family and numerous friends, are happy to report that after more than a month in hospital, where at one stage her condition deteriorated alarmingly, she is back home and no longer in need of oxygen. Weinberg’s late husband, Rabbi Noah Weinberg, was the founder of Aish HaTorah. Perhaps buoyed by the prayers of those who love her, Rabbanit Weinberg rallied to the extent that the doctors discharged her from their care. However, her son believes that a few more prayers for her health will not go astray. 

THERE IS an unfortunate tendency among a large sector of the Israeli public to treat residents of facilities for senior citizens as if they all have Alzheimers or dementia. True, the faculties of many people are somewhat reduced as they age, but not everyone is affected that way, and some people even reach a triple digit age without losing the sharpness of their brain, the keenness of their eye or the sensitivity of their ear. It really makes no difference whether someone in a retirement home is 70 or 100, society seems to paint them all with same brush, even though some are actually recognized geniuses. 

One such person is American-born physicist Stephen J. Wiesner, 78, who last year was among the initial recipients of what was then the newly founded Micius Foundation for Quantum Theory. Associated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the foundation headed by Luo Yi is a non-profit organization that aims to promote development of quantum information science and technology.

Wiesner, who resides at Beit Moses in Baka, came on aliya in 1993 and opted to live in Mitzpe Ramon, after which he moved to Tekoah where he stayed for 10 years, during which time he was affiliated with Tel Aviv University. He moved to Jerusalem from Tekoah.

Soon after the coronavirus pandemic hit Israel, he was quietly contacted by the Micius Foundation, which asked him if masks were needed. After discussing the matter with Orna Shabtai Grinbaum, the deputy director and head social worker at Beit Moses, Wiesner responded in the affirmative. Delivery of the masks was expedited and they arrived at Beit Moses within a few days.

THOUGH RETIRED from the clinical practice of dentistry, Dr. Steve Sattler is a man of many interests with a broad range of knowledge on many subjects, including trains and public health. He continues to research and lecture on public health, and his main sub-specialty is the statistical analysis of medical research results. The lecture circuit has taken him to 25 countries over the past three years. To make life more interesting and challenging during the period of isolation, Sattler devises daily quizzes that he transmits via email to almost everyone on his contact list.

Sending quizzes, videos and quotes from the famous has become the new way of staying in touch when there isn’t much left for people to say to each other.

THE JERUSALEM-headquartered Hebrew Language Academy has been heavily challenged since the advent of the corona crisis. So many words that are not part of the everyday speech of the ordinary person in the street have crept into the language. Radio and television personalities often face criticism for using universal English words with a Hebrew prefix or suffix instead of using the word that the Academy deems appropriate. One of the most amusing is lenarmel (to normalize). 

When veteran broadcaster and historian Yitzhak Noy, who has two consecutive weekly programs on KAN Reshet Bet, asked KAN’s language advisor Ruth Almagor for the Hebrew translation of coronavirus, Almagor, a member of the Hebrew Language Academy, consulted her colleagues, who decided not to decide and to not cloak the word in some unrecognizable Hebrew equivalent. Other words which for the most part have retained their multi-national identities regardless of whether or not the Academy wanted to translate them into Hebrew are globali, universali, psychi, normali, collectivi, grandiosi – and more. But at least the Hebrew suffix is there. 

Then again, it could be Italian.