Grapevine: Clothes encounters

The IPO gets ready for a Japan tour, Kobi Oz entertains at the ROI Summit, a farewell to Ariel, and WIZO celebrates its 90th anniversary.

EVEN THOUGH much of the country’s fashion output is made in China, the creativity behind the garments is inspired and trained here at schools like Shenkar and Bezalel, both of which held endof- year fashion shows this month to display the talents of their graduate students. The Shenkar show, sponsored by Castro, was held in the glamorous surroundings of Stoa, one of the banqueting facilities at Kibbutz Ga’ash. The Bezalel show was held without fanfare at Jerusalem’s Central Post Office.
Both events, though vastly different, were exciting and richly imaginative.
All Shenkar and Bezalel fashion shows are inspired by broad issues, and fashion photos and catalogues often go into convoluted explanations about what impacted on the design. The viewer, of course, is seldom affected by these considerations. All that matters is whether the garment makes a statement or not – and whether one would love to have it in one’s closet, or regrets that some wonderful creation was made for people of somewhat different proportions.
It’s very difficult for students, no matter how talented, to keep on being innovative, particularly when fashion trends are being recycled. The various collections reflected a mood of uncertainty. Perhaps this was the reason that the Shenkar students were at their best with tailored outfits; good tailoring requires technique, and technique is something that Shenkar students are particularly good at.
Bezalel’s Rachel Lichtenstadt took everyone’s breath away with her voluminous, multicolored reversible batwing dress that had enough meters of fabric from which to make at least another four dresses. Lichtenstadt had lost count of the amount of fabric she had used, and when asked how much after the show, she could only say, “A lot.”
Another amazingly creative Bezalel student was footwear designer Lihi Lasker, who devised an extraordinary layered soft shoe, which is really three separate shoes in different shades which are worn on top of each other, and through clever lacing, form a trishaded rosette at the top of the foot.
The model kept on taking them off and putting them back on to endless cries of wonder and admiration.
■ IT’S HUMAN nature to be slow to praise and quick to criticize. Thus in the media world (as in most other places), we get more feedback on what we do wrong than what we do right. A technical hiccup on a photo caption last week had Richard Shavei Tzion, the conductor of the Ramatayim choir, mistakenly listed as the conductor of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue choir, whose actual conductor Elli Jaffe, received numerous phone calls from concerned followers who wanted to know if his position had been usurped. Several people also brought the matter to Shavei Tzion’s attention, with some wondering whether he had left Ramatyim in favor of the Great Synagogue choir.
As they say in Hebrew lo valo – most definitely not. Each conductor is satisfied with his lot and prefers to stay with it. Four generations of the Jaffe family are now associated with the Great Synagogue, so any change is unlikely.
■ SOME NINETY supporters and members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, including MKs, diplomats and the leading lights of the business community, gathered at the residence of Japanese Ambassador Haruhisa Takeuchi last Thursday night to wish the IPO well prior to its forthcoming October/November tour of Japan.
Dressed in a business suit, Maestro Zubin Mehta did not look quite as dramatic as he had earlier in the week at Eshkol Park, when he wore a loose white tunic as he conducted the IPO in a special concert for Gilad Schalit.
But, as always, his presence was magnetic.
In welcoming the guests, Takeuchi spoke of the previous successes of the IPO in Japan, and noted that this year marks the 50th anniversary of its first visit. The IPO has earned more and more enthusiastic fans every time it has performed in Japan, he said, as a result of which it now visits every two to three years. The affection seems to be mutual, he observed. Many members of the orchestra have made friends in Japan, know where to dine and look forward to each visit.
The ambassador also made special mention of 2012, which will mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations, during which there will be many cultural and other exchanges between the two countries. Takeuchi expressed the hope that the IPO would once again be involved in such exchanges.
It was a night for noting anniversaries.
It was the 110th anniversary year of the birth of Japanese diplomat and former deputy consul in Lithuania Chiune ‘Sempo’ Sugihara, who is counted as Righteous among the Nations for having defied the regulations of his ministry and risking his career to issue visas to thousands of Lithuanian Jews escaping the Nazis.
Among the guests was Nina Admoni, who 70 years earlier had received such a visa.
For all that this evoked, Takeuchi did not forget to talk about music, and recalled that when he was a young student in France, he had a classmate who came from Latin America. When a military coup d’etat occurred in his country, he was detained in a stadium for days. One day, amid his despair, he heard music. He had no idea where it came from, nor could he tell whether it emanated from a record player or a radio. Distant and faint, it reached his ears on a breeze. At that moment, he felt as if he had been hit by a thunder.
“Here is the power of the music.
Stronger than the sword and bullet in its resilience, it transcends the national boundaries, goes beyond the troubled water of despair, agony and hatred, and gives us hope and meaning to live,” declared Takeuchi, using the anecdote to thank Mehta and the IPO for the music and for their love of Japan.
Mehta responded by saying the IPO’s tours of Japan had become a tradition, and that the orchestra had come to know the country from the northern to the southern tip. He was also appreciative of the fact that Japan had always received the IPO well regardless of any political differences that it may have had with Israel. He loved going to Japan, he said, because everything on the Japanese tour was so well arranged.
The musical interlude at the reception was provided by flautist Yossi Arnheim and harpist Yulia Rubinsky.
Before the IPO leaves for Japan, it will hold its annual gala concert at the Tel Aviv Hilton, followed by a festive dinner on Saturday, October 16. Bizet’s Carmen will be the central theme of this year’s gala. The Hilton, which is Mehta’s home away from home to the extent that his name is on the door of his suite, has more or less adopted the IPO, and goes to great lengths to ensure the success of the gala.
■ IN A span of nearly 21 years at The Jerusalem Post, photographer Ariel Jerozolimski published more than 15,000 photographs that chronicled the nation’s history and those who made it. But he is moving on to a different focus, and the many friends that he made at the Post congregated at the Har Adar home of Linda Amar, assistant to editor in chief David Horovitz, to give him a fond farewell.
Present and former staff members who worked directly or indirectly with Jerozolimski took the opportunity to tell him how much they appreciated not only his professionalism, but also his unfailing good nature. There were numerous anecdotes about him and the ability he had to tell people in authority – including heads of state – what to do and how to pose, simply because they respected him as a photographer who knew what he was doing.
Israel Prize laureate David Rubinger, who worked for 40 years for Time magazine, and had also worked for the Post, said that when he was writing his autobiography, it suddenly dawned on him that he had been taking photos in Beersheba in the morning and in Lebanon in the afternoon, and thinking back, he wondered how he’d managed that.
However, when looking at the Post and seeing how many places Jerozolimski managed to get to in one day, he considered him to be the best, and in a voice ringing with admiration said that he could never be in as many places in the one day as Jerozolimski.
■ BECAUSE HE’S a true professional Kobi Oz bravely stuck it out with his performance at the ROI Summit in Jerusalem last week. Some of the 120 young Jewish leaders and entrepreneurs, who were here for the fifth ROI (Renewing Our Investment) Summit, were more interested in networking than in listening to music, even though Oz, who is one of the country’s leading musical exponents, had been engaged as a special treat. The ROI people along with several other invitees began leaving their seats even before it was announced that Oz and his enthusiastic and highly talented band were performing. Still, a small hard core kept closing ranks, moving forward and singing along with gusto.
Oz, who was singing the songs from his latest album Psalms for the Perplexed could have left the stage as soon as he saw what was happening, but decided to keep going for the sake of those who stayed to enjoy his music. Later, after completing the concert, he returned, with his band in tow, to give a personal off-stage performance for “my minyan.” Curiously, the people who had left earlier to talk to each other on another part of the lawn suddenly began gravitating toward Oz and his fans.
■ WIZO, THE Women’s International Zionist Organization, celebrated its 90th anniversary last Sunday. WIZO was founded in London on July 11, 1920 by Vera Weizmann (the wife of Israel’s first president), Romana Goodman, Edith Eder, Henrietta Irwell and Rebecca Sieff, who became its first president and held the position for 43 years. In 1963, she was made honorary life president, a title she held until her death in 1966.
During its first two decades, WIZO was headquartered in London, and then moved to Tel Aviv.
Rosa Ginosar, the first practicing woman lawyer in the Yishuv, succeeded Sieff as president, serving from 1966-1970. She was actually the second woman to be admitted to the Bar, but her predecessor Freda Slutzkin did not take up the profession. Ginosar was succeeded by Raya Jaglom, who was a personal protégé of Sieff’s, and who remained in office for 26 years, until she became an honorary life president.
Jaglom, who joined WIZO in 1941, was known to be the organization’s greatest fund-raiser, and today, at 91, continues to take an interest. She attributes her skill as a fund-raiser to Sieff, who taught her that the best way to raise a lot of money is to set an example by giving yourself. Jaglom has contributed generously not only to WIZO but to the Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, the Tel Aviv Museum, the IPO and other organizations and institutions.
Jaglom was succeeded by Michal Moda’i, the first and so far the only sabra world president of WIZO.
Moda’i was in office from 1996 to 2004, and is today an honorary life president. She was succeeded by the current incumbent Helena Glaser.
WIZO has more than quarter of a million members in some 50 federations around the world, with the largest membership here.
■ FORMER MK and government minister Ophir Paz-Pines is a binational who also holds Dutch citizenship by virtue of his parentage. It stands to reason that Paz-Pines, who went to South Africa for the World Cup, was rooting for Holland. As a member of the Labor Party, he did have a slight problem with the Dutch national color of orange, which is actually that of the royal family. Here, orange is the color of the settler movement, and came up most vividly during the evacuation from Gaza when ousted settlers and their supporters wore orange arm and wrist bands, and orange T-shirts, and tied orange ribbons around their heads and to their backpacks. Paz-Pines celebrated his 49th birthday in South Africa on July 11. It would have been a much happier occasion for Paz-Pines if Holland had won the World Cup, but even second place – the third painful time the Dutch have come so close without winning – was quite an achievement.
■ YET ANOTHER former government minister Shlomo Benizri, who is serving a prison sentence and was denied permission to attend the circumcision ceremony of his grandson some months ago, will in all probability be allowed to attend the wedding of his son Nati to Efrat Dahan soon after Rosh Hashana. The couple visited Benizri at Massiyahu to receive his blessing, and set the wedding date for a time when he will be eligible for a furlough.
■ “APOLOGIES TO Yaron London that you took it so much to heart that you were not invited to the bar mitzva of my son. We invited only people with whom we want to be in contact and not those to whom crumbs are thrown on the basis of their impressive past and who out of sympathy are kept at their place of employment – envious and without a life. Because, I unlike you my friend am a person with heart, I promise to forgive you and to invite you to our next event.”
This was the Facebook response of Judy Shalom Nir Mozes to the verbal assault on Channel 10 by veteran television personality Yaron London, who described the bar mitzva celebration that JSNM and her husband, Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, hosted for their son Alon last Thursday, at the Ocean Banquet Halls in the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, as a disgusting affair for sycophants who wanted to be counted among the elite.
It is understandable that JSNM, as a prominent third-generation member of one of the country’s leading media families, and her husband, a longtime politician and former journalist, would have a very wide circle of friends and acquaintances.
In fact, at the beginning of this week, JSNM’s friends on Facebook numbered 4,999. Over the years, following in her mother’s footsteps, she has been actively involved in a number of social welfare organizations, and almost invariably takes the side of the underdog in her weekly radio program on Reshet Bet.
Nonetheless, the couple managed to limit the invitation list to less than a thousand.
Alon had made it clear that he didn’t want the bar mitzva to be a political affair, so the only past and present politicians invited were those with whom his parents genuinely socialize – among them President Shimon Peres, Haim Ramon, Roni Milo, Danny Naveh, Reuven Rivlin, Meir Sheetrit and Ruhama Avraham.
Shalom, who loves to sing and play guitar, entertained the guests. He’s not the only minister who sings and plays guitar. Sheetrit will also strum a guitar and sing at almost any opportunity.
■ THE STORK seems to be keen on visiting the news department of Channel 1. After the two weather forecasters swelled with anticipated pride, news reader Merav Miller also joined the ladies in waiting. She and her husband Eyal Sherman are expecting their first child – a boy.
■ IN JEWISH tradition, when someone living is erroneously reported to have died, it’s a symbol that this person will have a very long life. Rolf Hellinger, 87, has already lived a long life – but if all goes according to that tradition, he will live for much longer.
Hellinger’s claim to fame is that as the proprietor of the Radio Doctor recording company, he recorded David Ben-Gurion as he read out the Declaration of Independence in Tel Aviv.
When the Tel Aviv City Council received a request to honor Hellinger’s name in perpetuity, it passed on the request to the Speaker of the Knesset, who in turn referred it to the appropriate Knesset committee for discussion.
According to a report in Yediot Aharonot, a decision was recently reached to name a street after Hellinger because the title of Worthy of Tel Aviv could not be awarded posthumously. A letter to this effect was sent from the Knesset to the Tel Aviv City Council and to Hellinger’s home (on the presumption that his heirs still lived there). Hellinger, who suffers from Parkinson’s, but is otherwise alive and well, was somewhat bemused and hastened to write a letter to the Burial Society dryly asking to be informed as to the location of his grave and when it was sending someone to bury him.
Copies of the letter were sent to the Knesset and the Tel Aviv Municipality.