Grapevine: Photo ops

Grapevine Photo ops

n SOCIETY PHOTOGRAPHERS Sarah Davidovich and Eti Salanski are also socialites who are on so many invitation lists that they seldom have a moment to themselves. Good friends who work both independently and together, neither goes anywhere without her small pocket camera. The two are also event organizers - often in a voluntary capacity. Their services are sought by charity organizations because they personally know everyone who's anyone, so there is always a guarantee that events they produce will include several well-known personalities. Most recently Davidovich and Salanski joined forces with Haim Maman, editor of Yerushalayim Shelanu, to organize a benefit night for the Aid to the Elderly Organization and Beit Frankforter, a facility for senior citizens. Some of the money raised will go toward giving the residence a facelift. The event was emceed by Menahem Perry of Israel Radio. The Levy family, which owns and operates the Shalom Hotel, donated not only the premises but also a tasty three-course meal, with no scrimping on the food. While guests donated NIS 500 per couple to the cause, the main attraction was Rabbanit Bruria Zvuluni, who has been blessed with similar powers to those of her famous brother Rabbi Ya'acov Yisrael Ifergan, also known as "Harentgen" (the X-ray), because of his uncanny ability to diagnose medical ailments and to foresee whether a business transaction will succeed or fail. Surrounded by admirers from the minute she entered the room, Zvuluni was inundated by people who wanted to be photographed with her. Among the other guests were Avi Balashnikov, the former director general of the Knesset, now representing Ronald Lauder in Israel, and his wife, Revital; Dr. Tzvika (Herman), who was the pediatrician to the sons of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and the doctor's wife, Elisabeth Berkovits, a leading figure at the Jerusalem Conservatorium, who taught Yair Netanyahu to play the piano; retired diplomat Ovadia Sofer and his wife, Dorin; former MK Esterina Tartman; Ruth Nissim, the wife of former government minister Moshe Nissim; Rabbanit Hadassah Ralbag; businessman and restaurateur Simo Tobul; WIZO Jerusalem president Simi Mor and her husband, Oved; attorney Etya Simcha; Kitty Shenkar; fashion designers Michal Azoulay and Odelya Mizrahi; Shula Barkat, the mother of the mayor; and Mayor Nir Barkat, who dropped by for a few moments to publicly applaud the work of the organization, especially its director-general, Sima Zini. Both the mayor and Zvuluni could have made a lot of extra money for the organization if they had asked everyone who wanted to be photographed with them to put an additional donation into the box. As it was, extra money was raised through an auction sale of ritual objects and works of art. Yuval and Sari Cohen bid $2,000 for a silver Kiddush cup and saucer on condition that they would receive a blessing from Zvuluni. Needless to say, they got it.
  • CHANNEL 2's reporter in the Galilee and the North Menahem Horowitz, usually seen in overly casual attire, was barely recognizable when he showed up in Jerusalem in a smart suit and tie to emcee Machon Lev's 40th anniversary gala dinner and farewell tribute to outgoing president Prof. Joseph Bodenheimer. The esteemed professor has been with the institution, otherwise known as The Jerusalem College of Technology, since its inception and has just completed four consecutive four-year terms as president. Horowitz took the liberty of telling Mayor Nir Barkat that while the JCT students enjoy a beautiful, ever-growing campus, its sister facility, Machon Tal, the Women's Institute of Engineering, established in 2000, is operating out of a dilapidated building. Gently suggesting that JCT's female students deserve something better, Horowitz asked the municipality to allocate land for a new women's campus for students who come to Jerusalem from all over the country. It may have been hitting a little below the belt and putting the mayor on the spot but Barkat, while not specifically making a commitment, did say: "The institute is on our agenda for strategic planning for higher education."
  • THE MAYOR is also interested in the preservation of historic buildings. Barkat was reportedly furious when he learned that a 120-year-old building, which included a wing built 90 years ago, was pulled down to make way for a new yeshiva in the Bukharan quarter. The yeshiva initially hired Giora Solar, an architect experienced in the integration of old buildings into new architectural designs by numbering the bricks and carefully removing them so that they can be properly incorporated into the new structure. Solar followed all the guidelines set down by the Jerusalem Municipality, but workmen, at the behest of the yeshiva, came in and gutted the whole building so that nothing could be salvaged from the ruins. The yeshiva claimed that the building posed a threat to public safety, but Solar argued that even if the building had collapsed, no one would have been injured. Ofer Mai, the head of the Municipality's Department for the Supervision of Construction, has proposed punishing the yeshiva by denying it a building permit for a period of at least 20 years, as well as imposing a fine of NIS 250,000. Some of the mayor's colleagues at City Hall agree that such a penalty would serve to deter future real estate developers with little or no respect for history.