Grapevine: Celebrating in style

  • THERE'S AN old American saying that the family that prays together stays together. That doesn't quite apply to Orthodox Jewish circles where men and women are separated - sometimes by a screen or a curtain, but more often by a gallery. Since they can't sit together anyway, Jonathan and Chana Sheink, who live in the Wolfson complex on the edge of Sha'arei Hessed, go to different synagogues: She prefers Hanassi Synagogue, he prefers Hagra Synagogue. When their 50th wedding anniversary loomed, they were in somewhat of a quandary as to where and how to celebrate. Jonathan Sheink, a retired lawyer, still has business interests in Australia, where they were married, and as fate would have it, the Sheinks were in Australia on their anniversary and celebrated it with old friends. However, they also wanted to raise a glass with family and friends they've made in Israel. So two weeks ago, they hosted a big kiddush at Hanassi Synagogue, which has a remarkable number of congregants who have celebrated golden wedding anniversaries and beyond, and last Shabbat, they hosted members of the Hagra congregation at another kiddush. In a few weeks time, they will again have cause for celebration when their grandson Itamar Waller and his wife Maayan present them with their first great-grandchild. Itamar's younger brother Nahum is dating Hanna Sharansky, the beautiful younger daughter of Avital and Natan Sharansky, and it looks quite serious. But the Sharanskys are currently busy planning for the mid-2008 wedding of their other daughter Rachel.
  • TO CELEBRATE the 200th anniversary in 2009 of the arrival in Jerusalem of the first member of the huge Rivlin family, Rivlins from Jerusalem and around the world have pledged to contribute a new wing to Herzog Memorial Hospital. The cost of the wing has been estimated at $1.5 million, and its opening will provide an opportunity for Rivlins far and wide to once again gather in Jerusalem for a heart-warming family reunion. Herzog Hospital Public Relations Director Ellen Shmueloff revealed the Rivlins' enthusiasm for the project at the annual Silver Platter luncheon of the Hug Yovel Ezrat Nashim Association of the Sarah Herzog Memorial Hospital. The well-attended event was held at the home of Riva and David Rotenberg. Hug Yovel president Sue Lerner noted that Hug Yovel is one of the few organizations in which all proceeds from the luncheon go for the cause for which it is intended. In other words, there are no deductions for expenses. Various members provide the different menu items and also do the cleaning up after the event. The Hug Yovel group was created by the late Lily Silver of Toronto and Jerusalem, and the Silver Platter luncheon was frequently held in her home. Her daughter Debra continues to attend the Silver Platter luncheons and to be associated with the hospital which was so dear to her mother. Also present was one of the most veteran members of Hug Yovel, Marga Carlebach, who though aged 97, remains clear-eyed, barely has a wrinkle and is widely regarded as the youngest member of the group. Entertainment at the event was provided by singer Nomi Kalisch, whose vast repertoire includes liturgical songs, opera, folk songs, lieder and musical comedy, which she sang in Hebrew, English, Russian, Italian and German.
  • NATIVE JERUSALEMITE David Harris, one of Israel's veteran photographers, is currently exhibiting a black-and-white nostalgia show covering the period 1948-1968 at Beit Avi Chai. Harris, who started photographing before the establishment of the state, has captured and chronicled its history through the lens of his camera. From 1948 to 1950, he was an official photographer with the IDF, after which he spent a year in New York studying at the School of Modern Photography from which he graduated with distinction. On his return home, he was appointed director of the photography department of the Jewish Agency's Information Department, where he remained till 1958. He subsequently became a freelance photographer. From 1978 to 1983, Harris headed the photography department at Hadassah Community College, after which he returned to freelance photography. His current exhibition is primarily devoted to the waves of aliya from North Africa. Given that this is Israel's 60th anniversary year, there will probably be several more nostalgia exhibitions by other veteran photographers such as Israel Prize laureate David Rubinger, who a couple of years back discovered the negatives of the late Paul Goldman, and was instrumental in having 100 of Goldman's images from 1943-1961 exhibited at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv. Several of Rubinger's own nostalgia photographs are on permanent display at the Knesset.