Grapevine: Flanks but no thanks

JERUSALEM MAYOR Nir Barkat had his chambers renovated in such a way as to have all the deputy mayors flanked on either side of him with the aim of enabling greater efficiency and instant access between the mayor and the deputies. However one deputy, Pepe Allalu, who holds the city's cultural portfolio, declined to move up to the sixth floor ivory tower. He said that he was quite happy to remain in his fifth floor office from which he enjoys the view. AMONG RECIPIENTS of awards this week by the Hebrew University Jerusalem were Rachel Rabin and Prof. Shlomo Avineri. Rabin, the sister of slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, is one of the founders of Kibbutz Manara on the Lebanese border, where she still lives. Avineri, a world acclaimed political scientist, received the Solomon Bublick Prize and Rabin was awarded the Rothberg Prize. There are also nine outstanding people who received honorary doctorates, among them Cinematheque co-founder Lia Van Leer, who has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Israel Prize; Nobel Prize laureate Prof. Avram Hershko; and EMET Prize laureate Yoni Rechter, a noted musician who is the stepson of actress Hanna Maron and the son of the late renowned architect Ya'acov Rechter. FOR SEVERAL years Hy Brown commuted between Jerusalem and Colorado, where he was a senior instructor in Colorado University's Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, while his wife Nancy remained in Jerusalem keeping the home fires burning. A couple of years back, Brown was invited to teach at the Ariel University of Samaria, where he also serves as an adviser for Ariel's entry in 2010 into the first solar decathlon-Europe, to be held in Madrid. Concurrently, Brown established REAL Housing Ltd., a Jerusalem-based international Israeli corporation that designs and builds affordable solar housing. Recently Brown decided that he was tired of commuting and suggested to the powers-that-be at Colorado University that they give his slot to someone else. His wife, who meanwhile has become active in several volunteer organizations, was delighted with the decision. Equally happy are the men with whom he plays poker because now he'll join the game more often. To celebrate his full-time residence in Jerusalem, Brown and his wife joined some of their fellow congregants at the Hatzvi Yisrael congregation in hosting a kiddush last Saturday. Among the co-hosts were Sue and Mervyn Doobov, originally from Australia, whose son Arieh this week married Dalia Black, the daughter of Lida and Malcolm Black of Manchester. Arieh Doobov is the director of special projects for the Joint Distribution Committee's department that serves the needs of Jewish communities in the former Soviet Union. Sue and Mervyn Doobov were active in the Betar Zionist Youth Movement in Australia. Following their marriage in Brisbane they moved to Canberra, where they lived for some 30 years before coming on aliya in 1998 and settling in Jerusalem. Sue is employed in the Jerusalem branch of the ACCI, and Mervyn works as a writer of patents. VISITING ISRAEL for the first time this past week was Joel Sotomayor from Brazil, who was one of the participants who came from different parts of the world to join the Honest Reporting mission, which toured the country and met with several leading Israeli personalities in Jerusalem. He had been in e-mail correspondence with someone living in Israel and when they had a disagreement over a political issue, his cyberspace pal suggested that he come to Israel and see for himself. He learned about the Honest Reporting mission and decided that it looked interesting but also wanted to be in the position to be able to draw his own conclusions without undue influence. So he came a few days early - and fell in love with Israel regardless of many political differences he might have with government policies.