Grapevine: Happy birthday, Israel

Israel isn't alone in celebrating- here's a look at other important birthdays being celebrated in Israel

grapes 88 (photo credit: )
grapes 88
(photo credit: )
Israel's former ambassador to Egypt Zvi Mazel and his wife Michelle celebrated the 40th birthday of their son Yossi last Friday. Yossi was born in Jerusalem on Yom Ha'atzmaut, causing his parents to miss the annual Independence Day march. The senior Mazels, who still live in Jerusalem, went to Tel Aviv to celebrate Yossi's birthday with their other children, grandchildren and in-laws who all live on the Coastal Plain. Michelle Mazel recalled that Teddy Kollek, who was then mayor of Jerusalem, had promised a prize to the mothers of all the babies born on the 20th anniversary of the state, but it never came through. Mazel suspects that there may have been too many babies born on that date. In her section of the ward alone, she recalled, there were eight. Minister for Immigrant Absorption Ya'acov Edri, who was born in Morocco and immigrated to Israel in 1959 at age 8, and Jerusalem-born and raised Jewish Agency Chairman Ze'ev Bielski were on hand at Ben-Gurion Airport on Monday to welcome some 400 new immigrants from 23 countries who arrived in Israel just in time for the nation's 60th anniversary. As it does every year, the Jewish Agency also brought some 100 parents of lone soldiers serving in Israel to be temporarily reunited with their sons and daughters who are serving in the IDF. In his sermon at Hazvi Yisrael Synagogue in Jerusalem last Saturday, Rabbi Avigdor Burstein made the point that this is a generation of transition, with people having come to Israel with a number tattooed on their arm and opting to wear dog tags with another kind of number, as well as exchanging the humiliation of being forced to wear the yellow star for the pride in having the blue and white star on their uniforms. Althought she has an ongoing dispute with the Women's International Zionist Organization (WIZO) over the possible closure of its old-age home in Tel Aviv, WIZO honorary life president |Raya Jaglom, who is a former world president and treasurer of the organization for which she has raised tens of millions of dollars over the years, could not help but give another donation of her own to WIZO on Holocaust Remembrance Day. It was brought to her attention that pupils at WIZO schools do not participate in the annual March of the Living in Poland. While WIZO supports their education and their upkeep, there are not enough funds to send them abroad. Jaglom gave a handsome sum of money to the WIZO in memory of her grandmother who starved to death in Tbilisi, with the proviso that these funds be used to send at least one child from each WIZO school to Poland to participate in this meaningful march. Jaglom's success as a fundraiser can be attributed, among other reasons, to a lesson she learned from her mentor Rebecca Sieff, one of the founders of the WIZO. Sieff taught her that to raise money one has to set an example by giving oneself. Jaglom has done this not only for the WIZO, but the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and other organizations and institutions. Somehwat provocative in her world view, Ben-Gurion University Jewish history Prof. Hanna Yablonka, who is also historian of the Ghetto Fighters' Museum at Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot, says there's no point in sending IDF groups to Poland. It doesn't serve any useful purpose and the money spent could be directed elsewhere, she argues. Army education officers beg to differ and are infuriated by her remarks. Yablonka, a panelist on a Channel 1 program devoted to second-generation Holocaust survivors, negated the theory that survivors inflicted their own traumas on their children and said she had a perfectly normal childhood. In a program on Israel Radio, Yablonka spoke of the importance of the Eichmann trial in that it opened the door for individuals to tell their own personal stories instead of being outside the pale of the six million murdered Jews keeping their tragically painful experiences to themselves.