Grapevine: Keeping the GA participants sweet

n WHEN BROTHERS Yariv and Sahar Shefa founded the first Aroma Espresso Bar in Jerusalem in 1994, they might have envisaged a local chain in the capital, but it is unlikely they foresaw that their enterprise would grow to national and international proportions. Aroma was among the coffee bars operating at the United Jewish Communities General Assembly at Binyenei Ha'uma in Jerusalem, but it was the only one serving free coffee, cookies and brownies. Not everyone was aware of this, and hundreds of participants patronized other coffee shops, where they forked out good money for refreshments they would have been able to get on the house if they had walked far enough through the corridors. Aside from having outlets all over Israel plus one in SoHo in New York and one in west Toronto, Aroma will soon be opening two more espresso bars in New York - at 161 W. 72nd Street and 205 E. 32nd Street - plus another in the Promenade Shopping Mall in Toronto. Since most of the participants in the GA were from North America, with very large representations from New York and Toronto, Aroma wanted to get the message out. n JERUSALEM'S HERZOG Hospital, a psychogeriatric institution that is Israel's leading hospital for treating psychotrauma and has made tremendous, groundbreaking headway in researching genetics and Alzheimer's, has appointed Dr. Adi Sasson as its medical director. Sasson will work alongside the institution's director-general, Dr. Yehezkiel Caine. Sasson was until recently deputy director of Hartzfeld Hospital in Gedera and previously head of the planning branch in the Israel Defense Forces' Medical Corps. A specialist in internal medicine, Sasson is a graduate of the Sackler Medical Faculty of Tel Aviv University. n ALTHOUGH HE has occasionally been criticized by the religious establishment, some of whose organizations will not accept financial help from him, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, is a welcome guest at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, which through its exhibits and various education programs, fosters mutual respect and understanding between people of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds in all the lands of the Bible. As an expression of appreciation for what Eckstein is doing toward building bridges between Christians and Jews, the museum's managing director, Amanda Weiss, presented him with an exhibition catalog and a certificate acknowledging his lifelong dedication to bringing Christians and Jews closer together, while strengthening Israel and the Jewish Diaspora by raising funds from millions of Christians around the world. The presentation was made to Eckstein when he visited the museum to film segments for his upcoming series The Journey to Zion, to be broadcast to viewers around the globe. n POPULAR composer Nahum Heiman, who is the father of pop singer Si Heiman, has in recent years devoted much of his time to collecting and archiving the works of Hebrew songwriters since before the establishment of the state onwards. Not only is he preserving forgotten melodies, but as much as is possible he has traced the biographies of the composers and the performers of these songs to ensure that they will not entirely fade from memory. In fact, he is often interviewed on radio about what he is doing, and the interviews are sometimes followed by the broadcast of recordings of works by the composers that he has been talking about. On Tuesday, Heiman will begin a series in Chapters in the History of Hebrew Songwriting at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, where in multimedia presentations and singalongs he will focus on different composers and on poets whose verses have been set to music. The first in the series are Avraham Shlonsky and Alexander Penn. The second, on December 30, will be Natan Alterman. All three were leading figures in Tel Aviv's Bohemian circles. The series will continue until June 9, 2009. n PEOPLE IN business say that as good as any idea or product may be, the essence is in the timing. Proof of the pudding is the planned November 24 book launch at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv of Long Short Journey. The author is former chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, who this week announced that he is following predecessors such as Shaul Mofaz, Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, Ehud Barak, Rafael Eitan, Mordechai Gur, Haim Bar-Lev, Yitzhak Rabin, Moshe Dayan and Yigael Yadin into the political arena, where he may discover that life is tougher than on the battlefield. Up until now, Ya'alon has served in civilian life as a senior distinguished fellow at the Shalem Center's Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies in Jerusalem. The book launch will serve as a good springboard for his political campaign in his bid to enter the Knesset on a Likud ticket. n CELLCOM CEO Amos Shapira hosted an international communications conference at Tel Aviv University where, inter alia, he demonstrated the last word in cellphones. But there were also representatives from other branches of the communications media, and before the event was officially due to start, the auditorium was already full and included representatives of Fox, MTV, AT&T and the Nokia Corporation, to name but a few. n GENERALLY SPEAKING, it's not easy to take over a large and popular restaurant for a private party - unless, of course, one happens to be the proprietor. Businessman Carl Linde, the owner of Meat and Wine, the largest kosher restaurant in Herzliya Pituah, invited some hundred guests to join him in launching Eye Can, an organization dedicated to promoting awareness of eye cancer in children and raising funds for eye cancer research. The name of the organization is a word play indicating not only what the organization is about but also that anyone who contributes to it has a part in effecting a cure. Not enough is known in Israel about eye cancer in children, so Linde invited Prof. Jacob Pe'er, head of the Department of Ophthalmology, and Dr. Michael Weintraub, head of the Department of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at the Hadassah-University Medical Center Jerusalem to provide some essential information for his guests. Also present was Israel Prize laureate Rabbi Avraham Firer, who is known for his impressive grasp of medicine without having studied it formally, and has countless contacts in Israel and abroad with experts in almost every field of medicine and can instantly consult with them and refer patients to them. Firer has done a great deal to help children with eye cancer. Both Pe'er and Weintraub stressed the importance of explaining the condition to parents and children so they would have a better understanding of the treatment involved. Among those who attended to support Linde's effort were David Begner, Dina Brilliant, Moshe Bronner, Debbie Brooks, Tom Franz, Rachel Gossat, David Greenberg, Judy Lev, David Martin, Naomi Pugatsh, Corinne Ruben, Kalman Schreiber, Dr. Jeffrey Toretsky and several prominent businesspeople from Israel and abroad.