THERE'S A tiny new museum in Jerusalem in the basement of the new Steimatzky flagship store in the Mamilla Mall. Because the three-story store is located in the building that once belonged to the Stern family, who hosted Herzl on his one and only visit to Jerusalem, the Steimatzky management, which is no longer in Steimatzky family hands, decided to create a mini museum in the basement, devoted partly to Herzl and partly to Steimatzky.
In addition to several photographs taken of Herzl with Zionist leaders in Jerusalem, and bank notes featuring Herzl's face, the hat that he wore during his visit to Jerusalem is also on display. There are also several photographs of Eri Steimatzky, the son of the book publisher and distributor who founded the chain, pictured with various famous Israelis, as well as photos of the Steimatzky store in Lebanon.
KNOWN TO some of their American friends as Milton and Adrianne, Micha and Yael Taubman divide their time mostly between Jerusalem and Palm Beach. They like to be in Jerusalem for Jewish holidays, and this Shavuot had an additional reason: the celebration of Micha's 90th birthday. They celebrated in two rounds - firstly as a Shavuot service in their apartment and later in the week as a regular party.
Some of the friends who showed up at the service walked long distances in the heat and arrived in wilted condition but were soon revived by the plentiful supplies of water and the joyful atmosphere. Among the gifts Micha Taubman received was the first copy of Jews in the Realm of the Sultans: Ottoman Jewry in the Seventeenth Century by Prof. Yaron Ben-Naeh of the Hebrew University. Ben-Naeh originally wrote the book in Hebrew and wanted to give the Taubmans a copy, but they said they couldn't understand it and promptly sponsored an English translation.
Three generations of the Ben-Naeh family attended the service in the Taubman's spacious apartment. While guests including Ralph Goldman, the veteran leader of the Joint Distribution Committee, Raphael Marrache, Rolinda and Rabbi Joe Schoenwald, Elana and Zvi Rozenman, Rochi Ebner, Tirza Mousaieff and many others sampled finger food from the kiddush, caterers set up tables for lunch on the balcony. Although she had not been asked to do so, Taubman's Filipina caregiver, aware that the religious people present could not document the occasion for posterity, took the initiative, and allowed her video camera to pan the room and the balcony over and over again.
FORMER RESIDENTS of New Rochelle in New York, Judy and Gerry Ziering, decided that Shavuot was a great time for a housewarming, and thus held an open house in their magnificent new three-story home in Talbiyeh. Some of their old friends from New Rochelle were in Israel for the holiday and also came by. Last week the couple hosted a party for the people who had designed, built and furnished their home in the holy city. The invitation was extended to the wives who had all heard many stories about the home's magnificent edifice and its interior features, including the stained glass windows designed by Gerry Ziering, as well as the childproof furniture, which enables the Zierings to frequently have their grandchildren come for the weekend, without any heartbreak over scratched and broken surfaces.
WHO DO you think is Israel's best known author in Asia? If you said Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua or David Grossman, believe it or not, you'd be wrong. Although all three have achieved widespread international fame, the Israeli whose books the Asians eagerly snap up is Jerusalemite Eran Katz, a world renowned expert on memory.
An entertaining orator, he is invited to lecture all over the world and claims that anyone can master the ability of instantly recalling names, numbers and other relevant information. It's all a matter of technique and motivation. Katz will be speaking at the UN Brain Education Conference in New York on June 20, but his favorite stomping ground is Asia where he's on the best-seller lists. In an interview on Israel Television he said that he was frequently asked to talk about the Israeli education system that produced such fantastic brains, and had difficulty explaining that the Jewish brain which has proven to be so powerful outside Israel, is somewhat in decline inside Israel because the education system is not what it should be.
When he was young, Katz played memory games as a hobby. He developed exceptional memory skills which transformed the hobby into a profession. However even someone with a memory like his does not remember everything. His wife Yael and daughters Gali and Tamari will testify that he often forgets to take out the garbage.
IN THE 17 years that he has been the treasurer of the Hazvi Yisrael congregation in Jerusalem, Raymond Jayson has meticulously scrutinized every item of expenditure, and has not permitted the outlay of even a single shekel to escape his attention. But last Saturday the synagogue board managed to skirt around him and to organize a kiddush in honor of his 70th birthday. Jayson's good friend Stuart Dove, a former chairman of the congregation, who like Jayson comes from London and is also an accountant by profession, lauded Jayson's dedication and that of his whole family to Hazvi Yisrael, as well as their generosity with regard to many needy causes.
Jayson's wife Delysia is the founder of Keren Klita, which assists immigrants from the former Soviet Union to find their places in mainstream Israeli society. While happy to accept the compliments showered on him by Dove and by the congregation's spiritual mentor Rabbi Avigdor Burstein, Jayson was not so sure about the kiddush, which he said he had not approved. He also noted that credit for anything he had done, belonged not only to him but to the dedicated committee with which he worked. He recalled that when he and his family came to Israel 25 years ago, they knew no one in Jerusalem, and spent the first three months in the capital going from one congregation to another every Saturday to see if they could find one similar to the one they had attended in London. Their lawyer suggested Hazvi Yisrael, and it was love at first sight. They were instantly made to feel welcome, and congregants made a point of inviting them to a kiddush every week so that they could form a circle of friends.
"Hazvi Yisrael has done much more for us than we have done for it," said Jayson, adding that most of the friends they had made in those first months are still their closest friends.
THE ANNUAL luncheon of the League for Special Children was held last week at the Marvad Haksamim restaurant in Heichal Shlomo with 110 people in attendance. The league, which was established in 1972 by Shoshana Kanotopsky, supports six schools in Jerusalem for special-needs children. The league supplies numerous items which the schools are unable to obtain via their respective budgets including occupational therapy equipment, musical instruments, synagogue furniture, tefillin, hearing aids, eye glasses, computers, toys, books, games, etc. The league has also established amenities within the schools such as a mini-bank, a restaurant, kiosk, beauty parlor, music rooms, a hot house and a petting zoo.
Luncheon honorees were Hannah and Joe Sondhelm. Hannah Sondhelm was president of the organization for the past four years. Guest speaker was Rabbi Reuven Aberman who came with his wife Chaya Leah. Also present were Rabbi Emanuel and Rena Quint, Rabbi Yisroel and Perel Azaria, Rabbi Phillip and Phyllis Goldman, and many of the Sondhelm's friends.