Grapevine: The jewel in Mamilla's crown

  • THE SWEET revenge of Mamilla Mall developer Alfred Akirov, who announced at the resumption of construction after an eight-year hiatus what a huge sum of money the Jerusalem Municipality had lost in rates and taxes because of the delay, has reason to smile even more as the overall project that includes a boutique hotel, speeds merrily along its way. Since the official opening of the mall last year, the number of shops and eateries continues to grow and the hotel is now in an advanced stage of construction - all of which attracts more people to the area all the time. The mall has become a prestige location, so much so that the Israel Jewelry Exchange has also decided to open a branch there at an investment of $500,000. This is the IJE's 12th branch and will feature jewelry designs under brand names such as Versace, Doxa, the French Connection, Daniel Hechter and others.
  • LOVERS OF Andalusian music are in for a big treat this coming Monday, August 25, when some of the best exponents including Rabbi Haim Luk, Emil Zrihan, David Weizman, rising star Eliya Moyal, and an orchestra conducted by violinist Yossi Striki will perform at Binyenei Ha'uma. The event, under the auspices of the Torah Cultural Department of the Jerusalem Municipality, is free of charge and will be under the patronage of Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar. But here's the rub: It's for men only. If the venue were a single-story hall, the desire for such absolute segregation might be understood. But Binyenei Ha'uma has galleries, so the men can sit downstairs and the women can sit upstairs and there's no need for the twain to meet.
  • GIVEN THE personalities who are endorsing him, people may well ask whether MK Meir Porush is destined to be the new Teddy Kollek. Full-page advertisements in the Hebrew press last weekend included photographs and encouraging statements by a number of well-known public figures, among them former Jewish Agency chairman and former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg and former deputy mayor Amos Mar Haim, who served under Kollek and who also worked with Porush when the latter was deputy mayor. The key message was that regardless of who and what he represents, Porush's door is open to everyone and that he has a reputation as a problem solver.
  • JERUSALEM CITY councilor Meir Turgeman is resigning from his position on the city's Tenders Committee since it has become clear to him that the committee has no real influence and that many deals are closed before applicants even come to the attention of the Tenders Committee. Under the circumstances, he says, there is no valid reason for the committee to exist.
  • IT'S HOLIDAY season, so Itzhak Eldan, the Foreign Ministry's chief of protocol, allowed himself the luxury of appearing in a sports shirt without a tie when he greeted new American ambassador James Cunningham at a reception in his honor at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv on Monday. Given how close the US Embassy is to the Dan Hotel - just a short stroll down Rehov Hayarkon - it has become almost a tradition for receptions in honor of new senior American diplomats to be held at the Dan. On hand to help roll out the welcome mat were Dan Hotel general manager Ya'acov Sudri and Ami Federmann, whose family members are among the chief shareholders in the Dan chain.
  • MANY PEOPLE do good for altruistic reasons, but appreciate the fact that what they do is recognized, especially when that recognition comes at some public event attended by family and friends. But sometimes the good intentions of those who select the honorees are lost because there are just too many deserving people, and once the number gets beyond two or three, the impact on the audience disintegrates. That's what may happen on Friday, September 5, when the Council of Young Israel Rabbis in Israel hosts an anniversary celebration brunch to mark 18 years of service to the people and State of Israel and to honor its founders leaders and builders. The honorees include one woman - Dr. Lorell Blass, who is listed with Rabbis Simcha Krauss and Chanoch Yeres among the leaders. The founders are Rabbis Meyer Fendel, Sholom Gold, James, Gordon, Macy Gordon, Yeshaya Heisler and Nachman Kahana; and the builder is Yaacov Moreshet, chairman of Hilat-Shoam Investments. The event will be held at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem.
  • FORMER GOVERNMENT minister and current chairman of the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center, Natan Sharansky, is in frequent demand as a public speaker in Hebrew, English and Russian. On September 4, he'll be speaking in English at the home of Larry and Marsha Roth in Jerusalem, where he will discuss the content of his book Defending Identity: Its Indispensable Role in Protecting Democracy.
  • REPRESENTATIVES OF the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale this week brought a Torah scroll from America to the Jewish Agency's Ayelet Hashachar Absorption Center in the hope that it will be used by Ethiopian immigrants. The scroll was received from NACOEJ (The North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry) whose president Faye Leiman is a member of the Adath Israel of Riverdale congregation. The Torah was given to NACOEJ by Jack Erickson, a congregant of the Conservative Morris Park Hebrew Center which was founded in the Bronx in 1928, and was closed because its once flourishing community moved to other places. When it closed its doors, the members of the congregation wanted the Torah to find a good home. Twenty-six Adath Israel congregants came with Rabbi Barry Dov Katz to present the Torah and to tour the country.