Grapevine: Two for the books

Gefen launches two books this week; Ilan Greenfield talks about his father Murray; Dr. Sanform Kuvin throws a bash at his penthouse.

  • THE FIRST of Gefen’s two book launches this week was for We Were Europeans, a remarkable chronology of the life of Werner Loval, who though he left Germany at 13, continues by his own admission to be a true yekke but also a European of other stripes. Loval and his wife, Pamela, have for more than half a century been friends of Murray Greenfield, who created Gefen some 30 years ago, and his wife, Hanna. Their association goes back to the days when Loval was chairman of the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel and Greenfield was AACI secretary-general. The two were involved in creating Nayot, a housing project for American and Canadian young couples, although some of the Americans and Canadians were married to Israelis, and there were Anglos from other English-speaking countries. Loval qualified as an American because he had gone to the States after the war and served in the US army.
    Ilan Greenfield, who took over from his father as CEO of Gefen, related a discussion he’d had with Loval when the latter first came to ask him to publish his book. Like most yekkes, Loval is very methodical. It was relatively easy for him to put the book together because he had all the subject matter filed alphabetically. He just had to decide what to include and what to discard. Ilan knew that his father had been out of the country at the time of his birth, but he never knew why. Thanks to Loval’s book, he learned that his father had been sent to the United States to raise money for the construction of Nayot and had done very well; but in doing so, he had missed out on his son’s entry into the world.
  • HOWEVER AT the launch of David Lawrence Young’s Of Guns and Mules, Ilan Greenfield had a different story to tell about his father, Murray Greenfield, who is without a doubt one of the most colorful and enterprising immigrants from North America. His father had written a book called How To Be an Oleh: What the Jewish Agency Never Told You. The senior Greenfield’s book had been rejected by one publisher after another. Not one to be disheartened, he published the book himself and sold 50,000 copies, which at the time was a phenomenal achievement. He subsequently published Hassidic Stories by his good friend Meyer Levin, who was recognized as one of the world’s leading Jewish writers.
  • LIKE MANY American Jews, Dr. Sanford Kuvin, one of theworld’s leading experts in infectious diseases, also has a home inJerusalem. Kuvin has a lot to celebrate. He and his wife, Gaby,recently invited dozens of friends of the Kuvin Center for the Study ofInfectious and Tropical Diseases – which he established at the HebrewUniversity-Hadassah Medical School in 1976 and continues to head – tovisit them in their Rehov Caspi penthouse. The event marked thecenter’s many research successes in studying the cause and effect ofvector-borne diseases – from malaria to leishmaniasis – and itscollaboration with other institutions to eradicate them.
    And this week, the Kuvins’ four children and the rest of their familyof 30 came to Jerusalem from the US to celebrate the couple’s 50thwedding anniversary, joining some 100 friends from Israel, the US andGermany. Kuvin says he and his wife have lived in that apartment ontheir annual stays in Jerusalem for 40 years of their half-centurytogether. One of the organizers of the family celebration is theirdaughter Jeanette Kuvin Oren, who is one of America’s leading interiordesigners of synagogue artwork.