Grapevine: When luck runs out

Among the more recent of veteran enterprises that have closed their doors is the Ben-Naim ticketing office on Jaffa Road.

NOTHING LASTS forever, including those pre-state business establishments that somehow managed to keep going when so many other city center businesses closed down – some of them after less than a year of operation. Those that lasted became landmarks, but some of these are disappearing as well.
Among the more recent of veteran enterprises that closed their doors is the Ben-Naim ticketing office on Jaffa Road, where the public went not only to buy tickets for sporting and entertainment events but also to try their luck with Lotto, Toto and other games of chance.
The business was launched some 70 years ago by Shmuel Ben-Naim and later taken over by his son Ya’acov Ben-Naim, who is now 77. Around 25 years ago, the younger Ben-Naim appointed David Tal to be his manager. Tal was very successful, largely because Ben-Naim sold tickets for Beitar soccer matches. Three years ago, Beitar decided to link up with a rival ticket seller and abandoned Ben-Naim. After that, things began to deteriorate because the Beitar fans were going elsewhere. And let’s face it, Jerusalem has a lot of Beitar fans. The Ben-Naim store is surrounded by food outlets, which are springing up all over the center of town as well as in suburbia, so it would not come as a surprise if the premises were to be revamped into an eatery.
AUSTRALIAN EXPATRIATES who had hoped to renew acquaintance last Saturday with business tycoon and philanthropist Frank Lowy and his family, cantor Shimon Farkas and Rabbi Levi Wolff were disappointed when they could not find them at the sumptuous kiddush after the service at the Great Synagogue. Lowy had decided to host his own private kiddush at the David Citadel Hotel, so very few of the congregants had an opportunity to compliment Farkas on his inspirational conducting of the service.
The Australian visitors to the capital had come from a trip to Auschwitz, where they had honored the memory of Lowy’s father, Hugo, who had perished there. Great Synagogue vice president Zalli Jaffe told Lowy from the pulpit that his father had set an example for posterity because he was killed not because he was a Jew but because he said he was a Jew.
When he arrived on the train at Auschwitz, Hugo Lowy turned back after alighting to get the bag that contained his tallit and tefillin. A German soldier ordered him not to, but Lowy insisted.
The soldier again barked at him, but to no avail. Lowy was determined that he would not go any further without those ritual objects so sacred to Jewish males. The soldier shot and killed him.
n  THE ORTHODOX Union Jerusalem World Center traditionally celebrates Jerusalem Day with a gala dinner at the Ramada Hotel at which it honors outstanding people. Honorees at this year’s dinner on May 11 will be Rabbi Ari Kahn, who will receive the Keter Torah Award, and Dr. Ephraim Greenfield, who will receive the Keter Shem Tov award.
Kahn is the director of foreign student programs at Bar-Ilan University, vice president of the Migdal Ohr Institutions and a senior educator at Aish Hatorah and Matan. Greenfield, who came to Israel as a volunteer immediately after the Six Day War, made aliya in 1968 and earned a PhD in physics from the Hebrew University.
In 1976 he co-founded Ophir Optronics, an optical coating company that operated out of a small room in Machon Lev.
By 1982 the company had 10 employees. Today it has 750 employees worldwide and is recognized as one of the largest companies in its field. Greenfield established the Ophir Optronics Charitable Committee that he heads, through which he supports educational programs in Jerusalem.
IT’S GOING to be a wonderful week for English speakers at the Hebrew University next week. There will be two conferences in English on Sunday and a lecture on Tuesday, all with excellent speakers. People interested in law will certainly be fascinated by the Roundtable on “Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendments” with speakers from Israel, France, Norway, the US, South Africa, Australia and Germany presenting papers at the Maiersdorf Faculty Club on Mount Scopus. Israeli speakers include present and past presidents of the Supreme Court Dorit Beinisch and Prof. Aharon Barak. The other conference, on “Solar, Cosmic Rays and Climate Connections,” will be addressed by speakers from Israel, India, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Canada, Switzerland, Britain and will be held at the Edmond J. Safra Campus on Givat Ram.
On Tuesday, Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the MiddleEast peace process, will pose the question: ‘Is the Two-State SolutionFading?” and will present the view from Damascus, Cairo and Jerusalem.His lecture, under the auspices of the Harry S. Truman ResearchInstitute for the Advancement of Peace, will be held at 12.30 p.m. inthe Abba Eban Conference Room at the Truman Institute, Mount Scopus.
ALSOSUPPORTING educational programs in Jerusalem is the Jerusalem RotaryFoundation that is affiliated with the Jerusalem Rotary Club.Foundation chairman Yossi Cassuto will preside over the annualscholarship awards ceremony on Wednesday, April 28. This year, insteadof being held in the Auditorium of the YMCA as in previous years, theceremony will be held in the Council Chambers of the JerusalemMunicipality. This year 51 students from the capital have been selectedto receive scholarships, in addition to which there will be specialawards to honor the memories of two deceased presidents of theJerusalem Rotary Club, Amram Miller and Lucien Harris, who was alsogovernor of the Israel Rotary District.