Safe Swedish haven

  • FOLLOWING THE initiative of Jacqueline Jacob of the Van Leer Group Foundation (Netherlands), a new photo exhibition, "A Safe Haven - Exile in Sweden 1943-1945," will open at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute this coming Sunday, August 31, at 6 p.m. Produced by the Jewish Danish Museum, the exhibit includes 40 photographs which in part tell the visual story of more than 7,000 Danish Jews who found refuge in Sweden following their rescue in October 1943. The photographs not only highlight the considerable effort made by the Danes in assisting the Jewish citizens of Denmark to reach safe shores in Sweden, but also prominently disclose the significance of the decision by Sweden to welcome the refugees and grant them protection. The exhibition, which will be on display until the end of October, is by way of a farewell gesture of appreciation and acknowledgement of the important work of Ivar Samrén, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, who is retiring after 20 years of service.
  • WHAT'S SIGNIFICANT about August 25? For Australian immigrant Barbara Shaw, it was the 22nd anniversary of her aliya, and it was important for her to officially get back on track on that date, which meant doing what it had always been her dream to do - to create and sell gift items. The result was her new gift shop in the Harmony Boutique Hotel in the capital's Nahalat Shiva. Using whimsical prints of pomegranates and fig leaves as well as letters of the Hebrew alphabet, Shaw has created tea towels, cushion covers, aprons, purses, bags and more. The piece de resistance that caught everyone's attention was the hot-off-the-press black apron worn by her husband, veteran journalist Lachlan Shaw, which had one line in Yiddish: A groise metziya (Some big bargain). Among the people who came to wish Shaw well were neighbors Gil and Randy Zohar, who live in Nahalat Shiva (he's a freelance writer and editor and she's a budding jewelry maker), Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation activist Elana Rozenman, filmmaker Monique Schwartz, and Shaw's oldest friend Warren Fisher, with whom she went to school at Moriah College in Sydney some half century ago. Aside from the well-wishers, there were quite a few buyers walking out of the store clutching shopping bags bearing the Barbara Shaw logo.
  • THE COLLECTIBLES in Toby Shuster's Rehavia apartment usually invite a lot of attention and comment, but this time her guests did not come to see her toy cars, porcelain shoes, or the works of art on her walls. They came to listen to mayoral candidate and Jerusalem opposition leader Nir Barkat, whom Shuster has known since long before he had any political ambitions. The audience of English speakers kept growing way beyond what Shuster had calculated, and she ran out of chairs and had to send for more. In fact there were so many people that there was barely room for Barkat. After he said his piece, outlining his 20-year plan for the city, members of the audience began firing complaints at him, seemingly forgetting that he's not yet the mayor. Barkat listened patiently and then told them that if they thought the situation was bad, it was actually far worse than they realized. He mentioned committees that never or seldom met, the costly and improper planning, and the frustrations of merchants losing business while the roads are being dug up. What most people didn't realize until Barkat told them was that while they can attend any Knesset committee meeting except that of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, all Jerusalem Municipality committee meetings are closed to the public. Only the city council meetings are open, but meetings of committees are held in camera. If elected, Barak said he would definitely change the way things are done at City Hall. When he was asked whether he would get rid of half the top-heavy staff, he said that this was not his way and that there were a lot of good people there. However he did imply that there would be a big shake-up."Think big and you might get what you want," he said. "Think small and you'll get nothing."
  • THE DESTINY Foundation headed by Rabbi Berel Wein, will on Friday, September 26 at 10:30 a.m. host a book launching for Wein's new book The Oral Law of Sinai: An Illustrated History of the Mishna. In addition to being a gifted writer, Wein is also an accomplished speaker with a vast following.
  • RETIREMENT DOESN'T necessarily mean that someone disappears from the public scene or from memory. Case in point is Haim Yavin, who after his retirement from Mabat was still sought after for various radio and television programs, and most recently as a presenter for the Dan bus company's new smart card system. True, he's not seen in Jerusalem as often as he used to be, although he still owns a penthouse apartment on Rehov Jabotinsky, from where he moved several years ago to live on the coastal plain. But now that he doesn't have to come to the Channel 1 studios, Jerusalem has less of a pull for him. Still considered to be Israel's No. 1 broadcaster, Yavin has been singled out by Yossi Alfi as the subject of a tribute night during the annual Storytellers Festival at the Givatayim Theater, which will be held on October 15. For those who may not be aware, the festival consists of numerous panels of people who are bound by a common theme, such as profession or place of birth, or specific experience. Many of the sessions are moderated by Alfi, who also appears frequently on radio and television, or by well-known personalities who also have some link to the members of the panel. At the Yavin tribute, the moderator will be Dan Shilon, his former colleague who later became his rival with the launch of Channel 2. The panelists will include Alex Giladi, who aside from being known in Olympic sporting circles, had a long broadcasting career with Channel One, Uzi Peled, Sari Raz, whose career at Channel 1 started at the same time as Yavin's and is still continuing, Yossi Tzemach and veteran broadcaster Ya'acov Ahimeir, who still anchors current affairs programs on radio and television.