A scroll for soldiers

British Ambassador Matthew Gould and his wife Celia hosted a reception at their residence in Ramat Gan in honor of the British-Israel Friends of Bar-Ilan University.

Matthew Gould (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Matthew Gould
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
■ MANY ORGANIZATIONS are engaged in fund-raising for Torah scroll dedications in synagogues, but the Israel Branch of the International Young Israel Movement is focused on dedicating Torah scrolls to IDF units, and hardly a week goes by without a dedication ceremony or the finalization of plans for one. During this past summer, the Nahal Brigade fought bravely in Gaza alongside other infantry units. The Leo V. Berger Fund, led by its president, Harvey Schwartz, decided that a good way to acknowledge the Nahal fighters’ bravery was to donate a Torah scroll to the Nahal training base near Arad. The Berger Fund, aware of what IYIM does in this respect – since Schwartz is also a board member of IYIM – chose to do this through the movement’s IDF Torah project, which has already been the vehicle for providing more than 200 Torah scrolls to military bases throughout the country.
At the beginning of this month, IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz, together with the Nahal Brigade’s commander, its rabbi, the base commander, the base rabbi and other military dignitaries, joined the donors and IYIM representatives in a joyful ceremony that took place at the Arad base. New recruits from three branches of the Nahal Brigade took turns carrying the new Torah, dancing around the base and concluding by placing the Torah in its new home: the ark in the base’s synagogue.
Both Peretz and Commander “T.” emphasized how important it was that this event was taking place during the Ten Days of Penitence. Lt. Rabbi Benjy Levy, another speaker, focused on the outpouring of love and unity the country had witnessed during the 55 days of fighting this summer. Schwartz received a certificate of appreciation, as did Ceec Harrishburg and Daniel Meyer, IYIM’s president and executive director, respectively.
This was the fourth Torah scroll that the Leo V. Berger Challenge grant had donated to the IDF. For every two scrolls IYIM donates, the Berger Fund donates a third.
This month’s event was a little more exciting than usual. Schwartz came with his wife, Sarah, and Harrishburg came with his wife, Teema. Lt.-Col. (res.) Yedidya Atlas, who is the liaison between the defense establishment and American organizations that support the IDF, was there as well.
The visit started with a fascinating experience at the shooting range simulator, where the donors and their guests were able to demonstrate and practice their aim with a number of weapons, including the Tavor, M-a-g and others. The simulator enabled them to participate in desert and urban warfare, during the day and at night, in sunshine and in rain.
Between now and Hanukka, there will be four more dedications of this kind, enabling soldiers to let their hair down as they dance, passing the Torah from hand to hand until it is finally placed in the ark.
■ BRITISH AMBASSADOR Matthew Gould and his wife Celia hosted a reception at their residence in Ramat Gan in honor of the British-Israel Friends of Bar-Ilan University.
The event was dedicated to recognizing individuals who have contributed to British-Israeli relations in the sphere of business. Citations went to Yossi Hachmi and to Moshe and Israel Greenberg.
Among those present were BIU President Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz and his wife, Yafit Greenberg, who is professionally known as “Gimmel Yafit”; businessman Dan Propper; and Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug, who spoke about the country’s economy and the extent to which it is linked to developments in the global economy.
In order for Israel to flourish, she said, the government must adopt a policy of investing more in education at all levels and in all sectors of society, and must take a more active role in the labor market so it can absorb workers from all sectors.
Gould spoke of boycotts against Israel, saying that while these were increasing in different parts of the world, the British government was opposed to them. He emphasized the need to build up the friendship between Britain and Israel and to strengthen cooperation in all spheres, as been done in the realms of science and technology and in commercial investments.
■ THERE USED to be a saying that life begins at 40. Then, as longevity gradually became the norm, the saying switched to “60 is the new 40.” Now 70 has become the new 40. But whatever the numbers, 40 has long been the age of redundancy, as many employers fail to take advantage of middle-aged workers’ years of experience and know-how, and focus instead on offering lower salaries to ever-younger employees who seldom have staying power. Still, there are several emerging enterprises lobbying against a mandatory retirement age, advocating that age should not be a factor as long as people are capable of doing their jobs and contributing to their companies’ profitability.
One such enterprise is RESTART, whose partners believe that middle-aged people are assets to organizations and the state and are more responsible than young people looking for a career springboard. The aim of RESTART is to give middle-aged and older people career security. To this end, it is hosting a conference at Tel Aviv’s ZOA House at 8.30 a.m. Friday, October 24, with Labor MK Eitan Cabel as guest speaker.
There will also be other speakers in the 40-plus age group who are working in various fields of business, and who will share their experiences with participants. The participation fee is NIS 127.