INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED architect Jonathan Leitersdorf, whose various homes include a penthouse in Tel Aviv’s Shalom Meir Tower, hosted a benefit there with proceeds directed towards the construction of a center for the arts at Sapir College. The new building to be erected on the college campus will be the home for studies in the plastic arts, theater and music, with the aim of providing an academic framework for creative talents in the southern part of the country.Among the many well-known personalities who attended the benefit were Sapir College President Prof. Jimmy Weinblatt; chair of the Friends of the School of the Arts at Sapir College Vered Ilani; former chief stockholder in Ma’ariv Ofer Nimrodi; MKs Roni Bar-On and Shai Hermesh; actress Ruby Porat Shoval; makeup artist Mickey Boganin; restaurant proprietress Dushi Leitersdorf, who is the sister of the host; public relations guru Ran Rahav; fashion designer Galit Levi; and Yoav Galant, who almost became chief of general staff, and his wife, Claudine.IN FEBRUARY of this year, Houston-based Noble Energy joined forces with the Jewish Agency for Israel in a JA-conceived project called Youth Futures. The idea is that young social activists who grew up in Israel’s peripheral communities should work with youth and their families in 32 locations in peripheral areas to help them gain access to local resources and services with the aim of overcoming economic, social and academic barriers, thereby narrowing the social gap. These social activists, who despite growing up in difficult socioeconomic circumstances have completed their army service and university or college degrees, serve as role models for the youngsters. In addition, because of their own backgrounds, they can relate to the problems that confront youngsters in peripheral areas.Noble Energy, which has discovered two of the world’s largest deep-water natural gas reserves off the Israeli coast and stands to considerably upgrade its revenues as a result, has decided to give something back to Israel by donating $2 million, which will be used towards promoting the goals of Youth Futures, namely education and youth empowerment. Noble Energy is giving more than just money. It’s a hands-on donation in which the company also encourages its employees to volunteer for the project.Thus when the Safed end of the project was launched last week, Bini Zimmer, Noble Energy’s Israel director of corporate affairs, brought with him some 20 employees, who were joined by student leaders in clearing the grounds in front of the Chabad School to enable the creation of a community garden for children. Safed Mayor Ilan Shochat was obviously delighted that his city has become the recipient of so much goodwill. The Chabad school is one of several schools in which the Youth Futures program is operating. Other cities included in the primary stage of the program are Lod, Beersheba and Afikim.MEDICINE, HEALTH and related issues have apparently become a national priority. In Jerusalem last week, Mayor Nir Barkat attended the launch of the newly renovated and long unoccupied Stern complex in Kiryat Hayovel, where the apartments have been designated for Hadassah medical students. Meanwhile, in Ashdod, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu participated in the ceremony of the laying of the cornerstone for a hospital – the first to be built in Israel in 30 years.This week, Netanyahu was in Safed for the laying of the cornerstone for the permanent campus of Bar-Ilan University’s Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee. Also present were Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom; Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar; and Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman, along with Safed Mayor Ilan Shochat. Litzman was, of course, also present in Ashdod, where the hospital will be operated by the Assuta Medical Centers.When completed, the permanent campus in Safed will have an intake of 1,000 students. In addition to providing medical training for students, it will have high-level medical research facilities, including 45 fully equipped, state-of-theart laboratories plus all the student and community services common to most universities.AFTER PROVING his prowess in the water by swimming across the Kinneret, British Ambassador Matthew Gould engaged in a sport that was closer to home when he wielded a cricket bat at a British weekend at the Dan Accadia Hotel in Herzliya last weekend. It wasn’t exactly cricket the way it’s played in England. For instance, the ambassador was barefoot and without the customary attire, and there wasn’t a wicket in sight, but these differences did not mar Gould’s enjoyment. Less energetic guests sat back and listened to some of the greatest hits of the Beatles.