Grapevine: Giving back to the community

Anyone visiting the King’s Promenade in Eilat next Friday can get an eyeful of the upcoming spring/summer fashion collections.

Eilat 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Eilat 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
■ THE SHERATON Tel Aviv hotel last week hosted a sumptuous reception by way of a fund raiser for Aleh, an organization committed to both children and adults with special needs. The event was dedicated to the memory of Eran Almog, the son of Didi and General Doron Almog, chairman of the Aleh Negev Nahlat Eran village, where Eran, for whom it was named, would be living with other special- needs adults had he not died. Television personality Meni Pe’er, who was master of ceremonies and later auctioneer, succeeded in raising NIS 300,000 from among the guests, who included leading figures from Israel’s business community Initially, Pe’er sought to raise NIS 63,000 which would fund the cost of a two-day trip to Jerusalem for 35 special-needs children. Later, when Pe’er began to auction off works of art, Judaica items, jewelry, wines, etc., he was able to bring in considerably more money, for which Aleh’s executive director Rabbi Yehuda Marmorstein expressed sincere appreciation. Eran’s sister Nitsan Almog, touched an emotional chord among the guests when she spoke about her love and longing for her brother.
■ IN ADDITION to the various charitable causes that he supports, IDB chairman Nochi Dankner is into multiculturalism and coexistence.
Dankner, via IDB, is interested in promoting culture in Galilee, especially since the launch last month of the Ma’alot-Tarshiha Cultural and Performing Arts Center which was donated by IDB, the Jewish Agency, the Housing and Construction Ministry and the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee, which collectively shelled out NIS 33 million for its construction. Dankner is interested in attracting mixed Arab-Jewish audiences, which is not really a problem in Galilee in general or in Ma’alot-Tarshiha, in particular because Arabs and Jews live there in comparative harmony.
At the launch of the CPACS, the entertainment attractions were Rita and the Batsheva Dance Ensemble. This month the main singer was Ibrahim Azam, who specially came from London for the occasion. Chinese singer Ha Hui, who came to Israel for Chinese New Year, and whose repertoire includes Naomi Shemer’s “Eucalyptus Grove,” also performed.
But most of the audience, both Jewish and Arab, had come to hear the songs made popular by Farid el-Atrash. There were also several Chinese in the audience including Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jun, and of course Shlomo Buhbut, the mayor of Ma’alot-Tarshiha who also heads the Union of Local Authorities and is seriously considering running for leadership of the Labor Party, was also there. Buhbut told the 500 people who crowded into the auditorium that Dankner had promised to support cultural pluralism, and that he was true to his word. Russian Consul Igor Popov was also present as were mayors from all over Galilee.
■ MANY ISRAELIS missed out on sleep on the night of Academy Awards, as they sat up glued to their television sets. At least one who didn’t have that problem was Los Angeles-based Ron Podchlebnik, who reports on Hollywood and other entertainment for the Israel Broadcasting Authority and other media outlets. Early in his career as a journalist, while still in Israel, Podchlebnik wrote for the original incarnation of Metro. He was a walking encyclopedia of anything and everything to do with television and with Tinsel Town – and now that he’s so close to the action, knows even more, including the excitement of walking along the red carpet, which he has done on several occasions.
■ ANYONE VISITING the King’s Promenade in Eilat next Friday can get an eyeful of the upcoming spring/summer fashion collections during a three-hour show, that will begin at 10 a.m. Spectators wanting to buy garments from the show can get a discount of NIS 50 for every NIS 200 worth of purchases. Haim Cohen, general manager of the Isrotel King Solomon Hotel that sits on the edge of the promenade, says that fashion events of this kind have proved to be most successful in the past. The promenade is lined with numerous clothing stores featuring the brands of leading Tel Aviv and overseas designers.