Grapevine: Running into problems

Given the spate of negativity towards migrants from African countries, the win by a Kenyan runner who set a new record is a balm to African pride.

Avraham Fried (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Avraham Fried
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
THE first, second and third places in the Tel Aviv Marathon were won by Kenyan runners. Ezekiel Koech finished the race in a record time of two hours, 14 minutes and 40 seconds; Keter Emmanuel Triop finished just under a minute behind Koech; and Sammy Limo clocked in at two hours, 20 minutes and 14 seconds. All three came to Israel from Kenya in order to participate. Margaret Mjuga, who is also from Kenya, came first among the women runners.
Given the spate of negativity towards migrants from African countries, the win by a Kenyan runner who set a new record is a balm to African pride. There must be something special in the African genes because runners from African states also do very well in running events at the Olympics and other international sporting events.
According to various media reports, the Samsungsponsored marathon attracted some 40,000 runners and caused traffic chaos in Tel Aviv and its environs.
It also led to bad blood between the teachers’ union and the Tel Aviv Municipality, which had gone over the heads of the Education Ministry and the teachers’ union and canceled classes last Friday on the grounds that pupils would be unable to get to school on time, if at all, because so many streets had been closed for the marathon. Yossi Wasserman, the secretary general of the teachers’ union, said that the municipality had no right to make such a unilateral decision.
Store owners were also angry about loss of income, but Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai declared the day to be a festival.
Traffic disruptions in Tel Aviv may be considered mild in relation to what is anticipated for the Jerusalem Marathon on March 21, when once again people doing their Shabbat shopping on Friday will have their plans disrupted, as will visitors to the capital, who will discover that certain places on their tourist maps will be inaccessible by vehicle. But all things are relative, and the Jerusalem Marathon will not be nearly as problematic as the haredi rally on Sunday, which caused the closure of the central bus station and work stoppage in government offices.
AMONG THE runners in the Tel Aviv Marathon was Australian Ambassador Dave Sharma, who will get out of his running gear and back into a business suit to participate in the Tel Aviv International Salon’s Ambassador Series on March 12. The event will take place at the ambassador’s residence in Herzliya Pituah, with attendance strictly limited to young professionals who have registered in advance (at https://AussieAmbassadorSalon.eventbrite.
Sharma is the youngest Australian ambassador in the world. He has been in Israel for just over eight months.
This is his first ambassadorial post, although he has represented Australia abroad in other diplomatic roles.
In its ambassador series, the Tel Aviv International Salon strives to meet with a different ambassador every month to encourage intellectual debate with the heads of diplomatic missions who are stationed in Israel. Participants engage in open discussions on global and bilateral issues related to Israel, its place in the international community and its relationships with its allies.
THE UNIVERSITY of Haifa is hosting a series of six concerts of Jewish music, including Ladino, Yiddish and liturgical melodies. The concerts will take place from March 9 to 12, concluding with a symposium on Jewish music led by contemporary musicologist Prof. Edwin Saroussi. The concerts and the symposium will take place at the university’s Hecht Auditorium.
Two anniversaries of composers of Jewish music will be commemorated. One will be the centenary of the birth of Leibo Levin, whose daughter singer Ruth Levin is a living monument to her father and frequently sings his songs in her performances in Israel and abroad. The other commemorates the 120th anniversary of the death of Louis Levandovski, who was a monumental German Jewish composer of synagogue music.
ANYONE LOOKING to go to a Purim party in the heart of Tel Aviv might want to go to Leyvik House on March 17, where they will get a dose of humor, satire and music with local musicians, such as composer and pianist Daniel Galay, who is the director of Leyvik House, one of Tel Aviv’s centers for Yiddish culture.
The guest artist is American clarinetist Bill Campbell.
The address is 30 Dov Hoz Street, Tel Aviv.
POPULAR HASSIDIC rock singer Avraham Fried will perform at a Bnei Akiva benefit concert at the Petah Tikva Cultural Center on March 24. All proceeds from the event will go towards scholarships for needy students who are studying at Bnei Akiva schools and yeshivot.