Grapevine: Sharing his passion

Developer, shopping mall pioneer and philanthropist David Azrieli not only shares his wealth, but also his hobby.

■ REAL ESTATE developer, shopping mall pioneer and philanthropist David Azrieli not only shares his wealth, but also his hobby.
Azrieli is a passionate art collector with some very impressive items in his collection, several of which he gave on loan to the Haifa Museum of Art under the title “A Personal View.” Azrieli has been collecting art for the best part of four decades and has some 350 works, mostly by Israeli artists and Jewish artists from elsewhere whose works were created in the first half of the 20th century. At the opening of the exhibition that was attended by Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav, Azrieli, 88 and still spry, said that it represented the closing of a circle.
Azrieli fled his native Poland during the Second World War and arrived in what was then Palestine towards the end of 1942. He studied architecture at the Haifa Technion from 1943 to 1946, and in 1948 fought in the War of Independence. In 1954, he moved to Montreal, where he established a construction company through which he made his fortune. However, he did not lose the connection with Israel and has invested heavily in business enterprises and through the Azrieli Foundation supports a number of causes and institutions.
■ NO MATTER how well connected or wealthy someone may be, there is no guarantee against tragedy. It strikes everywhere regardless of creed, color, race or nationality. Although it may take different forms, it is in fact the common denominator of all humanity.
Some people allow themselves to be overwhelmed by tragedy.
Others use it as a vehicle to promote a cause and to help the less fortunate. Zohar Yakobson, who is the agent and spokesperson for some of Israel’s leading entertainers, has chosen the latter option. Yakobson and her husband, Jacob, in 2009 lost their vibrant and talented 25-year-old daughter Tal to cancer.
Tal was studying Chinese and alternative medicine and wanted so much to help other people. The Yakobsons have joined forces with the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer to create the Tal Center for Integrative Medicine which will combine the best of classic cancer treatments with Chinese medicine, homeopathy, naturopathy and body and soul treatment. This week entertainers Alon Neuman, Tzofit Grant and Dalik Wolinitz got together with Dr. Yair Maimon for a photo shoot in advance of an International Congress on Chinese Medicine that opens at the Givatayim Theater on February 27. The three entertainers will participate in a Tal Yakobson memorial panel discussion on the benefits of Chinese medicine.
■ CHAIRMAN EMERITUS and founder of BrightSource Energy, Inc. Arnold Goldman has been named by the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative as this year’s recipient of the Lifelong Contribution to Sustainable Energy Award. BrightSource Energy, headquartered in Oakland, California, is a developer of utility scale solar thermal power plants. Goldman, who is also the founder of Luz International Ltd. and served as its CEO, said that he was thrilled to have his lifelong pursuit of renewable energy solutions recognized by the EEREI, but refused to accept the honor for himself alone. “This honor is to be shared with the extraordinarily talented and passionate members of the Luz International and BrightSource Energy teams, whose hard work has resulted in viable renewable energy technologies that are changing the way the world produces energy,” he said. BrightSource Energy’s Solar Energy Development Center in Israel is located in the Negev.
■ ALTHOUGH LEYVIK House in the heart of Tel Aviv is primarily dedicated to the promotion of Yiddish culture in its various forms, today’s lecture will be in neither Yiddish nor Hebrew. Lecturers at Leyvik House who are interested in Yiddish, but are not sufficiently fluent in the language, often resort to Hebrew, sometimes with a smattering of Russian because there are so many native Russian speakers who are hungry for Yiddish cultural roots.
This time, however, the lecture will be in English and will be delivered by Bracha Weingrod, the translator of The Yiddish Family Cookbook, which was first published in Yiddish in 1914. The lecture begins at 11 a.m. Entry fee is NIS 30. Participants in the event will be able to purchase copies of the book. Weingrod has embellished on the original Dos Familien Koch Buch by including photographs and documents relating to Jewish life in America in the early years of the 20th century.