Grapevine: A couple of ‘Odd Couples’

The Neil Simon comedy will be staged in culture halls around the country come July.

Tuvia Tsafir (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Tuvia Tsafir
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
■ WHILE YIDDISHPIEL is advertising its production of Neil Simon’s enduring comedy The Odd Couple, starring Tuvia Tsafir and Andrey Kashker, which from July will be staged in culture halls around the country, the Sharon Players will present a female version of the play in English, with the curtain scheduled to go up in September. Rehearsals are well under way with director Phil Cohen, a new immigrant from Manchester.
■ FORMER WORLD War II partisan, underground fighter, Palmahnik, retired IDF brigadier general, former head the Yad Vashem-Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority and noted historian Dr. Yitzhak Arad will be the guest speaker at the Yiddish schmooze at Leyvik House in Tel Aviv at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 3.
He will talk about how the Holocaust affected the lives of Jews in the Soviet Union, many of whom displayed impressive courage as partisans, underground resistance fighters and soldiers in the Red Army. Although Jews fought in great numbers, they were murdered in even greater numbers. Speaking in Hebrew and Yiddish, Arad will address the topic from a personal retrospect, as well as that of a historian.
■ A DEVASTATING fire last summer more or less destroyed the main Leket logistics center in Ra’anana. Leket is the national food bank, which distributes surplus food to the needy. The center has now been rebuilt, enlarged and reopened, with three times the storage capacity that it had before the fire. It will now be much easier to separate products that can be kept for short-term storage from those of long-term storage. There is also a special section for dairy products.
In addition, Leket will be able to accommodate twice as many volunteers at one time (up to 50 people per session) to sort and crate fruits and vegetables in preparation for distribution to Leket’s partner agencies.
The new space has been designed with careful consideration for future needs, with areas for the Leket staff and the volunteers, allowing for a safer work environment, which will result in more efficiency and greater output.
Up to six Leket Israel trucks will now be able to pull directly up to the logistics center entrance at one time, allowing for faster loading and unloading of recovered food. The warehouse will also have Leket’s first visitor’s center to greet its volunteers in a more welcoming fashion..
“Leket has come a long way from its first storage space in my spare refrigerator more than 10 years ago,” says Joseph Gitler, Leket Israel founder and chairman.
“The newly renovated logistics center will enable Leket to rescue more food, store it better, sort it faster and work more efficiently on behalf of its 180 partner agencies and the 140,000 people in need that it currently serves.”
Ra’anana Mayor Ze’ev Bielski has already inspected the new facility. He is proud of the famous public service organizations and institutions located or headquartered in his city, such as Beit Issie Shapiro and ESRA.
■ WOULD-BE mayors of Tel Aviv can’t wait for the autumn when long-term incumbent Ron Huldai will announce whether he will be running for the Labor Party leadership. Speaking at a cultural event in Tel Aviv on Saturday, Huldai acknowledged that he had received calls from many quarters urging him to run against current leader Isaac Herzog in the Labor primary. Huldai, 70, said he was weighing all the pros and cons. He is not terribly enamored with national politics.
He endorsed Herzog in the 2013 Labor primary in which Herzog, who lives in Tzahala, beat former head Shelly Yacimovich, another resident of Tel Aviv, who may again be a contender the next time around.
Also rumored to be returning to Labor is Hatnuah MK Amir Peretz, a former mayor of Sderot, former leader of the Histadrut labor federation and former leader of the Labor Party. Peretz had left Labor and formed his own party, One Nation. Some years later, he was persuaded by then Labor Party chairman Shimon Peres to merge with Labor and subsequently took the leadership away from Peres, who then left Labor and joined the now defunct Kadima. Peretz, in turn, was defeated by Ehud Barak, but when he tried to regain the leadership and was defeated by Yacimovich, who was his political protégé, he left Labor and joined Hatnuah. Now with Hatnuah merged with Labor in the Zionist Union but depleted to the extent that it is unlikely to survive the next elections, Peretz is rumored to be giving serious thought to returning to Labor and once more running for the leadership of the party.
According to the Labor Party’s constitution, the primary must be held no later than May 2016, so neither Huldai nor Peretz has much time to make up his mind.
However, Huldai is in no rush and may prefer to break the record of the late Shlomo Lahat, who was the longest-serving mayor of Tel Aviv, remaining in the position for 19 years. Huldai has been mayor for 17 years.
Huldai, a former brigadier general in the Israel Air Force, was on Labor’s Knesset list in 1995 but failed to reach a realistic position. He then turned towards local government instead and was elected mayor in 1998. In the last mayoral election in 2013, Huldai defeated former Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz.