Grapevine: Snowy wedding

It's comforting for a political candidate to have the mayor of his city in his corner.

Wedding (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
WHAT’S IN a name? A lot if your name happens to be Sheleg, you live in Safed and you’re getting married at Kfar Chabad.
That’s what happened to Israel Sheleg (whose surname means snow in Hebrew).
He and his bride, Chaya Mushka, had the good sense to leave the Galilee well in advance of the wedding, but his parents barely managed to get out before the roads were closed. Many of the bridal couple’s relatives were frustrated by their inability to leave the North – because not just the snow, but also the police, barred their progress.
Nonetheless, Kfar Chabad being what it is, there were a lot of guests – as well as musicians, dancing and plenty of food. The atmosphere was what a wedding atmosphere should be, and those guests from the North who couldn’t make it had an opportunity during the week of sheva brachot to wish the couple well.
■ WEATHER FORECASTS may also have influenced the choice of venue for one of the two Jerusalem polling booths in the Labor primary this week. In past years, voters came to the headquarters of the party’s Jerusalem branch on Alharizi Street, Rehavia.
This time, they were asked to come to the youth hostel on Agron Street, which is part of the Fuchsberg Center for Conservative Judaism.
At Alharizi Street, there is very little space inside for people to queue up. In previous years, when the primaries were held in warmer weather conditions, people were lined up from the front door to out into the street. With the possibility of rain, and gusty winds and perhaps more snow, no one could expect voters – with the possible exception of the greatest die-hards – to remain outside. So the youth hostel venue – which offers shelter and comfort, and is conveniently close to the traditional venue – was chosen instead.
■ IT’S COMFORTING for a political candidate to have the mayor of his city in his corner.
Eytan Schwartz, who is foreign affairs adviser to Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, was a candidate in the Labor primary this week, and Huldai was one of the people who called Labor Party members to ask them to vote for Schwartz. He also appeared in a video on Schwartz’s Facebook page, even donating NIS 1,000 to Schwartz’s campaign.
A former television personality who a decade ago won the highly rated reality show The Ambassador aimed at improving Israel’s image abroad, the New York-born Schwartz returned to the Big Apple to work for the Israel at Heart advocacy organization.
Once back in Israel, he became the spokesman for the Committee for the Advancement of Refugees from Darfur. He’s been with the Tel Aviv Municipality for several years now, and was involved in the city’s centenary celebrations in 2009.
Schwartz failed to get elected to the previous Knesset, and at press time it was too early to tell whether he had fared sufficiently well in Tuesday’s primary to get a realistic spot on the combined Labor-Hatnua list.
■ HOTELIER AND philanthropist David Fattal, whose company owns and manages Israel’s largest hotel chain, is a familiar figure at business conventions and fund-raising galas. His brother Itzik Fattal is less known, but the two pooled their resources and got together at the University of Haifa to present 30 scholarships with a total value of NIS 150,000.
This is the second consecutive year in which the Haifa-born brothers presented scholarships to their hometown university – in memory of their father, Yosef, a wellknown lawyer in the city. The brothers have pledged to continue donating scholarships for at least the coming eight years, until the total value of their donation reaches NIS 1.5 million. Amos Shapira, the university’s president and also one of its alumni, was delighted to accept the gift.
■ OTHER SIBLINGS who donated scholarships were Yair and Gideon Hamburger and their sister, Ronit Manor, but theirs went to the Netanya Academic College.
Their gift of NIS 300,000 covered 120 scholarships for students taking courses in business management and insurance.
Yair Hamburger, who is the chairman of Harel Insurance, told the students that Harel manages funds totaling NIS 170 billion, and in order to succeed takes huge risks on behalf of the company’s clients. He warned that if Israel does not change its policy and fails to succeed in changing the perceptions of those in the Western world who are leading BDS campaigns, the outlook for Israel’s economy will be grim.
The Hamburgers donate generously to other causes as well. Harel president Gideon Hamburger is the chairman of the Friends of the Israel Museum, as well as chairman of the Friends of Beit Hatfutsot – the Museum of the Jewish People.
■ THE RAMLE Municipality last September made a disused building available to a hesder yeshiva. The building required considerable renovation, and this month was officially inaugurated at a ceremony attended by numerous dignitaries, including Housing Minister Uri Ariel, Ramle Mayor Yoel Lavi and his No. 2, Moti Yitzhaki, who was responsible for seeing that all the needs of the yeshiva were met. They were welcomed by the head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Aryeh Hendler; the first nucleus of soldier students was also present.