Grapevine: Good chemistry

Two busloads of employees from Haifa Chemicals were sent to Kiryat Eliezer, where they worked for two days giving a face-lift to two schools.

Children on first day of school 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Children on first day of school 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
■ AMONG THE many companies that give back to the community by donating scholarships, conducting workshops for high-school students and encouraging employees to participate in community welfare activities is Haifa Chemicals. It has long been involved in Haifa’s development from a variety of standpoints, as well as developments in the south of the country through one of its other major plants. Nir Yitzhaki, deputy CEO for human resources, does his best to channel community activities in areas where the company’s employees live so that they will have a more positive attitude about giving of themselves and, at the same time, are contributing to the company’s image in places where they are familiar figures.
The company’s employees volunteer all year round. One of the key activities they engage in on a voluntary basis is renovating schools by applying fresh coats of paint and repairing broken furniture. Recently, two busloads of employees were sent to Kiryat Eliezer, where they worked for two days giving a face-lift to two schools, while employees in the South did the same with two schools in Dimona. These good deeds are carried out with the full cooperation of the employees’ trade union divisions and work committees.
■ FIRST-TIME visitors to the official residence of the president of the State of Israel are almost always impressed by the ceiling, which is made up of 63 square panels that tell the story of the Jewish people coming to Israel after the Holocaust and rebuilding their lives. This is one of the best-known works of artist Naftali Bezem, along with a wall relief at Yad Vashem. Bezem, who studied and later taught at Bezalel, has exhibited in major galleries in many parts of the world, as well as in several of Israel’s most established galleries. Some 18 years ago, he went to France and came home three years ago.
He is currently having a retrospective exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
The proof of his popularity was in the attendance of some 900 people at the opening last week. The exhibition is curated by Ruthie Ofek. Among the wellknown personalities who went to see both the artist and his art were Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai; industrialist Stef Wertheimer; entertainer Meni Pe’er; Carmella Rubin, the daughter of artist Reuven Rubin; and Yair Garbuz, director of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque and an artist in his own right.
■ RAMAT HASHARON Mayor Yitzhak Rochberger is running out of wall space. For the ninth consecutive year, Rochberger was awarded the Interior Minister’s prize for proper financial management. Receiving the prize for 2011-12 yet again reflects the municipality’s policy of a balanced budget, said Rochberger, who noted that even without suffering a deficit, the Ramat Hasharon Municipality was able to improve and expand services for residents.
Rochberger received the prize together with a framed citation from Interior Minister Eli Yishai at a ceremony held last week at the Jerusalem International Convention Center.
Also attending the ceremony were members of the Union of Local Authorities; Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Knesset members, Interior Ministry officials and, of course, a large representation from the Ramat Hasharon Municipality.
Senior employees in the mayor’s office are seriously considering opening a Facebook account solely for the prizes that the municipality has received not only from the Interior Ministry but from other sources as well.
■ IT WAS expected that when Yshai Oliel of Ramle won the Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships in Florida last week, his father, as well as his coach, Jan Pochter, who accompany him to all his games, would become excited.
But even more excited to the point of tears was Ramle Mayor Yoel Levi, who was unable to control his emotions because yet another local youngster had brought glory to his city. People at the Ramle Tennis Club, where Oliel trains every day, were thrilled, especially Tiran Bokovza, the head of the club, who had discovered the young champion and trained him.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu telephoned Oliel to congratulate him and to thank him for bringing honor to the country, but the modest youngster said that he had to train harder if he was to keep on doing that. Oliel was also training for his bar mitzva. It’s amazing to think that had he been born less than a month earlier he would have been too old to qualify for the contest that set him on the path to glory.
■ IT’S NOT only in Tel Aviv that future Labor MKs Merav Michaeli and Stav Shaffir make waves. The two women wowed the crowd on Saturday night at the Franklin Pub in Karmiel with a different kind of parlor meeting with music, singing and dancing, and proved to be proficient DJs as well. Shaffir had a preference for Lykke Li’s indie rock, while Michaeli chose an Amy Winehouse disc.
The two also got down to serious business discussing the needs of young people in peripheral communities and how the younger generation could effect changes in government policy.