I’m dreaming of a white Seder

At the Waldorf Astoria the owners take a personal interest in each and every guest.

A suite at the just opened Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A suite at the just opened Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
ON THE first Friday of every month, either by the Gregorian or the Hebrew calendar, stand-up comedian Kobi Arieli has an event at ZOA House in Tel Aviv within the framework of Yiddishpiel. His humorous patter, which sometimes includes long, convoluted anecdotes, is spiced with interviews with politicians, musicians and other people of note.
The first Friday of the month, both April and Nisan, is today, and anyone who reads Metro early in the morning still has time to get to ZOA House by 11 a.m. for some kugel and vodka and a large dose of Arieli. Among his guests today is MK Merav Michaeli, who was a prominent broadcaster before throwing her hat into the political arena.
 FOR FAMILIES of contestants in the national youth Bible Quiz last week, all roads led to Yavne, where the finals were held. The winner was Itamar Kalifa of the Shalavim Yeshiva High School. Tefilah Berenson of the Zvia Ulpana in Rehovot came in second. There was a slight disturbance that almost marred the spirit of the occasion when a group of girl singers mounted the stage. In some Orthodox circles there is a prohibition for men to listen to the voices of women singing.
In addition, the singers were not appropriately attired. Several boys from various yeshivot demonstrated their disapproval by getting up and leaving the auditorium. Some of the yeshiva principals voiced their own opposition, given the nature of the event and the fact that the majority of those present were Orthodox.
On the previous day, a national Bible Quiz for students of ulpanot from all over the country was held in Kiryat Arba in the presence of several well-known rabbis. The contestants represented 19 ulpanot. The winner was Yael Krakover from the Gilo Ulpana.
 REGULARS WHO attend the White City Shabbat will probably have an even greater urge to attend the White City Seder that is being conducted in conjunction with Hineni. Catering is strictly kosher, and wine will be provided by Golan Wineries. The venue is the Goren Synagogue on Modigliani Street, adjacent to Rabin Square. The date is Monday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. and the cost is NIS 100 per person, payable in advance with registration (www.WhiteCitySeder.
eventbrite.com). The Seder is designed for young professionals in their 20s and 30s.
Organizers are also looking ahead towards holding the largest ever Shabbat dinner at Hangar 11 at the Tel Aviv Port, with the participation of Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.
 “THERE’S NO place like home” goes the old adage. After traveling to Japan last year, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira, Israel Prize laureate Haim Yavin, who is known as Mr.
Television, and a group of friends decided that as beautiful as the land of the cherry blossom may be, the beginning of the cherry season in the north of Israel was no less fascinating. So they took themselves off to Metulla, which is almost on the Lebanese border, and stayed at the Beit Shalom boutique hotel, a lovingly restored and expanded residential building on Harishonim Street, which is the main street of Metulla.
While the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Jerusalem is a family affair in that it was built by the Reichmann family of Toronto and Jerusalem, the Beit Shalom hotel is even more of a family affair in that Haim Hod-Fine, who together with his wife Miriam, meticulously built the hotel, did so on a property that had been home to his father and grandfather and added to the original structure. His Russianborn grandfather Haim Moshe Fain had come to the village of Yesud Hama’ala in 1894 and had fallen in love with a beautiful local girl named Yocheved. They married, and a year later crossed the Hula swamplands and kept moving north until they reached Metulla, where they built their home. The couple brought 11 children into the world, and only one, Shalom, the 10th and secondyoungest, remained in Metulla. His son Haim decided to turn the family property into a jewel that others could also appreciate. Haim, who has changed the spelling of his surname, is named after his grandfather as is his twin brother, Moshe.
Using old drawings and photographs, Haim reconstructed the old stone house in which his grandparents lived and added guest rooms. The hotel has two suites and eight regular guest rooms, plus a spa, farm-style restaurant, an art gallery and a spacious garden that includes willow trees and a cherry orchard.
Because the boutique hotel is so intimate in size, the owners can take a personal interest in each and every guest – and indeed they do.