Grapevine: A regular rugby fan

It was perfectly normal for South Africa's Ambassador to join the many expats who congregated on Hayarkon Street in Tel Aviv to watch a nail-biting Rugby World Cup Quarter Final cliffhanger.

Alon Olearchik (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Alon Olearchik
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
■ ALL AMBASSADORS to Israel not only represent their countries but also have a special relationship with the expatriates of their respective countries who are living in Israel. Thus it was perfectly normal for South Africa ׳s Ambassador Sisa Ngombane to join the many South African expats who congregated at Molly Bloom’s Irish Pub on Hayarkon Street in Tel Aviv last Saturday night to watch via satellite TV the Springboks narrowly defeat Wales 23-19 in a nail-biting Rugby World Cup Quarter Final cliffhanger. The modest ambassador – who came without fanfare but as a committed Springboks fan – was spotted by Michael Jankelowitz, who is originally from Port Elizabath.
Jankelowitz, who has great respect for the ambassador, offered Ngombane his seat in the standing-room-only pub that, after the first few minutes of the game, was filled to capacity.
■ WHILE THE Dan chain can claim to be the most veteran luxury hotel chain in Israel, with the King David as its flagship in Jerusalem and the Dan as its flagship in Tel Aviv, the Hilton chain can also boast a long history. In fact, it’s celebrating its 50th anniversary this Saturday night with a gala concert and dinner in conjunction with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Foundation and Bank Hapoalim. The concert, which will be a tribute to George Gershwin, will feature the IPO with conductor and pianist Yaron Gottfried, along with singers Riki Gal, Alon Olearchik, Ester Rada and Dan Shapira.
The Tel Aviv Hilton’s relationship with the IPO goes back to when the hotel was in the final stages of construction but already open to receive guests. Among the initial guests was a young conductor by the name of Zubin Mehta, who was destined to become the lifetime musical director of the IPO. There was still wet concrete on the building and Mehta left his eternal hand print there, almost as an indicator that the Hilton would be his home away from home. The hotel also inaugurated a Zubin Mehta suite in which the maestro stays when he comes to Israel.
■ THE FRIENDS of Beit Hatfutsot are hosting an evening of song with composer, arranger and conductor Nurit Hirsh in memory of beloved long-term iconic Tel Aviv mayor Shlomo “Chich” Lahat, who died just over a year ago. The purpose of the event on Wednesday, October 28, is to set up a Chich Shlomo Lahat Foundation aimed at bringing increasing numbers of schoolchildren from peripheral communities to Beit Hatfutsot to acquaint them with the history of the Jewish world in and beyond Israel. Organized by Reuven Adler and Irit Admoni Perlman, the musical launch will be attended by members of the Lahat family.
■ OCTOBER 28 is also the date for the annual Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach memorial concert, which is always held on or close to the anniversary of Carlebach’s death. In the past the concert was held in Jerusalem, but this year, for the 21st anniversary, it will be held at the Hevel Modi’in Cultural Center in Airport City. Performers include Aharon Razel, the Solomon brothers and their father, Ben-Zion Solomon, Dvir Spiegel and the Elevators. Given the fact that the theater seats only 700 people and that there are so many Carlebach synagogues around the country, it is highly likely that Carlebach fans who are unable to secure a ticket will stage an impromptu concert outside in addition to the one being held inside. It will be interesting to compare the internal with the external numbers.
■ THERE WAS a time when fashion models and blonde-haired actresses were thought to be bimbos, but many of them in fact have university degrees plus a lot of business savvy and have invested their money wisely. Included in this category is Fanta Prada, one of several striking models from Israel’s Ethiopian community whose brain is no less impressive than her beauty. Prada, who has a law degree, has decided to expand her CV to include cuisine. She is opening a gourmet Ethiopian restaurant in Tel Aviv’s Yemenite Quarter by the name of Balinjera, which in Amharic means “the camaraderie of breaking bread together.” The restaurant, which will primarily feature healthful food, is due to open by the end of the year.