Grapevine: Australian makes good

Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein
THE US can have a secretary of state who was not born in America, though not a president who is not native-born. The Israel Region of the Rabbinical Council of America is much more lax in this regard. Not only does it not require that its president be born in America, but he doesn’t even have to be an American citizen, so long as he is a properly qualified Orthodox rabbi.
This may explain how Australian-born Rabbi Dr. Raymond Apple, who is the emeritus chief rabbi of the Sydney Great Synagogue and now lives in Jerusalem, was elected president of the Israel Region-Rabbinical Council of America, succeeding Rabbis Aaron Borow and Jay Karzen, who have served for seven years.
Not only is Apple not American by birth or citizenship, but he has never served as the spiritual leader of an American congregation. His first rabbinical posts were in the London congregations of Bayswater and Hampstead, and he was offered the spiritual leadership of the Sydney Great Synagogue in the early 1970s.
Still, he’s not the first Australian to do well in another environment. Some other examples are Mark Regev, Israel’s ambassador designate to the UK; and Daniel Lew, former honorary consul of Papua New Guinea in Israel.
Apple will be installed at a Melaveh Malka event on Saturday evening at the home of Rabbi Emanuel and Rena Quint by Rabbi Mark Dratch, executive director of the National RCA. Other rabbis participating in the program include Jeff Bienenfeld, Reuven Tradburks, Elan Adler and Aaron Adler.
Rabbi Quint, a retired lawyer, is a senior vice president of the Israel branch of the New York-headquartered Orthodox Union.
Israeli youth boxing champion, long before he embarked on a career in law, Yehuda Weinstein, who until two weeks ago was attorney-general, quickly acquired another title following the completion of his tenure.
Almost immediately afterwards, Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev announced that together with the Israeli Boxing Association, she had decided to appoint Weinstein as the association’s honorary president.
At the finals of the Israeli Boxing Championship bouts, which took place at the Israel Goldstein Youth Village on Saturday night, Regev made a more public and official announcement about Weinstein’s appointment and sealed the deal with a pair of bright red boxing gloves. Mayor Nir Barkat was on hand to applaud Regev’s decision as was Boxing Association chairman Michael Barkan.
Some 90 boxers competed in the championship rounds.
WHAT’S IN a name? Both joy and tragedy. On November 2, 2000, 33-year-old Hanan Levy was on his way back from lunch to the law office where he worked in downtown Jerusalem when a bomb exploded. He and a young woman walking on Shomron Street were killed in the Arab terrorist outrage of that period. A bachelor, Hanan was the only son of Holocaust survivors Aharon and Esther Levy.
His best friend and fellow lawyer, Pinhas Sivan, sought a suitable means of perpetuating his memory. Supported by other young lawyers, he came up with the idea of a memorial garden. He represented Hanan’s parents in subsequent negotiations with the Jerusalem municipality, which allocated a plot of land at the corner of Moshe Kol and Toussia Levy streets in the Ramat Beit Hakerem neighborhood. The Levy family contributed a memorial stone, and the garden was dedicated. The memorial stone was unveiled in 2005.
When a fifth child and second son was born to Pinhas and Tsippi Sivan in 2002, they named him Hanan. However, tragedy struck once again. On August 31, 2006, when the 4½-year-old had a fatal accident at his home in the Gush Etzion village of Neveh Daniel, his parents decided to honor his memory in a similar manner to that of the late Hanan Levy. They established Gan Hanan, a children’s playground that was opened there in May 2007. But that is not the end of the story.
The Sivans commissioned the writing of a Torah scroll, which was completed last week on February 3, which would have been Hanan Sivan’s 14th birthday.
The scroll was carried by a large crowd of relatives and friends, with musical accompaniment, from the Sivan home to Neveh Daniel’s Central Synagogue.
Hanan’s older brother Ariel, who is an instructor in the IDF Tank Corps, was one of the scroll bearers.
At a festive meal after the ceremony, Hanan’s grandfather Dr. Gabriel Sivan read a moving poem in English and treated the guests to a Hebrew song recital.
The Sivan family is very musical, as was proven less than two years ago at Gabriel Sivan’s 80th birthday celebration, when he and his sons presented a choral medley.