Grapevine: Balfour et al

A weekly round-up of news around Israel.

MEMBERS OF the cast of The Sharon Players production ‘Sitting Pretty’: (photo credit: Courtesy)
MEMBERS OF the cast of The Sharon Players production ‘Sitting Pretty’:
(photo credit: Courtesy)
IT MAY seem strange that German Ambassador Clemens von Goetze, rather than British Ambassador David Quarrey, is listed among the speakers at the upcoming international conference on 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, to be held February 28 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel Jerusalem.
But realization dawns quickly with the identities of the co-hosts – namely, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. If the British Council had been partnering with the JCPA, no doubt Quarrey would have been the ambassador discussing Israel and the international community 100 years later. Still, one of the other speakers is British-born Daniel Taub, director of strategy and planning at the Rothschild Foundation in Jerusalem and immediate former ambassador of Israel to the Court of St James. So in a sense, Taub will be representing both Britain and Israel.
■ IN HIS boyhood, actor Itay Turgeman was not particularly interested in sports. But when he was in his mid- 20s, he began to run, and now at 33, he’s totally hooked and will run the full course in the upcoming Tel Aviv Marathon on February 24. While he’s busy running, many of his friends and colleagues from the celebrity circuit will be feeding their faces in the VIP stand, provided by Adidas at the Piaf reception center in the heart of Gan Yehoshua. Among them will be model Shlomit Malka and actor Yehuda Levi, who plan to marry in May; actresses Agam Rodberg and Anna Aranov; television weatherman Danny Roup and many other well known personalities.
■ SAVING A LIFE is one of the most important values in Jewish tradition, and one is permitted to break almost all of the 613 precepts and commandments in order to do so.
Modern medicine has increased the possibility of saving lives through organ transplants, but it is still very difficult for next of kin to agree to the harvesting of their loved ones’ organs in order to save the lives of others. In this context, Nechama Rivlin, the wife of the president, this week urged recipients of organ donations to become part of the campaign to increase the number of registered organ donors in Israel. People who have waited for a transplant have gone through a very difficult period, she said, and it has probably been even more difficult for families that have to make that split-second decision to donate.
Rivlin praised the courage and concern for others of Shiri Nir, mother of 10-year-old Elai Nir, who died after falling from a cliff in the Negev.
Elai’s father, Dr. Omri Nir, was killed instantly while trying to save him.
Yet in the face of this double tragedy, Shiri Nir donated Elai’s organs to give life and hope to others. His heart is now beating inside an eightyear- old boy, Almog Garibelli. His lungs have prolonged the life of a 55-year-old woman. A four year old received his liver, and two young people received his kidneys. The lung transplant was performed at Petah Tikva’s Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus, whose staff arranges an annual get-together of people who have undergone successful lung transplants.
Rivlin was speaking at Kfar Hamaccabiah during the fourth such gathering.
Other speakers at the event included Beilinson Director Dr.
Eyran Halperin; Dr. Tamar Ashkenazi, director of ADI, the National Transplant and Organ Donation Center; Prof. Mordechai Kramer, head of the Institute of Pulmonary Medicine at Beilinson; and two representatives from the growing transplanted- lungs community.
■ THE MOST veteran of the five former US ambassadors to Israel who urged Congress not to approve David Friedman as the next US envoy is William Harrop, who was ambassador for just under a year and a half, from January 1992 to May 1993. Now retired from the foreign service, he is still busy. Among his various positions are director of the American Academy of Diplomacy and chair of the Foreign Affairs Museum Council, which intends to establish a museum of US diplomacy.
It would be fitting for Israel to also have such a museum. The Foreign Ministry occasionally displays placards that really belong in a museum.
Diplomacy plays an extraordinarily important role in the history and development of every country, and Israel’s diplomats in particular have performed their tasks in places where their lives are often at risk. They have won friends for Israel in countries that were previously hostile or notoriously antisemitic, and have worked to promote Israeli culture abroad.
For the most part, they remain anonymous soldiers in civilian attire.
With few exceptions, the Israeli public does not know who they are. If funds are not available to build such a museum, perhaps space could be made available in the impressive new National Library now under construction across from the Knesset, or in the current National Library building on the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Documents that are no longer classified and are already accessible at the National or Zionist Archives could be donated to such a museum. Diplomats deserve to be recognized for their service to the country no less than do soldiers for their heroism.
■ GINDI TLV Fashion Week, which annually provides a platform for Israeli designers, will open on Monday, March 13, and continue on March 14 and 15 with a total of 22 fashion shows, with the final show each night beginning at 10 p.m. The first of these showings, at the TLV Fashion Mall, will be by Vivi Bellaish.
On Sunday night, March 12, as a prelude to Fashion Week, there will be a gala showing by Gottex to celebrate 60 years of making the Israeli company’s brand one of the best known beachwear labels in the world. Although the company totally changed hands in March 2002 when the late founder, Leah Gottlieb, sold the 19% stake still in her and her two daughters’ hands to Lev Leviev, her name will forever be associated with Gottex. In October 1997, when Gottex had fallen on hard times, Africa Israel, headed by Leviev, bought 80% of the company’s stock.
Among other veterans participating in Fashion Week will be Gideon Oberson and Tovele Hasson, who will have a 30-year retrospective show of her creations under the Tovele label. What will be particularly interesting is a show by upcoming designers to be sponsored by Mifal Hapayis, the national lottery. Motty Reif, creative director and executive producer of Gindi TLV, has been involved with Israeli fashion shows for 30 years, starting out as a young male model and later becoming a producer, working in Los Angeles as well as Tel Aviv.
■ IMMIGRANTS FROM Englishspeaking countries whose Hebrew somehow never reaches the level that allows them to fully understand or enjoy Hebrew theater can hardly wait for English-language productions, which are happily increasing.
English-language theater groups exist in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ra’anana, Haifa, Beersheba and elsewhere.
For those who hanker for theater in English, the Sharon Players will oblige on March 22, 23 and 27. The first two performances will be at Yad Lebanim in Ra’anana, and the last at Hamishkan in Ra’anana. The production is Sitting Pretty, a comedy by British writer Amy Rosenthal that presents a whole new slant on self-discovery for overweight women in their mid-50s.
After losing her job as a stenographer and feeling depressed and unwanted, Nancy answers an advertisement to sit for an art class and discovers to her horror that she is expected to pose in the nude.
Though reluctant, it was a beggarscan’t- be-choosers decision that not only changes her life, but the lives of all around her.
The cast includes Albert Levi, Linda Goldstein, Frances Thaler, Michael Singer, Linda Silverstone, Dalia Librus, Yohan Segev, Judy Bailey and Robin Reiss.
The Sharon Players have been performing in the Sharon area for 35 years. This is their 51st production.
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