Grapevine: Concerts at the American Colony

A reception was held last week in the office of Health Minister Rabbi Ya’acov Litzman.

Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman
(photo credit: Courtesy)
■ THE NEW American Colony concert series for 2016 kicked off last Saturday night with a classical Viennese Soiree in which Austrian baritone Thomas Zisterer, accompanied by pianist Maria Neishtast, sang songs by Mozart, Schubert, Mahler, Zemlinsky and Korngold and a selection of arias from Viennese operettas. The event was sponsored by the Austrian Cultural Forum.
The American Colony Hotel, situated in east Jerusalem, has long been regarded as neutral territory in which Israelis and Palestinians can meet for political discussions and debates, as well as cultural and social events. It is also a favorite watering hole of journalists from around the world. Over the years, it has hosted many influential personalities from the realms of culture, politics, religion and industry.
■ TO MARK the publication of In the Pathways of Maimonides, a collection of essays on the themes of Jewish medical ethics, history and law, writings on the medicine of Moses Maimonides and other related topics, honoring Dr. Fred Rosner on his 80th birthday and highlighting his contribution to Jews and medicine, a reception was held last week in the office of Health Minister Rabbi Ya’acov Litzman.
Rosner was the assistant dean and professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and chairman of the Medical Ethics Committee of the State of New York. Born in Berlin, Rosner, at the age of three and traveling with his brother, was on the last Kindertransport out of Germany.
Rabbi Yehuda Assaf, president of the Maimonides Research Institute and publisher of the book, thanked Litzman for hosting the event and welcomed the editors of the book, as well as members of the Rosner family. He expressed his pride at having been able to publish some of Rosner’s other writings and presented Litzman with the book Medical Halachic Responsa by Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein, which Rosner had edited and translated.
Also present at the event were two of Rosner’s colleagues – Prof. Samuel Kottek, professor emeritus of the history of medicine at the Hebrew University; and Prof. Shimon Glick, professor emeritus of medicine at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and former ombudsman for Israel’s health services.
Dr. Kenneth Collins, in responding on behalf of his co-editors Rabbi Dr. Avraham Steinberg and Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman, referred to the influence that the late British chief rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits had on generations of Jewish physicians with his pioneering studies on Jewish medical ethics and encouragement of religious Jews to imbue medical practice with traditional Jewish values. Rosner was inspired by Jakobovits in his extensive studies of Jewish medical ethics.
Delighted to have been able to honor Rosner with the volume, the editors voiced the hope that he would continue his valued contributions for many years. Now living in Israel and surrounded by all his children and grandchildren, Rosner assured his admirers that he was continuing to write and to translate further volumes of Zilberstein’s responsa.
■ LOCATED ON Zawiyat el Hamud Street opposite Herod’s Gate in the Old City, the Indian Hospice in Jerusalem symbolizes India’s presence in the holy city since the 12th century. Over the years, the hospice has expanded and currently covers an area of 7,000 square meters. For the past 92 years, the hospice has been under the direct supervision of a representative from India. The current representative is Sheikh Mohammed Munir Ansari, who welcomed Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who last week visited the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
During World War II, the hospice was used as an R&R center for soldiers of the Indian army who served with British troops in the Middle East. A substantial grant from India’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has enabled the hospice to undergo renovation and expansion.
■ THE HADASSAH Israel National Conference taking place on February 9 and 10 will be held at the Yehuda Hotel, which was formerly a hostel for Young Judaea students from America.
Titled “Hadassah and the Zionist Dream,” the conference will feature a broad range of subjects, from the Herzl era to the present time. It is only natural that a Hadassah conference should feature the history of medicine in Israel from the pre-state period onwards.
This will not only be discussed but also viewed in a segment of film clips from the Steven Spielberg Archives, introduced by Hadassah PR director and Jerusalem Post columnist Barbara Sofer.
Other speakers on the two-day program are Arthur Spector, architect of the magnificent Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower at Hadassah Ein Kerem; former Supreme Court justice and current president of the Israel Press Council Dalia Dorner, who will speak on Israeli democracy; Miriam Berkowitz, rabbi and chaplain at Hadassah hospital; Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, a world expert on anti-Semitism, who will speak on anti-Semitism and Zionism; journalist Yoaz Hendel and author Sarah Blau, who will engage in a panel discussion on Zionism, moderated by Dr. David Breakstone, vice-chairman of the World Zionist Organization; Dr. Dafna Hirsch of the Department of Sociology, Political Science and Communication at the Open University, who will discuss Hadassah’s role in developing the field of preventive medicine in Palestine; Ben-Gurion University historian Prof. Ariel Feldstein, who will reveal some of the myths about Theodor Herzl; former Knesset Speaker and former chairman of the Jewish Agency Avraham Burg; and Post columnist Prof. Gil Troy of McGill University.