Grapevine: Labor of love

Shaare Zedek direcor-general Prof. Jonathan Halevy and the Hadassah Medical Organization’s director-general Prof. Tamar Peretz at the annual Israel Medical Conference in Jerusalem. (photo credit: AVI HAYOUN)
Shaare Zedek direcor-general Prof. Jonathan Halevy and the Hadassah Medical Organization’s director-general Prof. Tamar Peretz at the annual Israel Medical Conference in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: AVI HAYOUN)
IT HAS been previously been mentioned in this column that aside from his skills and knowledge as a physician, Dr. Jonathan Halevy, director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center, is arguably one of the best Torah readers in Jerusalem. Halevy performs this labor of love in various synagogues within walking distance of his home, and on the Shabbat of Succot just before Simhat Torah, he delighted congregants of Hazvi Yisrael congregation in Talbiyeh when he not only read from the Torah but also Ecclesiastes, which preceded the parsha.
Halevy read in a loud, clear voice, and at a pace that could easily be followed by congregants whose grasp of Hebrew is not very strong, and his style is that of a storyteller.
APROPOS THE Hazvi Yisrael congregation, what do its president, Dr. Kenneth Collins, and his wife, Irene, have in common with former British chief rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Lady Elaine Sacks? A granddaughter – Noa Sacks – who has just celebrated her bat mitzva, which was a good enough reason for Collins and his wife to miss out on Succot in Jerusalem and fly to London for the family celebration.
HOSPITALITY IN the homes of people living in Jerusalem’s Old City is legendary. Almost everyone has guests for Shabbat and Jewish holidays, but few if any private household could equal the number of guests hosted by Aba and Pamela Claman, whose large rooftop succa symbolized the ingathering of Jews from all over the globe. Aside from the general hosting throughout the week of Succot, the Clamans welcomed scores of guests in the middle of the holiday when Pamela Claman celebrated her birthday.
The Clamans are well-known in Israel and abroad for their tireless efforts on behalf of Israel’s soldiers, to whom they say the nation owes more than can ever be expressed in words. They encourage everyone and anyone to say thank-you to Israel’s soldiers by simply offering them candies, cookies or a soft drink whenever and wherever they encounter them, and if they want to do something with more far-reaching consequences, to contribute to the rest and recreation center for soldiers being built in the Old City.
The Clamans also encourage Jewish unity and at the birthday party asked people to bond with each other simply by introducing themselves to someone they didn’t know. Among the guests was Gen. Gershon Cohen, an IDF veteran who spent 42 years in the army and is spearheading the soldiers’ center project.
Cohen recalled what it was like to go as a small boy with his father to Mount Zion, which was as close as they could get to the Old City, and to wonder if he would ever be privileged to stand in front of the Western Wall. He insisted that Israel must maintain that freedom to worship there. He also recounted some of his experiences on the Golan Heights during the Yom Kippur War, which brought home the underlying message of how much each and every Israeli owes to IDF soldiers for his or her personal safety and security.
STRATEGIC CONSULTANT Aura Wolfe, another long-term resident of the Old City’s Jewish Quarter, is moving to Tiberias to get what she calls renewed energy. Wolfe is quick to point out that she is not abandoning her friends from the Jewish Quarter; her new abode has five bedrooms and she will be happy to entertain friends on Shabbatot. She was also among the guests in the Claman succa, as were several former residents of the Jewish Quarter, some of who have either returned to live in the US and come to Israel once or twice a year, and others who still maintain homes in the Jewish Quarter but commute between Israel and the US.
JERUSALEM’S CELEBRITY chef Assaf Granit – who has made not only a national but international name for himself with his London- based restaurant, which has received rave reviews from British foodies – is returning to television. He previously appeared in the cooking contest Chefs’ Games with Moshik Roth and Meir Adoni, and will soon appear as the sole chef in Kitchen Revolution, which is due to go to air on Channel 2 on October 17. Like many Israeli reality shows, this one is borrowed from a successful foreign-language production, which in this case is Kitchen Nightmares, in which world-famous British chef Gordon Ramsay travels across North America to help turn fading restaurants into success stories, after battling reluctant owners. Granit will do something similar with Israeli restaurants but hopefully, unlike Ramsay, will refrain from using expletives.