Grapevine: Language legislation

Yiddish graffiti in Tel Aviv (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Yiddish graffiti in Tel Aviv
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
■ ISRAEL’S FOUNDING prime minister David Ben-Gurion was so opposed to the use of Jewish Diaspora languages in Israel that, long after his death, special legislation had to be enacted for the creation of the National Authority for Yiddish Culture and the National Authority for Ladino Culture. The latter was headed from its start by former president Yitzhak Navon until the day of his death last November, and the Authority for Yiddish Culture went through several changes of leadership.
The legislation was enacted in 1996, and to mark the 20th anniversary of this important milestone, Leyvik House will host a symposium on what led up to the legislation and what it helped to achieve.
The long list of speakers, which includes Dr. Sarah Ziv, who is the chairwoman of the National Authority for Yiddish, is mainly composed of people interested in preserving and promoting the Yiddish language and Yiddish culture, but singer Chen Lux will present songs in Yiddish and Ladino and will be accompanied by Leyvik House director Daniel Galai on the piano. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, May 24, at 7 p.m.
■ EVERY YEAR more than 150 young Jewish Russianspeaking activists come to Israel to participate in an intensive five-day seminar, shaping them into Birthright Israel group leaders. Created eight years ago by the Genesis Philanthropy Group for young Jewish leaders from FSU countries, the most recent seminar was held this month at the Shefayim Hotel.
Speakers included Avraham Infeld, mentor of the tikkun olam efforts within the Reut Institute, and Dr. Dmitry (Dima) Adamsky, associate professor at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at IDC Herzliya. For the first time, the group included young leaders from Germany, where there is a large population of FSU Jews who have chosen to emigrate from their countries of origin but have not yet opted for a future in Israel.
International CEO of Birthright Israel Gidi Mark declared: “We all understand that our common success can be achieved only if we have a strong foundation – our staff, our madrichim, who play the central role during the Birthright Israel trip. We are proud of each of these young Jewish leaders, who have decided to put aside their private lives in their home countries and to spend these days at the seminar as volunteers. They understand the importance of their role in the success of the Birthright Israel trips and, moreover, the success of the next Jewish generation in the Diaspora.”
■ CHOCOLATE LOVERS who want to celebrate special occasions in an environment that is a little more sophisticated than a regular coffee shop might care to take a look at a relatively new option – Max’s VIP Lounge at Tel Aviv’s Ramat Hahayal branch of Max Brenner Chocolates, where birthdays, bar mitzvas, engagement parties and other happy events can be celebrated in an intimate setting with one’s nearest and dearest.
The lounge seats 20 people, and the event can be tailored to suit the taste of every client.