Grapevine: Mazal tov, IDC graduates

MORE THAN 1,800 students from all over the world study at the IDC Raphael Recanati International School in Herzliya. (photo credit: IDC)
MORE THAN 1,800 students from all over the world study at the IDC Raphael Recanati International School in Herzliya.
(photo credit: IDC)
■ ASHDOD MAYOR Yechiel Lasry was among the 2,000 bachelor’s and master’s degree alumni who participated in the Interdisciplinary College Herzliya graduation ceremony last week. Proud parents of the graduates included Miriam Peretz, who after losing her sons Uriel and Eliraz, was delighted to attend the graduation of their younger brother, Avihu; president of the Diamond Exchange, Yoram Dvash, whose daughter Shahar had earned her degree; David Fattal, who heads Israel’s largest hotel chain and hopes that his newly graduated son Yuval will join the enterprise; Meir Sakal, deputy chair of the Sakal Group, which has a number of duty-free outlets at Ben-Gurion International Airport, who had come to celebrate with his son Daniel; and filmmakers Yoram and Leah Globus, who rejoiced with their son Uri.
■ NOT SO long ago, members of the gay community serving in the IDF were terrified of outing themselves or being outed by someone else. But in a new national environment in which there is more acceptance of people of different sexual orientations, that fear has almost become a thing of the past. However, there are still those who cannot tolerate gays and go to great lengths to humiliate and embarrass them.
Lt. (res.) Omer Nahmani, who is openly gay and in civilian life works industriously to promote LGBT rights, sent a WhatsApp to reservists in his artillery unit, inviting them to join him in the Gay Pride parade in Tel Aviv. The first to respond was Eitan Birger from Moshav Kfar Kisch in the Lower Galilee. Birger spoke to some of the other men in the unit, and the consensus was that if Nahmani was ready to risk his life for any or all of them on the battlefield, then they were more than ready to stand by him in the court of public opinion and support his right to live in accordance with his sexual orientation.
They even wore tank tops emblazoned with the Gay Pride logo. Such gestures give a whole new meaning to comrades in arms.
■ FRIENDS USUALLY rejoice in each other’s good fortune. Under ordinary circumstances, international human rights activist and former justice minister of Canada Prof. Irwin Cotler and his wife, Ariela, would have been at Bar-Ilan University on Tuesday night to see his good friend Isi Leibler receive an honorary doctorate. But it just so happened that Cotler himself was receiving an honorary doctorate that night – not from BIU but from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, which meant that Isi and Naomi Leibler, who would otherwise have surely gone to Beersheba, missed out on seeing Cotler receive yet another sign of recognition to add to his collection of awards.
On the other hand, Nechama Werdiger, a good friend of the Leiblers from Melbourne, from where they made aliya, is visiting Israel, and she did go to BIU for the conferment ceremony.
■ DYNAMIC PUBLIC relations and advertising executive Ruth Sheetrit and her husband, Meir, married off their daughter Naama to Adam Goshen at the Ronit Farm.
The bride’s father spent more than four decades in public office, beginning with his election as mayor of Yavne, where the family still lives, when he was only 26 years old.
Sheetrit was later elected to the Knesset and, over the years, held several ministerial portfolios, including minister of finance and minister of justice. He also had a stint at the Jewish Agency. He competed against Reuven Rivlin for the presidency of Israel and put up a strong fight. But Rivlin, who previously had been defeated by Shimon Peres, garnered more strength the second time around. Sheetrit resigned from the Knesset in December 2014.
■ KEEN TO perpetuate the memory of their friend Yoni Jesner, Ben and Miriam Casper decided to honor the inspiring youth leader from Glasgow, who was killed in a suicide bombing of a bus in Tel Aviv in September 2002, with something that he would have appreciated. The Caspers, who plan to become residents of Modi’in this summer, decided that the most fitting legacy for Yoni would be an ambucycle. Yoni had wanted to study medicine, so even though he was unable to realize his dream, whoever rode the ambucycle would be doing what Yoni wanted to do – to help and to heal.
Ben, who currently lives in Woodmere, where he works as a real-estate broker, initiated the fund-raising drive with his uncle Phil Rosen, who had introduced him to United Hatzalah a few years earlier and brought him to meet United Hatzalah founder Eli Beer. Following the encounter, Ben and Miriam decided to sponsor a volunteer.
More recently, as they learned more about the work of United Hatzalah, the couple decided to become more involved in donating to the organization. Ben said that he garnered support for the ambucycle from all over but that his uncle, who has already donated a few ambucycles to the organization, sponsored half of the bike and gave Ben the challenge of coming up with the other half. A fully equipped United Hatzalah ambucycle costs $36,000.
The new ambucycle will join the existing fleet in the area around Modi’in and is expected to go out to 600 calls each year, which is currently the national average of response calls handled by an ambucyclist.
The Caspers hope to launch the ambucycle soon after their aliya, and then hold a special ceremony for it toward Succot, around the anniversary of Yoni’s death.