Grapevine: Pleasant problem

News briefs from around Jerusalem.

Chabad Rehavia sign (photo credit: WWW.JERUSALEMCHABAD.ORG)
Chabad Rehavia sign
► LAST WEEK it was mentioned in this column that Chabad of Rechavia has to conduct its Shabbat and High Holy Day services in the basement of the Great Synagogue, because its own premises are too small to house its rapidly growing congregation. But Chabad of Rechavia is not the only congregation with this pleasant problem. So is Shir Hadash, founded by Rabbi Ian Pear and his wife Rachel. The congregation, whose services are usually conducted on the premises of Ohel Nechama in Chopin Street, has branched out with an additional service at 47 Emek Refaim. For the time being, Shir Hadash Emek, as it is called, will meet at 47 Emek Refaim.
To introduce people from both congregations to the new facility, Slihot services were held there last Saturday night beginning with a lesson by Rabbi Sam Shor, followed at midnight by musical penitential prayers led by Ari Abramson. Everyone attending was asked to bring a canned food item to donate to Jerusalem’s needy senior citizens. On October 1, both congregations will again come together for Shabbat services at 47 Emek Refaim, but separate services will be held on Rosh Hashana. The establishment of a satellite branch may cause some confusion, as diagonally across the road at 12 Emek Refaim there is a more veteran congregation called Shira Hadasha. Not everyone looking for one or the other will know the difference if they are not familiar with either congregation.
► AT A 50th-anniversary gathering of the Jerusalem Foundation on the lawn of the President’s Residence last week, President Reuven Rivlin told Jerusalem Foundation President Emeritus Ruth Cheshin: “I’m not going to argue who is more of a Jerusalemite, because I’m sure I will win, but my thanks go to you, Ruth, for all you have done and for all the Jerusalem Foundation has done and continues to do for the city of Jerusalem and the people of Jerusalem.”
Prior to entering the Knesset and subsequently the presidency, Rivlin sat on the boards of several organizations and institutions, but nowhere near as many as Cheshin, who, in addition to sitting on the boards of many of the organizations and institutions which received their head-starts from the Jerusalem Foundation, also sits on the boards of several commercial enterprises and is a Teva heiress.
Cheshin joined Teddy Kollek in creating the Jerusalem Foundation, and members of both their families were present at the President’s Residence as were many representatives of other founding families.
► NATIONAL INSURANCE Institute Director General Shlomo Mor Yosef, who was previously the longtime director-general of Hadassah University Medical Center, and became known worldwide during the hospitalization of Ariel Sharon, is due to complete his tenure in December, following an extension that was granted to him by Welfare and Social Services Minister Haim Katz. In the event that a successor is not found by the end of the year, Katz may ask Mor Yosef to stay on a little longer. Despite his long association with Hadassah – from his student days through his work there as a senior physician in gynecological oncology and also a teacher at the Faculty of Medicine, followed by an 11-year stint as director general – relations between Mor Yosef and Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America have deteriorated to the degree of mutual recrimination.
The organization blamed the Hadassah Medical Center’s huge deficit on Mor Yosef’s mismanagement, and he in turn blamed the deficit on reduced funding from America. Now, in view of NIS 2.2 billion deficit in the operating budget of the National Insurance Institute, Mor Yosef, who grew up in a poor family in Katamon, is once again being called to task not only for mismanagement, but for the insensitive bureaucracy of the NII, which humiliates many needy people and places so many obstacles in their path. At 65, he still has two years to go before he reaches retirement age – something that could very well be abolished over the next two years, given the fact that so many senior citizens are physically and mentally active into their eighties. So it would not come as a surprise to find him in yet another top management role.