Grapevine: Freeze Frame

THE WEEKLY Hashavua, which keeps tabs on who's who in the haredi community, reports that Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai is on a physical fitness kick and goes for a daily run through Jerusalem's Har Nof neighborhood, in which he lives. According to the report, Yishai is in better shape than his bodyguard, who has no choice other than to run with him but has difficulty keeping up. Yishai would probably be a lot happier if he could achieve and maintain the same lead politically. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is also a runner and fitness freak. It would be interesting to watch them run a marathon. HELL HATH no fury like a woman scorned - or so we've been led to believe. But the truth of the matter is that both men and women can react violently or maliciously when rejected. Case in point is a 24-year-old male hairdresser from east Jerusalem who used to work for Karin Ben-Hamo, who operates a luxury bridal salon in the Jerusalem Mall. Approximately half a year ago, Ben-Hamo was shocked to discover that there had been a break-in and 60 wedding gowns valued at around NIS 1 million had disappeared. Bad enough that the merchandise had been stolen, but some of those gowns had already been ordered by brides. Explaining to them that they would not be wearing these gowns on the most important day in their lives was no easy task. Police finally tracked down the gowns last week - not in Jerusalem, but in Hebron. It transpired that the hairdresser had been fired and the most effective form of revenge he could think of was to relieve Ben-Hamo of the wedding gowns. AFTER MORE than half a lifetime of designing haute couture and sexy, sophisticated swimwear, Gideon Oberson, arguably the country's best-known fashion designer abroad, has turned his hand to doors, and is designing them for Rav Bariah, the company that specializes in multi-lock security doors. Oberson's attitude to doors is not unlike his attitude to clothes. The way someone dresses, he believes, tells you a lot about who they are - whether they care about aesthetics, whether the first impression they make matters to them, whether they have a sense of style and color. The same thing happens when you come to someone's house, he observes. The entrance tells you a lot about the occupants. That is certainly true of his own luxurious home, with a swimming pool just inside the gate, surrounded by a patio that leads to an outdoor kitchen and bathroom on one side and a glassed-in dining room on the other. The house is full of his sculptures. He's been a sculptor for not quite as long as he's been a fashion designer, but his work in both fields is equally eye-catching and meticulous. For Oberson groupies who've purchased his gowns, suits, beachwear and accessories, there's now an opportunity to acquire an Oberson-designed door. PEOPLE ARE often surprised by the intensity of Jewish life in Australia. Somehow the thought that Jewish values and traditions are alive and well in the far-flung southern continent, which is so geographically removed from the hub of the Jewish world, seldom crosses people's minds. Unless they've visited or have relatives who have informed them otherwise, their impressions of Australia are of some huge wilderness, in which there is a small Jewish population that is being overwhelmed by the influences around it. For the benefit of the uninformed, the oldest synagogue in Australia has been standing for more than a century, Jewish periodicals have been published there for 79 years, the Zionist movement has been operating for 80 years, the Jewish day school movement is about to celebrate its 60th anniversary, while part-time Yiddish schools have been in existence for much longer, as has Yiddish theater. Yuval Rotem, our new ambassador to Australia, is due to present his credentials to Governor-General Michael Jeffrey in Canberra on August 15, and on August 19 will participate in the Zionist Federation of Australia's 80th anniversary celebrations in Sydney at the invitation of ZFA president Philip Chester. Rotem, who is also the non-resident ambassador to New Zealand, Papua-New Guinea and Fiji, has already found long-lost relatives in Australia.. A former spokesman for the delegation to the United Nations and subsequently consul-general in Los Angeles, Rotem served as a senior policy adviser to Ehud Barak, Binyamin Netanyahu and David Levy. He succeeds Nati Tamir, whose term was cut short, following embarrassing and offensive remarks that he made about Asians while on home leave last October. Although Tamir denied making the comments attributed to him, he was recalled to Jerusalem while an investigation was under way, and then was briefly returned to Canberra to make his farewells.