Grapevine: The Cinderella days are over

The book also features chapters written by families in which there are special needs couples, in addition to which there are poignant poems and songs by leading Israeli poet Meron Isaacson.

FROM LEFT: Amir Shani, Dilshod Akhatov, Silvan Shalom and Said Rustamov meet at a roundtable meeting to promote a series of bilateral commercial and economic relationships.  (photo credit: Courtesy)
FROM LEFT: Amir Shani, Dilshod Akhatov, Silvan Shalom and Said Rustamov meet at a roundtable meeting to promote a series of bilateral commercial and economic relationships.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
People with special needs are just as capable as anyone else of falling in love. Yet when two people each of who has special needs, get married, it makes for a news story, due to a variety of imagined difficulties.
More often than not, couples evolve from meeting each other in the same social circles, and people with special needs often meet in schools and organizations in which most other people also have special needs. Now, there’s a book on the subject.
The Feuerstein Institute, in partnership with the Boston headquartered Ruderman Family Foundation, has published what it believes to be the first-ever book dealing with the issue of partnership and marriage for young people with special needs.
The issue was either off the table or not adequately dealt with by decision makers, opinion makers and professionals.
Parents of young adult couples with special needs had nowhere to turn for information, expertise, and advice.
This book, written by Prof. Assa Kasher, Rabbi Rafi Feuerstein, and others who are among Israel’s top professionals in law, family therapy, ethics, health, halacha and other subjects affecting married couples with special needs, will be launched at a conference on the subject on Wednesday, March 6, at Cinema City in Jerusalem.
The book also features chapters written by families in which there are special needs couples, in addition to which there are poignant poems and songs by leading Israeli poet Meron Isaacson.
■ AFTER STEPPING down from politics with a CV that includes a number of ministerial portfolios, Silvan Shalom opened a consulting office through which he advises companies and foreign governments on numerous issues based on the knowledge and experience that he gained through his many roles in the political arena. These include deputy prime minister and vice prime minister, deputy defense minister, finance minister, foreign minister, plus at different times minister for national infrastructure, energy and water; regional cooperation, interior; and development of the Negev and the Galilee. In his current capacity, Shalom also works closely with the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce to help promote a series of bilateral commercial and economic relationships. Thus, it came as no surprise that he sat in on a round table meeting with representatives of the federation, the government of Uzbekistan and the Israel-Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce.
Participants at the meeting in addition to Shalom were Dilshod Akhatov, deputy foreign minister of Uzbekistan, Said Rustamov, ambassador of Uzbekistan to Israel, Amir Shani, vice president of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and chairman of its international committee, Michael Lotem, head of Asia department at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, and David Luxemburg, who heads the Israel-Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce. The meeting was a preliminary effort toward enhanced bilateral economic relations stemming from amendments to Uzbekistan’s economic policy. Shani emphasized the importance of the reforms, which are leading towards a free market economy, and will enable a substantial improvements in economic relations between Uzbekistan and other countries.
Rustamov noted that in light of the good relations between Israel and Uzbekistan, the time had come to rise to the next level – namely an upswing in economic relations.
Shalom said that greater interaction was required to make it easier for Israel companies to enter Uzbekistan’s business world. He added that Israel would gladly cooperate in diverse fields including high tech, energy, water and agriculture, as well as other areas in which Uzbekistan has an interest.
■ IS JEWISH Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog returning to politics, or is he destined to follow further into his father’s footsteps and become a future president of Israel? Herzog’s father, in addition to being a high-ranking officer in both the British and Israeli armies, was also a lawyer, diplomat, and a politician. Both of Herzog’s parents also have a Jewish Agency background. While he was a major in the IDF and did not attain his father’s military status, Herzog surpassed him in politics. He is a lawyer by profession, and his role as Jewish Agency chairman is one of quasi diplomacy. Last week, Herzog accompanied delegations from Cyprus and Greece to a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin, and came in for praise not only from the Greek and Cypriot leaders of the delegations, but also from Rivlin, who said of him that he has a great future ahead of him because he is still a young man. Herzog is 58, and Rivlin 79.
Both will celebrate their respective birthdays in September – Rivlin on September 9 and Herzog on September 22. Two people whose names have already been bandied about as possible future presidents are Herzog’s predecessor in office, Natan Sharansky, 71, and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, 60, who is Rivlin’s successor in office. Even if Herzog is not a candidate for the 11th president of Israel, he could well be the 12th president. Israel’s first and seventh presidents, Chaim Weizmann and Ezer Weizman, were uncle and nephew, so it’s quite possible that Israel’s sixth president Chaim Herzog, who incidentally was the last-ever president to serve two terms before the law was amended, could be the father of the 12th president of Israel. Other names could, of course, pop up in the interim, but not everyone would be interested in having to work as hard as the president of Israel. It may be a ceremonial position, but it carries a lot of responsibility and hard work, and it requires more than an eight-hour working day with no additional remuneration for overtime.
■ THE PLETHORA of International Women’s Day activities is mind-boggling. In Jerusalem, they actually started last week and will continue not only throughout this week, but throughout this month. On Wednesday, March 6, WIZO will host an evening honoring Jerusalem women who have made breakthroughs in their professions and lifestyles. The event will take place at the Jerusalem Cinematheque where participants will also see a screening of the film on the life of American Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
On the following day, the Cinematheque will again be the venue for a day-long seminar titled “Cinderella’s time is over.” It may be remembered that in the famous children’s story, before the prince found Cinderella and placed a glass slipper on her dainty foot, she was treated like a servant at home. Many Arab women have also been treated as servants and have been denied the opportunity to realize their potential. But those days are coming to an end, as Arab women increasingly make their way through business, academia, medicine, law, the arts and politics. There are many and varied other events in the capital throughout the month, the last being on March 31, which is the date for the sixth Jerusalem Businesswomen’s Conference. Even though women have broken through the glass ceiling in the business world, for some odd reason, there are very few women’s events which are strictly female. Somewhere along the line there is at least one male guest speaker, and at mega events for Orthodox women, there’s a string of rabbis addressing the crowd despite the fact that there is no shortage of women who are educated, erudite, compelling orators. Yet, in Orthodox circles, it would be taboo for a woman to address a conference of men. The Businesswomen’s Conference at the YMCA will be addressed by Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, who actually has a healthy respect for women and at any event during which female members of the Jerusalem City Council are present, Lion in his opening remarks, mentions them by name.
■ IN TEL Aviv, on March 5, the Ambassadors’ Club of Israel will host an event at which women diplomats will be honored, and in Haifa at Beit Hagefen on March 6, Dr. Chana Safran – an activist in issues of peace, feminism and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and founder of the feminist research center Isha L’Isha, Haifa, will be part of a varied program. Haifa is arguably Israel’s best model of co-existence, and Beit Hagefen, the Arab-Jewish cultural center, offers many opportunities for people from both communities to get together, to learn to understand each other and to befriend each other.
Also in Haifa, students from around the world will celebrate International Women’s Day at the Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center, which is a branch of Mashav, the Foreign Ministry’s Agency for international development cooperation. At the Mount Carmel facility, it’s International Women’s Day every day of the year, because this is where women from developing countries are trained in sustainable community development, early childhood education and entrepreneurship and innovation.
On Thursday, March 7, the International Women’s Club will host a panel discussion in Herzliya Pituah, featuring fertility specialist Prof. Martha Dirnfeld, Tammy Friedman, the wife of the US ambassador, along with her cousin Malca Graucher, who is a well-known haredi sexologist at Meir Medical Hospital, Sivan Rahav-Meir, a popular religious broadcaster, author and lecturer, and Sharon Tal, the highly talented fashion designer who revived Maskit.
■ PERHAPS BECAUSE the Jews of Britain are currently in a precarious position, Beit Avi Chai has decided to have an evening of tribute to London, which the largest concentration of British Jews calls home. Current antisemitism in Britain is not a novelty. It has actually been worse than it is today, but in those days, there was no social media to convey antisemitic incidents as they happened, or to publish reactions. As far as it is known, the first Jews to settle in Britain arrived in the 11th century. Today, Britain has one of the largest and most diverse Jewish communities in Europe. To tell the story of British Jewry, few could be more suitable than Israel’s former ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub, who was actually born and raised there. Joining him in telling the story will be Tel Aviv University historian Prof. Simcha Goldin, with moderator Tal Rosner.
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