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HAPOEL JERUSALEM celebrates on the court with the trophy following its victory over Maccabi Rishon Lezion in last week’s State Cup final in the capital.(Photo by: DANNY MARON)
Grapevine: Yalla Hapoel
On Thursday night, President Reuven Rivlin was at the arena to watch the basketball state finals between Hapoel Jerusalem and Maccabi Rishon Lezion. Hapoel Jerusalem won 82-67.
■ THE FIRST time that President Reuven Rivlin went to the Jerusalem Payis Arena was for its grand opening in September 2014, which, like so many things in this part of the world, did not start on time. The president waited in his car for more than half an hour, then gave up and went home.
Things have improved a lot since then. Thursday night he was at the arena to watch the basketball state finals between Hapoel Jerusalem and Maccabi Rishon Lezion. Hapoel Jerusalem won 82-67.
Rivlin was joined by Mayor Moshe Lion in awarding the cup to Hapoel Jerusalem captain Lior Eliyahu, but also remembered to congratulate the Rishon Lezion team for playing a fair game.
Earlier in the day, when accepting the credentials of new ambassadors and welcoming them to Israel, Rivlin made a point of adding “to the capital, Jerusalem.” He did the same when he addressed the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

■ LAST WEEK, before the latest crisis in Israel-Poland relations, Poland’s Ambassador Marek Magierowski met with Lion. They had what Magierowski described as “an engaging conversation” about cooperation between Polish and Israeli cities and about the poetry of the late Wisława Szymborska, 1996 Nobel Prize winner for Literature.
Although not born in Krakow, she spent most of her life there, her family having settled there in 1931. While not generally recognized as a Jewish poet, Szymborska was Jewish. She escaped the fate that befell Polish Jews because she was working as a railroad employee when the war broke out and was somehow missed in the roundup of Jews.
Magierowski brought Lion a Hebrew translation of Szymborska’s poetry, and the mayor became instantly engrossed. It was not the first time that the two men had been in contact. Magierowski had written a congratulatory letter to Lion when he won the mayoral election, and Lion had in turn written to Magierowski to express condolences on behalf of the residents of Jerusalem to the people of Gdansk on the horrific murder of mayor Pawel Adamowicz.
Although Lion’s English is not fluent, there was no need for an interpreter. Magierowski is a quick learner, with a gift for languages. Although he has been in Israel for less than nine months, he speaks Hebrew quite well, but admits that it’s a tiring language for him.

 ■ Organizers of communal Seders have begun advertising them. For people who can’t be bothered with making their own Seder and haven’t been invited to someone else’s, Congregation Moreshet Yisrael offers a communal Seder on Friday, April 19, at 8 Agron Street.
The Seder will be conducted in Hebrew and English by Rabbi Shlomo Zacharow, who is on the faculty of the Conservative Yeshiva and serves as chairman of the Israel Rabbinical Assembly Law Committee. He is also the director of the Masorti Movement Rabbinical Court for Divorces. Info and register: (02) 625-6386 or

 ■ ON FEBRUARY 27, Dr. David Breakstone, deputy chairman of the Jewish Agency, will speak about a fact-finding mission of Jewish communities of Gondar and Addis Ababa. The event, sponsored by the Nachama-Tamar English-speaking chapter of Hadassah-Israel, will be held at Kehilat Moreshet Avraham, 22 Adam St., at 7 p.m. NIS 50 entrance fee includes a dessert reception. Proceeds will go toward the purchase of 10 electric beds for the Rehabilitation Center for Wounded Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism, at Hadassah-University Medical Center, on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus.

 ■ THE 2019 David Hartman Memorial Conference for a Jewish and Democratic Israel will take place on March 6, just over a month ahead of the national elections on April 9.
The conference will include a live English panel discussion on “Nationalism, Marginalization, and Jewish Peoplehood,” featuring Yehuda Kurtzer and Micah Goodman about whether the rise in nationalism in Israel and the US is marginalizing American Jewry and harming its relationship with the Jewish state. They will also discuss how Israelis perceive and respond to this trend in the US and beyond.
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