Friday, March 24, 2017

On March 23, 2001 Israeli leaders attended the first celebration in Jerusalem of Naw-Ruz, the Baha'i new year.

By Greer Fay Cashman

(March 22) WHAT was Deputy Defense Minister Dalia Rabin Pelosoff doing at around 10 a.m. last Tuesday? Well, she was watching a fashion show. Rabin Pelosoff was among several celebrities who turned up at the Dome in Tel Aviv to see the Castro Man summer collection.

Others in the audience included model and entertainer Sandy Bar-Avni, former basketball star Aulcie Perry, sex bomb Orly Weingarten and avant-garde fashion designer Yuval Caspin.

DUE TO his absence abroad, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was unable to attend the first celebration in Jerusalem of Naw-Ruz, the Baha'i new year. Even though Sharon couldn't make it, Moshe Sharon, the incumbent of the Baha'i chair of studies at the Hebrew University, was there, as were numerous representatives of the HU, which was the first and thus far only university in the world to establish a chair in Baha'i studies.

Sharon welcomed the presence of yet another monotheistic faith in this part of the world, noting that it is largely composed of the best of the other monotheistic beliefs.

Baha'i International Community secretary-general Albert Lincoln who, together with his wife, Joan, Jerusalem Baha'i representative Kern Wisman and his wife, Barbara, and Murray Smith, BIC deputy secretary-general and his wife, Miette, were the main part of the extensive reception committee welcoming guests at the Inbal Hotel, noted that in two months' time, some 3,000 Baha'i members from around the globe will flock to Haifa, site of the Baha'i world center, for the inauguration and illumination of the new terraced gardens.

A magnificent visual feast, the gardens, funded by Baha'i communities worldwide, constitute the most ambitious and expensive of Baha'i projects to date.

Attending the new year celebrations were Foreign Minister and Acting Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who dropped in and dropped out, colliding at the exit with Pnina Herzog, president of the International Council of Women, whom he kissed on each cheek; former director-general of the Foreign Ministry Eytan Bentsur, Chilean Ambassador Sally Bendersky Schachner, Czech Ambassador Daniel Kumermann and his wife, Jarmila, counselor at the British embassy Nicolas Marden and his wife, Melanie, and Piotr Puchta, counsellor at the Polish embassy, who was anticipating the arrival of Andrzej Pruszkowski, the mayor of Lublin, and Adam Wlodarczyk, the mayor of Radom, both important places in Jewish history, who will be attending the 21st Jerusalem Conference of Mayors which opens Sunday.

Also present were attorney Daniel Jacobson, Avinoam Brog, the brother of former prime minister Ehud Barak, Counselor at the Yugoslav Embassy Sonja Asanovic Todorovic and Rabbi David Rosen, who was "over the moon" about his first granddaughter Imbar, born last Saturday and named after her great-grandmother. Although the name is a Hebrew one, in English the acronym is In Memory of Bella Rosen.

TODOROVIC is still waiting to learn the identity of her new ambassador. Her former ambassador, Mirko Stefanovic, who completed his term here a couple of months back, and now works out of the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry, has been back to visit his wife, Ljiljana, and their daughter, who stayed on until the end of the school year. They're expecting him again next month.

FIGURES in public life seem to have seen and heard it all, and sometimes one wonders if anything can still move them.

The reactions of Gila Katsav when she hosted members of the Lions of Judah at Beit Hanassi indicated that, in three decades of being married to a public figure and sharing many of his experiences, she has not yet become hardened.

An outgrowth of the United Israel Appeal Women's Divisions of the United Jewish Communities and Keren Hayesod, the Lions of Judah boasts a global membership of 13,000, of whom 100 are Israeli. The Lions combine fiscal commitment with hands-on involvement, and the Israeli Lions are particularly keen to help Ethiopian immigrants join the mainstream of Israeli society.

One such immigrant, Sigal (Maretha) Hobbey, held everyone, including Gila Katsav, spellbound as she spoke of her family's perilous journey via Sudan to Israel.

Recalling Sabbaths in her village where there was no gas, electricity, radio or television, and water was pumped from the well, she said that on Shabbat everyone gathered in the synagogue and spoke about Jerusalem.

"For us Israel was Jerusalem. There was no Haifa or Tel Aviv, just Jerusalem."

Their first culture shock was not when they actually got to Jerusalem, but when they encountered their first Jewish Agency representative. They had never met a white person before, let alone a white Jew!

ALTHOUGH peace in the Middle East seems as elusive as ever, not everyone has given up on it, especially US Peace Corps Alumni in Israel, who got together this week at the Abu Tor Jerusalem home of chairperson Elana Rozenman. Since not all the alumni knew each other, they introduced themselves both by name and by relating where and when they served in the US Peace Corps. Rozenman served in Colombia in the Sixties.

Among the other alumni were jewelry artist Elayne Ashbey, who served in Kuala Lumpur, AACI National Director of Development Mark Zober, who served in Sierra Leone and India, Josh Nadel, a Motorola executive who served in Botswana, Carl Hoffman from the Jaffe Institute, who brought his Filipina wife, Agnes, whom he met during his Peace Corps service there, and Marilyn Farber, an epidemiologist who served in Colombia.

Others present included Seeds of Peace volunteer Larry Malm, who surprised and delighted everyone by introducing himself as the son of Peace Corps alumni who served in Tunisia in the late Sixties.

He had brought two Seeds of Peace high-school participants, Itai Baniel from Givatayim and Tarek Arow from the village of Jatt near Hadera. The two spoke about their coexistence group, leaving room for optimism that the peace process could rise again like a phoenix out of the ashes.

Zippora Katz, who also served in the Philippines and now lives in Tekoa, was so enthralled by the coexistence discussion that she missed her last bus and had to be accompanied to the hitchhiking post from where she got a lift home.

WITH hardly enough time to catch his breath after attending meetings with Prime Minister Sharon in the US, American Ambassador Martin Indyk is heading south Sunday to familiarize himself with the activities of the Jewish National Fund, specifically in relation to the JNF's role in enhancing the national water economy, rolling back the desert and improving the quality of the environment.

Indyk will also be inscribed in the JNF's Golden Book by JNF director-general Itzhak Elyashiv.

FIRST Secretary at the Hungarian Embassy Ferenc Toth and his wife, Tinde, are about to become parents of a sabra. Papa-to-be is already practicing getting to Sheba Hospital, Tel Hashomer, in record time.

Slovakian Ambassador Maros Sefcovic and his wife, Helena, have a one-and-a-half-year-old sabra, who has become such a handful that they'll be happy to put him into the temporary care of doting grandparents as soon as summer comes.
© Copyright 2001, The Jerusalem Post

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