■ WHILE SEPHARDI congregations have been conducting slihot services (the penitential prayers in advance of the upcoming High Holy Days) since the beginning of Elul, in Ashkenazi congregations, slihot commence this coming Saturday night, September 1.
At the Beit Israel Congregation at 2 Pele Yoetz Street in Yemin Moshe, the slihot prayers will be led by the Solomon Brothers, the three youngest of seven musical siblings who grew up in a multi-talented musical family on Moshav Mevo Modi’im, of which their father, Ben Zion Solomon, was among the original settlers, though the late rabbi Shlomo Carlebach is generally credited with being the founder of the moshav. Certainly, many of his followers from the House of Love and Prayer made their homes there. Most did not grow up in religiously observant families, but lead religious lifestyles in Israel and all their children were born to religiously observant parents, some of whom have not completely shed their hippie backgrounds.
Ben Zion Solomon is a graduate of the Berkeley College of Music. In Israel he played with the Diaspora Yeshiva Band and later with his sons. The Solomon Brothers band includes Nachman (lead vocal and guitar), Yosef (bass guitar, vocals) and Sruli (mandolin, vocals). Some of their older siblings have become solo stars, but can always fit in with any musical band. The brothers sing their own compositions as well as those of Carlebach and other composers, musicians and singers.
■ VISITORS TO Jerusalem this month included Sky News producer and broadcaster Julie Hyde Mew, who after a successful radio and television career in South Africa, moved to England at the beginning of 2002. While in Jerusalem, in addition to seeing the sights, she explored the restaurants and coffee shops. At The Grand on Derech Beit Lehem, her eye caught bread pudding on the menu, a dish that happens to be among her favorite comfort foods, and one in which she herself has developed culinary expertise. Warned by her table companions that Israeli bread pudding may be quite different from any expectations she might have that it would taste like British bread pudding, she went ahead and ordered it anyway, sharing it with others at the table and pronouncing it to be as good as any that she has made herself. The waiter let her in on the secret: leftover croissants at The Grand go into bread pudding. After all, no one eats a stale croissant – but in bread pudding, they’re delicious.
■ WHEN HER son Sgt. Eitan Newman was killed while on army duty along the Gaza Strip in 2004, Sara Newman decided to perpetuate his memory by founding Darchei Eitan, an organization that carries out all kinds of repairs in the homes of needy people. Eitan was always helping people in need, so his mother figured that his work should be carried on in his memory.
To date, more than a hundred needy families have been helped by Eitan Newman’s relatives and friends. Though everyone is happy to pitch in, equipment and related odds and ends needed for repairs cost money, so Sara Newman is holding a Darchei Eitan fund-raiser at the Begin Heritage Center on Wednesday, September 5 at 7.30 p.m. Darchei Eitan works in cooperation with Lev Ha’ir Community Center and the Social Services department of the Jerusalem Municipality, who help to find additional volunteers as well as needy families. The fund-raising event will include a cooking demonstration by Chef Yochanan Lambiase geared to Rosh Hashanah fare; a lecture on wines courtesy of Shiloh Winery and an exciting raffle. Tickets for the event are NIS 120 per person and can be purchased by calling (02) 621- 4770 or 050-223-0330.
■ AS THE Jerusalem municipal elections draw ever closer, lead candidates are scrambling for endorsements from influential people and organizations, and are publishing photographs of themselves with prominent rabbis and/or well-known political figures.
Among the people giving their support to Ofer Berkowitz, the head of Hitorerut, is Osnat Kollek, the daughter of legendary Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek. In putting her weight behind Berkowitz, Kollek announced last week that he reminds her very much of her father. In a public letter, Kollek wrote that Berkowitz is the only candidate who will safeguard the cooperative good life that includes successful tourism, a stable economy and cultural diversity. Kollek wrote that she had reached the conclusion that Berkowitz is the only one who is entirely dedicated to Jerusalem and works for the city with devotion to the exclusion of any other interests he might have.