- Written by Jonathan Danilowitz
A Czech, a Kenyan, a Costa Rican and a Canadian meet at an Israeli wedding. Who has the most fun? That's easy – the Australian of course!
Diplomats reading this know that www.diplomacy.co.il would never reveal the answer and thus risk favoring (or insulting) someone. For the non-diplomats, let me reveal that .... uhhh you need to have more information.
The truth of the matter is that it's not a joke, and that it all depends on where the wedding was held. The standard answer to the question concerning real estate – and in this case, event venues – is location, location, location.
This August alone, no less than 14 weddings for couples with French roots were held at one of Israel's premier wedding and event locations, "The Villa at Gan Oranim". Without going into the whys and wherefores of French culinary arts and chic, 14 events for French people in one month at one location has to tell us something about the place. 14 events where the hosts discovered the location only by word of mouth.
It's the background. Gourmet meals and haute cuisine are the hallmarks of French culinary artistry and hospitality, and herein lies the secret: Firstly, Chef Colin Gillon, Israeli born but French trained, orchestrates every event at The Villa. Chef Colin trained at the renowned Paris culinary institution "Le Cordon Bleu", where he was subsequently awarded "Le Grande Diplome" (the highest ranking for graduates). He later gained experienced at the 3-Michelin-star "Taillevent" restaurant, the 2-star Apicius (no small achievement) and worked at Fouchon and the very prestigious George V Hotel, also in Paris.
It was at Taillevent that he first met, rather casually, the present owner of "The Villa", Norbert Attali, who was then still a resident of Paris. In their wildest dreams, neither Chef Colin nor psychiatrist Dr. Attali foresaw them cooperating in Tel Aviv at an events location. Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction.
When he retired some 6 years ago, Dr. Attali (he prefers to be called Norbert) and his family immigrated to Israel. Norbert, who was born and raised in Algeria but lived in France from age 11, became the silent partner of the then owners of Gan Oranim, a successful wedding venue in North Tel Aviv. Through a quirk of fate (ask Norbert one day, he'll tell you the details) he suddenly found himself to be the sole owner and active manager! The psychiatrist began a catering business; is it any wonder that he soon engaged the likes of Chef Colin and a team of experts to help him?
Norbert's classical, exclusive European finesse, with just an elegant touch of Algiers – a touch that highlights the venue's prestige – is everywhere at the Villa,. Norbert is one of those rare personalities who put you at ease at once. (Did we mention psychiatrist?) His has published several books (alas, in French only) in which he examines such issues as "Judaism and Sexuality" "Psychiatry and the Cinema" and – how not? – issues of food and satisfaction. A self-made man, he and his wife are at the forefront of aiding those less fortunate than themselves or in need of support – at this very time his social welfare efforts are magnificently directed at soldiers fighting on the front lines in Israel's struggle against terrorists.
We were delighted at the exalted standards of every aspect of the "Villa". It seemed casually extravagant, but befitting the Villa's slogan "The Best or Nothing".
Isn't that what Diplomacy is all about?
Photos Silvia G Golan
- Written by Sima Lahat & Silvia Golan
A Passage to India A look at Indian Culinary at its best through Tandoori Restaurant
The chain of Tandoori Restaurants in Herzliya and Tel Aviv serves authentic Indian food prepared by the loving hands with the charming laugh of Chef Reena Pushkarna.
The traditional dishes, the kind service and the unique design of the restaurants, make the visit a feast of taste, color, and exotic aesthetics.
Chef Reena Pushkarna serves authentic Indian food, which doesn't change with fashions, and doesn't try to flatter the guests. She is strict with the selection of the quality of the raw materials, the traditional cooking techniques and the precision of the rich food taste.
The rich menu includes dishes from different regions in the country, and it seems that even ten visits to the restaurant won't be enough to taste the great variety of delicacies prepared by the skilled hands of the chef.
Tandoori is the perfect place for an indulging lunch, wrk meeting, rich dinner and family meals, in a different atmosphere. The kind and attentive staff will turn the visit to an even more pleasant occasion. The fans of Indian food will be able to fulfill all their culinary and vegetarian dreams. Vegans and health-food fans will find here a gastronomic paradise of rich tastes.
Tandoori offers as well delivery services, preparation of private events on site, and catering services, which will bring the eastern fragrance an tastes to all private and business events.
For more information, see our website: www.tandoori.co.il.
Photos provided by Reena Pushkarna / Tandoori
- Written by KKL
Aerial map of Rosh Tzippor, which looks like a bird's head. Photo: Yoav Devir
On December 18th, a ceremony was held to celebrate the laying of the foundation stone for the new Rosh Tzippor bird-watching center to be established in the forest with the support of the Besen Family Foundation and Friends of JNF Australia. Among those present were KKL-JNF officials, the Mayor of Tel Aviv, the Australian Ambassador to Israel and relatives of the donors.
http://youtu.be/LUjuaUnKUugFor Tel Aviv residents who want to enjoy an excursion in natural surroundings close to home, Rosh Tzippor Park is the perfect venue. Situated in the city's Yarkon Park, this site is a paradise for nature lovers.
"Residents of central Israel deserve to have a green area that will be accessible to everyone. The bird-watching center will add another natural gem to Yarkon Park," said KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler at the ceremony. In his speech he recalled the task that JNF Australia had taken upon themselves in the wake of the Maccabiah disaster: to work for the rehabilitation of the Yarkon River. "In those most difficult times the community displayed exceptional generosity of spirit," said the world chairman.
KKL-JNF began to plant the Rosh Tzippor (Hebrew for bird's head) Forest in the 1950s, and work still continues there today. The first trees to be planted were eucalypti, themselves natives of Australia. In recent years, however, local varieties such as Tabor oak, Judas trees and two species of mastic tree have been added to the mix.
Aerial map of Rosh Tzippor, which looks like a bird's head. Photo: Yoav Devir
The forest has dense undergrowth and it is home to a variety of songbirds and waterfowl. These, however, are not the source of its name, which derives instead from the shape of the forest: when viewed from the air it has the appearance of a bird's head with an eye in the appropriate spot.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, a former pilot and commander in the Israeli Air Force, is probably long familiar with the landscape of the park as seen from above. In his present capacity as mayor, he is well aware of the park's special importance to the residents of his city. "This park is a miracle, a green oasis surrounded by fast highways and urban development," he told those present at the ceremony.
The mayor added that the site is one of the most frequently visited in the country. And, indeed, on a weekday morning the park is thronged with people: cyclists, joggers, groups of schoolchildren, courting couples and parents with baby buggies.
The park is crisscrossed by a number of walking routes, cycle paths and jogging trails. The easier footpaths are suitable for family outings and accessible to people with disabilities; children will enjoy the zip lines, rope bridges, roundabouts, seesaws and wooden climbing equipment in the adventure playground.
Other places to visit in Rosh Tzippor Forest include the historic Seven Mills (Sheva Tahanot) site, where water mills constructed along the banks of the Yarkon River in the 19th century remained in use until around a hundred years ago. On Napoleon Hill the remains of settlements dating back thousands of years can be seen.
Right: Eva & Marc Besen, Efi Stenzler, and H.E. Dave Sharma sign the document to be placed in the cornerstone. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive.
Left: Birds on the Yarkon River. Photo: Yoav Devir
Australian Ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma said that on his travels around the country he had been greatly impressed by everything Israel has managed to achieve in such a short time against all the odds. "Thanks to the active Zionist Jewish community of Australia and its collaboration with KKL-JNF, we have had the privilege of taking part in the building of the State," he added.
The main contribution towards the establishment of the bird-watching center was donated by the Besen Family Foundation of Melbourne, and over thirty members of the family took part in the ceremony. Foremost among them were Marc Besen, who celebrated his 90th birthday in the course of the visit, and his wife Eva.
"Our family has grown since our last visit to Israel, and the State, too, has grown and developed," said Mr. Besen. "We are very happy to be here playing a modest role in making the region green and contributing in a small way towards the growth of the State of Israel as a whole."
Australian donors Geoffrey and Velmae Morris of Perth were likewise present at the ceremony. "I learned from my father that Israel is our native land and our second home, and everything we can do for the State brings us great happiness," said Geoffrey Morris. "I regard the rehabilitation of the Yarkon River as a particularly important project, and, of course, developing nature tourism in Israel is vital, too."
The list of Australian donors who contributed to the establishment of the bird-watching center includes the Ferster and Schaffer families, the estate of Stephen and Rita Gerstl, Sussanne Pinkus and Esta Blashid; an additional donation was made by the Beer-Gabel family of France.
After the speeches were over, all those present made their way to the spot where the foundation stone would be laid. Before the hole was covered up with cement, the participants filled it with documents bearing their signatures in order to mark the establishment of this new site.
Architect Gidon Sarig presented the plans for the bird-watching center, Dr. David Pergament, Director of the Yarkon River Authority, told those present about the park and the rehabilitation of the waterway, and the day's activities concluded with a tour of Yarkon Park in a vehicle resembling a motorized train. Like the residents of Tel Aviv and its surrounds and visitors from all over the country, the Australian guests enjoyed the lake, the tropical garden, the rock garden, the park landscapes and the riverbank scenes.
- Written by Silvia G Golan
"Desert Oasis", beautiful estate of Health and Spa, provides:
· 9 large and especially designed treatment rooms, and beautiful lobby.
· Large variety of health treatments, among the most advanced in Israel, provided by specialized masseurs.
· 2 special treatment rooms for couples, which include private Jacuzzi tubs that provide intimate, romantic and relaxing atmosphere.
· VIP Spa site - private Spa facilities and especially designed lawn, which includes sun-tanning terrace, comfortable sun tanning with outdoor Jacuzzi and Spa.
· "Spa in the Desert" is suitable for private events, fun days and social celebrations.
· Culinary experience, lead by the chef chain of Guy Peretz, Eli Uzan – a variety of traditional and new menus per order.
"Desert Oasis", the estate of Health and Spa, is located in the Ramat Negev region, 20-minute drive south of Beer-Sheva, and covers an area of 8000 square meters. It launches these days the "Spa in the Desert", a new and elegant Spa site. This new site has a unique design, which provides its visitors with a feeling of entrance to a calm, harmonic and charming world. This Spa site was built with an investment of 3 million NIS.
"Spa in the Desert" is a secluded site within the "Desert Oasis" estate, and the entrance to this site is allowed to the Spa visitors only. This site is roofed, and has a vast parlor at its center. It includes 9 especially designed treatment rooms that inspire a relaxing atmosphere, where light food and refreshment are served. Two of the treatment rooms are dedicated to couples, and include private 2 beds and Jacuzzi tubs that provide intimate and romantic atmosphere for a few hours.
The Spa treatments include: Medicinal massage, massage with hot stones, massage with hot sesame oil, Ayurveda massage, massage of body extremities, and body massage combined with feet massage.
The VIP Spa site is located outside the roofed "Spa in the Desert" site. It is open and limited to the VIP guests. It includes private Jacuzzi and sauna, sitting spots and sun-tanning terrace in a calm and relaxing atmosphere. The Spa guests are provided with personal dressing rooms, which include two bathing rooms and personal lockers, so they can walk around comfortably within the site. Each VIP guest receives at the entrance an elegant robe and personal Spa shoes.
Among the first guests at the VIP Spa site inauguration, was President Shimon Peres, who invited the president house workers and their families, about 70 people, to a charming and relaxing evening that included a variety of indulgences, dinner and public singing in the "Desert Oasis" estate and the new Spa site.
Udi Zilberstein, "Desert Oasis" CEO, said: "This new Spa site is one of the most prestigious in Israel and we invested millions of NIS in its construction. The site was planned and designed to provide the Spa guests a special physical and spiritual experience, so that along with the professional treatments, they can enjoy the unique, inviting and relaxing design. The site provides suitable solutions for guests interested in privacy and enjoyment of personal Spa facility, and for others that prefer social celebrations in this estate."
I strongly recommend it !!!
Photos courtesy of Spa in the Desert
- Written by Silvia G Golan
Photo Mayor of Hertzlia City Moshe Fadlon and Mr Sandeep walia
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company L.L.C. opened its first hotel in Israel, the Ritz-Carlton Herzliya Hotel on Sunday, December 15, 2013.
This new luxurious hotel that is the firth kosher Ritz-Carlton in the world , has 115 spacious guest rooms and 82 residential apartments, and it is located at Herzliya's Marina.
Distinguished guests were in the opening event included Ofra Strauss, owner of the Strauss Group and his family, Ami Federman, President of the Israel Hotel Association, Stas Misezhikov, former Israel's Minister of Tourism, Ran Rahav, communication and PR figure in Israel.
Photo Ofra Strauss & Gadi Hassin the Ritz-Carlton Herzliya Hotel Manager
Mr. Gadi Hassin, the Ritz-Carlton Herzliya Hotel Manager said: "We are excited to join the international Ritz- Carlton Hotel Company and proud to launch the first hotel of this network in Israel. The Ritz- Carlton Hotel Company brings to Israel new standards in the field of luxury hotels. Now everything is ready to make the stay of our guests an unforgettable experience, as suitable to the high standard presented by the network and reflected in our request to our guests: "Let us stay with you". Our service enables an extraordinary hospitality that meets the needs of each customer. This is our worldly identification mark, expected by the guests who return to us".
Photo Adi Strauss
Mr. Hervé Humler, President & COO of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, said: "The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is pleased to open its first hotel in Israel, and provide to our guests from the entire world the opportunity to enjoy legendary service and prize-winning hospitality. The hotel location in Herzliya combines the unique possibility of business and pleasure. The sea coast along an established business area will provide our world-wide guests a luxurious and extraordinary experience".
Photo Gil Geva
Accommodation and Services
The Ritz-Carlton Herzliya Hotel with very selected team offers the following accommodation and services:
· 115 spacious guest rooms
· 82 residential apartments
· Spa - joint venture with Shiseido spas
· Fitness centre
· Rooftop pool and bar
· Business and events facilities
· Herbert Samuel Herzliya restaurant - Yonatan Roshfeld offers modern Israeli cuisine in Kosher version. This makes the Ritz-Carlton Herzliya Hotel the only one with Kosher cuisine in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.
· Lobby lounge
Address and Communication Means
The Ritz-Carlton Herzliya Hotel
4 Hashunit St.
Herzliya 46555, Israel
+ 972 9 373 5555
Photos by Silvia G.Golan