LONDON–For his fifth birthday, Offir Dagan’s parents took the electronic innards out of an old black-and-white television set and turned the wooden case into a puppet theater for their son.

Shlomo and Dorit Dagan didn’t realize it at the time, but their gift would put him on his career path — he now is 36 and a choreographer, performer and artistic director for professional dance training at the Bikurey Ha’Itim Art Center in Tel Aviv.

“I come from a huge family,” Mr. Dagan said, “and all my cousins had brothers and sisters, so I was bored when I was home by myself.” Read more

BELGRADE–In the spring of 2000, Simcha Applebaum, a retired Israeli colonel, was in the southern Serbian city of Kraljevo, working on a business deal with Maja Terzic’s father.

Ms. Terzic, now 35, was then a university student in Belgrade, acting as interpreter for the two men at dinner. When Mr. Applebaum reached for a glass, his sleeve went up and Ms. Terzic saw his tattoo from Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi death camp in occupied Poland. Read more

LONDON: As a gift to herself for her most recent birthday, Caroline Nolan bought an oxblood mink cape from Saks Fifth Avenue in Washington. Ms. Nolan, a public relations executive and mother of five, said she first started collecting capes during her last pregnancy, in 2011. Read more

VIENTIANE, LAOS— Lao Textiles is a must-stop for visitors to Vientiane, the lovely, if somewhat sleepy capital of Laos. It offers everything from gorgeous silk weaved scarves to tablecloths and silk tapestries to frame or hang on the wall, and it employs more than 40 local Lao women, who create the exquisite pieces on weaving looms in a workshop at the back of the shop. Read more

LA CHAUX-DE-FONDS, Switzerland — Standing in front of a wide window with views over a green valley dotted with buildings and houses, one of Cartier’s marquetry artists gently tapped his foot on the wooden power pedal of a custom-made crossbow saw. Read more