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Record attendance at Hutzot Hayotzer
Jerusalem's Hutzot Hayotzer arts and crafts fair, which this year celebrated its 30th anniversary, drew the biggest crowds in its history before finishing its 2006 run Sunday night at the Sultan's Pool. Top musical acts including Aviv Gefen, Tea Packs and Arkadi Duchin performed during the festival, which attracted a record turnout at its August 8 opening and in total attendance over its nearly two-week run. Event planners attributed increased attendance in the festival's first days in part to Hizbullah attacks on northern Israel, which drove many residents of the region to Jerusalem. The unexpected situation in the North led organizers to adjust predicted turnout from 100,000 to 150,000 festival-goers - a total they said they had reached Monday after extending Hutzot Hayotzer by a day to honor the IDF and other state security forces.
Off-duty soldiers were a visible presence at the festival's closing night, viewing artwork from around the globe and joining a large and enthusiastic crowd at a concert by Ivri Lider, the festival's final performer. - Nathan Burstein
Kibbutz Dance Company travels to Oslo
The Kibbutz Dance Company will dance excerpts from Rami Be'er's "Aide Memoire" at Wednesday's inauguration of the Holocaust Research Institute in Oslo. Choreographed in 1994, the dance confronts memories of the Holocaust through the eyes of those who only heard or read about it.
The new institute is built on the ruins of a home once inhabited by Vidkun Quisling, the Nazi-era prime minister whose surname has become a synonym for traitor.
The Kibbutz Dance Company will present "Aide Memoire" in its entirety to the Norwegian public at the Oslo Grand Theater on August 24 and 25. - Helen Kaye
Israeli actress to appear on 'Sopranos'
Tony, Carmela and the rest of TV's Sopranos will be joined by Israeli actress Meital Dohan in an episode of the hit HBO series that airs tonight at 10 p.m. on YES Plus. On the show, Christopher (Michael Imperioli) takes a break in his search for Vito to fly to Los Angeles with Little Carmine (Ray Abruzzo), where the two encounter actor Ben Kingsley, playing himself, at a swimming pool. Together, the New Jersey mobsters pitch their idea for the British actor's next film, a project they describe as "The Ring meets The Godfather."
After attempting to ditch the bothersome twosome at the swimming pool, Kingsley again finds himself in their company at a "luxury lounge," where he's showered with additional attention by a saleswoman named Yael (Dohan).
The episode marks neither the first nor the last time Dohan has played a character named Yael on American TV. The actress, who turns 30 on Thursday, has a recurring role on critically-acclaimed Showtime drama Weeds, in which she plays Yael Hoffman opposite series stars Mary-Louise Parker and Elizabeth Perkins.
Back at home, an Israeli film featuring Dohan, 2004's Lirkod, is currently playing in theaters around the country. - Nathan Burstein