Grapevine: Purim party in the White City

If Jerusalem can have a Shushan Purim, so can Tel Aviv.

March 29, 2016 19:44
3 minute read.

Religious Services Minister David Azoulay visits children at Nahariya’s Western Galilee Hospital to bring them good cheer for Purim. (photo credit: RONI ALBERT)

■ MORE THAN a thousand people responded to the invitation on the Facebook page of Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and filled every available space in Medina Square on Friday and partied.

If Jerusalem can have a Shushan Purim, so can Tel Aviv. The carnivalstyle festivities continued till 6 p.m. and many surrounding streets were closed as a result.

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■ FOR THE most part, when one thinks of Yossi Alfi, one thinks of storytelling. Alfi likes to tell stories himself, and he likes other people who can tell stories, so long as they don’t waffle, and tell the story reasonably quickly and in an interesting manner.

One suspects that there will be a little storytelling on his part when Alfi acts as master of ceremonies at the Felicja Blumental Music Center in Bialik Street, Tel Aviv, at a concert for and by Musicians of Tomorrow, who are talented youngsters from the northern part of the country. They will present a concert of works by Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Franck, Schubert, Chopin, Klengel and da Silva. The performance will take place on Saturday, April 16, at 8.30 p.m.

■ NOT VERY much is known about the Jewish community of Croatia, which was small at the best of times and minuscule during this century. Anti-Semitism was rife in Croatia even before the Second World War, and a significant percentage of the country’s Jewish population migrated to the United States and to points elsewhere. At the start of the war, there were approximately 25,000 Jews in Croatia. Only 5,000 survived the Holocaust. Today, there are fewer than 2,000 Jews in Croatia.

Despite anti-Semitism and war, there were composers of Jewish cantorial music in Croatia, and a special concert of Discoveries of Cantorial Music from Croatia was held at the Kiryat Ono Academic College on Monday within the framework of the fourth annual festival of Days of Jewish Music.

Dr. Yuval Rabin, the festival’s musical director, decided to include the works of two Croatian composers of Jewish liturgical music – Isak Hendel and Bernard Gruner. Hendel, who published a volume of his work in Zagreb in 1940, died in the Holocaust. The volume was republished in 2009. Gruner was a cantor in Zagreb, and a collection of his compositions was published in Zagreb in 2011.

Until last Monday, the music of these two Jewish composers had not been publicly performed since the Second World War. Croatian Ambassador Pjer Simunovic said it was a matter of great significance that their music should be revived in Israel. The concert was supported by the Croatian Embassy.

■ RELIGIOUS SERVICES Minister David Azoulay traveled to Nahariya last week to distribute Purim gifts to children hospitalized at the Galilee Medical Center. The minister was escorted to the children’s ward by the center’s director Dr. Masad Barhoum, members of the hospital board and the medical team responsible for pediatrics. During the visit one of the youngsters began to sing “Kol Hakavod Lasar” (All honor to the minister), a song made popular by Yehoram Gaon.

■ THE ANNUAL general meeting of the Tel Aviv Chamber of Commerce will take place on Wednesday, April 6, at 12.30 p.m. at the Dan Panorama Hotel, Tel Aviv, with the participation of hundreds of businesspeople, diplomats and other prominent figures.

Speakers at the event will be president of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce Uriel Lynn, Science, Technology and Space Minister Ophir Akunis, and Yesh Atid chairman and former finance minister Yair Lapid, who has made strenuous efforts in Europe to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

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