NOW THAT singer Barbra Streisand has officially cancelled her mid-May trip to Israel to grace the opening of the "Facing Tomorrow" conference hosted by President Shimon Peres, it appears that she will also have to strike out another entry in her calendar. Streisand, a native New Yorker, was on the list of celebrities who had indicated their presence at the gala bash to celebrate the re-opening of the famed New York Plaza hotel. The event was scheduled for May 11, but according to a report in Yediot Aharonot, it will now be delayed due to the death of Julia Tshuva, the mother of the Plaza's chief shareholder Yitzhak Tshuva, who passed away last week in Netanya. The hotel festivities will be postponed for at least a month until the 30-day mourning period has passed. Many of Israel's leading figures, including President Shimon Peres, attended the funeral in Netanya of Julia Tshuva, who came as a poor immigrant from Libya in 1948 and raised her children in an impoverished neighborhood that had once been a transit camp. When her son, who started working at age 12, became sufficiently affluent to build or buy her a new home in a more upscale environment, she refused, and insisted on staying among her friends in the area where she spent all her years in Israel. WHEN HE became a Breslav Hassid, acclaimed prize-winning actor Shuli Rand gave up his career for several years. But then he had an urge to return to the stage and screen. When he consulted with the rabbi of his community, the latter told him that there was nothing wrong with him remaining an actor if he used his profession to enhance the general understanding of Jewish values. One of the best-known productions generated by that advice was the film Ushpizin in which Rand starred with his wife, Michal Batsheva Rand, and used several Breslav Hassidim in the cast. Rand recently made his first CD which was produced by Assaf Amdurski and released under the Tslil label. Tslil CEO Micha Yogev hosted the launch of the CD at a reception at the Steimatzky store in Tel Aviv's Gan Ha'Ir. Amdurski who shares billing on the disc as guitarist, was naturally on hand to receive kudos along with Rand. Amdurski came with his wife television personality, singer and dancer Michal Amdurski and their two daughters. Also present were Channel 2 reporter Sivan Rahav Meir and her journalist husband Yedidya Meir and their baby son, prize winning film director Joseph Cedar, singers Yehuda Sa'ado and Harel Moyal and several other well-known singers and actors. When it was Rand's turn to say a few words, he said that people were always asking him about his return to religion, but he was bored with the subject and preferred to talk about how he had managed to give up smoking. Rand was raised in an Orthodox family in Bnei Brak, but for several years, while mixing in bohemian society, lived a secular lifestyle. When he returned to religion, he became much more observant than he had been in his younger years. "TIS BETTER to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all," wrote Alfred Lord Tennyson. And indeed, Menachem Golan, one of Israel's most veteran and celebrated filmmakers, publicly confessed that he has been nursing a crush for years on stand-up comedienne Yael Kapitolnik. At a recent tribute to Kapitolnik, 70, at Beit Ariela in Tel Aviv, Golan said that he had dearly loved the beautiful Kapitolnik for years, "but she wouldn't have me and married football coach Kapi instead." Still fascinated by her, Golan said that he wanted to make a film on her life and that he had already discussed the project with his partner in the US. Kapitolnik, described by actor Shlomo Bar Shavit as "the funniest storyteller in Israel," was left speechless. Interestingly, Kapitolnik has been a professional entertainer for only 10 years. Before that she worked as a secretary for 30 years, raised three children, babysat her seven grandchildren and dreamt of one day appearing in front of an audience. She had been telling stories to her family and close friends for years - but she wanted something more. After she retired from her secretarial position, Kapitolnik, with some encouragement from her husband, began attending a storytelling class at Beit Ariella, and before she had too much time to think about it, she was telling stories professionally up and down the country. The product of a Polish-Moroccan marriage, her stories of family culture clashes always have audiences roaring with laughter. IN THEIR much publicized on-again off-again romance, it was on again last week when supermodel Bar Refaeli and Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio were seen together in Boston at the playoff game between the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks. Even if he were not a basketball fan, DiCaprio had good reason to be in Boston where he is currently filming Martin Scorsese's movie version of Dennis Lehane's best selling book Shutter Island. NOTED CHOIRMASTER and conductor Eli Gefen and his amazingly versatile Chorus of Tel Aviv will join forces with the Hamburg Physicians Orchestra conducted by Thilo Jaques and the Choir of the Custody of the Holy Land conducted by Hania Soudah-Sabbara to present an extraordinary concert under the banner "The Sound of Peace." The concert will be held on Sunday, May 25 at the Immaculata Hall, Magnificat Institute, New Gate Jerusalem. Because peace is priceless, admission will be free of charge. AS USUAL, Sarele Sharon, the queen of Israeli community singing, was belting it out again at the packed Ein Gev festival which was attended by thousands of people, including President Shimon Peres. Prior to joining the throng, Peres went to inspect a memorial for Teddy Kollek, who though better known for his long term as mayor of Jerusalem, was one of the founders of Kibbutz Ein Gev and continued to maintain contact with the kibbutz throughout his life. The kibbutz continues to be in touch with his wife, Tamar Kollek. IT IS not a novelty for singer Yehudit Ravitz to appear with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, but when she does so again at the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv on May 25, it will be for a very special concert dedicated to Israel's three abducted soldiers Gilad Schalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. AT THE conclusion of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's concert in the Warsaw Opera House to mark the 65th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, conductor Zubin Mehta and two of the violinists went to the Rapaport Memorial in Warsaw Ghetto Square to pay homage to the few who had the courage to rise against the many. The violinists played haunting ghetto melodies which lingered in the night air. Thousands had gathered there earlier in the day for the official anniversary ceremony hosted by the Warsaw municipality. The IPO certainly gets around. After having traveled north to Poland, it is scheduled in July to travel south to Australia for three performances at the Sydney Opera House on July 26, 27 and 28. The second concert has already been sold out, and only a limited number of seats are still available for the first.