Children's theater transcends ethnicity
What happens when a pirate looking for treasure meets a mermaid on a boat? Kids of all ages will let Treasure deliciously scare them out at sea aboard Israel Modar's boat. It looks like violence and trickery will win the day, until the pirate realizes that sharing and cooperation will get the job done better.
Treasure, by Gideona Issa and directed by Norman Issa, is one of three plays from the Arab Hebrew Theater (AHT) of Jaffa taking part in AHT's first international Children's Theater Festival. The others are the award-winning Ach Ach Boom Trach written and directed by Issa, and Star Tale. Theaters from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Spain, Belgium and Cyprus are also taking part, and the national labels follow the names of the plays in the program without fanfare.
AHT is all about cooperation. Issa (an Arab) is one of its founding members, as are Igal Ezraty (a Jew), his long-time professional partner, Gaby Aldor (a Jew), and the founder of the El Seraya Theater, Adib Jahashan (an Arab). The latter three are AHT's artistic directors and Issa is on the board.
"This festival isn't about Arabs and Jews," says Issa. "It's about the childlike joy and innocence that theater can generate, and bringing in guests from abroad extends that because they're different; and it's also about accepting the other."
The AHT International Children's Theater Festival plays at its own theater near the Hammam in Old Jaffa from October 5-8 from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. On October 4, there's a gala opening at 5:30 p.m. - Helen Kaye
Science after sunset
A night of science exploration for kids and adults will take place on October 24 across the country. Events include science experiments, discussions with scientists and the screening of Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth.
The "Researcher's night" is taking place for the second year in a row under the auspices of the Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport, and the European Union. Similar events will be taking place all across Europe on the same evening. Locations in Israel include the Migel Center in Kiryat Shmona, the Technion and National Science Museum in Haifa, the University of Tel Aviv, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem, the Weizman Institute and the Klor Science Park in Rehovot. For further information, visit www.most.gov.il/researchersnight. - Miriam A. Shaviv
AIF makes changes at the top
The New York management of the America Israel Foundation (AIF) has regretfully announced the resignation of Gideon Paz, its general manager in Israel since 1999. Paz will relinquish the post to Orit Naor in January 2008, but will remain a consultant to the foundation until 2010. He will also reestablish the America Israel Foundation Advisory Council.
Paz, trained as a lawyer, worked in the diplomatic service until 1965 when he became AIF general manager in New York. Upon his return to Israel in 1970, he became general manager of the local AIF until the early 1980s at which time he resigned to join the private sector, bringing to Israel some of the greatest artists of the time, such as the Stuttgart Ballet. He has also been manager of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and a consultant to the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center.
Orit Naor, a flautist and herself an AIF scholarship winner, served as Israel's cultural attachÃ© to the embassy in Washington. She joined AIF Israel in 2006 where she has been responsible for fundraising.
AIF will celebrate its 70th birthday in 2009. In its 68-year existence, the foundation has awarded scholarships averaging $1,000 a year to some 11,000 aspiring artists in the performing and plastic arts, film, design and architecture, and this is only one of its many activities. Among other things, AIF also lends instruments from its collection to young professionals, and provides funds for international instrumental and vocal workshops held here annually. And it does all this on a mere $2-million-a-year budget. - Helen Kaye