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VERY FEW people say "no" to Ruthie Sheetrit, whether she's speaking to them in her capacity as one of the fund-raisers for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, or whether she's raising funds for the Miri Shitreet Memorial Foundation, which is even closer to her heart and that of her husband, Housing and Construction Minister Meir Sheetrit. Miri succumbed to cancer 15 years ago as a teenager. Her parents left no stone unturned in acquiring treatment for her. They also did everything to enrich the final months of her life.
With other children who required their attention as well, the Sheetrits decided not to wallow in self-pity after Miri's death. Rather they created a memorial fund so that parents could share as much fun with their dying children as the Sheetrits were able to share with Miri. The Children's Cancer Foundation in Orlando, Florida runs a year-round camp for children with advanced cancer and their families. In addition to offering a huge variety of programs, the center is staffed with a full medical team of doctors and nurses that attend to the special needs of the children in their temporary care. The Miri Sheetrit Memorial Foundation, established 15 years ago, is affiliated with the CCF as well as with the Israel Cancer Association, and raises some of its funds from benefit concerts such as the one that was recently held at the Tel Aviv Hilton. Yehoram Gaon, David D'Or, Sharon Haziz, who managed to overcome her own cancer, dancer Ido Tadmor, Rona-Li Shimon, and many others participated free of charge.
The full name of the Miri Shitreet memorial project is "Give the Children the World." Since its inception, the project has enabled some 400 Israeli families to have a fun-filled time together with a happy and laughing child in Orlando. With that as the ultimate reward, it's no wonder that no one says "no" to Ruthie Sheetrit.
BEST KNOWN for her rendition of "Song of Peace" (Shir HaShalom), one of the enduring compositions of the Six Day War which she also sang at the peace rally on the night that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, Miri Aloni has fallen on tough times in recent years. She now makes her living by sitting in Tel Aviv's Nahalat Binyamin pedestrian mall playing the guitar and singing for change. In her hey-day, certainly after initially graduating from the army entertainment troupe, Aloni was considered star quality. She spent several years in Germany before returning to Israel, and although she hasn't lost her magnificent voice, her fortunes deteriorated. But her friends from better days did not abandon her, and last week they got together for a benefit performance at Tzavta on her behalf that was filmed as part of a documentary on her life. Needless to say, the key performer was Aloni, who was moved to tears by the huge bouquet of flowers that arrived on stage.
LAST WEEK was busy for Yehoram Gaon, who received a life achievement award from Bar-Ilan University and who appeared in numerous events for the 40th anniversary of a reunited Jerusalem, including the mega concert at Sacher Park. In fact, the 40th anniversary almost turned into a Gaon festival with the frequency of radio and television replays of the many songs about Jerusalem that are in his repertoire.
AT THE Knesset 40th anniversary event hosted by Knesset Speaker and Acting President Dalia Itzik, poetry and poems were largely nostalgic paeans to Jerusalem by famous and lesser known writers, and reflected the broad mosaic of the ingathering of the exiles who for centuries yearned for Jerusalem. The song that everyone was waiting for was "Jerusalem of Gold," sung by Shuli Natan, who has been singing it at each of her public performances for 40 years. Seeing Tamar Kollek in the audience Natan recalled that Teddy Kollek had told her: "I'll build Jerusalem. You sing about it."
The program, produced by Dudu Elharar with a lot of input by Israel Prize laureate Geula Cohen, traveled musically and poetically through time. Representing the future was teenage singer Liel Kolet, who sang "Jerusalem of Peace." Kolet is probably best remembered for her duet with former US President Bill Clinton at the 80th birthday bash for Shimon Peres.
ALTHOUGH IT was not a milestone birthday, Orna Datz decided to throw herself a birthday party. So she invited a few friends to a Tel Aviv coffee shop to toast her 42nd birthday with champagne. For Datz, who has been working hard on her make-over television program as well as a new album, it was a welcome break. In other Datz news, her ex-husband Moshe Datz appeared on Judy Shalom Nir Mozes' radio program on Israel Radio after Israel's Eurovision entry failed to make the finals. The Datz duo scored much better when they competed in Eurovision in 1991, finishing in third place. When they subsequently returned to Europe, recalled Moshe Datz, people were still singing their song because it was good and catchy. While he has the highest respect for Kobi Oz, whom he believes to be extraordinarily talented, the song was not catchy. As a professional singer, Datz admitted he had difficulty remembering the melody, and said there was just too much gimmickry. The songs that usually win the Eurovision, or at least rank high, have catchy, easily remembered tunes, he said.
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