Winning Integration is a special concert, taking place on September 7 at Tel Aviv University's Smolarsh Auditorium.

September 5, 2008 03:26
2 minute read.

meskie shibru sivan 224.88. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Winning Integration is a special concert, taking place on September 7 at Tel Aviv University's Smolarsh Auditorium. The event is organized by Tebeka (Amharic for advocate of justice), an NGO devoted to social justice and equality for Israel's Ethiopian immigrant community. Founded in 1999 by attorney Itzhak Dessie, the first Ethiopian immigrant to qualify as an Israeli lawyer, the organization provides support to the community members in many fields. An array of popular Israeli-born and Ethiopian immigrants are set to participate, including: Dani Sanderson, Shlomo Gronich and the Sheba Choir, Malca Indeshet, Abate Berihun, Zvika Hizikias and many more. Dalik Voliniz and Meskie Shibru Sivan are the evening's presenters. "The idea of the evening is to present to the public Tebeka's various activities, as well as the community's achievements," Meskie says at a bustling café in the heart of Tel Aviv, a new theatre script in her hands. "I believe that it's important the concert take place at an academic location such as Tel Aviv University just as it is that everyone appear on the same stage together. This is not about skin color but that your problems are mine and mine are yours. The message is that we are all elements of the same society." Meskie, who immigrated in Israel as a teenager in 1984 along with her sister, is a perfect example of integration. She was the first Ethiopian to be accepted into Nissan Nativ acting school. Today, she is a popular actor/singer. "In those days, nobody really knew who we were. But Nissan welcomed me and we spoke often. He was like a father to me, something that I never had." Upon graduating, she began performing on stage, in movies and on TV. She also pursued singing and has performed with native and immigrant local-musicians of myriad origin. She has performed around Israel and throughout the world. "I am independent in all possible meanings of the word," says the 42-year-old of her decision to not join a theatre or ensemble. She explains, laughing, that life as a self-employed actress in Israel is far from easy. Married to a high tech specialist and a mother of two, Meskie sees herself still acting even 30 years from now. Till now she has personified such varied roles from a lost Russian heroine in Tchekhov's Three Sisters to her current role in a story that presents the story of five Palestinian women, caught on their way to terror attack in Israel. "It is all about human beings, and if a play is good, all you need is a fine director. For me, it is a challenge." Human life, Meskie confides, is a gift. Every morning she wakes up with the same question, "Well, what shall we do with our life today?" With beaming eyes and an energy that gives way to irony, she adds, "My motto is - if you want a good thing to happen tomorrow, start working for it today!" The concert takes place at the Smolarsh Auditorium on the Tel Aviv University campus on September 7 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost NIS 150, 250 and 500 and can be purchased at (03) 604-5000 or (03) 561-6770.

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