The Great Synagogue.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/ Ariel Horowitz )
INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED violinist Lior Kaminetsky, a
seventh-generation Jerusalemite and the youngest of the four sons of the late
Ofra and cantor Jacob Kaminetsky, has been living in Los Angeles for several
years, performing all over America and beyond. In addition to his live
performances on stage, he has also appeared in films, on television and on
radio. Judaism and music have always played important roles in his life. Much of
the music he composes is based on specific Jewish experiences in his
He has sung in the choir of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue and has
served as a High Holy Day cantor in congregations around the world.
honor his father’s memory, Kaminetsky put together a special concert called
Nigunim Mibeit Aba (tunes from my father’s house), which he had previously
performed abroad but last Saturday night performed in his native Jerusalem at
the Yehuda Halevi Synagogue. It was the first time he had given this particular
concert in Jerusalem.
■ WHILE ON the subject of music, has anyone ever
wondered why there is no opera house in Israel’s capital? It’s another one of
those chicken-and-egg stories. Does one form an opera company and then build an
opera house or does one build an opera house and then form the opera company?
group of opera buffs and performing artists have pooled their resources to
introduce the Jerusalem Opera Season, which will be launched in June with a
production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. But before that, on March 18, there
will be a gala evening to introduce the artists to opera lovers by way of a
concert featuring some of the most popular arias, plus a few musical
The aim of the nascent opera company is to have three
productions a year, with a repertoire of works by Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti,
Verdi, Puccini, Gounod, Massenet, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and various Jewish
composers from which to choose.
The dream of Andre Hajdu, Julia Pevzner,
Manon and Joe Weizman, Jonatan Dror and Omer Arieli, who are the initiators of
the project, is to eventually build an impressive opera house equipped with
spacious foyer, stage and orchestra pit, artists’ dressing rooms, rehearsal
rooms, wardrobe, props and scenery workshops et al.
Perhaps there’s an
opera-loving philanthropist out there who was not even aware that Jerusalem
lacks an opera house and is willing to remedy the lacuna. If so, there are more
than a dozen classically trained singers who have already signed up, not to
mention the numerous opera singers who were trained in the former Soviet Union.
There’s a treasure trove of talent. It just needs a permanent home.
SHAKESPEARE LOVERS should circle next Friday on their calendars and prepare to
converge on the Konrad Adenauer Center at Mishkenot Sha’ananim, where British
actor David Weston will be appearing under the auspices of the Friends of the
Hebrew University. Weston, an expert on the bard, will present Shakespeare’s
life story, discuss his works and perform excerpts from his plays. Proceeds will
go towards scholarships for Hebrew University Theater Studies students.
OF ALL former ambassadors who return to Israel for various reasons, the most
frequent visitor is arguably former US ambassador Martin Indyk, who is currently
vice president of the Brookings Institution. Indyk was in Jerusalem this week to
discuss “US Strategy for a Region in Turmoil” at the Hebrew University’s Third
Annual Conference on The Middle East in Transition.
such issues as the Arab Spring, the renewal of the struggle with Syria, Turkish
foreign policy, internal Palestinian politics and the rise of Islamist
movements. The conference was hosted by the Hebrew University’s Harry S Truman
Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace and the Institute for Asian and
In addition to Israeli universities, participants also
came from Al-Quds University, the Gaza Institute for Political and Strategic
Studies, Istanbul University and the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign