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(photo credit: Courtesy Photo)
TEL AVIV socialite Raya Jaglom, who in her time was one of Israel's fashion icons, could not resist saying to Sophia Loren at Zubin Mehta's gala 70th birthday concert: "Isn't that the dress you wore six years ago?"
Loren laughed in response, but the striking red dress was remarkably similar to that which she had worn on her previous visit to Israel, which was also to celebrate with Mehta. It's possible that she has several variations on a theme because she looks so good in red, or perhaps it never occurred to her that people would remember how she was previously attired.
Aside from marking Mehta's transition into a new decade in his life, the concert was also a fund-raiser for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and for the Buchman-Mehta School of Music at Tel Aviv University. When Mehta thanked Jaglom for her generous contribution of NIS 70,000, she retorted: "Thank goodness you're not yet 120."
YIDDISH THEATER has finally won the recognition it deserves in Israel. Even though it did not garner any prizes at the 10th anniversary Israel Theater Academy Awards, its players and productions did receive several nominations, which in itself is a victory, and Hannah Laszlo, in honor of Yiddish Theater sang a Yiddish rendition of Cabaret. Yiddishpiel founder Shmuel Atzmon may have been disappointed by the failure to win, especially since his actress daughter Anat Atzmon was one of the nominees - but considering that in the nascent years of the state Yiddish Theater was officially illegal unless performed by a visiting company from abroad, Atzmon can chalk up a major victory.
MANY MEDIA personalities work in both the electronic and print media, but few of those who are seen on television work both in front of and behind the camera. Among those who do is Jerusalem-based, multi-talented, telegenic Larry Price, who arrived in Israel from Chicago in 1971 and has worked primarily as a television director, producer, reporter and anchorman, but has also worked as a radio reporter and has written for the print media. Price was one of the pioneers of the IBA News, the first daily English-language televised broadcasting service in Israel.
One of the most riveting documentaries in which he has been engaged is Hitler's Jewish Soldiers, which he completed this year. Negotiations are under way for broadcasts outside of Israel, but meanwhile the film will be screened on Channel 1 on April 24. Made in cooperation with Channel 1 and partially funded by the New Israel Fund for Television and Cinema, the 58-minute film was inspired by the book Hitler's Jewish Warriors by Bryan Mark Rigg. Historians claim that up to 150,000 men of Jewish origin, including several who were not born of mixed marriages, served in the Nazi Army in World War II. Thousands of these men were officers, and 2,000 were made Aryans by a decree personally signed by Adolf Hitler and others in the Nazi high command. One of the greatest ironies was that "the ideal German soldier" pictured on a 1939 poster was a certain Werner Goldberg, who, dressed in his Nazi uniform, was able to rescue his father from the Gestapo.
READERS OF Holocaust literature cannot help but be familiar with the name of Yaffa Eliach, a child Holocaust survivor, who pioneered Holocaust studies on American university campuses, and whose monumental work There Once was a World chronicles 900 years of vibrant Jewish life in her home town of Eishyshok. The book led to the creation of the Tower of Life exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. This project was the forerunner of another project now under construction in Rishon Lezion: The Shtetl - the Living History Museum of the Jewish World, which when completed will become a major cultural center of universal Judaism, recreating a vanished past in all the lands in which Jews once lived, the life and history of those communities, the contribution of Jewish immigrants to the countries in which they settled and their relationship with other groups. Eliach, who heads the Shtetl Foundation, established towards the end of 1999, lives in New York but is a frequent visitor to Israel. In commemorating the shtetl, Eliach chose to start with the end rather than the beginning and, with the help of the Jewish National Fund, initiated the Forest of Life in January 2005. The trees that will be planted there will be dedicated to the memories of the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered in the Holocaust. A future phase of the project will include an educational center for youth. Eliach will be lecturing under the auspices of the Jerusalem Municipality's Jewish heritage department at Heichal Shlomo on Sunday evening, April 23, in advance of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
INTERIM PRIME Minister Ehud Olmert effectively quashed an e-mail disinformation campaign that claimed that as of next year Israel will abolish the siren that is sounded on Holocaust Remembrance Day and Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers. The siren, which brings the nation to a two-minute halt in a uniquely Israeli mark of respect, is the most unifying factor in Israel.
Terming the suggestion that the siren would be abolished as "outrageous," Olmert said that he was certain that the e-mail campaign was being waged by marginal groups. He would not support such a suggestion, he said, and he had no doubt that the government would likewise not support it.
Olmert's statement comes as a relief to Holocaust survivors and families who lost loved ones in the Holocaust or in service in the IDF.
The cruel hoax has been treated seriously by a number of people including some in municipal government, who sought to organize a protest petition.
ISRAEL RADIO's 70th anniversary coincided almost to the day with the first anniversary of the passing of Ehud Manor, who has received more media attention over the last month than did Naomi Shemer or Uzi Hitman on the first anniversaries of their deaths. Part of the reason may be that Manor was part and parcel of Israel Radio for such a long time and the mentor of so many radio personalities who have gone on to do great things inside and outside of Israel Radio, that the natural inclination is to broadcast his songs as often as possible and to rebroadcast interviews that he gave to his colleagues.
ONE OF the most popular interviewees on the electronic media last week was Rabbi Yehezkiel Lifshitz, who was in charge of organizing the annual Chabad mega-Seder in Katmandu. The political unrest in Katmandu, coupled with a curfew imposed by the authorities, had cast a shadow over the Seder, impeding the delivery of supplies and the arrival of hundreds of would-be participants, many of them from Israel, who signified in advance that they wanted to attend. The curfew was lifted on the morning preceding Seder night, and so the Jewish People chalked up yet another miracle in a long history in which the darkness of tragedy is often punctuated by light beams of miracles.