TEL AVIV University is about to receive a new building that will be used as the School for Computer Sciences and as a home away from home for science-oriented youth who are seeking to enhance their knowledge and try out their experiments. The joint sponsors of the school will be Checkpoint co-founder and CEO Gil Shwed who is a member of the Board of Trustees at TAU, and the Rashi Foundation, which is primarily dedicated to assisting underprivileged youth in Israel.
The cornerstone for the building was laid last week at a ceremony attended by Shwed and Rashi Foundation chairman and former IDF Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi.
Already a programmer by age 13, Shwed said that this was an opportunity to enable the most scientifically talented of Israeli youth to realize both their potential and their dreams and to progress to academic studies in computer sciences and to new start-ups in the Start-up Nation. Ashkenazi said that as a long term military man he could honestly say that the greatest assets of the Israel Defense Forces are creative people. He could envisage the time when future members of the IDF will be young people whose creativity has been encouraged through experiencing the School for Computer Sciences at TAU.
■ IT WAS previously mentioned in this column that President Reuven Rivlin will be traveling to Ukraine towards the end of September for the 75th anniversary commemoration of the Babi Yar massacre. Rivlin will be away from September 26-30.
While in Ukraine, he will also inaugurate a Jewish School to be named after Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the leader of the Revisionist Movement in which Rivlin was raised and of which he is still a strong adherent, albeit not on a political level while serving in the apolitical role of president. Jabotinsky was born in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, which is where the school is to be located. During his stay in Ukraine, Rivlin will meet with the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko whom he hosted when Poroshenko paid a state visit to Israel last December. Rivlin will also meet with Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who happens to be Jewish.
■ HAREDI (ULTRA-ORTHODOX) American-Israeli film maker Rama Burshtein who achieved enormous international success with her film Filling the Void
, left Israel for Venice last week in the hope that her new film Through the Wall
showing in the Orizzonti
(“Horizons”) section of the Venice Film Festival will achieve equal acclaim. Unlike Filling the Void, Through the Wall
is a romantic wedding comedy. Marriage is a recurring theme in Burshtein’s films, which is to be expected because marriage is such an important feature of haredi society, so it’s a natural theme for films and literature by haredi filmmakers and writers.
■ ONE OF the proofs of sustainable peace was the recent 20th anniversary celebration of the establishment of an Israeli representation for Royal Jordanian Airlines. The company’s commercial officer Server Aydin came to Israel especially for the festivities that were held at the Dan Hotel, Tel Aviv, and brought some of his Jordanian colleagues with him. They were greeted by Dvora Bruchstein, who has been the head of the company’s Israel office ever since it first opened.
■ THREE LEADING Uruguayan artists who have been brought to Israel by the B’nai B’rith World Center are due to land today, Sunday, at Ben-Gurion Airport.
Winners of the B’nai B’rith Uruguay “Premio Fraternidad” prize in 2012 and 2015 are dancer, choreographer and dance teacher Federica Folco, actress Alicia Alfonso – and actor Massimo Tenuta. The three are visiting Israel for the first time, and will remain until September 12. Premio Fraternidad has been presented by B’nai B’rith Uruguay for the last 30 years with the inclusion of acclaimed artists at events held at the B’nai B’rith Hall in the capital, Montevideo, with government ministers, artistic luminaries, civic leaders and hundreds of members in attendance.
Folco’s work focuses on tango as a social phenomenon and on the relationship between mind, body and movement. She has been the director of the Periferico Dance Company since 2009, and has created routines by herself and in collaboration with local and international artists. Folco has participated in international festivals in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Spain and Venezuela. As a teacher, she promotes experimentation and reflection on creative energy, and has conducted workshops in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Spain.
Alfonso graduated from Mario Galup Acting School in 1993, and has thirty years of experience in dramatic arts. She is a company member of Teatro El Galpon, a historic theater in Montevideo founded in 1949. She was nominated five times for the Florencio Award – a prestigious artistic award in Uruguay – and won it twice: in 2010 for supporting actress in Agosto, and in 2015 for her lead role in Horror en Coronel Suarez. Alfonso has appeared in about 40 plays for adults and children throughout Uruguay, and in international festivals in Bolivia, Brazil, Guatemala and the United States.
The principal prize in the Premio Fraternidad is an all-expense paid trip to Israel, where the B’nai B’rith World Center is responsible for crafting and executing an intensive and significant program of professional encounters and touring.
In the course of their visit, Folco, Alfonso and Tenuta will meet with principals at Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and Theatre and at Habimah, Cameri, Gesher and Haifa theaters, and will view performances or rehearsals by Batsheva Dance Company, Inbal Dance Company, Nehara Dance Group, SOL Dance Company and the Kelim Center. They will tour Jerusalem, Masada, the Dead Sea and Galilee.
■ BACK ON screen after close to a year’s absence is the popular Channel 1 news and entertainment program Popolitika moderated by Oded Shachar. The program, in a slightly new format, will be broadcast at 9 p.m. on Mondays, immediately after the Mabat News, with changing panelists including politicians, public figures, and journalists, and will deal with political and social issues of the day, with particular attention to what is happening in peripheral communities and in the various religious and socioeconomic sectors of Israeli society. Popolitika in its original format in the early 1990s was a screaming match between Tommy Lapid, Amnon Dankner and Yisrael Eichler who competed for control of the microphone. Moderator Dan Margalit spent a lot of time trying to shout them down.
Since then, the program has gone through several changes of moderators and panelists with Shachar proving to be the most relaxed and simultaneously the most sensitive of all. Shachar started out on television as an economics reporter and is still a senior economics reporter, but in his previous incarnation he had a mop of curly hair and wore bulky knitted sweaters. The hairline has receded, the sloppy sweaters have been exchanged for smart suits and the style of delivery has also changed. Shachar used to deliver his reports at break-neck speed. He still does so occasionally but as a moderator of both Popolitika and the weekend magazine, he understands the need to speak at a slower pace. He also has amazing control of his panel, be it on Popolitika or on the weekend magazine which is also presented with a panel of reporters and commentators. Popolitika comes within the category of what media expert and the last editor of the now extinct daily Davar, Yoram Peri, calls “the emergence of mediapolitik.”
It’s interesting that the Israel Broadcasting Authority is bringing back this program and introducing others when it is on the verge of closure.
Apropos the IBA, according to a well-informed insider, who for obvious reasons must remain anonymous, a tremendous effort is being made to upgrade both radio and television programs prior to the final demise of the IBA. Many people opted to leave rather than wait for the ax to fall, and some of these people were in key positions that could not be left vacant. Management secured special permission to hire replacements where absolutely necessary. Even those staff members who are unlikely to be included among the 51 percent of IBA employees who must be incorporated into the new public broadcasting service that may take to the air on January 1, are putting professional pride ahead of their emotions and making sure that when Channel 1 and Israel Radio become history, they will at least move into oblivion on a high note.
When the source was asked why certain top broadcasters will soon find themselves unemployed while at least a half dozen pension-age broadcasters will be transferred to the new enterprise, the reply was that taking pension-age people puts less strain on the budget, because they get paid less. Secondly, it’s a way of getting around the 51 percent ratio in that broadcasters of the third age are expected to either retire soon or to succumb to the grim reaper. After that the new service will be free to hire anyone they want.
■ A LOCKED door almost prevented one of the key performances of the Red Sea Jazz Festival. With close to a thousand people waiting to hear Shlomi Shaban and his special guests, the room the performers were resting in while waiting their turn to go on stage, apparently had an automatic door lock which happened to engage at the worst of times. They banged on the door, yelled and shouted to no avail. Then they tried to break the lock, but that didn’t work either. Finally they had no option but to break down the door, and the show went on as scheduled.
■ THE SHOW may not go on for some of the gigs for which singer Rita is scheduled to perform. The singer was hospitalized at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv when tests indicated that she had a rare virus that was affecting her blood, and making her feel weak and tired. If worse comes to worst and she is unable to fulfill her engagements during her convalescence, it’s fortunate that her daughter Meshi Kleinstein is a seasoned performer in her own right, and may come to Mama’s rescue if she doesn’t have a gig of her firstname.lastname@example.org