Arts in Brief

Court cites Jewishness in Jackson case.

Court cites Jewishness in Jackson case A court ruling giving Michael Jackson's ex-wife parental rights of their children has noted her Jewishness. Deborah Rowe relinquished custody of her two children to the reclusive pop star in 2001, but sued for custody again in 2004 after Jackson was charged witha molesting children. He was acquitted of the charges. The California appeals court decision last week sent the custody case back to a family court, saying that even a parent's agreement to give up custody was not binding. Rowe reasserted her parental rights in part, the court said, "because she is Jewish" and "feared the children might be mistreated if Michael continued his association with the Nation of Islam." - JTA Habimah recognizes prized talents The Habimah National Theater held its annual prize-giving event last Friday, an evening that honors both actors and theater staff. The Hadassah and Rafael Klatchkin Prize (NIS 7500) went to Avi Kushnir for his performance in "King Solomon and Shalmai the Cobbler". Actor Igal Sade received the Shmuel Segal Prize (NIS 10,000) for both "War" and " A Month in the Country". Idit Tepperson won the Aharon Meskin Prize (NIS 5000) for her portrayal of the tormented wife in "Cruel and Tender. The Ora Goldenberg Most Promising Actor Prize (NIS 5000 each) was given to youngsters Ido Rosenberg and Hila Feldman. Composer Yoni Rechter won the Shimon Finkel Prize (NIS 5000) for his work both on "King Solomon" and "The 16th Sheep" while wonderful character actress Dvora Kedar received a special Life Achievement Award worth NIS 5000. Three directors also got prizes for their special projects: Dalia Shimko, Segal Avin and Nir Erez. In his introduction to the ceremony, artistic director Ilan Ronen paid a moving tribute to Shoshana Damari who died last week. He also announced that "The 16th Sheep" will travel to Italy in may to participate in the International Children's Theater Festival. - Helen Kaye 'Bird'-watching at the Cameri Blackbird, the latest play by up and coming British playwright David Harrower, will have its Israeli debut March 3 in Tel Aviv at the Cameri Theater. The Cameri production is premiering just week's after the play's opening in London's West End on Feb. 13. Blackbird tells the story of Ray, who's quiet life as a factory worker is shaken up by the appearance of Una, a former lover who knows uncomfortable secrets about his past. The play was warmly received by critics after its premiere at last summer's Edinburgh International Festival. - Nathan Burstein