THREE GENERATIONS of the Alfi family showed up in Tel Aviv's Kikar Rabin at the "Read and Succeed" tent sponsored by Bank Hapoalim as part of its annual effort at Hebrew Book Week to encourage people to read more books. They had come to support the patriarch of the family: writer, master storyteller, actor and Givatayim Theater host Yossi Alfi. He was hosting a storytelling session with the participation of well-known writers such as Galila Ron Feder, Yehuda Atlas, Dorit Reuveni and Smadar Shir, and television hostess Hani Nahmias, among others. The Alfis in attendance were the matriarch, British-born Sue Alfi, her and Yossi's children - actor, comedian and father to a new baby Gur Alfi, actress Sari Alfi, who appeared in the telenovela The Champion, and pilot Ben Alfi - all of whom brought their own offspring to listen to Sabba Yossi. The tent was jam-packed, a factor that pleased Shelly Amir, Bank Hapoalim's head of community relations.
AUSTRALIAN ACTRESS Naomi Watts took time out from filming Salt with Angelina Jolie, and together with her husband, actor Liev Schreiber, packed up her two young children Sasha and Kai. They set off last week from their home in New York and headed to Israel, where they were guests of the JNF, for which they are promoting a water conservation project. They went to the Galilee, where they planted a pistachio sapling as part the JNF's ambitious aim to renew the forests destroyed during the Second Lebanon War.
APROPOS WATTS, she's signed up with Untitled Entertainment, as are many other celebrities: Demi Moore, Hilary Swank, Penelope Cruz, Ashton Kutcher, Carmen Electra, Paris Hilton, Lucy Liu, Courtney Love and Israelis Esti Ginzburg and Michael Lewis. Lewis has been signed up with the management company longer than Ginzburg, so he's well known to everyone in the office. The agent dealing with Ginzburg knew that he was on the premises at the same time as her and asked whether she knew him. As it happened, they each completed their business at the same time and emerged simultaneously into the corridor, where they spent some five minutes making small talk before Lewis ran off to an audition.
BEZALEL ALONI, manager, mentor and songwriter for Ofra Haza for 30 years, has written a musical in her memory. Liel Kolet has been tapped to star as the young Haza, and Gavri Banai will play Aloni. It sounds pretty straightforward, but it isn't. The rags-to-riches story tells of a beautiful girl from a poor family in Tel Aviv's Hatikva Quarter whose wonderful voice brought her fame and fortune, but who would never turn her back on her family and friends. Coupled with a choice selection of songs from her vast repertoire, it makes for great theater. However, her family doesn't see it that way. Some members claim it is an intrusion on their privacy and they want to put a stop to the production. Aloni contends that they can't make an argument like that without having first seen the show. But it seems her family is still harboring resentment toward Aloni; they thought he'd alienated Haza from them.
ACTRESS AND singer Galit Giat, along with actor and singer Michael Harpaz, has been chosen to emcee the opening ceremony of the 18th Maccabiah Games next month. Giat will speak in Hebrew and Spanish and Harpaz in Hebrew and English. The two have already begun rehearsals for the ceremony, which will be broadcast live from Ramat Gan Stadium. The opening of the Maccabiah on July 13, which is expected to attract some 8,000 Jewish athletes from around the world, will feature top-notch singers, dancers and acrobats.
MEMBERS OF the entertainment industry are increasingly identifying with environmental issues. Actress Riki Blich spoke to children of Yehud about the importance of recycling and reducing pollution. Blich was appearing as part of a campaign by the proprietors of the Savyonim Mall, who came to the conclusion that children tended to emulate the people they admired most. Thus, by recruiting members of the entertainment industry to the cause, it was safe to assume that more children would come to listen, watch and get the message.