Celebrity Grapevine

Gossip columnists across the U.S. are increasingly interested in the romance between Israeli model Bar Rafaeli and Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio.

Bar Rafaeli 88 248 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Bar Rafaeli 88 248
(photo credit: Courtesy)
THE CAST of Hashir Shelanu (Our Song) was scheduled to get together at Herzliya Studios Friday for the taping of the soap opera's third season finale. The taping was cancelled, however, due to the fighting in the North, with no new date yet announced. The postponement delays a joint appearance by Ninette Taib and Efrat Boimwald, on-screen enemies who became off-screen friends and then on-screen friends who became off-screen enemies after Yehuda Levy, Boimwald's significant other for five years, left her for Taib. Compared to the willowy Boimwald, Taib was a little on the plump side when the series began, but she's undergone an image transformation and is now slimmer and more fashionable than she was three years ago. Hashir Shelanu is set at an arts school, so it was more than appropriate that the season finale was to be taped in the studio usually reserved for the aspiring singers of Kochav Nolad (A Star is Born). Gossip columnists across the United States are increasingly interested in the romance between Israeli model Bar Rafaeli and Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio. American entertainment media are now reporting regularly on the couple, and the latest word is that the twosome will be setting up house together. There's also some speculation as to whether Rafaeli and the Titanic star will get married. If they do, it will be the second recent case of a top Israeli model saying "I do" to a foreign spouse - former Miss World Linor Abergil tied the knot earlier this summer with Lithuanian-born former Maccabi Tel Aviv star Sarunas Jaskevicius, and Moran Atias, who commutes between Italy and her family's home in Haifa, has had a string of non-Israeli boyfriends. WHEN ATIAS comes home, it's not just to see family and friends. The dark-haired model also has to fulfill her contractual obligations to the Renuar clothing chain, in whose campaigns she has been appearing with Itai Tirosh for several seasons. Renuar is now looking for a new partner for Atias following Tirosh's announcement that he's leaving the modeling scene. The model has been given an executive position at a firm specializing in bringing foreign labor to Israel to work in the construction industry. Given the damage in the North and the amount of labor that will be required to repair and rebuild destroyed property, his timing could not have been better. MARRIAGE MAY be a tie that binds, but since deciding several months ago to cancel their wedding plans, singer Maya Buskila and entertainer Dudi Melitz have gotten been closer than ever. Some people just find the formalities of marriage too restrictive. IT HASN'T quite come to fisticuffs between Yiddishpiel director Shmuel Atzmon and Gesher Theater general manager Uri Levy, but their battle may well end in court if the two sides can't come to some kind of compromise over Gesher's upcoming production of Valery Muchariamov's The Last Love. The play is based on "Old Love," the story by Nobel Prize laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer, and tells the story of four aging Holocaust survivors living in New York. Yiddishpiel staged The Last Love's Israeli premiere last year, with Atzmon starring alongside Yaacov Budo and Lora Sahar. The debut was performed in honor of what would have been Bashevis Singer's 101st birthday, and was directed by Adolph Schapira, who was specially brought in from Moscow to helm the production. Gesher recently announced that it, too, will stage a production of the play, a development that has infuriated Atzmon, who now claims that Yiddishpiel has the sole production rights to performances of the play in Israel. It appears, however, that performance rights were indeed also sold to the Gesher Theater, which will produce the play in Russian. Because the two theaters will stage productions in different languages, one might well ask why Atzmon is so angry. Very simple. Although all Yiddishpiel plays are performed in Yiddish, they also provide simultaneous surtitles in Russian and Hebrew. Now, however, the large Russian audience that has started attending Yiddishpiel productions may transfer their loyalties - and ticket money - to the Gesher Theater. For some members of the Yiddishpiel team, the battle is more than a little embarrassing. The Yiddishpiel sets for The Last Love were designed by Alexander Lisiansky, who's also the chief set designer for Gesher, while the show's musical director, Avi Binyamin, is married to Gesher actress Yevgenia Dudina.