Celebrity Grapevine

Singapore is singing the praises of acclaimed Israeli artist David Gerstein.

SINGAPORE LANDMARK 88 22 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
NOW IT'S official. Barbra Streisand will open the three-day Jerusalem Conference under the patronage of President Shimon Peres on May 13, in celebration of Israel's 60th anniversary of independence. Peres announced last year that he would approach Streisand and ask her to sing Avinu Malkeinu at the opening of the conference, but at that time, although there was little doubt that she would not refuse the request of one of her most celebrated admirers, it was not known whether she had any other important event scheduled for that date. Peres told an AIPAC delegation last week that he had spoken to Streisand and that she had agreed to open the conference, which will also be attended by US President George W. Bush who is scheduled to arrive on May 14. The conference, under the umbrella title of "Tomorrow" will focus on the world at large on the first day, the Jewish world on the second day and Israel on the third day. Peres said that he expects some 2,000 people to attend, including numerous world leaders. PAST AND present Knesset members, celebrities from the worlds of the visual and performing arts and other well known figures packed the theater at ZOA House in Tel Aviv for the Yiddishpiel premiere of "The Children of the Shadow," a play by Ben Zion Tomer. This is Yiddishpiel's 60th production since its inception, and was chosen to mark the 60th anniversary of the state. With its Holocaust connotations, the production attracted not only Holocaust survivors, who are the nucleus of Yiddishpiel audiences, but also second and third generation survivors and people who have been involved in organizations that exist to commemorate the Holocaust and in activities aimed at improving the lives of survivors. On a more cheerful note, the audience also toasted former Tel Aviv Mayor Shlomo Lahat on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Lahat, who helped to found Yiddishpiel, has been a solid supporter in the same way that he has been one of the guiding forces of Beit Hatefutsoth, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary. Others in the audience included MK Colette Avital, former MKs Shaul Yahalom, Ora Namir, Lova Eliav and Gedalai Gal; Ofra Meirson, the widow of "Raful" Eitan, Micha Goldman, an aide to Ehud Barak who never misses a Yiddishpiel production, Ran and Ido Tomer, the son and grandson of the author of the play, General (Res) Yossi Peled who is a child Holocaust survivor, jeweler and sculptress Rachel Gera and entertainers Dudu Fisher, Israel Gottesdiner, Israel Prize laureate Miriam Zohar and David Krivoshey. Yiddish was partially outlawed in the early years of the State, and Yiddishpiel founder and director Shmuel Atzmon has the documentation to prove it. Yet today, the Israeli public, including young people, is flocking to Yiddish theater, concerts and lectures, and the new cadre of Yiddish thespians comes from the ranks of young immigrants from the former Soviet Union who want to touch base with the culture they were denied under Communist rule. THE NAME Raffles is embedded in Singapore's history and landmarks. Until recently, the name of internationally acclaimed Israeli painter and sculptor David Gerstein was hardly known at all in Singapore, but in recent months, it has become increasingly familiar as his work, touted by the Singapore media as the tallest sculpture in Singapore, took shape at the triple intersection of Raffles Quay, Collyer Quay and Marina Boulevard in front of the One Raffles Place skyscraper in Singapore's flourishing business district. The work, which was commissioned by the building's developers, reportedly cost in the range of $1.3 million. Gerstein submitted an entry in an international contest conducted by ORQ, one of Singapore's largest real estate development companies, which subsequently commissioned the striking colorful public placement which is called "Momentum." The statue, which is 18.5 meters tall and weighs 44 tons, was gradually unveiled over a ten-day period concluding last week. AFTER HIS own wedding three months ago, Zvika Hadar, the host of A Star is Born, will soon be getting ready to attend another wedding of one of the show's winning performers, Harel Moyal, who scored the most votes during the show's second season and went on to stardom. Last week Moyal found a most romantic way to propose to live-in girlfriend Shimrit. When she was out of the house, he filled the apartment with fragrant candles, red roses and heart shaped chocolates. He also tied an expensive diamond engagement ring to the collar of their dog, who joyfully greeted Shimrit as she came through the front door. LIFE LOOKS a lot less rosy for fashion model and former beauty queen Ilanit Levy, whose marriage to singer Eyal Golan is rumored to be foundering. As if this was not enough to contend with, Levy last week discovered that someone had damaged her new car and broken the mirrors on both sides - not a good omen. WHAT'S IN a name? Plenty if your name is Gidi Gov. The singer and television host is featured in a new series of commercials designed to encourage the public to pay bills to government offices via the web. In television and radio commercials, Gov is seen and heard filing a complaint with the police in which he says: "They've stolen my Gov." When the policewoman asks for the name of the thief, Gov replies: "The government." The policewoman then goes into the government portal www.gov.il and reads out some of the many services available to the public and Gov is sent on his merry way. IS THE Israel Broadcasting Authority trying to send out a subtle message in its promos for new Mabat presenters Merav Miller and Yinon Magal? The impression coming across in the clips that have been screened so far are that head of the news division Uri Levy is boss and cannot be influenced by bribes or arguments; and that IBA veterans who have been broadcasting for upwards of 30 years have no chance of replacing Haim Yavin. In one of these clips, affable celebrity chef Chaim Cohen, who has a popular show on Channel One in which he prepares meals for celebrity guests, makes a bid to fill the Mabat slot by bringing some of his delicacies to Levy's office. Levy demurs, gives Cohen a negative reply, but is left with the goodies, which we do not see him eat, but he doesn't give them back to Cohen either. In another clip, veteran news reader and special events emcee Daniel Pe'er comes to Levy's office to suggest that fellow broadcaster Dalia Mazor would be an ideal replacement for Yavin, and starts to reel off her accomplishments. To which Levy says: "But Danny, you've done all those things." Pe'er protests, again invoking Mazor's name - but to no avail. AGEING BEATLES fans from many parts of the world descended on Liverpool 10 days ago to catch a glimpse of the two surviving Beatles - drummer Ringo Starr and singer/bassist Paul McCartney, who were back in the city which the Beatles put on the world map to help launch Liverpool's year as the European Capital of Culture for 2008. The festivities over the year ahead, including more than 350 concerts, exhibitions and other cultural events, are intended to improve the once tarnished image of the port city known more for its poverty and violence than for its new role as a trendy, multi-cultural mecca. Last week Starr released his new CD Liverpool 8, in which he pays an emotional tribute to Liverpool.