Grapevine: Woman of notes

Barbara Goldstein stood in one day for someone who had been blowing the shofar but who failed to show up one morning for the service.

Barbara Goldstein 521 (photo credit: courtesy)
Barbara Goldstein 521
(photo credit: courtesy)
DEPUTY DIRECTOR of the Israel office of Hadassah the Women’s Zionist Organization of America Barbara Goldstein, who regularly attends morning services at Moreshet Yisrael, one of the Conservative Synagogues in Jerusalem, stood in one day a little over two weeks ago, for someone who had been blowing the shofar but who failed to show up one morning for the service. The rabbi remembered that Goldstein is quite a capable shofar blower and asked her to step up to the plate. “I’ve been blowing my horn ever since,” she said on the eve of Rosh Hashana. But she balked at blowing 100 notes on the New Year and left the honor of doing that to someone else.
WELL OVER a dozen organizations, institutions and business enterprises have joined forces for the inauguration of the Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, which will be held from September 15 to October 31 in various locations throughout the capital. Venues include the Achim Hasid complex, Heichal Shlomo, Beit Avi Chai, Musrara and the First Station. The curators of the various exhibits are Oryan Galster, Porat Solomon and Ronen Yitzhaki; Nurit Sirkis Bank; Neta and Michael Elkayam; Ram Ozeri and Rei Dishgon, who come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. Initiators and organizers of the biennale pose the question: What is contemporary Jewish art? Does the category even exist? They admit that the answer is not simple, but declare in the next breath that there is no better place than Jerusalem to raise these questions and to let curators, artists and scholars from different backgrounds try to provide a definition. Jerusalem is a Johnny-comelately in the biennale stakes. More than 100 countries already host a biennale, so there is no justification for the city at the center of the world not to do likewise.
MANY JERUSALEMITES are familiar with Beit Agnon, the home of Nobel Prize laureate S.Y. Agnon, who thus far is the only Israeli to have won the Nobel Prize for literature. But few people know much about the man or the woman who inspired him. The home in Talpiot that Agnon shared with his wife, Esther, and their children is now a cultural center and museum, left to a large extent as it was when the Agnon family lived there. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the year in which Agnon met the woman who was to become his wife and lifelong inspiration. To commemorate that landmark meeting, filmmaker Ita Gliksberg has produced a two-part documentary film, in which there is a rare radio recording of Esther’s voice saying: “I met him in 1913… ” The documentary brings to light the special relationship of two people who continued to love each other dearly well into old age. The film will be screened at 9 p.m. on Channel 1, with the first part on Thursday, September 19, and the second on Thursday, September 26.
FAME IS not always a welcome companion. Already a well-known and popular personality before he wrote his best selling book The Prime Ministers, Yehuda Avner has been in high demand ever since it became known that there will be three screenings in Jerusalem of Part 1 of the Simon Wiesenthal Center documentary film based on the book – one of which has been allocated to the Jerusalem-based charity Emunah Besimcha. All three screenings will take place at the Begin Heritage Center, where Avner will make introductory remarks prior to each screening. In previous years when the Simon Wiesenthal Center held Succot screenings in Jerusalem, they were at the Jerusalem Theater, which has a far greater seating capacity than the Begin Heritage Center, and even then the demand for tickets exceeded the number of available seats. However patience is a virtue.
Those who miss out on seeing the film this time around will be able to see it in February when it will be distributed to all and sundry. The Israel premiere will be a gala affair, reserved mainly for the rich and the famous on two consecutive nights. Chairing the premiere are Jona and Rachel Rechnitz.
The second half of the film will be screened next year. If the voices of Israel’s prime ministers do not sound entirely familiar it’s because Rabbi Marvin Hier and Richard Frank, who wrote and produced the film, picked Hollywood actors for the vocal roles. Sandra Bullock is the voice of Golda Meir. Michael Douglas is the voice of Yitzhak Rabin. Leonard Nimoy is the voice of Levi Eshkol, and Christoph Waltz the voice of Menachem Begin.