Grapevine: Back to the studio

NMC United Entertainment purchases Tel-Ad studios; Gershon Baskin to speak on his efforts in helping bring Gilad Schalit home; Proceeds from recent AMIT event going to buying new computers for needy children.

Schalits 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Schalits 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
■ NMC United Entertainment CEO Pnina Edry announced this week that her company had completed the deal with Tel- Ad Studios chairman Moshe Gaon for the purchase of Jerusalem’s famed production company that was founded in 1973 by Uzi Peled, one of the founders of Israel Television, now known as Channel 1. In July 1993, Tel-Ad was one of three production companies along with Reshet and Keshet to receive the franchise to operate Channel 2, which was Israel’s first commercial TV channel. Tel-Ad retained its franchise for 12 years and was instrumental in revolutionizing Israel’s television industry. In 2000 Tel-Ad, which now represents several foreign channels in Israel, changed direction and went into satellite and cable television broadcasting and currently produces for nine channels.
Gaon, acting on his own behalf, Uzi Peled Productions, and on behalf of other Tel-Ad partners, said that Jerusalem-headquartered Tel-Ad had earned an enviable reputation and was an excellent company. The decision to sell was made with mixed emotions. On the one hand, the owners wanted to do what was best for the future of the company; on the other, they wanted to hang on to something they had built up. But management and staff realized that with changing trends in the entertainment industry, Tel-Ad would have to go with the flow if it wanted to remain an active player in the field.
As the Edry family are leaders in this particular media sphere, it was thought that the best way for Tel-Ad to expand and succeed was to merge with NMC United. Gaon expressed appreciation to Tel-Ad director-general Dan Tadmor and his team for doing an excellent, highly professional job.
Jerusalem Post columnist Gershon Baskin has spent more than two decades cultivating a relationship with Palestinians and winning their trust. It was his relationship with several influential Palestinians that enabled him to make back-channel contacts that led to the eventual exchange deal that allowed Gilad Schalit to finally come home. Baskin’s involvement has been well documented in the local and overseas media, and his first-person account appeared in the Post.
Those people who would prefer to hear it from him rather than read about it can do so on Thursday, November 10 at 3 p.m. at the Ambassador Hotel in Jerusalem (in English).
Baskin is the co-CEO of IPCRI – the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information. It was in that capacity that he made many of his Palestinian contacts, proving on more than one occasion how important it is to find moderates on the other side who can act as facilitators in times of need.
■ A propos Gilad Schalit, the story doing the rounds in international Chabad circles gives Chabadniks even greater faith in the miraculous powers of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, which appear to be effective even from the grave. Chabad envoys Rabbi Eliahu and Chana Canterman, who live in Talbiyeh, frequently visited Aviva and Noam Schalit in the protest tent that stood for so long around the corner from the prime minister’s residence.
They brought food and spiritual nourishment, and racking their brains for something meaningful that would help to instill more hope in the Schalits, Chana Canterman gave Aviva a dollar that she had received from the rebbe several years earlier.
The rebbe used to distribute $1 bills to people of merit, and when she gave her own dollar to Gilad’s mother, Canterman explained that amazing results came from the rebbe’s dollars and said she was sure the dollar bill would help to bring Gilad home safe and sound.
On the day after Gilad finally did come home, Aviva sent an SMS to Canterman asking her if she remembered on what recipients who received dollar bills distributed by the rebbe wrote the date of receipt on the bill. Canterman said she didn’t remember, but an excited Aviva Schalit reminded her: Written in Hebrew on the dollar were the words: “Received from the rebbe, 20 Tishrei, 5751.” Gilad Schalit was released from captivity on 20 Tishrei, 22 years later!
 ■ Art teacher Maureen Kushner, who takes exhibits of artwork by Israeli children – both Jewish and Arab – around the world, lives on the edge of Mahaneh Yehuda in a penthouse apartment. Kushner loves to celebrate Jewish holidays, and she especially loves to celebrate the beginning of each new Hebrew calendar month with the Hallel psalms. Friends from all over are invited to join in a Carlebach Hallel on her rooftop balcony. Actually, she has two balconies around the corner from each other, so the men gather on one and the women, playing tambourines and maracas, fill the other.
On this Rosh Hodesh, the service was led by singer and guitarist Josh Alpert, who arrived in Israel less than a month ago, and whose voice is remarkably similar to that of the late Shlomo Carlebach. Not only that, but unlike many other Carlebach exponents, Alpert remains absolutely faithful to the melody and Carlebach’s own arrangement. Alpert, who sang at the Carlebach Synagogue in New York and is known professionally as Mr. Shabbos, has a broader repertoire that includes bluegrass, Irish and country music. He has not yet been asked to perform at the annual Shlomo Carlebach memorial concert on November 12 at the Jerusalem International Convention Center, but that may be because organizers are not yet aware that he’s in Israel.
■ Proceeds from the recent AMIT Israel annual dinner at the Ramada Hotel Jerusalem will benefit needy children from among AMIT’s 25,000 students and will be used toward the purchase of computers. Honorees at the dinner were David Schwartz, the AMIT Network’s long-serving auditor, and Renee Douglen, a veteran member of AMIT and a tireless worker for the organization. Among the guests were Uzi Danino, chairman of Excellence Nesuah; Prof. Moshe Kaveh, president of Bar-Ilan University; Dr. Amnon Eldar, AMIT Network director general; attorney Debbie Isaac, AMIT president; attorney Amir Chen, partner in the Fischer Bahar Chen law firm; and Judith Schwed-Lion, AMIT Israel director of development.