Grapevine: The show must go on

In the immediate aftermath of the cease-fire, organizers of the fourth annual Emunah Concert were not sure if it would take place.

Jerusalem Festival Orchestra 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Jerusalem Festival Orchestra 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
■ UNTIL FRIDAY of last week, in the immediate aftermath of the cease-fire, organizers of the fourth annual Emunah Concert were not sure if it would take place, Racheli Brooks, the executive director of Emunah, told the audience in the packed Henry Crown Auditorium of the Jerusalem Theater on Monday. Even then, said Renee Becker, one of the three co-chairs of Emunah Jerusalem, it wasn’t certain that cantor Simon Cohen – who produced the show, was its emcee and sang solo and in a trio together with cantor Shai Abramson, Ohed Moskovitz and the Ramatayim and Yuval choirs – would be able to attend because he had been unwell for most of the previous week.
But all’s well that ends well, and the concert of cantorial and classical music, under the baton of Mordechai Sobol, who conducted the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, received an enthusiastic response from the audience.
Proceeds from the event will go to the new Emunah project in Gvaot in Gush Etzion, where young people with special needs will be given the tools to enable them to lead an independent lifestyle and integrate into mainstream society.
■ CONFRONTING HELLENIZATION and secularism then and now is the subject of a Hanukka seminar to be hosted by The Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel on December 10 at the Konrad Adenauer Conference Center. Participants will include Michael Mertes, director of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Israel; Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish; Kadi Iyad Zahalka, director of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel; and a Christian speaker whose name has yet to be announced. There will be simultaneous translations into English, Hebrew and Arabic.
■ PEOPLE FROM all over the center and the north of the country were hosting families and individuals from the South last week. Organizations and institutions were particularly keen to provide some kind of relief for the children and to give them cause to be amused rather than to be afraid. Among the many organizations and institutions that brought children to the capital, provided various forms of entertainment for them and ensured that they were well fed was the World Jewish Congress, which brought some 300 children to the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo.
The youngsters had a great time and were thrilled by Subliminal’s lunchtime performance. But then, the sound of the siren that rocked Jerusalem on Tuesday of last week sent shock waves of fear through the visiting children. Instead of doing what they do at home when they hear the siren, they panicked because they were in unfamiliar territory, and then became hysterical and demanded to go home.
The adults accompanying them also became hysterical.
One of them, who was interviewed by Esti Perez on Israel Radio, was babbling almost incoherently about how they’d come to Jerusalem for a respite, and this is what befell them. When Perez tried to assure her that it was all over and that nothing had happened, the woman became even more hysterical – perhaps because she had expected tranquility in Jerusalem and got something somewhat different. It may even have been a more traumatic experience for her than the sound of rockets falling near her home. Those are the devil she knows.
■ WHEN RESIDENTS of the South were forced to cancel local celebrations of weddings and bar mitzvas, the Jerusalem Great Synagogue offered them its services at greatly reduced rates. On Tuesday as the siren rang out, a young couple from the South had within 48 hours informed all their invitees of the change of venue to the Jerusalem Great Synagogue.
Unfortunately, they had no time to make arrangements for the music. But somebody up there was in their corner, and it just so happened that the synagogue choir was rehearsing at the time of the wedding.
The choir members voluntarily sang at the ceremony, having had some practice in recently doing so for the son of their choirmaster.
Guest cantor Avraham Kirschenbaum called a friend living in Ramot, told him the story, and within less than half an hour there was a singer, complete with musical accompaniment. The family danced until 10 p.m. – something they hadn’t expected to do under the circumstances.
■ AMONG THE regular guests on Liat Regev’s Friday lunchtime show on Reshet Bet radio is Rabbi Benny Lau, who last Friday related to the previous week’s events by the story of King Solomon’s being presented with a person with two heads and having to decide whether it constituted two persons or one. Eventually he decided to pour a bucket of water over one of the heads. If they both cried out, it would prove that this was a single person. If only one of them cried out, it would indicate two people. In fact, both cried out.
From this, Lau drew an analogy with the people of Israel. Elections are close at hand. There are so many differences among the parties and the individuals standing for election. But when danger struck in the form of rockets from Gaza, all these differences were cast aside, and Israel stood as one to face the onslaught and to care for the well-being of the other.