Grapevine: Close cultural ties

Israel Musuem director James Snyder in his element thanks to the Tourism Conference at Binyenei Ha’uma.

Israel Museum (photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel Museum
(photo credit: Courtesy)
■ ISRAEL MUSEUM director James Snyder was in his element last week thanks to the Tourism Conference at Binyenei Ha’uma. It included a session on cultural tourism, which was chaired by Snyder and attended by four of his overseas colleagues: Thomas Campbell, director of the Metropolitan Museum, New York; Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg; Jim Cuno, president of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Axel Ruger, director of the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.
Snyder was delighted to host colleagues from museums and sister institutions in Europe and the US with whom he and members of his staff have close relations.
He was pleased that he and his guests could have the opportunity to participate together in an international forum discussing attitudes toward tourism in the cultural sector, especially since his colleagues are also his close friends.
Campbell was eager to see the renewed Israel Museum, while Cuno spoke admiringly of what intelligent expansion and renovation can do for the experience of visiting a museum. Piotrovsky suggested that religious tourists visit museums to give context to the sites they are seeing. All four visitors, along with Snyder, agreed on the importance of location. Museums and other cultural institutions must be easily accessible and located near the hearts of their cities.
■ ON THE subject of culture, Jane and Jonathan Medved were looking to do something a little different to celebrate the first anniversary of their moving into their beautiful, spacious home in Baka. So together with their good friends Valerie and Alan Adler, they decided to host the launch of the Backstage Circle of Friends of the Jerusalem Season of Culture. It is an independent initiative started as a pilot project last year by the Shusterman Foundation in Israel, which partners with the Jerusalem Municipality, the Jerusalem Foundation and several cultural institutions with the aim of promoting Jerusalem as a world-class center for arts and culture.
According to Karen Brunwasser, the director of JSOC, Jerusalem has more cultural events, institutions and organizations than any other city in the country, but the city’s cultural image has been overshadowed by its images of religion and conflict.
Jerusalem-born culture guru Itai Mautner, who now lives in Jaffa but keeps his heart in Jerusalem, outlined a series of cultural events that will take place throughout the city from May 18 to July 28 within the scope of JSOC. But they are just a fraction of the total cultural offerings throughout the summer. Aside from the extraordinary variety that will delight the senses, one of the key attractions is bound to be In-House from June 21-24, in which some of the most intriguing private homes in the capital will open their doors to dance, theater, music and poetry for intimate encounters. For those who are dying to see inside certain homes where a regular invitation is unlikely, there is now the opportunity to pay for the privilege and contribute to culture.
Close to 100 people crowded into the Medveds’ living room and dining room.
Jonathan Medved said he was overwhelmed by the attendance.
■ BESIDES THE guests of honor Doris Levine and Rena Quint, the main attraction at the Ayelet and Dvorah Masovetsky Jerusalem chapter of Amit’s annual gala luncheon at the Park Hotel was a fashion show in which members of Amit in three age groups, including the third age, modeled hats, shawls, shrugs, bags and jewelry supplied by Mimi and Chaya from Ra’anana and Tashtari from Jerusalem. The models, who included Annette Jotkowitz, Miriam Levin, Cheryl Meskin, Pessy Krausz and Sandy Reichman, paraded in gorgeous hats, ranging from stunning and superbly shaped cartwheels to chic little pillboxes with net veils. Prices for the hats ranged from NIS 750 to well over NIS 1,000.
■ MK Yulia Shamolov Berkovich, who chairs the Knesset lobby for Jerusalem, was pleasantly surprised on her birthday when members of Youth for Jerusalem showed up at her house with a birthday cake in the form of the Western Wall.
“One can eat the cake and leave Jerusalem undivided,” said Shmuelov-Berkowitz as she cut into the cake.
■ ON HIS mother’s side, most of the relatives and friends who attended the circumcision ceremony in Jerusalem last Friday of Adin Yitzhak Goldsmith came from Ra’anana. On his father’s side, they lived in Jerusalem. The baby is the firstborn son of Ilanit and Ronen Goldsmith and a grandchild of Rebecca Goldberg, Michael Goldsmith and Esti and David Martin. Goldsmith and his two sons Ari and Ronen are very musical and often lead prayers or read from the Torah at various synagogues. When David Martin made a speech for the occasion, he said he could almost hear Goldsmith singing to the baby under his breath.