Martin Gilbert lectures in Jerusalem tomorrow

GRAPEVINE: lecture series by Synagogue Art Research; free concerts in Mishkenot Sha'ananim; Rachel the Poetess to grace banknotes.

Sir Martin Gilbert 572 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Sir Martin Gilbert 572
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
■ NOTED HISTORIAN Sir Martin Gilbert comes to Israel at fairly frequent intervals and will be speaking in Jerusalem on Thursday, December 30 to members and friends of the Israel branch of the The Jewish Historical Society of England.
His topic, “Britain and Palestine From the Balfour Declaration to the League of Nations Mandate: A Documentary Survey” is based on research that he has been conducting for four decades. Documents that he has examined are no less fascinating than WikiLeaks, though they deal with an earlier period of history. Gilbert will discuss the plans that Britain initially had for Palestine and how those plans were modified.
Had they not been, history might have taken a different course during the Mandate years. Gilbert will be speaking at Beit Avi Chai, 44 King George Street, Jerusalem.
■ AFTER A long hiatus, Synagogue Art Research (SAR), a not-for-profit organization created by Rivka and Dr. Ben-Zion Dorfman is coming out of hibernation, and will conduct a six-month lecture series in conjunction with the OU. The Dorfmans, after traveling around the world to research synagogues in far away places, wrote a best-selling book Synagogues without Jews which won the National Jewish Book Award. The lecture series, which will create awareness of synagogues that have either been abandoned or whose worshipers were eliminated by the Nazis, the Communists and other enemies of humanity, will be conducted by Dr. Ari Greenspan and Rabbi Dr. Ari Zivotofsky, the Indiana Jones of Yiddishkeit (, who also publish a monthly column in the “Kids” supplement of the Mishpacha magazine. The series, which has the title “The Synagogues of Your Grandparents – A View of the Shuls of a Forgotten World,” will begin at 8 p.m. on December 29, at the OU center, Rehov Keren Hayesod 22.
■ MUSIC LOVERS with a feel for the classics can now hear a free concert every second Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Music Center at Mishkenot Sha’ananim. The concerts are held in conjunction with Israel Radio’s Voice of Music and are broadcast on the following Friday week at 12 noon. The first in the current series “Youth at the Center” featured Batia Murvitz on piano, Dina Zemtsova and Yonatan Grinberg on violin, Lotem Beider on viola and Telalit Charsky on cello. All are award-winning music students and have continued to garner prizes in Israel and around the world.
Their joint performance was dedicated to Shostakovitch and was both sensitive and spirited. If their combined talents can be reflected in the reaction of the audience, they are, in a single word, terrific. The audience just went wild in expressing its delight, and the sounds of appreciation, though somewhat discordant, were music to the ears of the young players.
■ AS OF 2012, Israeli banknotes will include the likeness of Rahel Blaustein, who lived for a year in Jerusalem, but also spent time in Rehovot, Kibbutz Deganya and Tel Aviv.
”Rahel who?” a lot of people will ask when confronted with the name.
She is better known as Rahel Hameshoreret, or in English, Rahel the poetess. She signed her lyric poems with only her first name. Unable to engage in physical work, because she suffered from tuberculosis, Rahel came to Jerusalem because the air in the city was good for her. She rented an apartment on Rehov Hanevi’im, but her health continued to deteriorate. She died at age 40 and was buried in her beloved Galilee, which features so frequently in her poetry. As yet, there is no plaque on the building that she inhabited while in Jerusalem, but presumably someone at City Hall will see fit to rectify that lacuna.