Prizing local filmmakers

Veteran Jerusalem filmmaker Micha Shagrir will be among five of the recipients of the annual prize for cinematography awarded by the Culture and Sports Ministry.

Micha Shagrir 521 (photo credit: Sarah Levin)
Micha Shagrir 521
(photo credit: Sarah Levin)
■ VETERAN JERUSALEM filmmaker Micha Shagrir will be among five of the recipients of the annual prize for cinematography awarded by the Culture and Sports Ministry. They were selected from among 25 applicants. Each will receive a check for NIS 50,000 at a ceremony to be held in May under the auspices of Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat.
Shagrir, 73, who has won several prizes in the past, was among Israel’s television pioneers, and was one of the founders and first director of the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School. Shagrir is widely considered to be the backbone of Israel’s now flourishing film industry. At one time he headed the Foundation for the Encouragement of Quality Films, and later the Israel Film Fund.
He also established the Aliza Foundation for the encouragement of young documentary film makers in memory of his wife who was killed in a terrorist attack in Paris in 1980.
He also initiated the Cinema Jerusalem Project that documents different facets of the city and he continues to explore Israel and the Jewish experience through the lens of his camera.
Before entering the film world, he was both a print media and radio reporter. He was the recipient of a life achievement award at the 2010 Jewish Film Festival at the Jerusalem Cinematheque.
■ WITH TWO milestone celebrations more or less coinciding, Rabbi Raymond Apple, rabbi emeritus of the Sydney Great Synagogue, and his wife, Marian, decided to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and his 75th birthday at Beit Ticho in Jerusalem in the company of family and closest friends, including some who had actually been at their wedding.
Australian-born Raymond Apple married British-born Marian Unterman, and after serving as the spiritual leader of two British congregations returned to Australia to take up the position at the Great Synagogue in Sydney where he served for 32 years, before settling Jerusalem in 2006. The greater part of the couple’s family now lives in Israel, having immigrated from both Britain and Australia.
■ THANKS TO Michelle Katz, the multi-talented wife of musician Yehuda Katz, who is the lead singer and instrumentalist of Reva L’Sheva, Tekoa is finding new prominence on the map. Michelle is involved in bringing quality performers to the town, and this week succeeded in getting multi-talented musician, actor, composer, conductor and cantor Mike Stein, who is a Grammy award winner. The text on the open stage playbill read “From Broadway to the White House to the Grand Ol’ Opry… and now Tekoa.” The Katz family has been living in Tekoa for the best part of a year.
The concerts promoted by Katz in the art gallery of the French kosher dairy restaurant Natali give patrons the opportunity to eat before or after the performance. The restaurant also provides a stage for local performers. Among those who shared a platform with Stein this week were Leah and Yosef Orso, Channan Elias and others. The concerts have developed a following given the fact that Tekoa, as Katz points out, is only a 12-minute drive from Jerusalem.
■ INCREASING NUMBERS of entertainers are emerging from the religiously observant community – not just singers and instrumentalists, but dancers, actors and stand-up comedians.
Among the latter are haredim such as Shimon Peretz, who appeared at the Hahusha School in Arnona last Sunday, and Avner Kaveh and Michael Lasri, who are scheduled to appear at the Sharon Hall in Rehov Hasadna, Talpiot, on January 1.
■ IN A tradition dating back to 1924, under the chairmanship of Albert Einstein, the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) once again brought together elected representative Jewish student leaders from around the globe, to assess and confront the contemporary face of age-old challenges to which Jewish students are subjected.
The important thing is knowing how to properly respond to the delegitimization of Israel and BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaigns on campus. Some 200 elected Jewish student union leaders, representing numerous campuses, in 52 countries got together at the Jerusalem Gate Hotel this week to develop creative strategies to combat anti- Semitism and anti-Zionism and to foster Jewish pride and identity.
They were addressed by a galaxy of speakers including Helena Glazer, president of World WIZO, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, MK Tzipi Livni, leader of the opposition in the Knesset, Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency, Danny Ayalon, deputy foreign minister, Irwin Cotler MP, former Canadian justice minister and international human rights activist, Yoram Ettinger, a retired ambassador, Yossi Beilin, a retired political leader, Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, Avraham Duvdevani, chairman of the World Zionist Organization, Effi Stenzler, chairman of the Jewish National Fund, MK Shaul Mofaz, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and MKs Ze’ev Bielski and Nachman Shai.
■ TOO MANY publications have gone out of business over the past decade or so, with the takeover of the Internet. Print media advertising revenues took a tumble, and subscribers decreased in number. But even Internet sites don’t always last the distance, whether media oriented or otherwise. Case in point is JGooders. Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish, the director of the Jerusalem-headquartered Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel, sent out an urgent e-mail this week appealing to prospective donors to the ICCI’s L’Chaim online campaign, who were sending their contributions via JGooders, to get their donations in by December 30, the date on which the JGooders website would go offline. JGooders, he added, was currently considering alternatives for the future.
Meanwhile, numerous organizations and institutions that solicited donations via JGooders are left in partial limbo.
■ ALTHOUGH HE’S not the health minister, it’s nonetheless par for the course for Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog to visit medical centers to ensure that patients are receiving proper care. Beyond the regular call of duty, he had a very special reason for visiting Herzog Hospital, which is named for his grandmother.
What he did not expect when he visited the hospital’s rehabilitation wing in the company of Dr. Yehezkel Caine, the director-general of the hospital, was to find patients who had not only known his father, who was Israel’s sixth president, but also his grandmother, who was involved in many social welfare projects, and his grandfather, who was the first chief rabbi of the State of Israel. There are several places in the capital named for members of the minister’s family who distinguished themselves in service to the state.