GRAPEVINE: Israeli Originality

Matisyahu (file photo) (photo credit: REUTERS)
Matisyahu (file photo)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
■ IS THERE such a thing as specifically Israeli music? After all, even the national anthem is eerily reminiscent of Smetana’s Moldau. Moreover, the most enduring of the nation’s folk songs are borrowed from traditional Russian melodies and even the lyrics often bear a similarity to those of long-dead Russian poets. This is hardly surprising when so many of Israel’s early poets were raised on Russian literature in villages, towns and cities that became part of the Soviet Union.
If there is any Israeli originality, it can be heard on Wednesday, May 30 at Beit Avi Chai, where Daniel Zamir, Shlomo Gronich and Ravid Kahalani will stage a special musical performance in honor of the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel. Their concert will include time-honored melodies with new, updated arrangements; this is the innovation era in which something new must be fused with the old. It’s very difficult to put together a two-hour concert that covers a 70-year music span, but the decisions on what to include were based on a desire to give expression to different styles of song and to the changing synergies from one generation to the next.
Depending on the majority age group of the audience, it’s even possible that several of the songs chosen will be unfamiliar. In other words, the old will be new for people who’ve never heard these songs before. The program starts at 8.30 p.m. Tickets are NIS 60; NIS 30 for students.
■ TWO DAYS earlier, on May 28, American rap singer Matisyahu who periodically visits Israel, where he discovered his Jewish soul, will be at Beit Avi Chai and will engage in conversation with guitarist Aaron Dugan , whose diverse musical background includes just about anything from heavy metal to jazz, folk, and hassidic reggae. The two will perform together but will also converse in English. Also joining the conversation will be Ephraim Rosenstein, a long-time friend of Matisyahu’s who sometimes collaborates with him in composing new songs. Show time is 9 p.m.
■ THE 70th anniversary of the State of Israel has had a very positive impact on the Bible Lands Museum, not only as a cultural attraction for locals and tourists alike, but also as an events venue.
As far as exhibitions, go, the museum is changing color. Whereas in past years the focus has been on gold, the new exhibition called “Out of the Blue,” opening on June 1, deals with a special shade of blue known in Hebrew as techelet .
Bible Lands Museum director Amanda Weiss says, “This special exhibition looks at the magnificence as well as the significance of the color blue in the ancient world, and ties the blue-dyed threads mentioned in the Bible and extra-biblical texts to the very design of the flag of the State of Israel today. BLMJ is proud to be the one museum in the world that highlights the relevance and continuity of the roots of civilization in this region and their impact on our world today in a universal and non-sectarian way.”
■ ALTHOUGH THE list of contenders for the title of mayor of Jerusalem is not yet final, one thing that is known is that although women are running on lists for council membership, none are running for mayor. In fact, the number of women mayors in Israel can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
Fed up with this situation, the National Authority for the Status of Women has launched a “Compete!” campaign, starring comedienne Lital Schwartz , to encourage women with political ambitions not to be afraid, but to go out and compete – because they just might win. The underlying message is: “If you’re dissatisfied with the system, go out and do something to change it. Compete!”
The campaign is being encouraged by Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel . “We are at a critical point in time with less than half a year to go before the municipal elections in October,” she says. In order to achieve social equality, she insists, more votes must be cast for women.
There are 252 local authorities in Israel. Only four of them are headed by women: Miriam Fierberg Ikar in Netanya; Liat Shochat in Or Yehuda; Yeela Maklis in Yehud-Monosson; and Lizzy Delariche in Ganei Tikva.
■ THE JERUSALEM chapters of Hadassah Israel are marking Israel’s 70th anniversary with a special performance by singer and actress Galit Giat at the Pavilion Auditorium in the Clal Center in Jaffa Road on Wednesday, May 30, at 7 p.m. Also performing will be members of the Pirouette Dance Company. Proceeds from the event are earmarked for the establishment of a rehabilitation center for soldiers and victims of terrorism at Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus.
Hadassah Rehabilitation department director Dr. Isabella Schwartz will be on hand to talk about future plans.