Grapevine: Bringing music to Rosh Ha'ayin

Rosh Ha'ayin aims to become the music capital of Israel.

music stage 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy, Itzik Biran)
music stage 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy, Itzik Biran)
MUSIC HAS long been a province of the wealthy. Symphony, philharmonic and chamber orchestras are supported by affluent patrons, as are conservatoria. Two significant examples of the latter were evident over the past week or so with the inauguration of the Rosh Ha'ayin Conservatorium and the naming of the Conservatorium Boulevard in Acre in memory of Hilde and Dr. Richard Strauss, the founders of Strauss Dairies, which have since developed into the Strauss Group of Companies. Dudu Weissman, president of Dor Alon and chairman of Blue Square, decided to give Rosh Ha'ayin a boost by financing the establishment of a conservatorium. Rosh Ha'ayin aims to become the music capital of Israel, and its representatives have already been in touch with various government and municipal bodies to seek assistance in organizing and funding festivals and other major musical events. Blue Square is the official patron of the conservatorium, which will play a vital role in Rosh Ha'ayin's future music endeavors. On hand to cut the ribbon with Weissman at the inauguration ceremony were Rosh Ha'ayin Mayor Moshe Sinai and Blue Square CEO Zev Wurembrand. Five years ago, Michael Strauss, a second-generation scion of the Strauss empire, decided to "adopt" Acre and contributed greatly to its cultural development, including bringing world-renowned violinist Julian Rachlin and pianist Itamar Golan to play at this week's music festival, thus giving some inspiration to young local musicians. The Strauss family has long been involved in the overall development of the Galilee and the North - not only through its own contributions to numerous projects, but also through its ability to persuade other members of the business community to contribute and to invest. In recognition of this, Acre Mayor Shimon Lancry decided to honor the parents of Michael Strauss and his sister Raya by naming the boulevard adjacent to the conservatorium in their memory. The naming ceremony was conducted on the day that President Shimon Peres paid an official visit to Acre. PEOPLE SUCH as businessman Nochi Dankner, former Tel Aviv mayor Roni Milo, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, former police chief Moshe Karadi, PR guru Ran Rahav, Reshet CEO Yonatan Tsangan and others who flocked to Netivot this past week are not part of the kippa-wearing crowd. But they all covered their heads when they and several other leading business figures, politicians, members of the defense establishment and people in the communications industry arrived in the southern development town to participate in the annual memorial dinner hosted by wonder rabbi Yaacov Israel Ifergen in honor of the late Rabbi Shalom Ifergen. Rabbi Yaacov Ifergen is generally referred to as "Harentgen" (the X-ray) because of his uncanny ability to analyze people's business, health and emotional problems and to give them the correct advice. Many hard-headed businesspeople - not to mention well-known entertainers - frequently beat a path to his door, and it's said that Dankner, whose finger is in so many diverse business pies, doesn't make a move without him. THE JERUSALEM Film Festival brought many celebrities to the capital, including actress Gila Almagor and her husband Yaacov Agmon. Almagor seems to be running from film festival to film festival and from premiere to premiere. Last week, together with her daughter and granddaughter, she attended the premiere of The Winks Club with a bunch of other celebrities who turned up at Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Center with their offspring, among them Guy Pines, Galit Levi, Hanoch Rosen, Esti Zackheim, Sheli Gafni, Smadar Kalczynski and others. Shortly before that, she was guest of honor at the Taipei Film Festival. VETERAN CROONER Arik Einstein certainly has something to sing about. Not only has he recently become a first-time great-grandfather - although he did not show up for the brit mila in Jerusalem last week - but according to Yediot Aharonot, he also heads the list of singers whose songs take up the most air time on radio. In a computerized survey taken by Eshkolot, which inter alia has to work out royalties due performers, figures released for the period 2000-2006 put Einstein in the No. 1 spot, ahead of other highly popular singers such as Shlomo Artzi, Yehudit Ravitz, Shalom Hanoch and Yuval Banai. Einstein took up 132,399 minutes worth of air time in the period under review while Artzi scored only 102,855 minutes and the others were way below 100,000 minutes. SOME SYNAGOGUES have a Kiddush every week to enable congregants to network after the service and, more particularly, to provide some kind of a social framework for those who live alone and may not bother with a Shabbat meal or have enough money for a proper one. Other synagogues have a Kiddush only on the eve of a festival or a new moon or when congregants foot the bill in honor of a family celebration. Hatzvi Yisrael falls into the latter category, but because so many of its congregants have so much to celebrate, there are only a few weeks in the year in which there is no Kiddush, and when there is one, it generally includes the usual Jewish delicacies such as herring, gefilte fish and lockshen kugel, as well as cakes, cookies and fruit. Last Saturday's Kiddush, hosted by Chani and Lucien Landau in honor of the bar mitzva of their son Elazar, featured lavish platters of cold cuts, bowls of salads, and different kinds of kugel. "It's just like being back in the old country," remarked several of the congregants.