CELEBRITIES GALORE have indicated that they will be attending the premiere performance today of the Dorola 2 Circus at the Sportech in Tel Aviv. This circus is different from most others because nearly everything takes place on wheels. There are lots of pyrotechnics and acrobatic feats, as well as some death-defying acts such as five cyclists riding together at breakneck speed inside a huge ball. For heart-in-mouth entertainment, this is it. For people who are not religiously observant, this is a great way to spend Friday afternoon. Those who are observant can catch some 90 minutes of spine-tingling entertainment well before Shabbat comes in.
WHEN HE is in Israel, Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz spends much of his time in Jerusalem. Together with Danny Grossman of the American Jewish Congress, Dershowitz helped organize a 12-day tour of Israel by 45 Harvard Law School students, most of whom were not Jewish but will probably go on to key positions in American society. The group traveled from the Golan to Sderot. They met Israeli students and soldiers, visited the Supreme Court, the Foreign Ministry and an air force base; chatted with residents of an absorption center for Ethiopian immigrants, viewed some of Israel's hi-tech achievements and went to Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem and Galilee. One of the highlights of their stay in Israel was touring the Knesset and meeting members from different parties, who gave them a better understanding of Israeli democracy. They met with male and female MKs, both Arab and Jewish, religious and non-religious, and those from large and small parties. They also had an opportunity to enjoy the nightlife of Tel Aviv.
EVER SINCE it became public knowledge that the Kohinoor Restaurant at the Jerusalem Crowne Plaza was going glatt for Pessah and would stay that way afterwards, proprietors Reena and Vinod Pushkarna have been inundated with inquiries, especially from people who want a wider choice than purely Indian cuisine. In response, the Pushkarnas have added four new items to the menu to suit the Ashkenazi palate. Moreover, the kashrut supervisor in the restaurant's kitchen is a professional chef, who will help out with the cooking. Vinod Pushkarna has gone to great lengths to change over to glatt. The effort is particularly noteworthy, considering there are only three days during Pessah in which the restaurant will be open because Shabbat falls during the intermediate days of the holiday. He is pleased that he will be able to serve a meal or two to Lev Leviev, the chairman of Africa Israel, which owns the hotel. Leviev and some of his family are spending Pessah in Jerusalem. Because Leviev is a Chabadnik, he will undoubtedly want to eat glatt.
NUMEROUS IMMIGRANTS from Australia, as well as Australians who have participated in various youth programs in Israel, were saddened this week by the death of Frank Stein, the former director of the Israel Office of the Zionist Federation of Australia. A burly man with an infectious grin, an ever-sunny personality and a talent for passing bureaucratic obstacle courses and getting things done, Stein was kind and generous, thinking nothing of being available around the clock. He would go out of his way to give lifts to carless Australians to destinations all over Israel. Sometimes he picked them up before 5 a.m. Stein was a born giver and found it difficult to accept gifts of favors from other people. Nonetheless, some of his friends got together and renovated his apartment while he was hospitalized with cancer. He never got to enjoy it. His big dream was to return to Australia for a couple of years as an aliya emissary, hoping to persuade some of the young people with whom he had been associated during their stint in Israel to spend the rest of their lives rather than a few months in the country. The dream was unfortunately not realized.
IN THESE troubled economic times, rent becomes a massive burden for the unemployed. One solution at hand is life on a kibbutz. Kibbutz Yasur in western Galilee, which is home to 120 families, is willing to accept new members. Kibbutz secretary-general Micha Tissar says the kibbutz wants to serve as a model in the absorption of new blood and is in the process of completing the construction of additional housing facilities. For families with children, this may be an ideal change in that, unlike suburbia, the kibbutz is basically safe. It is also pollution free, and there are excellent schools in the area. The kibbutz will be open to visitors during Pessah so that people can look around and decide if this is the lifestyle they want. They can also find out if they meet with the criteria for kibbutz membership. The kibbutz derives an income from agriculture and a variety of industries. For further information, call (04) 996-0345 or 052-374-5265.
PARLIAMENTARY ROOKIES, namely novice MKs, are being wined and dined by organizations and institutions and are receiving so many getting-to-know-you invitations from so many different sources, that they barely know where to turn first. For instance, the Israel Manufacturers Association hosted them two weeks ago, and last week they were the breakfast guests of the Israel Hotels Association, whose members met with them at the Jerusalem Sheraton Plaza. IHA President Eli Gonen, a former director-general of the Ministry of Tourism, briefed eight new MKs on the tourism industry and what it does for Israel's image abroad. The MKs, all of whom have been active in Israeli public affairs, were amazed that a succession of Israel governments had not taken sufficient advantage of the benefits of tourism and had not done more to boost tourism to help create a more positive impression of Israel abroad.
FOLLOWING ON the tremendous success of the conference that he inaugurated last year in celebration of Israel's 60th anniversary, President Shimon Peres last week announced the Presidents Conference II which, like its predecessor, is expected to bring many current and former world leaders to Jerusalem. It will be held on October 20-22 and will be called Facing Tomorrow 2009.
Invitees will includes heads of state, heads of government and senior ministers, leading figures from the world of business, presidents of universities and Jews who have achieved renown in their respective fields, among them actress Sarah Jessica Parker, best known for her starring role in the television series and subsequent movie Sex and the City.
The conference, which to a large extent will be a summit brains trust, will be organized in partnership with the Hebrew University Jerusalem. The focal point of the conference will be to find ways of transforming the economic crisis into new opportunities for business ventures in alternative energy, water recycling and conservation, nanotechnology, etc. The conference will also provide a showcase for Israel's achievements in many fields, with a view to improving Israel's image in the world, and with the aim of illustrating that much of what Israel does is not solely for itself but as a contribution to a better future for all mankind.