Grapevine: From gravity to laughter

YIDDISH AFICIONADOS, especially those living in or near Tel Aviv, have a treat in store over the next few days.

Yehoram Gaon (photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
Yehoram Gaon
(photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
■ YIDDISH AFICIONADOS, especially those living in or near Tel Aviv, have a treat in store over the next few days.
Today at 11 a.m., they can participate in the launch of Daniel Galai’s new book Laughter, Gravity and Everything Between at Beit Leyvik, the Israel Center for Yiddish Culture, 30 Dov Hoz Street, Tel Aviv. And on Tuesday, February 11, the same venue will host a first reading of Yehoshua Sobol’s Yiddish translation of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. The readers will be Galai, Yehoshua Sobol, Israel Treistman and Lazer Blit.
Just as the Jewish People has survived despite persecution, pogroms and the Holocaust, Yiddish has survived, regardless of the frequency with which its demise has been declared. There are regular weekly and monthly meetings of Yiddish-speaking groups and organizations all over the country for lectures, community singing, concerts, literary events and language classes.
There is no doubt that Tel Aviv is the Yiddish capital of Israel, followed by Jerusalem, where in some haredi circles Yiddish is the language of communication rather than Hebrew. There are several Yiddish Theater productions during February, with 11 performances of Mirele Efros, mostly at ZOA House in Tel Aviv, but also at venues beyond Tel Aviv. The Kishke Monologues will be performed on Monday, February 10 at the Ariel Cultural Center; on Tuesday of the same week at the Arison Theater in Tel Aviv; and on Thursday at the Netanya Cultural Center. In the second half of the month there is a lot more going on, more or less proving that Yiddish is still a viable entity.
■ FORMER MOSSAD chief Meir Dagan, who recently joined the international board of directors of United Hatzalah, the rapid response service, will be the guest speaker at the Tel Aviv Salon on February 10. Dagan served in the IDF for 32 years, often undertaking extremely dangerous missions. After doffing his uniform, he served as a counter-terrorism adviser to prime minister Ehud Barak and then as a National Security adviser to prime minister Ariel Sharon before Dagan’s appointment to the Mossad, which he revolutionized.
After completing his tenure at the Mossad, Dagan made a number of controversial statements with regard to a possible Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear reactor, calling such an idea stupid. He also publicly said some imprudent things about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, as a result of which he was asked to return his diplomatic passport before its expiry date.
In October 2012, Dagan was in the headlines for a completely different reason. Seriously ill and in danger of dying, he needed an urgent liver transplant for which he was ineligible in Israel, where the cut-off age for liver transplants is 65. Dagan was 67 at the time, and there was a long waiting list ahead of him. So he flew to Belarus, where a successful transplant was performed. He was initially in critical condition following the surgery and was brought back to Israel, where he was hospitalized for further treatment and observation.
■ EVEN PEOPLE who never set foot in a gambling establishment, who never placed a bet on a horse race and who never came closer to gambling than buying a raffle ticket at a charity event are often unwitting secondary gamblers. Anyone who belongs to a pension plan is taking a gamble because the operators of such plans are playing the stock market in Israel and abroad. Following a series of investment disasters in recent years, people have become more cautious about where to place their money but the risk factor is always there, regardless of the general state of the economy.
Dr. Shuki Friedman of the Law Faculty at the Peres Academic Center in Rehovot initiated an international conference on the protection of investments and intellectual property, which was attended by some 100 legal experts from Israel and abroad. The key players were Prof. Rudolf Dolzer, Stewart Neuberger and Teresa “Terry” Rea, senior partners with the Washingtonheadquartered law firm Crowell & Moring, which has more than 500 lawyers working in its offices in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Anchorage, San Francisco, Cheyenne, London and Brussels.
■ HEBRAISTS ARE fighting a losing battle against the inclusion of foreign words into Hebrew. Although there are quite a few Hebraized Yiddishisms, plus words taken from Arabic and Russian, in all probability Hebrew’s most common linguistic fusion is with English – and not just street Hebrew, but also the Hebrew we hear over the airwaves and the Hebrew we read in our newspapers. Despite all the efforts by the Hebrew Language Academy to get rid of the hybrids and to introduce pure Hebrew equivalents, the public continues to add a Hebrew prefix, suffix or both to an English word.
For all that, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Hebrew Language in memory of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, who revived the ancient tongue of his forebears and brought it out of the Bible and the prayer book into person to person usage, continues to be awarded in the hope that the language that was preserved, if not mastered sufficiently, in exile would one day be utilized in its purest form.
The Prime Minister’s Conference on Hebrew Language, co-sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Sport, will be held at the Rishon Lezion Cultural Center from February 11 to 14 in the presence of Minister for Culture and Sport Limor Livnat and Rishon Lezion Mayor Dov Zur. The recipient of the prize will be Israel Radio’s Hebrew language adviser Ruth Almagor Ramon. The conference will be moderated by singer, actor and current affairs commentator Yehoram Gaon, who is a frequent advocate for the purity of Hebrew. GRAPEVINE 14 METRO | FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2014 From gravity to laughter Meir Dagan (Courtesy) Yehoram Gaon (Courtesy) Teresa Rea (Courtesy) Yehoshua Sobol (Courtesy) | METRO 15 Carpets of scarlet anemones welcome visitors throughout the month Photos and text: ITSIK MAROM Every year in February, a special phenomenon happens in the western Negev. The area is blanketed with red, as many millions of bright red anemones bloom and form a magnificent carpet of color.
Such a wonderful show of nature should not be missed.
Recently a railway station was opened in Sderot, and trains from Tel Aviv will bring nature lovers from the Center to the South each Friday this month, on trains named Rakevet Hakalaniot (“Anemones Train”), running from 8:40 a.m. to 2 p.m. Train tickets entitle holders to board shuttle buses at no extra cost to the activities and hot spots of the Red South Festival. Advance registration at
This is the ninth year of the festival, which started yesterday.
The residents of the western Negev are especially anxious this month to show you their wonderful region. Here is just a taste of what is planned, just an hour’s ride from Tel Aviv: Special activities will take place in the streets of Sderot, as actors portraying heroes and fairies will entertain visitors in the anemone hot spots.
Communities in the region offer farmers markets and accommodations. Kibbutz Alumim has just opened a new visitors’ center that tells the story of settling the area, dating to the time of David Ben-Gurion. This religious kibbutz is one of a few in the area which offer kosher food and nice large rooms for a weekend stay; there are bicycle and walking trails to explore.
Farther south, west of Moshav Tidhar, there is a long dirt road where it is believed that Abraham the Patriarch led his sheep thousands of years ago.
Nowadays, at the end of that road, Na’ama Ranch may be modern, but still raises the same kind of sheep. The ranch offers milking, cheese and pita making, a pet corner and a winter song performance.
Near Kibbutz Lahav you will find the Joe Alon Museum, the only museum in the world depicting the Beduin people and heritage. You can enjoy the forest itself and stop in Shvedron Ranch, where there is a kosher restaurant, Netanel (closed on Saturday).
Here, you can enjoy a warm meal, with a large variety of tasty items – all right in the middle of a serene evergreen forest.
Exploring the area during the Red South Festival can be fulfilling with a car or without. If you are organized, you can accomplish it all over the month of visits: the first weekend, culture based; the second weekend, sport such as marathons, bicycles and walks; the third weekend, food-based; and the last weekend, for the kids, with family shows and sweets all over.
For more details, search the Web for “Darom Adom.” Red South Festival in the Negev NEWSMAKERS