Naming members of the tribe

The Dreyfus exhibition at Beit Hatfutsot will focus on anti-Semitism in France then and now, and on famous French Jews.

Michal Zmora-Cohn (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Michal Zmora-Cohn
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
PINPOINTING MEMBERS of the tribe among dignitaries and celebrities is so passionate and widespread a Jewish obsession that it’s almost a disease.
Those afflicted with it will be delighted if they happen to attend the Dreyfus exhibition at Beit Hatfutsot.
The exhibition is not entirely focused on the Dreyfus trial and the Dreyfus family, but also on anti-Semitism in France then and now, and of course, on famous French Jews – many of whom we would not know to be one of us, because their surnames are not always of the familiar variety such as Shapiro, Horowitz or Rabinowitz.
With someone like Leon Blum, who was three times prime minister of France, it doesn’t take much guesswork, and almost every Jewish person knows that Marc Chagall was Jewish. But here are some of the other members of the tribe whose names can be found at the exhibition: Claude Levi-Strauss, Raymond Aron, Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas, Albert Cohen, Romain Gary, Andre Schwartz-Bart, Albert Memmi, Georges Perec, Claude Lelouch, Jean- Pierre Melville, Claude Lanzmann, Simone Signoret, Anouk Aimee, Marcel Marceau, Serge Gainsbourg, Joe Dassin, Georges Moustaki, Chaim Soutine, Amedeo Modigliani, Jules Pascin, Jacques Lipchitz, and Marek Halter, among others, who contributed to French philosophy, anthropology, sociology, literature, film, theater, music, art and politics.
At the opening of the exhibition last week, praise was heaped on Parisian fashion designer Yael Perl Ruiz, who happens to be the great-granddaughter of Alfred Dreyfus and his wife, Lucie, and who – charmed by their love letters to each other – initiated the exhibition.
Orit Shaham-Gover, chief curator at Beit Hatfutsot, said that before she first met Perl Ruiz, she was not enamored with the idea of a Dreyfus exhibition, and wondered what possible new light could be shed on Dreyfus that was not already widely known. Her dismissive attitude soon changed when Perl Ruiz talked about Dreyfus, the warm family man. What Shaham Gover found intriguing was that inasmuch as Dreyfus, despite his ordeals, wanted to prove that he was a loyal Frenchman, Perl Ruiz, despite being so decidedly French, makes a point of proving she is a proud Jew.
Simona Di Nepi, who curated the exhibition, said that like most Jews, her first awareness of Dreyfus had been nurtured in the classroom. She never imagined, she said, that she would actually handle objects that Dreyfus himself had handled, or see his handwriting or meet members of his family. She considered this exhibition one of the peaks of her career, and was immensely grateful to Shaham Gover and Perl Ruiz for giving her the opportunity and cooperating all the way.
 THE INTERDISCIPLINARY Center Herzliya provides a platform for retired politicians, diplomats and other high-ranking public servants. Former education minister Amnon Rubinstein serves as a professor of law and a member of the senior staff at IDC’s Radzyner School of Law, and former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak is a lecturer at the Radzyner School and a member of IDC’s Higher Academic Committee.
Former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami is a member of the faculty staff at IDC’s Institute for Policy and Strategy, which is headed by Prof. Uzi Arad, a former member of the Mossad and a former foreign policy adviser to the prime minister; Avi Primor, a former ambassador to the EU and to Germany, now heads IDC’s Trilateral Center for European Studies.
More recently, former prime minister and defense minister Ehud Barak, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, former US ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer, and former Israel ambassadors to the US Zalman Shoval and Michael Oren have joined the board of directors of IDC’s Institute for Policy and Strategy.
IDC founder and president Prof. Uriel Reichman has a knack for bringing in policymakers, top-ranking academics from Israel’s universities and noted philanthropists such as Oudi Recanati, Shari Arison, Dana Azrieli, Ronald Lauder, Eitan Wertheimer, Sheldon Adelson, Leonid Nevzlin, Harry Radzyner and others.
Aside from attracting students from around the world to its various faculties, IDC also attracts past and present policymakers from Israel and abroad to the annual Herzliya Conference, which this year will take place on June 10. The conference will focus on major shifts in the Middle East, and the challenges these shifts pose for the world.
 OF THE would-be presidents of Israel, the eldest of those who have announced their candidature is Dalia Dorner, who has not yet received the endorsement of 10 MKs, but who earlier this month received a bevy of gifts in honor of her 80th birthday.
Dorner was feted at a birthday party in her honor at the Tel Aviv home of Tammy and Nahum Barnea.
Among the guests was former Supreme Court president Dorit Beinisch, who so far is the only woman to have held that position, musicologist Michal Zmora-Cohn, the widow of Supreme Court Justice Haim Cohn, actress and radio and television hostess Rivka Michaeli, Israel Radio’s military reporter Carmela Menashe, and several others.
One of the two candidates who have received the required endorsements is not far behind her in age.
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer is 78, while Reuven Rivlin is relatively young at 74.
If he finally decides to run and succeeds in getting the required endorsements, Silvan Shalom, at 55, will be the second-youngest president of Israel. Moshe Katsav was 54 when elected to the presidency.
 RAMLE MAYOR Yoel Lavi celebrated the bar mitzva of his nephew Tomer, the son of Lavi’s daughter Keren, at The Avenue in Airport City. Guests included ministers Silvan Shalom and Gilad Erdan, former defense minister Itzik Mordechai and Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg-Ikar.
 HERZLIYA MAYOR Moshe Fadlon announced at the end of last week that the Herzliya Municipality would be happy to host youngsters from Sderot at Herzliya’s Adloyada Parade on Sunday, and would also foot the bill for a bus that would bring them from Sderot and return them later.
As good as his intentions were, the Sderot youngsters didn’t need any special attention. They celebrated Purim last Friday as if there had not been any rockets, and as if there was nothing to fear. Interviewed on Israel Radio by Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes, Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, who has seven children of his own, said that when he had toured the schools, he was pleasantly surprised to see that nearly all the youngsters had come to school for Purim celebrations and were for the most part wearing fancy dress.
Among the visitors to Sderot on Friday was Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau, who said that when people are under threat, it is imperative for the chief rabbi to be where they could reach him, and for them to know that he cared.