Grapevine: Honors abound

Zaharira Harifai who is suffering from cancer, went from her hospital bed to the awards ceremony at the Gesher Theater in a wheelchair.

Theater 370 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Theater 370
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
■ TEL AVIV-born celebrated actress of stage and screen Zaharira Harifai, 83, who was an Israel Prize laureate in 2003, was named Best Supporting Actress for her role in the Cameri Theater production of Anat Gov’s Happy End. Harifai, who is suffering from cancer, went from her hospital bed to the awards ceremony at the Gesher Theater in a wheelchair and was unable to read her acceptance speech. Her daughter read it for her as Israel’s icons of the theater gave the actress a standing ovation.
Harifai is not the only octogenarian actress who is still getting roles and recognition.
Others include Orna Porat, Miriam Zohar, Devora Kedar, Hanna Marron and Lia Koenig. Perhaps the stage is a secret for staying young because all of them are busy all the time.
Koenig, who also performs in Yiddish, is in frequent demand abroad. A documentary about her life, entitled The Loves of Lia, premiered this week at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
■ NOT ONLY female thespians in their 80s are garnering honor and glory but also the males. Veteran actor Shlomo Bar-Shavit, who has been a member of Habimah since 1940 but has also played in Cameri, Beit Liessin and Beersheba Municipal Theater productions, will receive an honorary doctorate from Bar-Ilan University at its upcoming meeting of its board of governors. The honor is being conferred in recognition of his contribution to Israeli theater and culture.
Over the years, Bar-Shavit has played some 260 roles on stage, radio and television and is still going strong. He has also written and directed dozens of children’s plays and has been awarded numerous prizes, including a Life Achievement Award from the Israel Theater Academy in 2000.
■ IT’S NOT often that distinguished members of the Arab community are singled out for honors in Israel. An exception is Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran, who will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Haifa. Joubran will have the honorary doctorate conferred on him at the 40th meeting of the university’s board of governors that will take place in the first week of June. The honor is in recognition of his many years of distinguished service to the legal profession and for his efforts to improve Jewish-Arab relations and to create a more just and equitable society in Israel.
Joubran will be escorted to the podium by Supreme Court president Justice Asher Grunis and outgoing state comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss.
Joubran has a long-standing relationship with the University of Haifa. He was a member of its Jewish-Arab Center and of the university’s board of governors. He is also president of the Friends Association of the University of Haifa Law Faculty. He has lectured to law students on many occasions.
According to University of Haifa president Prof. Aaron Ben-Ze’ev, “Justice Salim Joubran represents the best of Israeli society and is worthy of the highest honor the university bestows – the Doctor of Philosophy, Honoris Causa.” Ben-Ze’ev cited Joubran’s extensive involvement in public activism and social justice and his commitment to coexistence.
It should be noted that the University of Haifa has a relatively large number of Arab faculty staff, as well as Arab students, and that Haifa itself is and has long been one of Israel’s best examples of coexistence. Joubran was born in 1947 in Haifa’s German Colony to a Christian Arab family. He began his judicial career in 1982, when he was appointed Haifa Magistrate’s Court judge. In 1993 he was promoted to the Haifa District Court and in 2003 was given a temporary appointment to the Supreme Court. In 2004 Joubran was given a permanent appointment to the High Court, the first Arab judge to receive a permanent appointment.
In the sphere of coexistence, Joubran was one of the founders of Beit Kedem, an Arab-Jewish cultural center, and he serves on the board of Beit Hagefen and the Arab- Jewish Center in Haifa. For these endeavors he was awarded the Lord Marcus Sieff Prize for distinguished initiatives to improve relations between Arabs and Jews in Israel.
He has also been a governor of Israel Rotary; chairman of the Zeltner Fund for Legal Research, sponsored by Israel Rotary; and Israel Rotary’s representative to Rotary International’s Council on Legislation when it met in India in 1998.
■ TEL AVIVIANS who frequently find themselves in Jerusalem tend to identify with the city’s joys and sorrows. Case in point is actress Esti Zackheim, who is in Jerusalem almost every week, and is just as angry as local women who are campaigning against the elimination of the fair sex from billboard posters and newspaper advertisements. As someone who commutes regularly between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Zackheim cannot help but be aware of the fact that women’s fashion companies that feature beautiful models on the Tel Aviv billboards have taken them out of the picture when advertising in Jerusalem.
In a show of solidarity, Zackheim has joined in the protest demonstrations organized by women in the capital, and early this month she could be seen outside Golf on the corner of Ben-Yehuda and King George streets carrying a sign that read “They won’t look at your face, but they’ll take your money.” Golf is one of several fashion brand names that have given in to haredi coercion.