Grapevine October 30, 2022: A mega performing arts campus

Movers and shakers in Israeli society.

 ROM LEFT: Arieh Budnik and Daniel Farcas, both from Chile and who have children at Reichman University, along with head of the Raphael Recanati International School Jonathan Davis at the institution’s Orientation Day (photo credit: OREN SHALEV)
ROM LEFT: Arieh Budnik and Daniel Farcas, both from Chile and who have children at Reichman University, along with head of the Raphael Recanati International School Jonathan Davis at the institution’s Orientation Day
(photo credit: OREN SHALEV)

Jerusalemites have long bewailed the absence of a complex similar to that of Tel Aviv’s Performing Arts Center. As of this week, that complaint will be rectified.

On Thursday morning, November 3, the magnificent new mega campus that will unite the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School, the Center for Middle Eastern Classical Music, the Nissan Nativ Acting Studio and the School of Visual Theatre, with space for public performances, will be officially launched.

The project is a joint endeavor by the UJA Federation of New York, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Jerusalem Foundation, Eden and the Jerusalem Economic Development Company.

The campus on the capital’s Bezalel Street includes several indoor and outdoor spaces for public performances, workshops and other events. Conveniently located in the heart of the city, it is easily accessible by public transport.

Among those attending the grand opening on Thursday will be Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper; Housing and Construction Minister Ze’ev Elkin; Eric S. Goldstein, CEO, UJA-Federation of New York; the Kirsh family; Robert R. and Sherry H. Wiener; Aharon Feuerstein, director, Nissan Nativ Acting Studio; Maya Levy, director, School of Visual Theatre; Dr. Avi Shoshani, founder and director, School of Middle Eastern Classical Music; Dana Blankstein Cohen, executive director, Sam Spiegel Film & Television School; and more than 100 distinguished guests from New York and Israel.

HaGal Sheli Australia-Tel Aviv Surf Education Center

■ AUSTRALIAN AMBASSADOR Paul Griffiths and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai are expected to attend the opening on November 9 of yet another HaGal Sheli Australia-Tel Aviv Surf Education Center. It has long been held that the sea is not just a place in which to swim, surf and sail.

It also has therapeutic qualities for healing both the body and the mind. Swimming and surfing are among Australia’s top national sports, and it was only natural for Australian expats living in Israel to find and associate themselves with organizations geared to these sports.

But the initiators of HaGal Sheli (My Wave) had more in mind. They wanted to help youth at risk, not only by teaching them how to swim and surf, but also by empowering them with a sense of self-worth and self-confidence, and by adding on-shore activities in consultation and cooperation with leading psychological and educational institutions.

The organization, which has surf centers in Kfar Galim, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Kiryat Yam, Ma’agan Michael and Bat Yam, serves the emotional and physical needs of Jewish, Christian and Muslim secular and religious youth, and is gender-neutral.

To date, it has produced 6,500 graduates from among 490 groups. Its staff of professionals and volunteers number 350. It has helped people with autism and with disabilities such as muscular dystrophy.

What happens to them after they have learned to swim and surf is nothing short of amazing. Because they are taught in groups, they also develop better social skills and an enhanced sense of cooperation.

The opening of the new center will be at 4:30 p.m. at 4 Nahum Goldman St., Tel Aviv.

Monday Night, October 31 election debate

■ NOT EVERYONE on the night before the elections are completely sure of which party will get their vote. Aware of this, Tribe Tel Aviv has organized a Monday Night, October 31 election debate in which discussions and post-debate Q&A will include issues such as Opposition vs Coalition; Yes Bibi No Bibi; Right vs Left and more. The debate in English is geared toward young immigrants in their 20s and 30s.

The debaters will be Simcha Rothman, speaking on behalf of the Religious Zionist Party, and Yorai Lahav Hertzanu, of Yesh Atid. Rothman has arguably been the busiest political campaigner on the English-speaking circuit.

The event is timed for 7 p.m. at Cappella Cocktail Bar, Hagag South Tower, 14th Floor, 28 Ha’arba St. Both debaters are MKs with law degrees and have been active in a number of community spheres before entering the political arena.

■ AFTER 33 years as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Dan Hotels chain, Mickey Federmann will step down on December 31 but will remain a member of the board. The chairmanship will remain within the Federmann family as Gidi Federmann, who until now has served as the company’s COO, was unanimously elected to serve as the new chairman.

Gal Gadot and Shira Haas

■ FILM AND television stars Gal Gadot and Shira Haas head the list of honorees who will be feted on November 7 at the New York Historical Society, Manhattan, where they will receive awards from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation (AICF).

Other recipients will be dance legend Ido Tadmor, and pianist Yefim Bronfman. All four artists will be honored as the most extraordinary and impactful Israeli artists for their contributions to the global cultural landscape.

An American-based nonprofit organization, AICF has played a leading role in the development of Israel’s arts and culture for the past 83 years. Its name is synonymous with the culture of Israel. AICF’s ICA Awards honor Israeli artists in the performing arts, visual arts, music, design, theater, television and cinema.

The 2022 ICA Awards winners were selected by an esteemed panel of judges as well as a public vote of art lovers worldwide. More than 4,000 people voted online, ranking each finalist per category.

The inaugural ICA Awards ceremony in 2019 honored Hanna Azoulay Hasfari (theater), Vania Heymann (visual arts), Ron Leshem (film/TV), Ohad Naharin (dance) and Idan Raichel (music). Ceremonies were not held during the coronavirus crisis, but now that the crisis has abated, hundreds of people are expected to attend the awards ceremony.

■ NOVEMBER PROMISES to be quite an action-filled month. Some of the events on the calendar include Knesset elections, Balfour Day, All Souls Day, Guy Fawkes Night, memorial ceremonies on the anniversaries of the deaths of presidents Chaim Weizmann and Yitzhak Navon and prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, the birthday of Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Armistice Day, the 74th birthday of King Charles III, the anniversary of the arrest in 1939 of 184 professors, students and employees of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow as part of the Gestapo’s attempt to eradicate the Polish intellectual elite, US Thanksgiving, the founding of the Theresienstadt Ghetto, the assassination of US president John F. Kennedy and the 75th anniversary of the UN Resolution on the partition of Palestine.

Raphael Recanati International School at Reichman University

■ A FORMER Ukrainian ambassador to Israel and a former Chilean member of parliament are among the parents of students at the Raphael Recanati International School at Reichman University.

At an orientation event that took place last week at the university’s Raphael Recanati International School, parents of students came to bid farewell to their offspring who are starting their first year.

Reichman University continues to maintain its position as the largest international university in Israel with approximately 2,300 students from 90 countries, which make up about a quarter of all students at the university. Some 700 new students will begin studying for a bachelor’s degree and about 400 a master’s degree, both of which are conducted in English.

The students from abroad are mostly Jewish and 70% of them decide to make Israel their permanent home during or after their studies.

According to Jonathan Davis, vice president for external relations and head of the Raphael Recanati International School, the international school has been functioning for many years as an “academic absorption center,” where the study period allows students to get to know Israel, Israeli society and adapt to life in the country. As a result, most students make aliyah.

“This year, more than in the past, we see students coming to study at the international school against the backdrop of manifestations of antisemitism in Europe and North America, in communities and colleges and universities.

In addition, the war in Ukraine stimulates the arrival of more students from Ukraine and Russia.”Approximately 250 parents participated in the orientation event, which was held over the course of the Ethel & Leonard Tigay Orientation Week.

Some parents participated via Zoom. One parent, Daniel Farcas, who was an MP in Chile, made aliyah a year and a half ago, with the intention that his whole family and children would join him. His daughter Valeria is currently starting her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the International School, and his wife Pamela’s son, Diego, is also commencing his studies in the same track.

“We are very happy in Israel,” says Farcas, “and hope to realize soon our dream of welcoming the rest of our family members who have not yet joined us here. Valeria and Diego chose to study at Reichman University because it is a great alternative that combines a prestigious higher education in English, a great country like Israel and an amazing city like Herzliya.”

One of the parents who were unable to join the event was Hennadii Nadolenko, former Ukraine ambassador to Israel, and former dean of the diplomatic corps, who is now back in Ukraine, serving at its Foreign Ministry. His daughter is starting her first year of studies in Psychology. Having spent several of her childhood years in Israel, it is a familiar place to her.

All the armies engaged in the First World War laid down their arms

■ FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11, is Armistice Day, the date on which at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, all the armies engaged in the First World War laid down their arms. France, which was partially occupied by Germany, was very much involved in the war and was the country in which the allies and Germany signed the armistice agreement.

Ever since then, November 11 has been a national day in France and is commemorated by French ambassadors abroad. Thus it comes as no surprise that Éric Danon, the French ambassador to Israel, is hosting an Armistice Day event on November 11.

Germany again invaded France in 1940, and a second armistice agreement was signed in Compiègne, where the first armistice had been signed 22 years earlier. But then the Vichy Government replaced that of the Third Republic and German military occupation began to spread throughout France. But there was plenty of French resistance at the same time.

In the immediate aftermath of the war, France and Germany, represented by Robert Schuman and Konrad Adenauer, respectively, were among the founding fathers of the European Union and its many institutions. Danon was one of the early birds last week at the German Unity Day reception hosted by German Ambassador Steffen Seibert.

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