Grapevine: Israel Radio celebrates waves of nostalgia

Izzy Mann has published a book dedicated to the voices of former radio celebrities.

IN 2006, Israel Radio celebrated its 70th anniversary with a series of nostalgic broadcasts that brought back the voices of former radio celebrities, several of whom are no longer alive, but whose sound and style have been preserved by modern technology. The re-enactment of the first broadcast at Jerusalem's impressive Palace Hotel (which is now undergoing reconstruction), was the work of Yoav Ginai and Izzy Mann whose laborious research gave rise to numerous follow-up programs that gave pleasure to many listeners. Ginai and Mann, who specialize in nostalgia programs, were the natural choice to bring the past into the present. Now, two years later, Izzy Mann, who started his own Israel Radio career in 1979 as a producer of documentaries, has completed the book The Voice of Israel from Jerusalem - A State Behind the Microphone. The book, which is in Hebrew, is full of anecdotes about radio personalities and programs and currently of interest because many of these personalities such as Yoav Ginai, Yaacov Ahimeir, Yigal Ravid and Menashe Raz are radio and television personalities. Raz, who started his broadcasting career in radio, now has a weekly TV program called Press Conference. Ahimeir presents local news on radio and foreign news on TV while Ginai and Ravid are currently engaged in nostalgia programs related to the upcoming 40th anniversary of Israel Television. They also continue to broadcast on radio. TO MERRY-MAKERS who gather each year in Jerusalem's Liberty Bell Gardens to celebrate the Second Hakafot in the immediate aftermath of Simhat Torah, the names of Eugen and Jean Gluck are very familiar. The Glucks have consistently sponsored this and other events during the week of Succot, when they and many of their friends come from the US to celebrate the High Holy Days and Succot here. The Glucks are major donors to numerous Israeli organizations and institutions, including the Beit El Yeshiva Center, Jerusalem Great Synagogue and Shaare Zedek Medical Center. In recognition of this, the American Committee of Shaare Zedek Medical Center is hosting a concert in their honor at the American Museum of Natural History. Elli Jaffe, a long-time friend of the Glucks, and the conductor of the Great Synagogue Choir, will conduct the Israel Chamber Orchestra at this special tribute event. IT'S ALL in the family. The press release for the February 28 Israel premiere at the Jerusalem Cinematheque of Paula Weiman Kelman's documentary Eyes Wide Open that chronicles the preconceptions and revelations of American Jews as they visit Israel, was prepared by Mindset Public Relations whose CEO is Roberta Fahn-Schoffman, the wife of award-winning journalist Stuart Schoffman who wrote the script. Fahn-Schoffman is an expert on US-Israel relations and Diaspora Jewry and from 1999-2001 served as adviser on world Jewish affairs to prime minister Ehud Barak. Statistics taken from a 2007 study commissioned by The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies indicate that only 48 percent of the non-Orthodox respondents under the age of 35 would regard Israel's destruction as a personal tragedy. Moreover, only 54% are "comfortable with the idea of a Jewish State." The film's New York premiere in January sparked passionate responses and wide media coverage. It will be interesting to see if the Israeli premiere and panel discussion that follows will provoke the same degree of passion. Weiman-Kelman and Schoffman will participate in the panel discussion along with the film's producer Jonathan Lopatin and MK Colette Avital who is a former Israel consul general in New York, journalist Yossi Klein Halevi, who made aliya from the US and Eliezer Yaari, a former electronic media journalist who is the director of the New Israel Fund. Weiman-Kelman says that she hopes the film will become a springboard for honest and open discussions about the emotional and communal ties that bind the American Jewish community to Israel today. SOLIDARITY WITH the population of Sderot has become a lot more than lip service for Jews in Israel and abroad,literally hundreds of people around Israel and thousands of Jews abroad, thanks to the efforts of a relatively new non-profit organization called Standing Together. The brainchild of director David Landau, Standing Together began in 2004 as an organization dedicated to showing appreciation to soldiers at Israeli checkpoints. In the beginning the grass roots organization distributed pizza to soldiers at the checkpoints, and the appreciative reaction caused Standing Together volunteers to take a closer look at soldiers' needs. They then began sending food, beverages, clothing and underwear to soldiers in the field and organizing barbecues on Independence Day for soldiers who were on duty . Although Standing Together continues to focus primarily on soldiers with special campaigns during Jewish holidays and personalized gifts for wounded soldiers, the situation in Sderot has also caught the organization's attention, giving birth to a nation-wide project that enables people to demonstrate solidarity on a regular basis at minimal cost. The project is called Challot from Sderot. Even people who don't necessarily observe Shabbat buy hallot on Fridays. Through its Web site,, Standing Together takes orders every week and has pick-up points all over the country. The project keeps Sderot bakers in business and helps boost their morale. THE ISRAEL Middle East Model United Nations was hosted by the Walworth Barbour American International School in Israel in conjunction with Merrill Lynch and Global Classrooms. The school's Even Yehuda campus, which was opened last year, became a mini United Nations, replete with flags from members countries, many of whom were represented not only by students participating in debates but also by diplomats who are parents at the school. The event was introduced by US Ambassador Richard Jones. Walworth Barbour for whom the school is named, was the longest serving US ambassador to Israel, holding tenure from 1961 to 1973. Current ambassador Jones will complete his period of service in Israel some time in the summer. IT WAS the emotional closing of a circle for internationally acclaimed conductor and musical director Avi Ostrowsky when he conducted the Beersheba Sinfonietta which he founded in 1973 and directed till 1978. Since then, Ostrowsky who had previously founded the Kibbutz Orchestra in 1970 has been invited to conduct major orchestras in many parts of the world. After conducting the premiere concert in the Classics 5 series in the concert hall of the Beersheba Conservatorium, Ostrowsky who lives in Tel Aviv, but commutes frequently to Brussels and Mexico City, was feted at a reception at the home of Aviva and Shlomo Segev. The event was also attended by MK Haim Oron, who Ostrowsky said had been of great assistance to him in creating the Beersheba Sinfonietta. He added that when conducting earlier in the evening, it had been both a thrilling and nostalgic experience to be standing on the same stage as he stood 35 years earlier when he conducted the Sinfonietta's first concert.