By: Gad Nahshon
A message to all the Jews from Boys Town Jerusalem Foundation of America, Inc.:
While sufganiyot (jelly donuts) are a traditional Chanukah treat (some explain because they are laden with enough oil to last eight days), the main theme of Chanukah is the celebration of religious freedom. The Syrian/Greeks outlawed the practice of numerous Jewish rituals, but most important, the study of Torah, the very essence of the survival of the Jewish people. At BTJ, Chanukah takes on added meaning. In addition to the festivities, students mark the centrality of Torah study by participating in a special contest testing their knowledge of the history, laws and customs of Chanukah.
A Boys Town Chanukah party replete with music provided by the school's choir and band, and plenty of sufganiyot, is a much anticipated event. For many students from such countries as Russia, Iran and Ethiopia, this new-found religious freedom is truly cause for celebration.
Marco Beja, Dr. Joseph Soury, David Albelda, Dr. M. Michell Serels, Rabbi Marco D. Angel, Dr. Jonathan Helfand, Rabbi Amram Amar, Mark Levy and the Latino Players are among the many celebrities who participated in ASemana Sepharad Annual Collegiate Shabbaton which was organized by Dr. Janice E. Ovadiah, Executive Director of the Sephardic House in New York City, Morris Elbaz (Sephardic Club) and Miriam Kashanian of Stern College for Women.
The events took place in 8 locations in Greater New York. The guests listened to many lecturers and entertainers, as well. Also, they saw a video presentation of King Juan Carlos I Spain and Demoracy. This king expressed his country's remorse and regrets because his ancestors expelled all the Jews from Spain in 1492. He declared a new honeymoon between Spain, Israel and the Jewish nation.
Ron Nachman is one of the few Israeli politicians who showed his interest in the Diaspora Jewish issues. Nachman really cares. Recently, he decided to stay as mayor of Ariel in the West Bank. Why? He was elected to the Knesset. Nachman, who devoted his life to the idea of a greater Israel preferred the city and he is willing to give up his seat in the Knesset. According to a new Israeli law, he must choose between the two. He is the one that built Ariel a defense wall of Tel Aviv and its nearby cities. Ariel strategically means the security of Israel's population center.
The Misphudra of the American branch of the international friend of The Cameri, the leading Israeli theater located in Tel Aviv, came (November 30, 1998) to celebrate its successful project at the prestigious club in the Village, The Blue Note.
The star of this event was The Cameri director, Noam Semel, a unique Israeli cultural dynamo.
Semel came especially to attend this lovely gala event. And he defined The Cameri as a shofar of Israel's domestic social problem and tensions. It is a theater of protest.
Many of its original plays, such as Murder by Israel's leading international playwright, Hanoch Levine, turned out to be the subject of many debates in Israel public opinion. As a matter of fact, one of the Murder actors, Mabram Khouri, came from Israel to this event and shared with the guests his feelings, his personal conflicts of identity: He is an Arab-Israeli who became a star in Israel's stage and film industry, as well. He is also a Christian.
And he also lives inside the Israeli society and speaks Hebrew. In a way, my acting career saved my soul. It helped me to overcome my personal conflicts, said Khouri, a recipient of Israel's national prize. The Cameri recently tried to use the drama as a bridge builder between Israeli and Palestinian children.
Many celebrities came to this event which was emceed by Shani Glantz, a charming young lady. Among the guests were: Shumel Siso, Aya Isrealant, a well-known supporter of the Cameri, a donor for Israel's best cultural events, theater, opera and more. Recently, she released her first CD of original, forgotten Israeli songs, national singer Ran Eliran, Seymour Reich, Beny Levy, Dr. Ruth (If you contribute to The Cameri tonight you will have better sex!) and many others.
The guests were entertained by B.J. Crosby and Bobby Daye. The owner of the Blue Note, who also supported The Cameri, is Dany Ben-Shoshan.
Only few were aware that he is an Israeli success story in America.
The Blue Note is the number one jazz club in the world.
The Cameri activities such as recently hosting the Jordanian theater troupe, Nabil and Hisham were acclaimed also by the international media. For example, the Herald Tribune covered its play The Rebels (on stage by Michael Handlsatz).
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