Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL

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Shabi Katzir, who works in ABC, a friend of many media stars such as Peter Jennings or Barbara Walters, is also a distinguished singer. He has a message: to perform the best of the Ladino songs and the best of the Israeli songs, as well. Katzir is producing his own CD of Ladino songs and he contributes to the Ladino heritage in America. Born in Bulgaria, Katzir became a star in Israel, a member of the 'Brothers and the sisters.' The Ladino culture is in a process of revival, thanks to Israel, which establishes the State Ladino Authority under the leadership of Yitzhak Navon.

Yoel Schar is an institution in the world of Israel's entertainment comedy and music. He has been Israel's original master of stand-up comedy, an excellent entertainer and pianist. Recently, his hometown, Pethoch Tikva (Meabes) honored Schar with a touching ceremony. The city gave Schar a great standing ovation. Many celebrities from Israel and abroad such as Abram Brobard, the distinguished performer (Al Abraham) participated in this event. Schar is also well known in this country and in other countries such as Brazil.

Bega Shochet, Israel's ex-Finance Minister and a famous Labor leader was recently hosted by the 'Bonds.' The president, Gideon Patt, and the Bonds' spokesman, Rafi Rothstein, introduced Shochet to the distinguished participants at the Park East Synagogue in Manhattan. Bega Shochet said that the year 2000 was a climax of economic achievements with zero inflation! And 2 million tourists. Today, 2001, the miracles have gone because of the Intifada and the war of attrition. He is a 'dove', who believes in the compromise which will bring peace.

Chris Bleicher is a distinguished artist in Germany. Her artistic works are unique and based on her pioneering concept of our need to protect the environment, our love for the exotic world. Bleicher has mixed in her works one more element: humor! She has indeed developed a message to our world: universal love and humanism. She also protests against people who use terror to murder innocent civilians and like many Germans, she was shocked by our tragedy of September 11, 2001.

Many people and celebrities came to the touching farewell party of Rafi Gamzou, Israel's Consul for Cultural Affairs in North America. It took place in the 92nd St. Y on Lexington. Gamzou goes back to Jerusalem and we wish him well and success. He promoted Israeli culture and left behind a legacy of devotion to his mission using only a very small budget. Many speakers praised Gamzou for his contribution to the relations between the two countries. Among the guests: Alon Pinkas, Dr. Yehuda Lancry, Micha Baram, Yaacov Baal-Teshuva, Ron Eliran, Zmira Chen, Yitzhak Cronzoh, Avry Ohana, Bar Kochva, Doktori Aya Azriealit, Dr. Nili Gold and many others. Ms. Megido played on her cello the classical piece which Gamzou loves. Gamzou spoke about his love for New York's culture and for many people who helped him to carry on his mission: 'The Fourth Dimension' in Diplomacy. Ms. Ofra Ben-Jaacov replaced Gamzou in his mission.

Many celebrities and guests came to the opening ceremony of the American Sephardi Federation Gallery at the Center for Jewish History (15 West 16th Street). The gallery slogan is: From The Beginning: The Sephardic Voyage to the United States. The ASF's founder-president is Leon Levy and its executive director is Vivian Romany. Speakers at the ceremony praised the record of this Federation. Among them Alon Pinkas and Dr. Yehuda Lancry. They also call on the Jews to express solidarity with Israel, a country under the terrorist siege.

Jules Dassin, the legendary film director, is in the news again: Film Forum in Manhattan launched a festival of the famous star: Melina Mercouri who died (1993) in New York. In Greece, 300,000 attended her funeral. Jules Dassin, who in December 2001, will celebrate ninety years, was her famous husband. Dassin directed Mercouri films such as Never on Sunday and others. He still tries also to accomplish her spiritual will and established, in Greece, the Melina Mercouri Foundation. Dassin, who began his artistic career on the Yiddish stage in NYC (Artef) lives in Athens.

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