Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL

Eye on People

Theater is so strong in Israel that the new Ethiopian Olim felt the urge to establish their own theater in Israel. The Theater, 'Netela Theater', came to this country and presented its production 'Bavel' in NYC. Moshe Malka wrote and directed this play. Ehud Banai and Zena Adhanani composed the music. Yaff Schuster is the artistic director. The theater, located in Jerusalem, tends to discuss socio-economic issues of these Olim. The play, 'Bavel', gives a terrible message of alienation and feelings of discrimination. The group's play is based on the idea that Israel promised many things to the Olim and did not delivered. The Olim reach a point of crisis. Some became alcoholics, some became prostitutes or rapists. They became criminals. This is the result of their melting pot in Israeli western society. It is a theater of protest. But the weakness of the performance has to do with the weakness of the play and the need to improve the level of acting. Therefore, their message did not come through. We in the audience are looking, as Jews and as Israelis, to support art from Israel. Furthermore, we would like to present here the multi-ethnic culture or sub-culture of Israel. From this point of view, 'Bavel' served as a good example teaching Jews here that the Israeli culture is not just an Ashkenazi one. We love this message from Jerusalem but in theater the quality of the production comes first.

Toni Wortman is the new president of Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel. She replaced Robert E. Spivak who contributed to the success of this organization serving twenty years as president. Spivak praised Ms. Wortman's record and dedication to Maccabi USA. Ms. Wortman, one of the organization's most passionate speakers, began her tenure with Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel in 1985, serving as a co-chair of the Cultural Dance Group for the 12th World Maccabiah Games. Since then, Toni has served on Maccabi USA's board of directors and executive committee, as a vice president (1993-99), and first vice president (1999-2001). She was a member of the United States 16th Maccabiah Games Steering Committee (1997-2001) as well as the culture and education chairman for last summer's World Maccabiah Games, a position she also held for the 1989 and 1997 Maccabiah games. At the 1993 Maccabiah games, she was the United States delegation's pre-camp co-chair.

From Buchenwald to Carnegie Hall is the life story of the famous concert pianist Marian Filar (University Press of Mississippi - together with Charles Patterson, 2002). Filar traces the unique musical career from the age of 12 to his (Warsaw Philharmonic) fame as a pianist who has performed with other orchestras.

Aaron Lansky, founder-president of the prestigious National Yiddish Book Center at Amherst, MA, decided to find out what were the best and the most important books which were written in the last two centuries. He established a special committee including Glenda Abramson (Oxford), Robert Alter (Berkley), Hillel Halkin (Israel), Gershon Shaked (Hebrew University), Ilan Stavans (Amherst College), Kenneth Turna (Los Angeles Times) and Ruth Wisse (Harvard). Ruth Wisse, a distinguished scholar of Jewish literature, was the leading judge of this committee. The committee selected 100 great books, mostly novels and poems. They omitted playwrights, although it selected The Dibbuk (Ansky), and the Golem (Leivik). As we know, there is always questions as to the selection of judges who are scholars. But we can ask why other writers such as Len Uris (Exodus) have been excluded. I always recall Isaac Deutcher's remark: "I am a non-Jewish Jew." Lansky announced that his center which made history only in the field of the Yiddish book will sponsor programs to promote the 100 book list. Among the lucky ones selected were: Collected Stories by Isaac Babel; Salvation by Sholem Asch; Only Yesterday by S.Y. Agnon; Mr. Sammler's Planet by Saul Bellow; The Trial by Franz Kafka; The Dweller in Gardens by Hayim Hazaz; Selected Poems by H.N. Bialik; If This Is A Man by Primo Levi; Selected Stories by I.L. Peretz; The Family Mashbei by Der Nistar; The Counterlife by Philip Roth; Satan in Goray by Isaac Bashevis Singer; Night by Elie Wiesel; Selected Poetry by Nathan Zakh; Past Continuous by Yaacov Shabtai; The Tales by Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav and Selected Poems by Raphel Blovshtein.

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