Eye on People
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Governor George E. Pataki joined Merrill Lynch Chairmen/CEO David H. Komansky and President/COO Stan O'Neal to officially mark Merrill Lynch's homecoming to Lower Manhattan. Merrill Lynch was one of the first companies to reoccupy the World Financial Center (WFC) starting October 23, 2001 when workers returned to 4 WFC. This ceremony was held at 2 WFC to celebrate the return of 1,200 employees to Lower Manhattan facilities by the end of Spring. New York City Economic Development Corporation President Andrew M. Alper, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Senator Charles E. Schumer also attended the event.
"Merrill Lynch's return to another building in the World Financial Center is another indication that Lower Manhattan is well on the road to recovery," Mayor Bloomberg said. "In October, Merrill Lynch was one of the first companies to come back to the World Financial Center and I applaud its confidence in Lower Manhattan and its devotion to New York City. Lower Manhattan has a bright future and I am thrilled that Merrill Lynch will be a large part of it." There are many Jews and Israelis among Merrill Lynch's work force. One of them is Jacob Frenkll, Israel's ex-chief of Bank Israel and economic advisor to Prime Ministers of Israel.
The following celebrities are the winners of Koret Jewish Book Awards 2002:
Fiction: Nathalie Babel, Editor, The Complete World of Isaac Babel, translated by Peter Constantine, W.W. Norton & Company
History: Eli Lederhendler, New York Jews and the Decline of Urban Ethnicity - 1950-1970, Syracuse University Press
Biography, Autobiography and Literary Studies: Dorothy Gallagher, How I Came Into My Inheritance and Other True Stories, Random House
Philosophy and Thought (co-winners): Samuel C. Heilman, When A Jew Dies: the Ethnography of a Bereaved Son, University of California Press Ken Koltun-Fromm, Moses Hess and Modern Jewish Identity, Indiana University Press
Special Award for Literature: W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz, Random House
The awards are given by the San Francisco-based Koret Foundation in cooperation with the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, based in New York City. E.L. Doctorow, author of The Book of Daniel, Ragtime, City of God, and many other highly celebrated books, was the speaker at the New York City award reception.
It should be noted that Nathalie Babel is the daughter of the great classic Russian-Jewish novelist, Isaac Babel, who like many other famous writers, mostly Jewish, was murdered by Stalin. The Koret Foundation is among the larger Jewish-sponsored charitable trusts in the United States. Since 1979, Koret has granted more than $200 million in both the Jewish and general communities in support of community enhancement projects, education, public policy, arts and culture and economic development. Grants are made in the San Francisco Bay area and Israel.
Dr. Steven J. Zipperstein is the chairman of Koret's Board. Among the members of this prestigious board are Cynthia Ozick, Paula Hyman, and Robert Alter.
The guns are firing in Israel. The national mood is quite depressive. But 'thou must go on.' We do not let the muses be silent. Tzvi Avni, Israel's famous composer, an international celebrity and a winner of Israel's Prize (2001), keeps composing as he has done for many years. Recently, his last composition Phoenix was performed in Israel. Avni expresses in Phoenix his attitude to the American 9-11 shock. He composed Phoenix also to express his admiration to the unique leadership of Rudy Giuliani. Avni expressed his message in notes of a reaction to this shock of 9-11: eruption of life, courage, hope and revival of human rights and altruism. A victory of brotherhood of man. This message erupted from the ashes of 9-11 to become hopefully our set of values. Avni is a great classical compose who always links his composition to the realities of our times. In June, his new composition Concerto For Basson will be performed in Israel.
The National Religious Party (Mafdal) joined Ariel Sharon's government. Gen. (Ret) Effi Eitam, a distinguished military leader, a great I.D.F. fighter, perhaps the new leader of the Mafdal and Yitzhak Levi will serve as ministers without portfolio. Mafdal's leader Shaul Yahalom left the government so that Gen Eitam will join it. Mafdal lost its political power in the last twenty years because of the rise of Shas, an ethnic religious party. It is great to report that the Israeli senior statesman and leader, David Levy, joined the government and Sharon's coalition. Levy is the leader of Gesher. The three new ministers without portfolio will also be members of Sharon's security cabinet. David Levy served in many governments. He was also Israel's foreign minister as well. He has a distinguished political experience. He was the dovish leader in the Likud. He left the Likud and established his party, Gesher. Then he joined and left the Labor party. Today, Levy espouses hawkish positions so he will support Sharon's survival policies, the right ones.
Epic-Legacy produced a new CD of 'Tanz' (Dance) a unique recording of Dave Tarras and the Musiker brothers, legendary musicians of Yiddish music (212-833-4101. Dave Tarras (1897-1989) was a great klezmer, a superb clarinetist who influenced many other musicians. Tanz composer musician was Sam Musiker (1916-1964). He was also a great clarinetist and saxophonist as well. His younger brother, according to Henry Sapoznik, followed him to also be a klezmer. Tanz was recorded in 1955. All of these klezmer were, first, distinguished American musicians and composers as well.
Who was the King of the Klezmer in America? Abe Schwartz. If you have doubt about this statement, just buy his new CD The Klezmer King (Columbia-Legacy). Schwartz (1881-1963) was fiddler and composer. He was a musical leader who inspired a generation of klezmer musicians. He was recognized by Columbia Records. In his music and compositions, Schwartz, who came to this country from Romania, expressed the plight and struggle of the Jewish masses, the immigrants who tried to become Americans living in the slums of the big cities. He composed, for example, the Yiddish song Di Grine Cousin (The Green Cousine, or the new un-Americanized Yet Cousine). The song exposed the dehumanizing sweatshop system, the working place of many newcomers. Schwartz received national recognition and performed in radio and was popular in America.
100,000 Jews, members of the plethora of Jewish organizations and movements in America, secular Jews and Hasidic Jews as well, demonstrated for Israel in a great rally on April 15, 2002 in Washington, D.C. They broke the silence of the Jewish establishment as to 18 months of massacres in Israel. It was a massive expression of true solidarity with their people in Israel. The American media, the networks such as CNN or ABC, almost ignored this Zionist muscle. The event was organized by the Conference of Presidents. It is a new achievement for Malcolm Hoenlien. The arrival of Bibi Netanyahu as Sharon's spokesman in America pushed Jews to do something in the open. The last massive demonstration took place in the struggle for Soviet Jewry in which 250,000 Jews came to Washington, D.C. Among the main guests and speakers were: Bibi Netanyahu, Nathan Sheransky, Shoshana Kardin, Elie Wiesel, Rudy Giuliani, George Pataki, Rabbi Michael Melchior, Barbara McKlusky and Paul Wolfowitz, who represented the Bush administration. The rally is important. First, it was educational, the reinforcement of the fact that Jews must guarantee the survival of Israel. Second, a massive support in the government of Arik Sharon, a broad coalition government!
Israeli consulate in NYC organized its annual Memorial Day at Park East Synagogue on April 15, 2002. This was the same day that the American Jewish community expressed its solidarity with Israel by a huge rally and demonstration in Washington, D.C. It broke the 18 months of silence. Rabbi Arthur Schnier was the emcee. The synagogue was packed with guests, Israelis who came to mourn their loved ones who died since 1947-1948 in Israel's wars and military non-stop conflicts. Alon Pinkas, consul general and Col. Offir Azari represented Israel. Cantor Ari Klein and Cantor Yosef Malovani (El Mole Rachamim) prayed and the great singer Sagit Sherman performed a few Israeli memorial songs. Jacob Bettinger said 'Kadish' for the heroes who were killed in the Israeli battles for survival, among them his brother Moshe Bettinger who was killed in 1986 (Karame Battle). Avishi Raviv, Michael Naim and Sigal Edry participated in this memorial. Their sorrow is our sorrow as well. Eitan Magid whose father died in 1986 as a result of his suffering from the Yom Kippur War represented the entire Israeli large family of those who lost their sons and daughters in the wars of Israel. It was a day of remembrance, here and in Israel as well. It is a day of Yizkor, we should never forget these heroes who sacrificed themselves for the survival of Israel. We should never ignore their legacy, their message.
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