Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL

Eye on People

Do we have free Jewish journalism in America? Recently, the Jewish media became more aggressive, more investigative or more courageous. For example, the attacks on those leaders who supported the Marc Rich pardon. Abe Foxman had to challenge pressure for his resignation from the ADL, Rabbi Yitzhak Grinberg from his role in the Federal Holocaust's Council, and so one. Of course, some pointed to the involvement of many Israeli leaders in this pardon. All of these leaders argued that their motive to help was Rich's unusual philanthropy. Some argues that he helped the Israelis in accomplishing security missions and so one. It was not a conspiracy, only a wish to express thanks to Rich's good will. But one must obey the letter of the law.

As to the participation of a 'Russian tenor' at the Sopranos, our new smash show and new cultural heroes, we received the following note from Ilga Levkov, the distinguished publisher (Russian - Liberty Publishing House, NYC). He shared his little story with us:

"It was one of those surprising calls for assistance that reach us every week. Only seconds later it dawned upon me that the caller was an assistant set director for the most popular TV show "The Sopranos." The name of this assistant could not be more "Kosher" - she was Ms. Jennifer Starke!

The producers have decided to broaden and deepen the role of the character that plays a Russian mafia and in order to achieve it they have chosen to introduce the viewers to his apartment and consequently needed to project the proper ambiance. Ms. Starke has asked for Russian books, circa nine feet, some newspapers and after seeing Liberty's posters - some of them.

Luckily, the 130 books that have been published by Liberty sufficed and so were the posters. Among the most recent publication was the American Family Medical Encyclopedia in Russian written by 28 leading professors and medical scientists who arrived to in USA during the last twenty years. It is the first in American history - not even the most cultural group such as the German-Jewish immigrants has produced such an impressive volume of over 1,000 pages.

This transaction with the Sopranos went almost without a glitch - they keep calling me and demanding an invoice!?! And I thought that Sopranos and their collaborators function without invoices!"

All the 'Mishpucha' (family) came recently to Symphony Space in Manhattan's upper west side to celebrate the 85 year anniversary of the distinguished Yiddish theater in America, the 'Folksbiene.' It was a breathtaking successful evening. Many came to salute this cultural institution which is the guardian angel of the Yiddish culture, heritage and language in this country. This live Yiddish culture. This evening was also a benefit for the future of the Folksbiene.

The guests enjoyed a touching great show of many stars who love Yiddish. Actress Eleanor Reissa and composer Zalman Mlotek, Folksbiene's artistic directors, the emcee of the evening Isaiah Steffer, Bruce Adler, Tovah Feldshuh, Mina Bern, Adrienne Cooper, Shifra Lerer, Lori Wilner, Mike Burstein, Lilian Lux, Robert Abelson, the legendary Seymour Rexite, and many others who are committed to the survival of Yiddish as a live culture.

The participants honored Naomi Kaplan and her family for providing support to the Folksbiene now located at 454 West 54th Street, but is planning in two years to move to its permanent theater. Among the friends of the Folksbiene are: Robert A. Kaplan, Harold Platt, Dr. Burnett Zumoff, president of the Forward Association, Samual Norich, its general manager, Mark Mlotek, Benjamin Feldman, Emanual Azenberg, Tova Roni, Bel Kaufman, Theodore Bikel, Roman Kent, Jeffrey Wiesenfeld and many others.

The Workman's Circle (Arbeter Ring) also supports the Folksbiene. Its president is Martin Krupnich and Robert Kestenbaum, the executive director.

On Oct. 17, 2001, Gov. Pataki will host the 'Yiddish Theater Day' honoring the Folksbiene or 'The People's Theater'. Its next production will be The Yiddish Jazz Singer starring the famous Israeli singer, star of Broadway's La Miserable, Dudu Fisher.

Shabi Katzir, a famous Israeli singer works today at ABC National with great stars such as Peter Jennings. But his message is to preserve the greatness of the Ladino songs and culture. His mother, celebrating 90 years in Israel, has taught him these songs and about the beauty of the Ladino culture. Katzir is also a popular singer in many Jewish communities in the U.S., especially in the south. With his guitar, Katzir introduces the best of the Israeli songs to American audiences. He plans to produce his unique Ladino C.D. Katzir is the son of a Jewish-Bulgarian family which made aliyah to Israel.

"Arafat wants land without peace," said Senator Daniel P. Moynihan, today a professor in Syracuse University. He was the guest keynote speaker at the successful CAMERA Dinner. (The Committee for Accuracy in Middle-East reporting in America). CAMERA has 35,000 members. Its president is Andre Levin and Lenny Wisse is the chairman of its prestigious board. CAMERA is the guardian angel of Israel in the American media (1-617-789-3672, Fax: 1-617-287-7853, email:

Prof. Moynihan spoke also about Zionism=Racism, and about the issues of ethnicity. He predicted that the coming war would be among ethnic groups (ethnic riots). In this event which took place in NYC, (CAMERA offices are in Boston), Robert Weisberg received CAMERA's award, 'EMET.' CAMERA is a unique organization of dedicated monitors (watchdogs) of honest reporting in America.

As we expected, President Bush postponed the transfer of U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. We should note that former Senator Moynihan pushed his 'Jerusalem Bill' for many years in vain. He once said: "Jerusalem is being presented by the State Department as an independent state or entity."

CAMERA often challenged media attempts to define 'Tel-Aviv' as Israel's capitol.

Los Cancelos? Israelis and Israeli officials in this country were shocked to find that the notion of 'we are one' does not prevent many Jewish cancellations of their visits to Israel: a victory to the Palestinian murderers of children who also target the Israeli tourist industry.

But major organizations decided to call on Jews to visit Israel this summer to show Jewish pride, to support the Israelis and the express unity with their brothers and sisters: "The Abraham Joshua Heschel School was faced with that choice. We modified our itinerary, but made a decision not to cancel our annual trip. Israelis show courage every day. We believe that this demonstration of courage by our eighth grade, their families and the faculty went a long way in lifting the morale and spirits of our Israeli brothers and sisters at a crucial time," stated a letter to the New York Times' Roanna Shornsky (June 14, 2001), the great director of this school, a well-known model daily school in America.

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