By: Gad Nahshon
The White Plains Jewish community celebrated Israel's 50th anniversary at the Congregation Kol-Ami (the voice of my people) on April 30, 1998. It was a special and unique happening for adults and children alike. Israeli tunes and dances took over the entire area. The success of this celebration was based on the following: the famous Israeli international singer-entertainer and musician, Avram Grobard. Grobard, who sings in many languages, has a powerful voice which expresses the soul of Israel and the Jewish people. He lives in New Jersey today. Also participating in this event were the Children's Theme Carnival and the singer Shirona Kaufman. Several Israeli documentary films were screened and Israeli kosher food was served. Certainly, Israel's uniqueness was presented with love, solidarity and joy. Gad Ben-Ari, the Israeli Jewish Agency representative in North America, addressed the cheerful audience.
The 67th General Assembly of the Jewish Council of Federations will take place in Jerusalem on November 16-19, 1998. This General Assembly is the first to be held in Jerusalem and outside North America. It will be a world Jewry salute for Israel's 50th year anniversary. The logo for this event is the special heart design by Jim Dine, the famous artist. He was commissioned by Andy and Charles Bronfman. The theme of this General Assembly is: "Many People, Many Roads, One Heart." The leadership of the General Assembly: Conrad L. Giles, President, CJF, Martin S. Kraar, Executive Vice President, Richard L. Wexler, National Chairman, U.J.A., Richard L. Pearlstone, President, U.J.A. and Bernard C. Moscovitz, Executive Vice-President, U.J.A. The planning of this event is in the hands of Dr. Carl Shengold and Michael Abidor.
"We must defend our infra-structure facilities against the terrorists," said Honorable Lewis D. Schiliro, the new Assistant Director in charge of the F.B.I. in New York at the "Speaker Breakfast" of the "Respect for Law Alliance," which took place recently in Manhattan. The respected guest, Schiliro, was introduced to the distinguished members of this prestigious non-profit organization by the President and Chairman, General (Ret.) Arthur Gerwin, a well-known lawyer. Schiliro alerted his audience to the new challenges facing the F.B.I. today, such as terrorism, Muslim terrorism and "intellectual theft."
State of Israel Bonds honored Neil D. Levin (right) of Manhattan, New York State Superintendent of Insurance, at a luncheon that produced $10.825 million in bond purchases to strengthen Israel's economy. Participating in the tribute were (L�R) event chairman Martin Minkowitz of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan; keynote speaker Gideon Patt, Israel Bonds president and CEO; and California Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush, who presented Levin with the Israel 50th Anniversary Award.
Phil Baum, Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress (will they merge with the American Jewish Committee in the next century?) criticized the Greek Foreign Minister, Theodoros Pangalos, who expressed his criticism of the new Israeli-Turkish honeymoon. Although many Israelis are upset because the Turks closed their casinos for good (Israelis loved to gamble over there. . .), the Israeli government is more than happy to have Turkey on its side. The Greeks do not like it but they should forgive us because we need allies in the near East. The Greeks have developed an indifferent approach to the security needs of Israel and they have supported many anti-Israeli resolutions in the U.N.
"As you reflect on the achievements in Israeli film over the past 50 years and look forward to renewed creativity in the years to come, I am confident you will discover a new scope and power of this fascinating art form," wrote President Clinton from the White House to Meir Fenigstein, the Founder-Director of the Israeli Film Festival, which celebrated its 14th anniversary and the 50 years of Israeli cinema, as well. The 14th Israeli Film Festival, which took place in Manhattan, was a new artistic success. And many celebrities attended its opening night, held February 26th. Many Israeli directors, such as Julie (the excellent film: Afula Express), producers (such as Dan Turgeman) (film: Minotaur) and actresses, such as Estie Zackheim (Afula Express) attended the Festival. Also there were Assi Dayan (Mister Baum), the famous son of Moshe Dayan, Daniel Wachsman (the Song of the Galilee) and the noted director, Isaac Zepel-Yeshrun (A Brief History of Love).
"I saw grief, candles, love in this film. . . Dan Katzir, the director managed. . . to thread these elements into a wonderful film." So remarked Mrs. Leah Rabin on Katzir's newly acclaimed and awarded film: "Out For Love. . . Be Back Shortly" which was screened in the 14th Israeli Film Festival in the U.S.A., 1998. This is the first film which expresses the reaction of Israel's young generation to the assassination of Rabin. Katzir, an officer of the Israeli Army, invested all that he has in this documentary, winner of "Wolgin Award" (1997 - Jerusalem) and the Jung Award (1997 - Tel Aviv). "After seeing the film I say: love will prevail" said General Ammon Lipkin Shachak.
El-Al's President, Joel Feldschuh, was named the "Person of the Year" by "Travel Agent Magazine". Also, Yolande Phillips was recognized as JFK's "Woman of the Year". She has worked with El-Al for almost 40 years. El-Al tries to encourage tourism to Israel, especially today. El-Al's General Manager for North and Central America is Michael Mayer, who points out that El-Al is the only airline to Israel with daily non-stop flights. El-Al launched a frequent traveller program called "The Loyal Traveller Club". "The customer is our number one priority" promised Mr. Mayer in his New York office.
Professors Michael Sela and Ruth Arnon of the Weizmann Institute of Science have been jointly awarded the 1998 Wolf Prize in Medicine. The Prize committee announced that Sela and Arnon are being honored "for their major discoveries in the field of immunology." In citing their achievements, the committee noted that the two scientists were the first to introduce synthetic polypeptides, or protein fragments, into immunological research. Through their concept of synthetic vaccines, they paved the way for the production of safe and effective vaccines against infectious diseases, as well as specific peptides for auto immune disorders. The Prize committee also cited Sela and Arnon for developing Copaxone (copolymer-1), a new drug for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. The Wolf Prize, which is bestowed annually for outstanding achievements in agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, physics and the arts, and involves an award of $100,000, will be presented to Sela and Arnon by President Ezer Weizmann at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, on May 10. Two other Weizmann Institute scientists are among the previous recipients: Professor Leo Sachs (1980) and Professor Meir Wilchek (1987), also for achievements in medicine.
Ben Gurion Airport, February 23, 1998: The Chief Ethiopian Rabbi of Israel, was joined by forty traditionally and colorfully dressed adults and children representing the Afula, Ramle and Lod Ethiopian communities for a musical welcoming of members of the pluralistic Westport, Connecticut U.J.A. delegation at Ben Gurion Airport on Monday, February 23, 1998. The delegation donated a "Torah of Peace" to Afula's newly dedicated Lion Club of Judah Synagogue later that day. The Synagogue, which was built from contributions by the Westport Jewish community, the PIF and the Israel Endowment Fund, is located in Afula at 413 Harugai Hamalchut, Givat HaMoreh.
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