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The 40yo Arquette, a second generation to a Holocaust refugee, competed on DWTS’s 13th season last fall and finished 6th overall. Estranged from wife, “Friends” alum Courteney Cox for well over a year now, he has battled with alcoholism and went to rehab, and noted DWTS for helping him come to terms with his post addiction life status. However Arquette’s busy work schedule in coming months might derail a possible visit to the holy land, leaving it open for one of the ladies.
Alley, who at the age of 60 competed with professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy in last year’s 12th season, was a crowd favorite all throughout her run and finished as the runner up. Much of the media attention revolved around her body weight, as during that time Alley has began promoting the first USDA-certified organic weight loss product, having gone on record to say that she lost 100 lbs by using the program.
The 27yo Osbourne, who competed during the 9th season and finished as the 2nd runner up, owes a lot of her current celebrity status to the show. Aside fromOsbourne’s own weight watching frenzy media focused on during her stint on Dancing, she came off the show as a fashion icon and a matured public figure, no longer Ozzy Osbourne’s trouble rebellious daughter. She currently is co host of E!’s Fashion Police and is the face of Madonna and daughter Lourdes’ fashion line Material Girl.
If Osbourne or even Arquette will be heading to Israel, it would not be unprecedented. In 2010 sex bomb and the hottest “Baywatch” lifeguard ever, Pamela Anderson, had a cameo on the 6th season of the Israeli version of Dancing. Anderson is also a US Dancing alum, having competed in the 10th season and finishing 6th. But while Arquette & Osbourne came off the show rejuvenated and received better public attention, Anderson in recent years is in decline and more notably in debts, thus making her appearances in reality shows worldwide a new career.
While the new season of Israel’s “Dancing with the Stars” is scheduled to premiere on channel 2′s Reshet Broadcasting on May 3rd, it still remains to be confirmed which American celebrity will pop in to say Shalom, as an official statement from Reshet goes on to say that “the new season will bring along new innovations and when there will be something to announce, it will be done formally”.
The ten-day tour, slated for May 2013 and open to only 100 participants, combines the standard stopping point for a Christian-based visit to Israel based on the life of Jesus – Nazareth, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, a cruise on the Sea of Galilee, and the option of being baptized in the Jordan River.
But, for just under $4,000, what might make Elvis fans bay like a hound dog in excitement will be the special guests slated to accompany the tour - Joe Moscheo and Terry Blackwood of the Elvis Imperials and Bill Baize, all of whom recorded and toured with Presley as gospel backup singers in the 1960s and 70s.
And course, for many, the highlight of the trip will be a visit to the Elvis Inn at Neve Ilan, the garish Israeli restaurant/shrine to the King, replete with a larger than life statue in its parking lot.
One reason Presley earned the title ‘The King’ was his ability to arouse primal and prurient rock & roll impulses with his gyrating hips and his smoldering sensuality, and then turn around and sing the chaste, faith-based gospel music of the Lord. That latter aspect is the peg for faith-based Elvis fans, according to Joe Amaral, the president of Israel Theme Tours, a Toronto-based tourism company which is organizing the Elvis tour together with Elvis Presley Enterprises, the official Nashville-based entity created by The Elvis Presley Trust to run his estate and manage Graceland, his legendary palatial home.
“Elvis loved gospel music - he won three Grammy awards for his spiritual recordings,” Amaral told The Jerusalem Post this week in a phone call from Toronto. “Israel was someplace that Elvis always wanted to visit, as a Christian and a religious person – it was the land that gave birth to his faith. But he never got there.”
Amaral, a seasoned tour operator who has led over a dozen tourist pilgrimages to Israel, explained that he began developing the idea of a celebrity theme tour to Israel after leading his last group the country in January, which included a friend from Nashville, Brian Mayes, a veteran PR veteran, publicist for EPE, and Amaral’s soon-to-be partner in Israel Theme Tours.
“I knew how connected he is in the world of entertainment and I said, ‘wouldn’t it be really cool to do a tour of Israel with a celebrity headliner? It would be the trip of a lifetime for the participants and it would draw media attention to Israel,” said Amaral. “Before I knew it, Brian was on the phone and within a few days was getting some great responses. Between my connections in Israel and his connections in the entertainment industry, we both bring something to the table.”
Amaral and Hayes decided to limit the number of the participants on their tour to 100 to enable as much interaction with the celebrity host as possible. And in preparation for next year’s Elvis tour, they’ve booked their first two packages for later this year – the Howie D Backstreet tour in September featuring Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough, and a tour the following month with contemporary Latin Christian pop singers Jaci Velasquez and Nic Gonzales.
But it’s the Elvis tour which is rousing the most response, the result of the fanatical following still enjoyed by Presley 46 years after his death in 1977. For several years, EPE has been organizing Elvis cruises which have attracted thousands of fans, but according to Amaral, the organization was in the process of phasing them out when he and Hayes suggested the idea of the Holy Land tour.
“They loved it from the beginning and within a matter of weeks, we received the approval from their highest level,” said Amaral, adding that any usage of Presley’s name and persona must receive the company’s endorsement.
Signing on the three Elvis backup singers proved to be the tipping point for the venture, providing a magnet for Presley fans hungry for any inside connection with their hero that may emerge from rubbing shoulders with Moscheo, Blackwood and Baize.
“These were people that knew Elvis on a personal level, they were with him night after night on tour,” said Amaral, adding that tour participants will have steady access to the performers.
“They’re going to perform in a boat on the Sea of Galilee – imagine that, to be one of a few dozen people listening to them sing gospel songs in the place where Jesus did so many things. That’s a high point of the tour.”
Panel discussions with the performers will take place in the evenings, and Amaral predicted that impromptu performances will take place throughout the tour, sometimes even with Israeli performers.
“We know that there’s an Elvis impersonators’ event on his birthday each year at the Elvis Inn, and we hope to meet Elvis fans in Israel,” said Amaral. “What a cool opportunity for the Israeli Elvis fans and for the people coming fro the US and Canada to meet each other and talk about their common love.”
They may end up talking about religion as well, because it turns out that Christianity wasn’t the only faith with an Elvis connection. According to the 1998 book Schmelvis: Searching for the King’s Jewish Roots, there are numerous Jewish-Presley connections. His maternal great-great grandmother, Nancy Burdine, was a Jew, he always wore a Chai pendant; he put a Star of David on his mother’s headstone; and his tremelo vocal style may have been influenced as a teen by hearing his upstairs Memphis neighbor, Rabbi Alfred Fruchter, sing cantorial music.
But whether the banter is about religion or music, Amaral said that the ultimate goal is not only to expose Presley’s gospel roots and their origins in the holy land, but to show the participants about modern-day Israel.
“The important thing in all of our theme tours is that Israel wins, that it’s seen as a viable – and normal – tourist destination. Not only are you seeing celebrities and amazing historical sites, but you’re also experiencing a vibrant, modern culture as well.”
Elvis would surely say ‘amen’ to that.
Elvis’ Imperials members Joe Moscheo and Terry Blackwood, and Bill Baize, former member of JD Sumner and The Stamps!
May 12 – 21, 2013
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Multinational cosmetics firm L’Oreal and UNESCO have named a Weizmann Institute biologist working in the field of probiotics, commonly referred to as beneficial bacteria, “Europe’s top young researcher.” For her work in researching probiotics to treat disease, Dr. Naama Geva-Zatorsky will receive a two-year $40,000 postdoctoral scholarship.
During the past three years, young Israeli women have been able to apply for the program, which began 14 years ago and aims at promoting research among women starting out their scientific careers. There are only 15 annual fellowship winners around the world.
Among the members of the Israeli judges’ panel who selected her to compete with others in Europe are several senior Israeli women scientists, including Israel Science Academy president Prof. Ruth Arnon, Nobel Prize for Chemistry laureate Prof. Ada Yonath, Ben-Gurion University president Prof. Rivka Carmi (who is also a renowned pediatrician and geneticist) and Prof. Ephrat Levy- Lahad, head of the medical genetics department at Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
L’Oreal Israel CEO Nava Ravid said her company regards helping young women scientists as vital to their work. In the last century, 95 percent of all Nobel laureates have been men, she said.
“The world needs science, and science needs women, especially now,” she added.
Science and Technology Minister Prof. Daniel Herschkowitz said Geva- Zatorsky is living proof of the scientific power of Israel and the rising force of women in science. He said he hoped this was one in a chain of top prizes that she would receive for her work.
Knesset women’s lobby chairman MK Rachel Adatto, a physician by training, said the winner is an example of the growing number of Israeli women who contribute to science.
“I hope that her research will lead to an improved quality of life in Israel and in the world,” Adatto said.
Geva-Zatorsky arrived on Wednesday in Paris to receive her award and discuss her work, which aims at using “good bacteria” to treat diseases from gastroenterological disorders and diabetes to immune disorders and cancer. She noted that the body contains 10 times more bacteria than human cells, adding that “the bacteria that grow in the body from birth have a vital influence on our bodies and our health.”
Story via JPost