Branding itself as an “all-male Romeo and Juliet musical”, DOGS may be expected to be a light and fluffy piece of Israeli camp but it strives for something far deeper than that and, for some of it’s roughly ninety-minute runtime (about a half-hour too long), manages it.
The action of the play begins when two brothers, one of whom is gay, decided to stage Romeo and Juliet, reframing it as a way to express the Arab-Israeli conflict. Their cast, made up of friends, strangers and an Arab plumber, comes together in an explosion of what book writer Ido Bornstein describes as “sweaty, passionate Israeli manhood.” There are classic Hebrew songs updated with jazz-handy choreography (the actors give it their all but none of them are dancers), barely repressed sexual tension between some of the fighting men and, somewhat strangely, a male pregnancy. It is, at times, a bit of a mess, but mostly the play’s commitment to exploring it’s themes makes up for the confusion created by it’s storyline and translation.
It wasn’t a gloved-fist salute from the medal stand, but Jewish-American gymnast Aly Raisman made quite a statement yesterday by winning a gold medal and invoking the memory of the Israeli athletes killed 40 years ago in Munich.
Raisman finished first in the women’s floor exercise, but she deserves to have another medal draped around her neck for having the chutzpah to face the world and do what needed to be done and say what needed to be said.
At the same Olympic Games where bigoted organizers stubbornly refuse to honor the slain athletes with a moment of silence, 18-year-old Raisman loudly shocked observers first by winning, then by paying her own tribute to 11 sportsmen who died long before she was born.
And if that weren’t enough, she won her event with the Hebrew folk song “Hava Nagila” playing in the background.
“Having that floor music wasn’t intentional,” an emotional but poised Raisman told reporters after her performance.
“But the fact it was on the 40th anniversary is special, and winning the gold today means a lot to me.”
Then Raisman stuck the landing.
“If there had been a moment’s silence,” the 18-year-old woman told the world, “I would have supported it and respected it.”
It was 40 years ago at the 1972 Munich Games that members of the Israeli Olympic delegation were taken hostage and eventually killed by Palestinian radicals.
Executed in the massacre were 11 Israeli athletes and officials and a West German police officer.
The martyrs were remembered this week during a London ceremony filled with sadness and reflection.
But not a peep about them has been said publicly in the one place where it counts — at the Summer Games on Olympic soil.
The International Olympic Committee and its president, Jacques Rogge, have refused to properly honor the dead, arguing that the opening ceremony wasn’t an appropriate forum for a moment of silence.
But if the opening ceremony is good enough for James Bond and Mr. Bean, it’s hard to understand why it’s not good enough for 60 seconds of solitude.
“Shame on you International Olympic Committee because you have forsaken the 11 members of your Olympic family,” said Ankie Spitzer, whose husband, Andre, an Israeli fencing coach, was gunned down in the massacre.
“You are discriminating against them only because they are Israelis and Jews,” she went on.
Rogge was an athlete himself at the very Games where the massacre took place, representing Belgium on the sailing team.
“Even after 40 years, it is painful to relive the most painful moments of the Olympic movement,” Rogge said at an unaffiliated service before Spitzer spoke.
Students from the pluralistic Leo Baeck Education Center in Haifa and students from the Arab village of Ein Mahal in the Lower Galilee will perform together in an original musical production inspired by the Friends Forever Program, Yedioth Ahronoth reported this week.
The Arab-Jewish musical “Step By Step Sauwa Sauwa,” which is based on he Broadway show A Chorus Line, is performed in Hebrew, English and Arabic and takes place in an “ideal Israel,” where Jews and Arabs live together in peace.
Dany Fesler, chief executive of the Leo Baeck Center, told the Jewish Chronicle that the students had originally gone on a trip to the US through the Friends Forever Program scheme, which pairs up teens from conflict zones.
“They went to New Hampshire, lived in the same house, cooked together, went hiking, volunteering and gave talks about their experiences. They came back totally different. They wanted to keep their friendships going, and do a project together,” he said.
Now, he says, “they are creating something onstage to describe the conflict, to show the differences and how we are bridging them. It’s changing their lives. They influence their families, their peers and everyone is asking about it. It’s wonderful to see.”
Fesler told the Jewish Chronicle that the students’ own concerns and prejudices could be heard in the dialogue: “We hear their own fears coming out in what they have written, fears about terrorism, bombings, fears about the IDF, and being a minority.”
Lee Azulay, 18, a student at Leo Baeck, said “the most important thing about the project is the message it sends – if we can coexist on the same stage, we can coexist in the same country.”
Muhammad Abulil, 17, who attends the high school in Ein Mahal, said the musical “tells the entire world
that people can coexist without fighting.”
The musical was even brought to stages in London and Switzerland and, according to Fesler, was “received very warmly.”
When the pint-sized star tells her mom Helen that she’d be moving in with her BFF Jenni “JWoww ” Farley, her mother asks, “Are you going to split the food bill down the middle?”
And of course, Snooki has a colorful reply.
“Is kosher the right word for Jenni?”
Snooki’s mom replies, “I do know that’s the food that Jewish people eat.” They then say in unison with a laugh, “Jenni’s not Jewish.”
The mommy-to-be then elaborates by saying, “I think kosher food is like organic, healthy food. But Jewish people eat organic food too, so I feel like it’s all the same.”
Israeli artist Avner Moriah is to receive one of the biggest honors an artist can wish for: an opportunity to present his art to Pope Benedict XVI and have his artwork kept among the Vatican’s distinguished holdings.
Moriah, known for his paintings of Israeli landscapes, will present the pope with an illuminated Book of Genesis, a project he has been laboring over for the past two years.
“The project lasted two years. The first year I concentrated on developing the visual themes for the book, and I built up the visual material for the tales in the book. In the second year I sat together with my calligrapher and we painted page after page, designing the amount of text and the relationship between the text and the visual images, so there will be some kind of a balance within the book itself,” Moriah told Reuters in his studio in the community of Har Adar, near Jerusalem.
The elaborate Hebrew text was written by calligrapher Izzy Pludwinski.
“I think the uniqueness about my project is that it has a tremendous amount of illustrations in it, and the text and the illustrations bring the story up to life. And it’s a coherent story that is relevant to our times,” explains Moriah.
The illustrated Book of Genesis will be presented to the Holy See on May 16, during a special audience at the Vatican. Israel’s Ambassador to the Vatican, Mordechay Lewy, will also attend the event.
“It’s not only that I, myself, am excited to be at this occasion; but I think I am also representing my people and 2,000 years of a Jewish-Christian relationship. I think the fact that at this point an Israeli artist can be there shows how far we have come from earlier times,” Moriah said.
After the ceremony, Moriah intends to continue and illuminate the entire Bible with his colorful images.
Born in 1954, Moriah received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale. Some of his works are displayed at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harvard University and Yale University, which have already purchased several of only 100 copies of the book available worldwide.
Source: Israel Hayom
American-Jewish billionaire Nicolas Berggruen has purchased the controlling interest in Burger King.
Berggruen invested $1.4 billion in the fast food chain, which is considered the second-largest in the world, and is reportedly planning to take the company public via the New York Stock Exchange.
Burger King left Israel in 2010, converging with the local Burger Ranch chain; but there are speculations that it will now try to gain a foothold in the Israeli fast food market once more.
Formed in the United States in the 1950s, Burger King has 12,000 branches in 70 countries worldwide.
Alongside his business ventures and private equity holdings, Berggruen is also the world’s largest private collector of Picasso art.
One of his current Israeli ventures includes the construction of Meyer Tower in Tel Aviv, which is expected to be the most expensive residential building in Israel.