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Talmis’ visit to San Diego prompts special JCC programming

January 5, 2010 1 comment

 

By Eileen Wingard

LA JOLLA, California–When word got out that Israeli conductor Yoav Talmi and his wife Er’ella would be visiting San Diego for a few days during the second week of January, JCC Program Director Jackie G’mach invited the internationally acclaimed maestro to speak at the Lawrence Family JCC under the auspices of the Astor Judaica Library. Given the importance of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation (AICF) which has supported the training of virtually every professional Israeli musician, including Yoav and Er’ella, Jackie and a specially formed planning committee invited the AICF to co-sponsor the evening. The date was set for Monday, January 11, 2010.  The evening was to be divided into two segments.
   
Yoav will present an historical overview of orchestras in Israel and reflect on the “Wagner Question” at a free lecture in the Lawrence Family JCC at 7:30 p.m. The program will also include a brief video of the maestro’s life, with musical score by Yoav’s son Gil, and three settings of Ghetto Songs by Yoav, performed by Sarah Tuck, flute, Edmund Stein, violin, Dorothy Zeavin, viola and Marcia Bookstein, cello, all members of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra.
   
Prior to the lecture, there will be a dinner in the Astor Judaica Library at 6:00 p.m.  honoring the Talmis. Dinner reservations are $72.00 per plate with proceeds going to the AICF and the Astor Judaica Library. The reservation deadline has been extended. Seating is limited.
   
Yoav, former conductor of the San Diego Symphony (l987-96) is now in his eleventh season as conductor of the Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec .

During a tour of Canada celebrating the 100th anniversary of the ensemble, critics lauded the Israeli maestro and his orchestra, calling their work  “one of Canada’s orchestral success stories,”(Toronto Star) and their performance a “tour-de-force,” (Vancouver Sun).

Canada has showered Talmi with many awards, including an honorary doctorate from the Universite Laval of Quebec; the Quebec City Medal for his special contribution to the city’s 400 anniversary celebrations; and, most recently, making him an Officer of the National Order of Quebec.  In March, 2008, Talmi conducted an historical performance of Mahler’s 8tth Symphony (Symphony of a Thousand) to celebrate Quebec City’s 400th anniversary.  He had 1000 performers, with four orchestras, 15 choirs and 8 soloists for a spectacle that attracted an audience of 12,000 in Quebec’s coliseum.

The Talmis continue to make their home in Kfar Saba, Israel. In his homeland, Yoav serves as permanent guest conductor of the Israel Chamber Orchestra, a group with which he has long been affiliated, having been their music director from 1984 to 1988. Er’ella was also the principal flute of the ICO. Yoav has accepted the post of Conducting Professor at the Mehta-Buchmann School of Music at Tel Aviv University, so that he can pass on his conducting expertise to the younger generation. In 2008, he was awarded the Frank Pelleg Prize of the Israeli Cultural Ministry for his high level of artistic achievements over many years. Israel is indeed proud of their outstanding musical ambassador.
   
Talmi has an impressive discography, including an all-Berlioz cycle with the San Diego Symphony.  His recording of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony won the prestigious “Grand Prix du Disque” in Paris. He continues his extensive guest conducting for major orchestras throughout the world.
   
Er’ella Talmi recently retired from her career as flutist, having served in orchestras, played in chamber music ensembles and performed as soloist. She also arranged many chamber music programs, led workshops and served as an adjudicator at competitions. Currently, inspired by her two grandchildren, she is writing children’s books.

To reserve for the dinner with the Talmis, send check  made out to: LFJCC/Library and mail to: Susan Hagler, JCC  Library,  4126 Executive Dr. La Jolla, CA 92037.

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Wingard is a freelance writer and former violinist with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra

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Israeli pilgrims flock to Rabbi Abuhatzeira’s burial site in Egypt

January 5, 2010 Leave a comment

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (WJC) — Several hundred Israeli Jews have come to Egypt for an annual pilgrimage to the tomb of a 19th-century rabbi in the Nile Delta. Last year, Egypt had denied the pilgrims entry because the anniversary coincided with Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip. In past years, Cairo limited the number of pilgrims visiting the tomb of Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira near the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, but according to Israeli newspapers President Hosni Mubarak accepted a request from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow unlimited numbers of pilgrims to travel there. An Israeli diplomat said Mubarak personally approved Netanyahu’s request and instructed intelligence chief Omar Suleiman to take measures to ensure the worshipers’ safety.

Cairo airport officials say about 290 Israelis arrived on Sunday and police imposed tight security at the airport and on the main highway to Alexandria, where they will spend few days before the commemoration of the anniversary of the rabbi’s death on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Rabbi Abuhatzeira, who was a son to a chief rabbi of Morocco, is revered by some Jews as a mystic renowned for his piety and for performing miracles. He was on his way from his native Morocco to the Holy Land in 1879 when he fell ill and died in the Egyptian city of Damanhour, near Alexandria. Abuhatzeira was the grandfather of Yisrael Abuhatzeira, also known as the Baba Sali, a revered rabbi and kabbalist whose tomb in Netivot is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Israel.

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

Sharon family observes fourth anniversary of his coma

January 5, 2010 1 comment

RA’ANANA, Israel (WJC) — Family and friends of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s have marked the fourth anniversary of his massive stroke. Sharon, 81, has never regained consciousness from the stroke he suffered on 4 January 2006 and has since remained in a coma. He lives in a long-term care facility in Ra’anana. Family and friends visit frequently, according to media reports.

Sharon was elected prime minister as head of the Likud Party in 2001 and formed the new centrist Kadima Party to run in the country’s 2006 elections. He oversaw Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Sharon was succeeded by Ehud Olmert as prime minister, who successfully contested the 2006 elections.

Medical experts believe it is unlikely that Ariel Sharon will ever come out of the coma.

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

Netanyahu says peace talks with Palestinians may resume soon

January 5, 2010 Leave a comment

JERUSALEM (WJC)–Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed cautious optimism that peace talks with the Palestinians could soon resume. “In recent weeks, I have had the impression there is a certain change in atmosphere. I hope that a maturation that would enable the negotiating process to move forward has occurred…We are serious in our intention to reach a peace agreement, but we will insist that the outcome of the negotiations be determined at the negotiating table. Israel is ready for negotiations with the Palestinian Authority without preconditions, Netanyahu told a meeting of his Likud faction in the Knesset, according to the newspaper ‘Haaretz’.

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said Netanyahu was particularly encouraged by the latest meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. However, in an interview after that meeting, Abbas reiterated that his view on the need for a complete Israeli settlement freeze had not changed.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman expressed pessimism about the possibility of talks with the Palestinians achieving results in the near future even if they do resume. “It will not be possible to reach a complete agreement in two years,” Lieberman warned Middle East envoy Tony Blair on Monday. “It is not a realistic target. We must begin direct talks without committing to any deadline. In the past, we have set deadlines that were not kept and it led to violence.”

Meanwhile, the Israeli newspaper ‘Maariv’ writes that Washington is pushing a plan to restart peace talks that foresees reaching a final deal in two years and agreeing on permanent borders in nine months. Under the plan, Israelis and Palestinians will immediately start final status talks that were suspended during the Gaza war a year ago.

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

Israeli officers cancel London trip for fear of Palestinian motivated arrest warrants

January 5, 2010 Leave a comment

LONDON (WJC)–Israeli officers invited to come to London by the British Army were unable to depart last week after UK authorities could not guarantee that they would not be arrested, according to Israeli newspaper ‘Yediot Aharonot’.

The paper reports that the Israeli Foreign Ministry approached the British government in order to ensure that the officers would be able to stay in Britain without fear. However, the British authorities could not make such a promise and therefore the delegation’s visit was canceled.

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said the current situation could undermine good relations between the two countries. “If the British law remains unchanged, this would undermine the good relations between the two countries who share common values and interests. The British must bear in mind that these visits serve both countries,” he said.

Britain’s Attorney General Baroness Patricia Janet Scotland is currently visiting Israel and is expected to meet with Israeli Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman. Several weeks ago, an arrest warrant was issued in the UK against the former Israeli foreign minister and current opposition leader Tzipi Livni over her role during the Gaza war last year. Four years ago, the Israeli military warned Maj.-Gen. Doron Almog not to get off a plane at London’s Heathrow Airport on concern that he would be arrested.

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

New blood libel? Italians say Israeli bombs contaminate Gaza

January 5, 2010 1 comment

ROME (WJC)–Italian researchers have accused Israel of contaminating land in the Gaza Strip through bombing. The New Weapons Committee, an Italian group of researchers, said it had studied Israel’s use of ammunition and concluded that the population of the Gaza Strip was “in danger.”

The group of scientists based the claim on soil analysis of four bomb craters. “It is essential to intervene at once to limit the effects of the contamination on people, animals and cultivation,” the researchers stated. Their findings made headlines in Italian, European and Middle Eastern publications, including ‘Terra’, ‘Ambito’, the ‘Turkish Weekly’ and ‘Tehran Times’.

“This so-called research is eerily reminiscent of ancient blood libels against the Jewish people, when rumors were spread about Jews poisoning wells,” said Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress. He added: “Today, we are seeing a recurrence of all the worst excesses of anti-Semitism and diatribes that we perhaps naively thought had remained in the Dark Ages.”

Gerald Steinberg, founder of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, said the Italian study did not present enough evidence to support its claim and called the committee’s accusations “designed to stigmatize Israel and to erase the context of mass terror.”

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

Iran reports arrest of foreigners in connection with demonstrations

January 5, 2010 Leave a comment

TEHRAN (WJC)–Iranian authorities have arrested several foreign nationals during the anti-government protests last week in which at least eight people were killed, Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi said in Tehran on Monday.

“Some of the detainees are foreign nationals pursuing propaganda and psychological warfare,” he claimed on state television, without specifying their nationalities. Iranian police are still holding 300 of the 500 people they arrested in Tehran on 27 December, when opposition supporters staged protests during a Shiite religious commemoration. Police said other security agencies had also detained protesters.

One of the foreigners arrested was an Iran-based Syrian journalist working for Dubai TV and a pro-government website ‘Rajanews’ said a “British citizen, who was carrying his passport, was arrested while attacking mourners… in central Tehran.” French researcher Clotilde Reiss was arrested in June 2009 and put on trial for allegedly taking part in protests that followed the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. She was freed on bail in August and has since been staying at the French Embassy in Tehran awaiting the outcome of her trial.

Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders have repeatedly accused Britain, the United States and Israel of organizing the opposition protests.

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress