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Happy birthday, Romania! - edited online edition of the Extraordinary Opera Gala in Jerusalem

To celebrate the National Day of Romania, one of the most important dates in the calendar of public and cultural diplomacy, and also taking into account the restrictions imposed globally, the Romanian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv (RCI Tel Aviv) will broadcast online, on November 30th, from 17:00: 00, the edited edition of the Extraordinary Opera Gala that took place on Romania's National Day, in 2019, in the “Henry Crown Symphony Hall” of the Jerusalem Theater.

The video will be broadcast for the first time on the official Facebook page of ICR Tel Aviv: https://www.facebook.com/icr.telaviv/and on the YouTube channel: 



The opera gala, which took place on Romania's National Day, a year ago, brought together, in the "Henry Crown Symphony Hall" of the Jerusalem Theater, well-known names of Romanian music, such as: Ionuț Pascu, Andrei Manea , Ștefan Ignat, Madeleine Pascu, Alina Dragnea, Aida Pascu, Dalila Cernătescu, Bogdan Mihăilescu. The Romanian artists were accompanied by one of the most representative orchestras in Israel - Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. The show organized by RCI Tel Aviv was a selective presentation of the Romanian school of composition (cult and popular), in order to promote the Romanian cultural heritage on international level.

The musical program of the event contains compositions signed by: Ciprian Porumbescu, Gherase Dendrino, Filaret Barbu, Paul Constantinescu, Pascal Bentoiu, Aurel Eliade, Mircea Chiriac, Tiberiu Brediceanu, Zsolt Kerestély, Florin Comișel, George Grigoriu, Aurel Giroveanu, Stemond D , Harry Brauner, Grigoraș Dinicu, Mansi Barberis.



Institutul Cultural Român de la Tel Aviv
B-dul Shaul Hamelech nr. 8, 64733
Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel.: +972-3-696 17 46,
+972-3-691 12 05
Fax: +972-3-691 12 04
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Photo Romania Embassy in Israel







A Fortified Building from the Time of King David is Discovered for the First Time in the Golan

The complex was exposed in archaeological excavations carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority, prior to the construction of a new neighborhood in Hispin by the Ministry of Housing and Construction and the Golan Regional Council.*** In the excavation, carried out predominantly by local residents and youth, a rare stone carved with two horned figures with outspread arms, was discovered.***  According to the archaeologists, “It is probable that the fort was manned by the Geshurites, who ruled in the Southern and Central Golan, and carried out diplomatic relations with King David and the Davidic Dynasty.”


A fortified complex from the time of King David (Iron Age, eleventh to tenth centuries BCE) was exposed for the first time in archaeological excavations carried out by IAA in Hispin in the Golan. The archaeologists consider that the fort was built by the kingdom of Geshur, the ally of King David, in order to control the region. The excavation was undertaken prior to the construction of a new neighborhood in Hispin, and funded by the Ministry of Housing and Construction and the Golan Regional Council, with the participation of many residents of Hispin and Nov, and youth from the pre-military academies at Natur, Kfar Hanasi, Elrom, Metzar and Qaztrin.



According to Barak Tzin and Enno BronExcavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority,“The complex we exposed was built at a strategic location on the small hilltop, above the El-Al canyon, overlooking the region, at a spot where it was possible to cross the river. The c. 1.5 m wide fort walls, built of large basalt boulders, encompassed the hill. In the excavation, we were astonished to discover a rare and exciting find: a large basalt stone with a schematic engraving of two horned figures with outspread arms. There may also be another object next to them.”

It is noteworthy that in 2019, a figure carved on a cultic stone stele was found in the Bethsaida Expedition Project, directed by Dr.Rami Arav of Nebraska University, at Bethsaida just north of the Sea of Galilee. The stele, depicting a horned figure with outspread arms, was erected next to a raised platform (bama) adjacent to the city gate. This scene was identified by Arav as representing the Moon-God Cult. The Hispin stone was located on a shelf next to the entrance, and not one, but two figures were depicted on it. According to the archaeologists, “it is possible that a person who saw the impressive Bethsaida stele, decided to create a local copy of the royal stele.”

The fortified city of Bethsaida is considered by scholars, to be the capital of the Aramean Kingdom of Geshur, that ruled the central and southern Golan 3000 years ago. According to the Bible, the kingdom upheld diplomatic and family relations with the House of David; one of David’s wives was Maacah, the daughter of Talmi, King of Geshur.



Cities of the Kingdom of Geshur are known along the Sea of Galilee shore, including Tel En Gev, Tel Hadar and Tel Sorag, but sites are hardly known in the Golan. This unique fortified complex raises new research issues on the settlement of the Golan in the Iron Age.

Following this discovery, changes in the development plans will be carried out together with the Ministry of Housing and Construction, in order that the unique fortified complex will not be damaged. The complex will be developed as an open area along the El-Al river bank, where educational-archaeological activities will be carried out, as part of the cultural heritage and a link with the past. This aligns with the Israel Antiquities Authority's policy that learning the past through experiencing work in the field, strengthens the young generation’s bonds with their roots. 


Photos :   Israel Antiquities Authority

 Fertility figurine of a woman with a drum. Photograph:Yaniv Berman, Israel Antiquities Authority.

The cultic stele from Bethsaida discovered in the Bethsaida Excavation Project. Photograph: Ivgeni Ostrovski, Israel Antiquities Authority




Returning to nature  19.10.20-30.11.20

A new contemporary art exhibition at the University Botanical Garden in Jerusalem

Participating artists (in order A-B): Eitan Ben Moshe, Yaakov Dorchin, Maya Dunietz, Tsibi Geva, Eli Gur Arie,

Menashe Kadishman, Dani Karavan, Sigalit Landau, Ella Littwitz, Saher Miari, Moshe Roas, Yehudit Sasportas, Yaara Zach, Guy Zagursky.

Curator: Hadas Maor


'Returning to Nature' is a new contemporary art exhibition that opened with the approval of the re-opening of the Botanical Garden on 19/10/2020, at the initiative of the University Botanical Garden in Jerusalem and in collaboration with the Outset Fund for Contemporary Art.

In light of the current period and the corona crisis, the possibilities of spending time in open spaces become particularly important. The botanical garden, which covers 120 dunams, is the largest garden in Israel and the only one of its kind in the Middle East. Therefore, the general public can walk around the garden freely and without fear.  Spending time in nature allows observation, and provides relaxation, peace and balance for the soul.



The new exhibition, curated by Hadas Maor, includes about 15 large sculptures by leading contemporary artists that have been specially adapted to the display conditions in the garden. Among the artwork there are iconic works by artists such as Menashe Kadishman and Dani Karavan, works by established artists such as Tsibi Geva, Yehudit Sasports and Sigalit Landau, and works by younger artists such as Ella Littwitz, Yaara Zach, Saher Miari, Moshe Roas and more.


Hadas Maor the curator commented: "Following the eruption of the corona, institutions and cultural centers around the world were forced to stop their activities, and the fact that the exhibition at the Botanical Garden was formed during this period, despite the huge uncertainty about its very existence, is particularly noteworthy to me. This initiative values cultural action and real support for the local art field, both from the botanical garden and from the Outset Fund for Contemporary Art."


Maor also notes "the title of the project indicates a return to the outside after a long period of closure due to the outbreak of the corona virus, but also a dimension of return to nature present in the local sculptural language. In this context, the project reveals constant movement between works that rely on the use of defined outlines and heavy materials like iron or bronze, and works that use synthetic materials like rubber, latex or polyester as well as softened and rounded forms.."


There are also two new works which were produced especially for the exhibition and in accordance with the garden space: one of the works is a new sound work by Maya Dunietz, which responds directly to the sounds of the garden. The other, is the first presentation in Israel of a chapter from the Liquid Desert project by Yehudit Sasportas, the first part of which was shown in Germany in January 2019.


The placement of the various works will be spread throughout the gardens in visible and hidden spaces, and will create a circular walking path where the plants, as well as the sculptures, are discovered by the visitor while in motion. Some of the works have a formal, material and narrative dialogue with the plants around them, and others retain their foreignness. Together the various works will present a rich and layered prism of local sculptural work.


A virtual tour of the exhibition

Taking into account the current COVID-19 crisis and allowing for those in isolation to experience the exhibition, an excellent virtual tour and free educational resources online have been built.  This also allows for those outside of Israel to enjoy this collaboration of Israeli artists exhibiting in nature and thus enable an international reach of a universally relevant issue. 


Educational programs

In parallel with the exhibition, a detailed program of educational activities for groups and schools has been created. Combining educational content in the exhibition and promoting the discourse around art in the open space, this allows us to strengthen the necessary connection between nature, a healthy and sustainable lifestyle and art. It is important to note that the botanical kindergarten works with over 250 schools and kindergartens from all over Jerusalem guiding the teaching staff in the agricultural as well as the pedagogical aspect. Building educational gardens encourages children and their families to grow food, recognize and preserve extinct species and work the land.


Hannah Randall, Executive Director – Strategic Development: "I am proud and excited to add “outdoor museum” to our repertoire at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens; this has been a goal of ours for quite some time. During this pandemic it became clearer that there was and is a need to bring artwork and culture outside. Thanks to Outset Contemporary Art Fund, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Jerusalem Foundation and a number of art collectors and supporters, we were able to move fast enough during the lockdown to create a responsive and exceptional experience.  This exhibition marks the first of many such collaborations and artistic initiatives that connect art, culture and nature.


Opening hours: Sunday to Saturday 09:00 - 18:00

Admission to the exhibition is included in the price of admission to the garden

Entrance fee 35 NIS for an adult, free Jerusalem children, 28 NIS for Jerusalem card holders

Guided tours and activities in the exhibition will take place later


For more details, Givat Ram Botanical Garden 02-6794012

Exhibition site and catalogue www.jbgculture.com


Photos Elad Sarig








 Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tameno Shete will deliver the keynote address at B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage in Memory of Wolf and Hilda Matsdorf for 2020.

The ceremony will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 25, at 10 a.m. (Israel Time) at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem. Due to Covid-19 regulations the ceremony will be held with a limited participation and streamed live on Facebook and YouTube in Hebrew (a version with English subtitles will be uploaded shortly after).

Winners for 2020 are: Branu Tegene and Danny Kushmaro of Channel 12 News and former Haaretz correspondent Dina Kraft. Tegene, a correspondent, and  news anchor Kushmaro will receive the award in the broadcast media category for a 5-part series entitled "Mefotzalim" (Split Up: The Story of the Ethiopian Jewish Community) that follows the lives of Jewish Ethiopians left behind after the community's mass immigration to Israel, members of their family in Israel and their reunion in Ethiopia (link here). Kraft will receive the award for print media in memory of Luis and Trudi Schydlowsky for articles on Jewish communities in the United States and Great Britain (The Pittsburgh Playbook; How a Community Began to HealThe Status of Anti-Semitism in Contemporary America and Britain.) 



A special citation for Fostering Israel-Diaspora Relations through the Arts will be presented to Shalva Band, which rose to fame after entering the finals on the Israeli TV show, "Rising Star." The program determines the act that will represent Israel in the Eurovision song competition, held in Israel in 2019. The band’s inspiring guest performance at the Eurovision semi-finals brought the band international acclaim and invitations to perform around the world and in Jewish communities. The citation was established in 2014. Former winners are singers and songwriters Nurit Hirsh, David D’Or, Idan Raichel, David Broza and Yehoram Gaon.

Since its establishment in 1992, the B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism has recognized excellence in reporting on contemporary Diaspora Jewish communities and on the state of Israel-Diaspora relations in the Israeli print, broadcast and online media. The award is widely recognized as the most prestigious prize in the Israeli media industry for Diaspora reportage and was established to help strengthen the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora. The award highlights the important contributions the media can make toward strengthening the relationship between Israel and world Jewry by encouraging quality reporting on Diaspora communities and Israel-Diaspora relations.

The distinguished members of the award jury are: Ya'akov Ahimeir, past editor and anchor, Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation and Lifetime Achievement Award winner for 2016; Professor Yehudith Auerbach, School of Communication, Bar Ilan University; Professor Sergio DellaPergola, The Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University; Sallai Meridor, former Israeli ambassador to the United States and former chairman of the Zionist Executive and Jewish Agency for Israel; Professor Gabriela Shalev, Higher Academic Council, Ono Academic College and former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations; journalist Yair Sheleg; Asher Weill, publisher and editor of “Ariel” The Israel Review of Arts and Letters (1981-2003).

The awards are presented in memory of the late Wolf Matsdorf, editor of the World Center-Jerusalem’s journal “Leadership Briefing” and a journalist in Israel and Australia, and his wife, Hilda, a pioneer in social work in both Australia and Israel, and in memory of Luis and Trudi Schydlowsky. The award is made possible through donations from the Matsdorf family and B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem board member Daniel Schydlowsky.

Courtesy: Channel 12 news (Branu Tegene and Danny Kushmaro) and Dina Kraft (Dina Kraft), Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tameno - Shete (Haim Zach – GPO), Shalva Band (Seli Ben Arie).



The Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra's Vocal Fantasy Festival, October 27-31, to be presented on line


Undaunted by the restrictions of the current corona virus situation, the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra is opening its 2020-2021 concert season with yet another Vocal Fantasy Festival. Traditionally a summer event, this year’s festival will be taking place in the Autumn and will be presented online. Taking place from October 27th to 31st, the festival, directed by JBO founder, harpsichordist and conductor David Shemer, will offer five days of concerts, master classes and talks that will be transmitted live from various Jerusalem locations. All the programs will have the human voice as their main focus.


The central work of the festival will be the Israeli premiere of one of Handel’s early works (composed before the composer was 20) - the St. John Passion, in a performance directed by David Shemer, with singers Yeela Avital, Liron Givoni, Alon Harari, Hillel Sherman, Doron Florentin and Noam Levenstein. In another program - “Handel’s Divas” - Meitar Opera Studio singers Inbal Brill and Karina Radzion will be joined by actor Itzik Cohen-Patilon to deliver the amusing story of the rivalry between Handel and Giovanni Bononcini, as well as that of two Italian prima donnas performing in London in opera productions of both composers.


In “From Johann to Hans”, we will hear soprano Yeela Avital, recorder-player Inbar Solomon and other musicians performing chorales and other works of Bach in the unique arrangements by the Jewish-Peruvian composer Hans Lewitus, in addition to works of the Spanish Renaissance and music from South America. The Guy Ben Hinom Choir will join JBO players in “Collection”, a program of original music led by JBO 1st ‘cellist Orit Messer-Jacobi. This concert will also include instrumental works of the Italian Renaissance. The 2020 Choral Fantasy Festival will sign out with a concert of music of late French Baroque works, in which JBO 1st violinist Noam Schuss will lead her fellow musicians and soprano Daniela Skorka in instrumental- and vocal works of the sophisticated musical repertoire performed at the court of Louis XIV, here represented by François Couperin and Louis-Nicolas Clérambault..


Ticket reservations: https://www.goshow.co.il/pages/minisite/143