Comedy for Koby Tour Features Leading Names in American Comedy 

 

In response to the growing popularity of English-performing stand up artists on Israeli stages, three top American comedians are preparing to appear in the multi-city tour with sales to benefit victims of terror and tragedy.  Elyane Boosler, Allan Havey and Tom Cotter are all accomplished comedic actors who have previously appeared on late night television, in film and major comedy clubs and stages around the world.

 

The three will all perform in Israel for the first time under the Comedy for Koby banner beginning December 6th. Comedy for Koby is the twice annual stand up comedy fundraising tour for The Koby Mandell Foundation, benefitting bereaved families and victims of terror. The tour, hosted by Israeli born, Los Angeles- based comedian Avi Liberman, will be showing in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Modiin, Gush Etzion and Raanana.

 

All proceeds from the Comedy for Koby tour go to benefit programs of The Koby Mandell Foundation, named in memory of 13 year old Koby Mandell, who was killed in a terror attack in 2001. Working with bereaved children and families, the Foundation offers ongoing social and therapeutic programs including Camp Koby.

 

Past comics who have performed under the Comedy for Koby banner include Roastmaster General Jeffrey Ross, Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr., opening act for Jerry Seinfeld Mark Schiff, Emmy Award winning Judy Gold and Comic Strip Live’s Wayne Cotter.

 

“Bringing this level of comedy to Israel gives us so much joy,” said Seth Mandell, father of Koby and co-founder of the Foundation. “It allows others to associate me and my family with a smile and a laugh rather than just with sadness and trepidation. Not only does the money from the shows go to help the bereaved families, but the shows bring much needed laughter and release for the community at a time of tension andnear daily terror.

 

DEC 6 – Beit Shemesh, Eshkol Payis – Aliyat Hanoar 6, 8:30pm

DEC 7 – Gush Etzion, Matnas Gush Etzion, 8:30pm
DEC 8 – Jerusalem, Beit Shmuel Theater, Eliyahu Shema 6, 7:00pm, 9:30pm
DEC 10 – Raanana, Yad Labanim, Achuza 147, 8:30pm
DEC 11 – Modiin, Heichal Hatarbut, Emek Dotan 49, 8:30pm
DEC 12 – Tel Aviv, Tzavta, Ibn Gevirol 30, 8:30pm
 
Tickets can be purchased at www.comedyforkoby.com
 Photo credit Yissachar Ruas
 
 

 

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Coinciding with World Chess Championship tournament currently taking place in New York, Yad Vashem has launched a unique online exhibition:  Chess Sets, a Brief Respite from a Harsh RealityThe online exhibition features20 chess sets from the Yad Vashem Artifacts Collection. These chess sets were used by Jews both before, during and immediately after the Holocaust. Some were crafted during the war, others were made before the war and taken with Jews who were deported from their homes.

 

Playing chess often helped Jewish prisoners to endure the forced labor and the harsh conditions. For Jews who were in hiding during the war, chess was a way of passing the many idle hours of seclusion over months and even years. At the end of the war, the survivors themselves or the families of those who were murdered kept the chess sets along with the remaining personal effects that remained in their possession. The relatively large number of chess sets preserved in Yad Vashem's Artifacts Collection is evidence of the widespread popularity of the game during the war as a means of providing a brief respite from a harsh reality.

 

One of the chess sets featured in the exhibition belonged to Elhanan Ejbuszyc.  While imprisoned in a labor camp, he took a club that had been used to beat prisoners and carved chess pieces from it.  Ejbuszyc later explained: "What I achieved – turning a tool of punishment into a tool of peace after breaking it into pieces and carving chess pieces from it – was to give my fellow Jews a rare chance to forget their pitiful circumstances for a while. That brief moment of solace that I managed to bring to my fellow sufferers filled me with such joy – this was my reward…"

 

For more information about the chess sets featured here

 

or about the Yad Vashem's extensive Artifacts Collection

 

 About Yad Vashem :  

Yad Vashem's International Institute for Holocaust Research stands at the forefront of scholarly study on the Holocaust, providing comprehensive infrastructure for further investigation into this calamitous period in human history. The Research Institute is dedicated to advancing international research regarding the Shoah and fostering cooperative projects among academic institutions, as well as encouraging young scholars in their studies.

 

Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, was established in 1953. Located in Jerusalem, it is dedicated to Holocaust commemoration, documentation, research and education. www.yadvashem.org

 

 

 

 

 

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The Carmel Quartet (Israel) opened its 10th season of Strings and More in November 2016 with a concert titled “Viennese Gemütlichkeit”. This writer attended the English language lecture-concert on November 16th at the Jerusalem Music Centre, Mishkenot Sha’ananim. Not the usual Carmel Quartet line-up, players included quartet members Rachel Ringelstein-violin, Yoel Greenberg-violin/viola and Tami Waterman-‘cello; they were joined by Einav Yarden-piano and Naomi Shaham-double bass. The Strings and More Series is directed by Dr. Yoel Greenberg. Established in 1999, the Carmel Quartet appears in Israel, Europe and the USA, having made its China debut tour in 2013.

 

The German word “Gemütlichkeit”, whose loose translation might be “cosiness” or “geniality”, a central concept of the Biedermeier period in Central Europe between 1815 and 1848, reflected in artistic styles influencing literature, the visual arts, interior design and music. Yoel Greenberg, with the help of his fellow musicians and some interesting visuals, spoke about the Biedermeier “subplot” of the Romantic period, having originated in stories about an imaginary schoolmaster by the name of Gottlieb Biedermeier and representing honest, pious and unambitious people. The solid, conservative style of Biedermeier furniture is indicative of these values, reminding the audience that much Biedermeier art was evident in the home environment, no less in the form of house concerts.

 

Among opera composers of the time, Gioachimo Rossini was most popular for the melodiousness of his works. The evening’s music began with the last movement - Tempesta:Allegro - from Rossini’s Sonata for Strings No.6 in D-major, one of a set of six string sonatas the composer wrote in 1804 at age 12. The players gave articulate and lively expression to the storm brewing and dying down and rising again in this descriptive piece, to its effects of tempestuous, rapidly descending scales, bird calls, etc., to its vitality and to the composer’s astute separation and highlighting of ‘cello and double bass parts. Too often performed by larger ensembles, it was fitting and rewarding to hear the movement presented in its original one-to-a-part setting.

 

Referring the private Viennese salons, Greenberg pointed out that most of Schubert’s Lieder were first aired there. To create the atmosphere of such house music, the artists at the Jerusalem concert – four singing, with Einav Yarden at the piano – gave a hearty performance of Franz Schubert’s miniature “Der Tanz” (The Dance) D 826, one of the composer’s 130 part songs. Greenberg also pointed out that every respectable home at this time would now have a piano (an item of Biedermeier furniture), usually played by girls and young women and that, in the music salon, amateur players were often joined by one professional. Such was composer Johann Nepomuk Hummel, a dazzling piano virtuoso, the bulk of his compositions being written for the piano. Hummel’s Piano Quintet in E-flat major opus 87, composed in Vienna in 1802, is a masterpiece. Typical of music of the congenial Biedermeier sound world in its familiar-sounding melodious style, it would have appealed to 19th century audiences as it did the audience at the Jerusalem Music Centre. Unusual in scoring, it is written for violin, viola, ‘cello, piano and double bass. The challenging piano part (surely performed by the composer), its flamboyance and effervescence evident throughout, was splendidly handled by Einav Yarden in colourful, easeful playing, with the string players’ contribution warm, full and rich. From the quintet’s sombre, dark-hued opening, to the folksy reference of the second movement Ländler, with the brief, evocative Largo leading directly into the Finale, the latter’s Rondo creating a full music canvas with some frenzied piano utterances and other pleasing solos on the part of the strings, the players kept the audience involved in this seldom performed piece.

 

The program concluded with Franz Schubert’s Piano Quintet in A-major D.667, The Trout. Greenberg reminded the audience that many of Schubert’s works were heard in the Viennese salon, with baritone Johann Michael Vogel premiering many of the composer’s songs in Vienna’s private homes. Then there were the Schubertiades, as so wonderfully depicted in Moritz von Schwind’s 1868 drawing, events sponsored by Schubert’s wealthier friends or by Schubert aficionados.  Greenberg also spoke of the Biedermeier concept of uncomplicated enjoyment as in the musical description of the fish swimming on a sunny day and of the fact that the variations were on Schubert’s own Lied - “Die Forelle”. Then there is the genesis of the work, the 22-year-old Schubert’s response to the request of the work by Sylvester Paumgartner, a wealthy amateur ‘cellist from Upper Austria and to be played by a group of musicians coming together to play Hummel’s rearrangement of his (Hummel’s) Septet for the same instrumental combination. No rarely performed work, the Jerusalem rendition spoke in favour of live performance from the work’s very first notes. Superbly led and coloured by Carmel Quartet’s 1st violinist Rachel Ringelstein, the players brought to life every palpable gesture of the work in playing that was transparent, richly sonorous, with both personal playing and that and wrought of the players’ exceptional ensemble skills. The top-class quality playing of guest artists Einav Yarden and Naomi Shaham conformed to the Carmel Quartet’s unflagging standards of excellence.

 

 Photo: Stanley Waterman

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The vessel was discovered together with daggers, an axe head and arrowheads that were apparently buried as funerary offerings for one of the respected members of the ancient settlement.

 

 

A small extraordinary jug from the Middle Bronze Age was revealed with the assistance of pupils in the Land of Israel and Archaeology matriculation stream in an Israel Antiquities Authority archaeological excavation that was recently conducted in the city of Yehud prior to the construction of residential buildings.
 
According to Gilad Itach, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “It literally happened on the last day of the excavation when right in front of our eyes and those of the excited students an unusual ceramic vessel c. 18 cm high was exposed atop of is the image of a person. It seems that at first the jug, which is typical of the period, was prepared, and afterwards the unique sculpture was added, the likes of which have never before been discovered in previous research. The level of precision and attention to detail in creating this almost 4,000 year old sculpture is extremely impressive. The neck of the jug served as a base for forming the upper portion of the figure, after which the arms, legs and a face were added to the sculpture. One can see that the face of the figure seems to be resting on its hand as if in a state of reflection”. Itach added, “It is unclear if the figure was made by the potter who prepared the jug or by another craftsman”.
 
Efrat Zilber, supervisor responsible for coordinating the Land of Israel and Archaeology matriculation stream in the Ministry of Education emphasized that “the archaeological excavations provide an opportunity for an intensive and direct experience that connects the pupils with our country’s past. An experiential learning experience involving research methods employed in archaeology takes place while revealing the artifacts. The pupils meet experts in a variety of fields who share their knowledge with them, enrich the pupils while also enriching their world”.
 
 
The jug, which was broken when it was found, being restored in the laboratories of the Israel Antiquities Authority in Jerusalem.
 

In addition to the unique pottery vessel, other vessels and metal items were found such as daggers, arrowheads, an axe head, sheep bones and what are very likely the bones of a donkey. According to Itach, “It seems that these objects are funerary offerings that were buried in honor of an important member of the ancient community. It was customary in antiquity to believe that the objects that were interred alongside the individual continued with him into the next world. To the best of my knowledge such a rich funerary assemblage that also includes such a unique pottery vessel has never before been discovered in the country”.

In addition, a variety of evidence regarding the kind of life that existed there 6,000 years ago was exposed – among other things, pits and shafts were revealed that contained thousands of fragments of pottery vessels, hundreds of flint and basalt implements, animal bones, and a churn which is a unique vessel that was widely used in the Chalcolithic period for making butter.
The pupils of the Land of Israel and Archaeology matriculation stream participate in excavations as part of the new training course offered by the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Ministry of Education, which seeks to connect them with the past and help prepare the archaeologists of the future. Students who choose this course of study as part of their alternative evaluation for high school matriculation, take part in a week of excavation. They experience the variety of roles involved in the excavation, discuss questions regarding research and archaeological considerations and document the excavations in a field diary as part of their research work.
“Suddenly I saw many archaeologists and important people arriving who were examining and admiring something that was uncovered in the ground” recalls Ronnie Krisher, a pupil in the Land of Israel and Archaeology stream in the Roeh religious girls high school in Ramat Gan. “They immediately called all of us to look at the amazing statuette and explained to us that this is an extremely rare discovery and one that is not encountered every day. It is exciting to be part of an excavation whose artifacts will be displayed in the museum”.
 
 
 
 Photo: Clara Amit, courtesy IAA.

 The 3,800 year old jug as exposed in the field. Photo: EYECON Productions, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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