24 October 2017 - 4 Heshvan 5778 - ד' חשון ה' אלפים תשע"ח
Arts & Culture
Abu-Gosh Festival showcases vocal music E-mail

The Abu-Gosh Festival is the leading and most important festival in the Israeli vocal music scene, and is in fact the country’s oldest vocal festival.

This year’s festival, which ran from 30 May until 6 June, featured a wide variety of artists. The festival, held in the town of Abu Gosh just outside Jerusalem in the Judean hills, has existed in its present format since 1992, and takes place twice a year, on the Jewish festivals of Sukkot (October) and Shavuot (June). It lasts between three and five days each time, and this year’s event is the 51st festival.

This year, the festival featured a wide variety of performances, from classical to jazz. The main guest this year was the University of Delaware Choir, conducted by Paul D. Head. This university choir has recorded and performed with great success in concerts around the world, including at Carnegie Hall in New York. The choir performed two programmes. The first combined classical music, African music and spirituals and included percussionist Chen Zimbalista, while the second included jazz-favourite songs and spiritual music.

Other guests at the festival included Portuguese singer Sofia Pedro; Ricardo Rapoport, a bassoon and Brazilian cavaquinho player who was joined with the HaGalil Ha-Elion Choir directed by Ron Zarhi, and the Phoenix Ensemble.

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WJC publishes new book chronicling its 80-year history E-mail
A new book chronicling the history of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) has been released and is now available for purchase on Amazon.

The World Jewish Congress, 936-2016 details the dramatic diplomatic efforts and achievements of this pre-eminent international Jewish organisation, from its founding in Geneva 80 ears ago to the present.

In his foreword, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder wrote: “This book reminds us not only what the WJC did in the past, but why the Jewish people need this vital organisation now more than ever and will continue to need it in the future.”

Among the episodes chronicled in the anthology are the WJC’s multifaceted rescue efforts during the years of the Holocaust; its pioneering role in crafting the groundbreaking Jewish-Catholic dialogue that fundamentally and profoundly changed the relationship between the Jewish people and the Vatican; its role in providing invaluable assistance to the prosecutors at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg; its high-level diplomatic negotiations that enabled Jews from Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria to emigrate to Israel, France and elsewhere during the 1950s and 1960s; its exposure of Kurt Waldheim’s Nazi past, and its leadership of the international efforts to force Swiss banks to disgorge more than one billion dollars they had wrongfully withheld from Jewish Holocaust victims and their heirs.
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56th Israel Festival offers daring artistic programme E-mail

The 56th Israel Festival, which started on 1 June and continues until 18 June, is an internationally renowned interdisciplinary festival that takes place each year in Jerusalem, offering an original, innovative and daring artistic programme.

High-quality productions in dance, music, drama and performance theatre from all over the world take centre stage, and also on the programme are original Israeli productions and free outdoor performances. This year’s festival takes place mostly in the various halls and spaces of the Jerusalem Theatre.

The Israel Festival opened with a Groove Party that both celebrated the 56th Festival and marked the 50th Anniversary of Jerusalem’s Reunification. An electrifying musical performance in the magical open-air Sultan’s Pool featured Israel’s top established and emerging musicians.

Reflecting Israel’s rich diversity and Jerusalem’s multiculturalism, the event brought together outstanding musical legends such as Teapacks and Knesiyat Hasekhel, pioneering bands that have profoundly influenced the Israeli musical identity.

Joining the festival lineup, the Firqat Alnoor Orchestra, made up of outstanding Jewish and Arab musicians who, together with guest singer Nasreen Qadri, will bring their unique east-west sound. Queen of Israeli-Indian groove Liora Itzhak will bring Bollywood to the stage, while A-WA and Yemen Blues will rock with the hottest Yememite sound in the Middle East, mixed with the exhilarating sounds of the Kutiman Orchestra.

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