JTA NEWS
17 June 2019 - 15 Sivan 5779 - ט"ו סיון ה' אלפים תשע"ט
JTA NEWS :
Arts & Culture
Author Joyce Carol Oates wins 2019 Jerusalem Prize E-mail

US author Joyce Carol Oates is the recipient of the prestigious 2019 Jerusalem Prize, within the framework of the Jerusalem International Book Forum.

Oates will receive the prize on 12 May from the Mayor of Jerusalem Moshe Lion during the opening ceremony of the Jerusalem International Book Forum, which will be held from 12 to 15 May. She will also take part in the International Writers Festival of Mishkenot Sha’ananim from 12 to 16 May.

Oates, born in 1938, is recognised as one of the leading and most important living writers in the US today. During her illustrious literary career, Oates has written many works of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, essays and plays, and has won many prizes. Among her best-selling titles are We Were the Mulvaneys, a selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club; Blonde, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and The Accursed, a “gothic” exploration of racism in early20th-century America.

“I am deeply honored to be a recipient of this distinguished international literary award made to writers whose work deals with the freedom of the individual in society. In a world in which individual freedoms are under assault, the autonomy of the individual and the role of art in our lives is of great concern. The very identity of the individual self is a theme that has long preoccupied me as one whose background has been ‘marginal’ – rural, not prosperous, unallied with a specific religion or culture, born in an era when the term ‘feminist’ scarcely existed,” Oates said.

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JWA charity poker night supports a worthy cause E-mail

More than 50 “card sharks” came together on Saturday evening 19 January for the Jewish Women’s Association (JWA) Charity Poker Tournament, held in the Garden Room at the Hong Kong Jewish Community Centre.

The funds raised were to benefit one its many partner organisations, the Israeli charity Nirim, an organisation for teenagers in crisis.

A great evening was had by all, with dinner and free-flowing drinks. The event came to an intense highpoint when just two players faced off to win the honour of being the Champion.

The title of Grand Champion went to Michael Horowitz and the runner-up was Or Maar. The event was held thanks to Enav Schwartz, Dana Peleg and David Caron.

Nirim was established in memory of Nir Kirchman, a Navy Seal, and runs intense wilderness training for the teenagers, challenging them to endure extremely tough mental and physical exercises based on survival training. They also receive personalised educational support, to ensure they graduate from high school.

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Kosher Burns Night in Hong Kong hits a milestone! E-mail

Now celebrating 10 years of hosting an annual Burns Night, Hongs Kong’s Jewish community toasted 18thcentury Scottish poet Robert Burns with a traditional Burns Night Dinner on 22 January.

The sumptuous four-course Scottish dinner with fine singlemalt whisky tastings and much more was held in the King David Room at the Hong Kong Jewish Community Centre.

Robert Burns was born on 25 January 1759 in Ayrshire, Scotland, and was regarded as the national poet of Scotland. Burns Night suppers are traditionally held near his birthday to celebrate his life. His legacy globally is quite remarkable and impressive, reaching far and wide and into the consciousness of some of the world’s most well-known people. American President Abraham Lincoln had a lifelong admiration for the work of Burns, and pop star Michael Jackson set some of the bard’s poems to music.

After Queen Victoria and Christopher Columbus, Robert Burns has more statues dedicated to him around the world than any other non-religious figure. Although best known as a poet, Burns actually wrote and collected almost double the number of songs than poems. John Steinbeck’s classic 1937 novel, Of Mice and Men, took its name from a line in the Burns poem To a Mouse – “The best laid schemes o’ mice an men / Gang aft agley.”

Probably his most popular song, Auld Lang Syne, is recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the top-three most popular songs in the English language.

The dinner event has now become a permanent fixture amongst community members and visitors in Hong Kong. The annual gathering as ever was organised and hosted by Richard Winston. Jewish Times Asia asked Richard Winston how the inaugural event was started. “Our previous resident rabbi in Hong Kong, Rabbi Martin van den Bergh, had a friend who did a whisky tasting event in Hong Kong a few times. He came especially from London to do it. He then asked me to run one as I was living here. I did one and suggested a Burns Night following that," recalled Richard.

At the inaugural event back in 2009, a CD of Scottish music was all that was available, but this year the melodic sound of the bagpipes played by Cary Chung of the Red Guards Pipes and Drums echoed around the Jewish Community Centre.

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