Rank and File A Sufi, and Armenian and a Jew Walk Into a Scottish Church

The Rt. Hon. MP Eric Pickles with President Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Wedn
The Rt. Hon. MP Eric Pickles with President Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, July 29, 2015. GPO

A SUFI, AN ARMENIAN AND A JEW WALK INTO A SCOTTISH CHURCH: A pair of multicultural concerts brought together singers and musicians from different communities this week in Jerusalem and Nazareth. “Music at the Intersection” featured Armenian folk singer Hasmik Harutyunyan and Abed Alsalem Manasra, the son of a sufi sheikh from Nazareth. Jerusalem-based vocalists Hanna Yaffe, who hails from London, and Deborah Shayovitz, a native of Chile, shared Jewish texts and lullabies. Yaffe, the daughter of an Orthodox rabbi, told Haaretz on Wednesday that Harutyunyan sang a song written during the Armenian genocide on her CD of lullabies from conflict zones, which she put out last year. “My heart is in peacebuilding,” said Yaffe, who brought Harutyunyan over for the concerts. Some 200 Armenian dignitaries, Muslims and Israelis attended Tuesday’s concert at Jerusalem’s St. Andrews Church. 

A BRITISH CONSERVATIVE FRIEND: British Conservative Members of Parliament, led by The Rt. Hon. Sir Eric Pickles, expressed their support for Israel during a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin at his residence in Jerusalem on Wednesday. “Mr. President, I became a Member of Parliament in 1992 and on my first day in office I joined the Conservative Friends of Israel,” said MP Pickles, referring to the British pro-Israel group that organized the visit. “Israel is a democracy amid a difficult region of bloodshed and dictatorships and a lack of human rights,” he said. “We are delighted by the fact our bilateral trade has increased, indeed doubled in recent years, and that we see cooperation not only in security but in biotech, information technology, and many other fields.”

AND THE AWARD GOES TO:...Bizchut, The Israel Human Rights Center for People with Disabilities, was awarded Midot’s Effective Non-Profit Organization Award for 2014 at a ceremony in Tel Aviv last Thursday. “There’s three things that always strike me about this organization,” Thomas Gumpel, one of five native English-speakers on Bizchut’s board along with Joshua Schoffman, Jonathan Gillis, Ari Paltiel and Amanda Leighton-Bellichach, told Haaretz on Thursday. “First, this is a group giving a voice to people that have no voice typically,” said the Hebrew University professor from Montreal. “The other thing is these people are unrelentless. They leave no stone unturned.” Third, “which just amazes me,” he added, is that Bizchut is made up of young attorneys who could earn much more privately who decided to use their skills “for the public good.”  Midot, which tracks NGOs, gives out three annual prizes - one to the most effective non-profit, one to business involvement in the non-profit world and one for individual philanthropy.

Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.

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