English On Stage
Johnny (Nitzan Sitzer) is ready to rock n' roll anytime with Molly (Noeat Kedem) and Bee (Meirav Zur) in the new musical "Tom's Diner." Photo by Efrat Shine
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Neil Lyons
MK Isaac Herzog being asked a question at the ESRA event in January, 2014. Photo by Neil Lyons

OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR: Two English-language shows over the coming week take on post-World War II America. First, English On Stage presents on Saturday night “Tom’s Diner,” a jukebox musical with an original story line about “a newcomer in town at the forefront of the women’s revolution in early 1960s America,” director Meirav Zur told Haaretz on Wednesday. Zur, who grew up in Atlanta and studied theater before moving to Israel for her army service, said the narrative focuses on women with well-known hits from the ‘60s. She said the cast, a mix of actors born in the United States and sabras with immigrant parents, includes Tamar Bettelheim, Ashley Goldstein, Shiran Gross, Noeat Kedem, Or Mashiah, Nati Peleg, Lianne Ratzersdorfer and Nitzan Sitzer. Next Thursday, the Ra’anana Guild Theater presents Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons,” a tale of “guilt, ethics, responsibility and the relationship between fathers and sons in the aftermath of World War II,” according to producers. Directed by Jodi Schenk, the play features Lee Bader, Grant Crankshaw, Ilana Gindis, Adi Grotsky, Lev Kerzhner, Or Mashiah, Daniella Roman, Rashi Rozenzweig and Robert Schenck.

ISAAC HERZOG AT ESRA: ESRA had a sell-out crowd of 160 people who came to hear opposition leader Isaac Herzog speak on the feasibility of peace with the Palestinians. “He was not head of the Labor party when he was invited,” noted ESRA chairwoman Brenda Katten. “We thought he might cancel but he didn’t. It speaks volumes about the man; he could have said he was too busy,” Katten told Haaretz on Wednesday. She said the audience, which included many who grew up in South Africa’s Beitar movement, were “much more with him” than she might have thought. “They were impressed with him because he presented the problems. He didn’t run away from the challenges that confront Israel.” Herzog said Palestinian incitement was a very negative thing and emphasized the need for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state while stressing a two-state solution, according to Katten. She added he was the third lecturer in a series organized by ESRA activists Adele Hunter and Richard Stein that included author A.B. Yehoshua and David Rosen, the former chief rabbi of Ireland who is now based in Jerusalem.

SELF-ADVOCACY CONFERENCE: Israelis with developmental disabilities are taking matters into their own hands by organizing a self-advocacy conference on employment in Jerusalem. Beit Issie Shapiro and Israel Elwyn have fostered nine such self-advocacy groups, based on a U.S. model, in partnership with the Ruderman Foundation and the L.A. Federation. “We’re talking about people who if they went to conferences they were listeners,” Israel Elwyn CEO David Marcu told Haaretz yesterday. “It is hugely empowering for them to go to a conference by and about them.” Next week’s conference features experts who will train them to ask for better work conditions among other issues. Chicago native Aaron Goldberg, director of the L.A. Federation’s Israel office, said, “This is a group that is largely invisible, and if they can get the opportunity to live independently and with dignity it will be for the better for them, their families, and the larger community. Marcu, a Philadelphia native who has worked for the organization since moving to Israel in the 1980s, added that an open mic session at the conference will let “people whose voices were often not heard” have their say.

Rank and File was compiled
by Steven Klein.

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