Rank and File

Cultural connection

English speakers will have the opportunity to plug into the upcoming International Student Film Festival at the premier screening on Wednesday of “Other Wise,” a documentary series of short films focusing on Israel’s fringe culture. The films document the challenges of working, living and creating on the outskirts of society. The evening, co-sponsored by the recently founded Tel Aviv Arts Council, includes a presentation of the film with English subtitles, followed by a Q&A panel session.

The council seeks to provide a platform for the international community in Tel Aviv to connect with Israeli culture without language being a barrier, said Nancy Shurka, a native New Yorker who co-founded the group in late 2011 with Jay Shultz. “Other Wise” is an “ideal match for highlighting the creative energy of Israel to our TAAC patrons,” said Shultz.

Ayelet Vardi, who has worked for more than seven years in the philanthropic worlds in the U.S. and Israel, produced the screening. Vardi is also bringing a mission of U.S. film critics to the festival, which runs June 2-9. For more information, visit www.taufilmfest.com/en/ (Steven Klein)

Saving lives

An immigrant family from Los Angeles is determined to spare others the fate that took the life of their daughter. Shira Dinurwas only 26 years old when she succumbed last year to the debilitating effects of pulmonary hypertension, a rare condition marked by abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs.

This week, some 400 guests and friends attended a fundraiser in Ra’anana hosted by Shira’s parents,Holly and Eli Dinur, on behalf of the Israel Pulmonary Hypertension Association. Proceeds from the estimated NIS 120,000 raised will help create an “all-inclusive survival guide” in Hebrew, with updated information about the disease and ways it can be treated, according to the association’s web site.

Last year’s inaugural event made possible the purchase of six oxygen generators for patients who require the portable units 24/7. “It’s my hope that in Shira’s memory we can help to save lives, increase public awareness, and help those who have this disease,” Holly Dinur, who moved to Israel with her husband and four children in 1992, told Anglo File. “It’s important to know that we’re making a difference.” (Mordechai I. Twersky)

Celebrate life

Crossroads Jerusalem is hosting an evening of comedy to celebrate the life of Lee Gabriella Vatkin, a teen who died tragically two years ago at the age of 16. The June 17 event in the German Colony neighborhood of Jerusalem will begin with a wine and cheese reception, and will feature comedian Yisrael Campbell and the music of Judith Litoff and Emma Wolfin Golding. Campbell has known the family since he performed a stand-up routine at the Purim Seuda of Lee’s bat mitzvah, her mother, Fiona Kanter, told Anglo File on Wednesday.

“There has been a connection since then,” she explained. “Judith is like my soul sister, and Emma is a dear friend,” noted Kanter, who, like the two musicians, is British-born. “Lee was outstandingly musical, artistic and creative. So I felt that [the evening] should be multifaceted.” There will also be the debut of a street-art project based on the work of at-risk teens, said Crossroads director Robbie Sassoon, who is originally from the Bronx. The stated mission of Crossroads, founded by Caryn Green in 2000, is to provide “critically needed programs and social services for at-risk, English-speaking youth in Israel.” For more information, visit www.crossroadsjerusalem.org. (Steven Klein)

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Shira Dinur
Courtesy of Dinur family