Rank and File

David Blatt and Six Other Immigrants Honored for Contributions to Israel

Plus, a Memorial Day to remember for South African immigrants in Ra'anana and Center Stage holds its inaugural international five-minute play festival online

Steve Klein
Steven Klein
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Basketball coach David Blatt during his time as coach of Cleveland Cavaliers, in 2015.
Basketball coach David Blatt during his time as coach of Cleveland Cavaliers, in 2015.Credit: David Richard / USA TODAY Sports
Steve Klein
Steven Klein

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN OLIM: A group of seven immigrants to Israel from English-speaking countries have been awarded the 2020 Sylvan Adams Bonei Zion Prize, “recognizing Anglos who have made a major contribution to the State of Israel,” the immigrant support association Nefesh B’Nefesh announced this week. The honorees were David Blatt, the former Israeli, international and NBA basketball coach; Debbie Gross, director of Tahel – Crisis Center for Religious Women and Children; ambassador Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs; Prof. Deborah Rund, retired senior hematologist and director of the Plasmapheresis Unit for the Hadassah Medical Organization; and Reuven (Bob) Asch, former chief psychologist for the Education Ministry. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Avraham Infeld, founder of Melitz and president emeritus of Hillel, “for his exemplary work throughout his life for Jewish education,” NbN stated. Also, the Young Leadership Prize was given to Zo Flamenbaum, founder and creative mentor of School of Shine.

A MEMORIAL DAY TO REMEMBER: Residents of the Ra’anana immigration absorption center administered by Telfed – the Southern African Zionist Federation participated in a Memorial Day ceremony on Monday that was split in two due to coronavirus regulations. “As the siren went off [at 8 P.M.], we did the ceremony on one side of the building,” Telfed’s Dorron Kline told Haaretz, noting that participants watched from their balconies. “I gave an explanation of the day and what’s behind it. We said some psalms, the ‘Yizkor’ and ‘Hatikva.’” He said it was the first Memorial Day for many of the new immigrants. Kline recounted that the second ceremony was really special for the immigrant residents on the other side of the building, because neighbors from the buildings across the adjacent parking lot opened their windows and joined their ceremony. He added that the event was broadcast live on Facebook, where stories and pictures of the 87 fallen soldiers and nine terror victims from South Africa were available, drawing thousands to the page.

Families living in Telfed's absorption center watching the Memorial Day ceremony from their balconies in Ra'anana, April 27, 2020.
Families living in Telfed's absorption center watching the Memorial Day ceremony from their balconies in Ra'anana, April 27, 2020.Credit: Telfed

THE SHOW MUST GO ON-LINE: The coronavirus pandemic may have shut the physical doors of all theaters, but many of them are finding alternate ways to reach their audiences. Center Stage, the English-language professional theater based in Ra’anana, held its inaugural international five-minute play festival last Thursday. A group of international actors read the six plays live. “For a first time, it went incredibly well,” Daniella Crankshaw, co-founder of Center Stage, told Haaretz. “The actors were amazed that they felt so close to the stage experience, waiting in anticipation to go on and then the euphoria that follows at the end. We received so many comments, emails and messages thanking us for putting this on and bringing culture back to life during this time.” Building on that success, Center Stage will be holding another five-minute play festival, whose theme will be “Change.” The deadline for writers to submit scripts is May 10 and should go to info@centerstageisrael.com

Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.

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