Rank and File: Asylum Seekers to Display Portraits at Tel Aviv Refugee Benefit Exhibition

Starcatcher Theater Company presents its philosophical version of Broadway 'Pippin', and the South African Zionist Federation awards scholarships to deserving students

One of the asylum seekers involved in the ARDC exhibit.
Jonathan Small

PORTRAITS OF REFUGEES: Tel Aviv’s Beit Kandinof gallery next Wednesday will host a refugee benefit exhibition, where visitors will meet the asylum seekers behind the portraits on display and hear their stories. The fundraiser is the brainchild of photographer Jonathan Small and Beit Kandinof founder Arianna Fornaciai. Small, from New York, told Haaretz he met the asylum seekers while teaching them high school-equivalency classes at ARDC, the African Refugee Development Center. “I really enjoyed it and became close with students in the course,” he said. Sadly, he “kept hearing derogatory stuff coming out of Israeli politicians about the people I was sitting next to.” Eager to show their personal side, he started shooting portraits and having the asylum seekers write about their lives. “I pitched Arianna, sent her a couple of portraits, and she said, ‘Let’s have a whole exhibition and turn it into a fundraiser,’” he recalled. Seventy percent of proceeds will benefit ARDC, with the rest covering the exhibition costs. For more info, call Beit Kandinof at (03) 650-2938.

LOVE, WAR, MEDIA: For its latest production, Starcatcher Theater Company has taken on the philosophical allegory of “Pippin,” which opened at Jerusalem’s Karnaf Theater on Wednesday. “The whole show works as a metaphor for different aspects of life,” from love and war to the media, Yaeli Greenblatt, the director and choreographer of the show, told Haaretz. The scene on the media is particularly relevant. “At one point, Pippin says, I can’t believe that,’” noted Greenblatt, whose father is from Brooklyn but she is a sabra. “The Leading Player responds, ‘Would they report anything that wasn’t true?’” Musical director Jeff Rosenschein added that Starcatcher’s “ambitious version of Pippin” will be accompanied by a live band. Jeffrey Fantl plays Pippin, while Rebecca Sykes portrays the Leading Player. There are five more shows from next Wednesday through March 22. For more info and tickets, visit Starcatcher’s Facebook page.

THE ‘NICEST COMMITTEE’: In a kickoff to its 70th anniversary celebrations, Telfed, the South African Zionist Federation (Israel) awarded 531 scholarships at the Knesset last Sunday. MK Dr. Avraham Neguise, chairman of the Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee, hosted the annual event. Scholarships are awarded “according to financial need or the ability to volunteer with Olim families,” stated Telfed. “This is the nicest committee to be on because we hand out money to deserving students according to the wishes of the donors, which is a win-win for everyone,” Shely Cohen, Telfed’s scholarship committee chairperson, told Haaretz. She said Telfed decided to go “all out” for its 70th anniversary by holding the ceremony at the Knesset. “These are the students who are the future of the country,” added Cohen, who hails from Johannesburg. “So it was really special, very meaningful for us.”

Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.

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