Rank and File

Benji Lovitt Explores Israeli History Through Comedy

Plus, where to go dancing on Simhat Torah and Tel Aviv's city hall launches a new English website

Benji Lovitt.

LOVITT COMEDY: Comedian Benji Lovitt will depart from his usual stand-up routine to give a talk to “Explore Israeli History through Comedy” at Kerem House, which hosts activities for the international community in Tel Aviv. “This is a comedic presentation that is great for new immigrants, veteran immigrants and sabras alike, tracing Israel’s history through classic clips from “Halfon Hill Doesn’t Answer” to “Eretz Nehederet,” the Texas native told Haaretz. “It ranges from war humor to ethnic humor and current events with my explanations and anecdotes.” Lovitt, who has taken his lecture all over the world, including South Africa, Australia and Poland, said even a lot of native-born Israelis haven’t seen certain clips. “It’s a great entry into Israeli culture,” he added. For more info, email benji@benjilovitt.com.

DANCING IN THE STREETS: Simhat Torah, when Jews around the world celebrate the renewal of the cycle of Torah readings, is a time for public dancing, sometimes even in the streets. Several communities in Israel appeal specifically to the international community. This Sunday night, those communities will include the Tel Aviv International Synagogue (led by Rabbi Ariel Konstantyn), Chabad on the Coast (run by Rabbi Eli Naiditch and his wife Sara Naiditch) and Kerem House in Tel Aviv, which all have Facebook pages with information about their Simhat Torah events. In addition, the Shirat Sara Women’s Tefilla Group is holding a Simhat Torah service for women only at Jerusalem’s Pardes Institute. For more info, email risa.tzohar@gmail.com.

COURTESY OF CITY HALL: While Tel Aviv is a growing tourist destination, the absolute numbers of tourists consuming content in English is still too low for a substantial English-language website to be managed by the private sector, Eytan Schwartz, the municipality’s CEO of Global & Tourism told Haaretz. “There have been various providers over the years but either they didn’t last many years or weren’t complete enough,” said Schwartz, who hails from New York City. So, city hall stepped in and created a comprehensive site of its own. “Nobody pays for or sponsors content, so there’s no commercial influence,” he said. “There’s always a gap between what the city has to offer and what the tourists are exposed to. They want the hidden gems that only the locals know about … so providing smart and intelligent and very local content was crucial,” he added. Check out the site at Tel Aviv’s official tourism website.

Rank and File was compiledby Steven Klein.

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