Rank and File


Leket Israel has been making sure Israelis have dinner for seven years, but it wasn't until last week that the national food bank had occasion to feed itself and 650 of its closest friends. The food rescue organization, formerly known as Table to Table, held its first gala dinner Saturday night, with the attendance of ministers, ambassadors and other members of the local philanthropic cognoscenti. The guest of honor was Joseph Gitler, the New York native and Ra'anana resident who founded Leket, which now helps feed 55,000 Israelis daily by providing charitable organizations with the food and means to do so. "For many years we were known very simply as a food rescue operation. We are now more focused on how to help the smaller agencies we work with be more effective," he said. The other honoree was farmer and attorney Sandy Colb, who grows 700 dunams worth of produce on his farm. The event, held at Kibbutz Nir Eliyahu, helped raise about NIS 2 million, according to Gitler, as well as 200 meals worth of leftovers from the dinner itself. Gitler said he believes the gala will become an annual event.

Rain march- Dani Machlis
Dani Machlis

Nephesh Theatre's hit production about an Ethiopian boy journeying through Africa has made the rounds in Israel in Hebrew and has even reached Broadway - in English. Now, theater goers in Israel will have a one-night only opportunity to see the semi-autobiographical play, "One of a Kind - And Argay," performed in English before the Tel Aviv-based company takes the production overseas again, this time to Canada. The play will be staged at the American School in Even Yehuda on February 7. The play tells the story of And Argay, an Ethiopian boy journeying through Africa with his family to reach Jerusalem. "It's a heartwarming play," said Nephesh artistic director Howard Rypp. "It's a really special story about the immigration experience. It's good for the whole family." Rypp said he expects some ministers and ambassadors to attend the staging as well. Rypp co-founded Nephesh Theatre with Gabriel Emanuel in 1978 in Canada.


About 1,000 Immigrants are expected to arrive in Israel between this week and next, bringing the total number of olim this year to an estimated 19,129, a 16 percent increase over last year's numbers. Over 300 immigrants from Oceana, Great Britain, South Africa and the former Soviet Union passed through Ben-Gurion Airport yesterday, and more are anticipated in the coming days from countries such as U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Germany and Uzbekistan. "Immigrants come in large numbers at the end of the year and in the summer," Michael Jankelowitz of the Jewish Agency said. The immigrants were sent through the relatively new "Aliyah on a red carpet" program, which is designed to be a one stop shop for both taking care of bureaucracy and other needs. "It was long.... It was an interesting experience," said Auckland native Benjamin Gross, who arrived yesterday. Gross, 23, is hoping to get into banking, but first will attend Ulpan Etzion in Jerusalem, which will have its biggest intake class ever next month, according to Jankelowitz.

(Rank and File was compiled by Josh Davidovich) Have an idea about an item for Rank and File? E-mail us at column@haaretz.co.il.