Rank and File: Jewish Theological Seminary Anoints Alumni

Plus 'A Voice Among the Silent: The Legacy of James G. McDonald' screens in Tel Aviv and LOGON brings 'The Music Man' to Israel

Rabbi Dr. Reuven Hammer.
ליאור מזרחי באובא

IMMIGRANT ALUMNI HONORED: The Jewish Theological Seminary held its annual ceremony in Jerusalem on Tuesday, conferring honors on three immigrant alumni who have made important contributions to Israeli society. Rabbi Dr. Reuven Hammer, a founder of the Masorti movement and the Seminary, received the Louis Finkelstein Award. Prof. Eli Lederhendler, a senior lecturer at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Contemporary Judaism, received the Solomon Schechter Award. Debbie Perla, formerly director of Mavoi Satum and now at Kibbutz Hannaton’s Educational Center, received the Zalman Schocken Award. “Louis Finkelstein was chancellor of the seminary for 30 years. I got my doctorate from him because he was my adviser,” recalled Hammer, who was born in Syracuse but moved to Israel from Wilmette, Illinois. “And I had worked for him while I was a student as an aide, so getting an award in his name was particularly meaningful.”

‘SILENT’ MOVIE: Tel Aviv Cinematheque will host two screenings of “A Voice Among the Silent: The Legacy of James G. McDonald” on Thursday, followed by a discussion in English and Hebrew with filmmaker Shuli Eshel. The documentary chronicles “McDonald’s remarkable efforts to warn the world about Hitler’s plan for the Jews, unearthed from his recently discovered diaries,” Eshel – an Israeli filmmaker now based in Chicago – told Haaretz. “As League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, McDonald worked tirelessly to find safe havens for Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany and warned world leaders of the impending Holocaust he foresaw.” She called McDonald, the son of Catholic immigrants, an “unrecognized champion of human rights, who became the first U.S. ambassador to Israel.” She added that the film “is as relevant today as it was 80 years ago, given the current controversy over the fate of illegal immigrants in Israel.”

RIVER CITY IN THE NEGEV: LOGON, the Light Opera Group of the Negev, will present “The Music Man” across Israel between February 14 and March 18. The musical tells the tale of Harold Hill, who cons the residents of River City into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band he has no idea how to lead, but love foils his plans. The Tony Award-winning show includes hits such as “Seventy-six Trombones,” “Till There Was You” and “The Wells Fargo Wagon.” The cast of dozens includes Michael Herman, who stars as Harold Hill; White Feather Netzer as Marian Paroo; Dov Landzbaum, Mike Berlin, Tamar Naggan, Patrice Perez, Ed Spitz, Arnie Gross, Alan Cohen, Benjamin Deutsch, Debbie Lamdan, Lorna Szefler, Laora Naggan, Barbara Sue Crane and Leon Gelkoff. The show opens and closes in Be’er Sheva, with visits in-between to Rehovot, Netanya, Givatayim, Modi’in, Jerusalem, Haifa and Ra’anana. Shows start at 18:30. For tickets, call 08-641-4081.

Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.

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