BRIDGING A CULTURAL GAP: Following an initiative by South African-Israeli Evan Joffe, Gesher Theater has translated its plays into English and is offering deep discounts to English speakers this month. “I noticed it is difficult or even impossible for new immigrants to understand many cultural issues that we have as the base of our culture,” said Joffe, who moved to Israel as a child with his parents from Port Elizabeth. “The theater is the perfect platform to address these issues. By opening its gates to English speakers, I realized the viewers can absorb much more because of the English subtitles, and appreciate the diversity of Israeli society.” Joffe was able to pitch the idea to Gesher with the help of his partner of 16 years, Alon Friedman, who is one of its leading actors. To get the discount (85 shekels instead of 250), call 03-515-7000, ext. 308, and use code ENG. Alternatively, visit the special Gesher Theater page online.
A SPECIAL DAY IN JERUSALEM: A group of 80 deaf or hearing-impaired boys and girls gathered in Jerusalem last week for a special joint bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah ceremony. The children had prepared for the big day through the auspices of the International Young Israel Movement. Immigrants “come to this country with a feeling of mission, of having a positive influence on society,” said Bronx-native Rabbi Chanoch Yeres, the director of IYIM’s Program for the Deaf and who started the program some 25 years ago. “To see these young boys and girls preparing and going to Jerusalem, and feeling they have received their big prize and the smile on their faces, is fulfilling. To help them integrate into society, it’s something they deserve.” Other IYIM staffers — all immigrants — involved in the ceremony included Australian-born IYIM Executive Director Daniel Meyer, Belgium-native Elisheva Muller (Belgium) and Chasida Lubomirsky and Rabbi Alex Yeres, who both hail from the United States.
HOME TRUTHS FOR IMMIGRANTS: Nefesh B’Nefesh, the immigrant support organization, hosted over 500 new immigrants in Jerusalem on Tuesday in a Communities Fair to help them learn more about affordable housing options across the country. “Olim come from a wide range of backgrounds and have different priorities when searching for a community in Israel,” said Rachel Berger, director of post-aliyah at the organization. “Our Israel Communities Fair was created in order for olim get a closer look at the diversity of options and affordability that exist in various communities and cities throughout the country.” Participants at the event had the opportunity to listen to experts discuss issues ranging from home-buying and mortgages to choosing the community that best suits the needs of their family. The fair was run in partnership with Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, the Immigrant Absorption Ministry, the Jewish Agency and JNF – USA.
Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.
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