Rank and File: The New Production, 'The Weizmann Dialogues,' Aims to Spice Things Up

KeepOlim will hold its 2nd Annual Free Purim Party Fiesta in Tel Aviv while Rabbis For Human Rights pays tribute to one of its members

From left: Elkan Levy, Rachel Goldman Weizmann, Howard Epstein and Barry Shaw.
Glenis Bertfield

NOT HAMILTON, WEIZMANN: When historian Howard Epstein approached ESRA’s Glenis Bertfield about presenting a lecture on Chaim Weizmann, Israel’s first president, she was hesitant about the format. To spice things up, Epstein and fellow historian Elkan Levy devised a production that evolved into “The Weizmann Dialogues,” written by Epstein, which premiered in Ra’anana on Tuesday evening. “‘The Weizmann Dialogues’ is a dramatized play reading characterized by imaginary conversations, based on real events, between Chaim Weizmann and Theodor Herzl, Arthur Balfour, David Ben-Gurion and even U.S. President Harry Truman,” Bertfield told Haaretz. After the show, fellow performer Barry Shaw, also a historian, moderated the discussions held between Epstein and Levy. Rachel Weizmann-Shneorson, Weizmann’s great-niece, was the guest of honor and spoke as well. “This was entertaining as well as informative,” noted Bertfield, who added that the three plan to take the play on the road.

DANCING IMMIGRANTS: Building on the success of its previous holiday event, KeepOlim is holding its 2nd Annual Free Purim Party Fiesta at Tel Aviv’s Dancing Camel next Thursday. “It’s not about loud music or discount dancing but more about making connections,” KeepOlim founder LiAmi Lawrence told Haaretz. He said that 300 adult immigrants from all over the world and of all ages attended last year’s event. Next week’s gathering features a mix of karaoke with live performances by olim performers including Talia Welka, who moved here from England less than two years ago, Ari Cohen, the Hashtagz – Jacquelyne Weiner, Peter Gilbert, Daniel Weiss, Grant Crankshaw and Daniella Crankshaw – and SheRock - made up of Betty Maoz, Erit Gil, Shelley Ellen and Yael Cohen. For more info, visit KeepOlim’s Facebook page.

TO BE CONTINUED: Rabbis For Human Rights has become a fixture in the Israeli activist scene, fighting for social justice and deriving its authority from Jewish tradition and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights since its founding in 1988. On Tuesday, the organization paid tribute to one of its founding members, Rabbi Benjamin J. Hollander, with a posthumous launch in Jerusalem of his newly published book of teachings on the weekly Torah portion. Titled “To Be Continued,” the book was edited by Rabbi Michael Schwartz. Rabbi Hollander, a disciple of Nechama Leibowitz, “was beloved for his teaching of Torah as well as for the kindness he radiated in exemplifying his teachings in life,” according to a statement by Rabbis For Human Rights. “Rabbi Hollander augmented his mastery of the classic Torah commentaries and midrash with a deep sensitivity to a text’s literary aspects and psychological insights.”

Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.

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