Rank & File

Gala dinner for charity

Leket Israel - The National Food Bank hosted its annual gala dinner Saturday night in Kibbutz Nir Eliyahu, drawing some 600 guests from a wide spectrum of Israeli society. They came out to support Leket Israel's mission to reduce hunger and malnutrition through its distribution of excess food to more than 140,000 needy Israelis weekly. Ruth Rappaport of Geneva and Tel Aviv was honored with Leket Israel's True Friend Award for her ongoing support over the past five years. "The night was about the people behind the scenes, our [40,000] dedicated volunteers, food donors and farmers who partner with Leket Israel to save hundreds of thousands of tons of excess food from going to waste," said Joseph Gitler, Leket Israel's founder and chairman, who graduated from Fordham University law school and moved to Israel in 2000. Among the notable guests were Dan Shapiro, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, and his wife, Julie Fischer.


Immigrant-to-investors pitch

A group of 10 immigrant entrepreneurs made their pitch before an audience of about 200 investors and a judges panel at the Microsoft R&D Center in Herzliya last Wednesday. The 10 are part of the second cohort of TheHive, a project of Gvahim, the non-profit that helps skilled immigrants develop their business plans over a six-month period. The judges' prize went to EcoBasalt, a cleantech company producing super-thin volcanic rock fibers that can absorb oil 75 times its own weight. Dutch immigrant Robert Barzelay, who first came here in 1967, spent time in and out of Israel and most recently arrived from France in 2003, told Haaretz that the idea came from a Russian colleague in the company, who worked on the Soyuz space program. The fibers were originally used to protect against radiation. The audience's prize went to French immigrant Yohanna Emkies, COO of SmartLive, a mobile app that allows customer service departments to better respond to customers via instant messaging. Emkies, who moved to Israel six years ago, told Haaretz the app, which created "one-stop shopping" for customers who often need to deal with customer service, is already in beta version. Initiated in 2011 by two French immigrants, Audrey Chocron and Cynthia Phitoussi, who currently serve as its co-directors, TheHive's third program starts next month.


H.E.T.'s next hit

While the sunlight is beginning to emerge in Israel again, dark comedy fans may want to head north next week when the Haifa English Theatre presents "And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little," a drama by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Zindel. The story revolves around three sisters dealing with their mother's death, who "simmer with resentment in this drama which intersperses humor with pathos," according to H.E.T.'s Laurie Rubin. Directed by Ruth Willner, the play features Gillian Braunold, Yael Rudner and Bertha Cafrey as the three sisters. Also starring are Adi Amara, Jacob Margolin, Maury Schneider and Betsy Lewis Yizraeli, H.E.T.'s director. Yizraeli told Haaretz Thursday that Braunold, a physician from England who immigrated less than a year ago, Margolin, who grew up in the New York area in a theater family, and Schneider, a D.C. native who "finally has time," are all making their debuts on the Israeli stage. The show runs from Thursday, January 24 to Saturday, February 2, with a matinee on Monday, January 28, all at Beit Hagefen Auditorium in Haifa. Tickets are available at the door or may be ordered over the phone by calling Hazel Packer at (04 ) 872-7940.

Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.

Have an idea about an item for Rank and File? E-mail us at: column@haaretz.co.il