Gad Elbaz: An Israeli in Paris

Kudos to Gad Elbaz, the Israeli singer, for lighting up the streets of Paris in song, dance and joy. Mr. Elbaz released his video, Hava Nagila, on March 15, 2015, just over two months after the inglorious attacks against life, free speech and free religion at the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine, and at Hyper Cacher, the kosher supermarket. This is also the same day that Hyper Cacher reopened for business since the attacks.

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A Joyous Sound: Hava Nagila, Texas Style

A Canadian friend, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, married to a New Zealander, who now lives in the United States, sent me this video. She describes it as “a hoot, hootenanny style.” The email she forwarded to me with the link included this anonymous comment:

WE CAN CELEBRATE EACH OTHER’S CULTURE, EACH OTHER’S ACHIEVEMENT, NO MATTER IF WE AGREE WITH THE PERSON’S POLITICS OR NOT. WHERE ELSE YOU CAN HAVE AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT, A LATINA SUPREME COURT JUSTICE, AN AUSTRIAN IMMIGRANT BODY BUILDER FOR GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA, OR A TEXAS CHRISTIAN CHURCH SINGING “HAVA NAGILA” WHILE DISPLAYING BOTH THE AMERICAN AND ISRAELI FLAGS? GOD BLESS THE USA.”

Here is the rendition of Hava Nagila by the CUFI Cornerstone Singers, performed at the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas.

Cornerstone Church was founded in 1975 by Pastor John Hagee. Under his leadership, the congregation has grown from 1,000 members to over 19,000. Pastor Hagee is also the founder of Christians United for Israel (CUFI).

The statement on the CUFI web site reads, in part:

During the Holocaust, too many Christians were silent, and we were left to mourn the slaughter of 6 million Jews. Today, Bible-believing Christians must speak up and stand up for Israel. We must act to do whatever we can to protect Israel’s 6 million Jews from the second Holocaust. We must get it right this time. Our faith demands it. The times require it. Silence is not an option.”

Sulkin, Soccer & Cyrus: Let the Games Begin

British actor Gregg Sulkin, 17, is not only the teen-dream boyfriend of superstar Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana; he is also a terrific soccer player. He is in Israel competing in the 2009 Maccabiah Games as a member of the British soccer team.

This is Gregg Sulkin’s second trip to Israel. His first trip to the country was for his bar mitzvah, which was held at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. He told the Jerusalem Post, “I love how united Israel is as a country, as a family,” joking that “the weather here is so much better than in London.”

After the games, Mr. Sulkin will go to Los Angeles to pursue acting, his other passion. The young man has appeared on television and in the film Sixty Six, with Helena Bonham Carter. An autobiographical film, it is based on the real-life bar mitzvah of the film’s director Paul Weiland. It is about a boy (played by Gregg Sulkin), about to have his bar mitzvah in London in 1966, against the backdrop of the World Cup finals. That was the year that England hosted the games, achieving their first and only win.

See Also:
Miley Cyrus’s boyfriend: Maccabiah, then Hollywood [Jerusalem Post; July 20, 2009]
How do you say Hannah Montana in Hebrew? [21c Israelity Blog; July 21, 2009]

Madonna’s Second Date in Israel

Madonna will resume her international Sweet & Sticky Tour in London on the 4th of July. The tour will end in Israel. After the September 1, 2009, concert in Tel Aviv quickly sold out, a second performance date was added for September 2, 2009. It has been 16 years since the pop diva last performed in Israel, although she has been a visitor to the country a couple of times since then.

While in Israel, Madonna plans to go to the Wailing Wall with her children, including her newly adopted Malawi daughter Mercy, age 3 or 4, and adopted Malawi son David Banda, 3.

The Israeli tabloid Yedioth Ahronoth reports that Madonna’s friend Justin Timberlake will be joining her in Israel. The two share an enthusiasm for Kabbalah. Mr. Timberlake has been studying the esoteric Jewish mysticism at the London Center with Madonna.

There have been no announced plans that Mr. Timberlake will perform on the Sweet & Sticky Tour, but it is rumored that there may be some onstage surprises.

Israeli or Palestinian?

Do you know the difference between an Israeli and a Palestinian?

That’s not a joke and there is no punch line. It’s a question raised by Swiss photographer Olivier Suter in his project Enemies.

Last March while on a trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Mr. Suter asked Palestinians for photographs that he could use to compare with photographs of Israelis. He then published the eight photos he received in an ad in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, with the words “Wanted: people who look alike.” There was no mention in the ad that the people in the pictures were Arabs.

enemies_275x170The photograph on the left shows five-year old Adam Shurati, who lives in Bet Hanina, a Palestinian suburb of Jerusalem. On the right is an Israeli, Hadas Maor, in a photograph taken many years ago when she was six years old.

Hadas’ father Yehuda said, “Ben-Gurion was right when he said ‘The Palestinians are not our cousins, they’re our brothers. Turns out, they could be twins.”

Adam’s mother Nancy was surprised but happy about the resemblance between the children. But, she says, Adam is not too pleased that he looks like a girl.

See Also:
Can you tell the difference between an Israeli and a Palestinian? [Haaretz; May 30, 2009]

Stupid Cellphone Tricks

TrixCell, established in 2007, is the first company to introduce the concept of mobile magic. The company was founded by its Chief Executive Officer, Shlomi Grandes, who is a lawyer and media producer, and Menny Lindenfeld, TrixCell’s Chief Creative Officer, who is an artist, graphic designer and magician. The company develops magic trick applications for your cellphone. They are currently marketing six products:

  • Spoon!
  • Pyro
  • digiWallet
  • Ticker
  • 3Cups
  • CardOmen

The mobile phone tricks were developed under the direction of Mr. Lindenfeld, who called upon the expertise of “Shadow Magicians,” who are some of the biggest names in the Magician world, but whose identities are a closely kept secret.

Developing the applications was a challenge. “The first issue required a strong learning curve on our part since we needed to make sure the applications worked on all levels of phones – smartphones, java phones, etc.,” Mr. Grandes said. “We also wanted to make sure we were compatible with phones sold in the Far East, where we believed the applications would be very popular.”

This video shows a demonstration of Spoon!

TrixCell is based in Tel Aviv, Israel. The applications are available for purchase on line and through many cell phone companies.

See Also:
Turning your cell phone into a magic show [Israel21c; June 15, 2009]