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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George W. Bush: The Art of Leadership

The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy is an exhibit of 30 portraits of world leaders painted by President George W. Bush. The paintings are on display at the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, from April 5 to June 3, 2014.

I place a high priority on personal diplomacy. Getting to know a fellow world leader’s personality, character, and concerns made it easier to find common ground and deal with contentious issues. That was a lesson I had picked up from Dad, who was one of the great practitioners of personal diplomacy.” – President George W. Bush

Thousand Hand Bodhisattva (Guan Yin) (千手观音)

A friend from France sent me this fascinating and inspiring video. She has never given me a bum steer, so I took a look before attempting to translate the forwarded message from French into English. It said [and I don’t vouch for the spelling or grammar], in part :

Il y a en Chine une danse extraordinaire qui s’appelle “Guan Yin aux Mille Mains.” Etant donne le degré de coordination requis, l’exécuter parfaitement serait extraordinaire, même si ces danseuses n’étaient pas sourdes.

Oui, vous lisez correctement, les 21 danseuses sont complètement sourdes et muettes.”

The choreographer, Zhang Jigang, holds the rank of Lieutenant General in the Peoples Liberation Army of China.

This dance was performed in 2004 at the closing ceremonies for the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, Greece. That’s right. The Paralympics.

As the email said, all 21 members of the dance troupe are sourd … deaf.

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.”

A Hope Worth Remembering

I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.” — Bob Hope

Born Leslie Townes Hope in Eltham, England on May 29, 1903, Bob Hope emigrated to the United States with his family when he was four years old. He died July 27, 2003, in Los Angeles, California, at age 100.

Mr. Hope’s entertainment career spanned vaudeville, radio, film, television and live performances. A comedian, actor, singer and dancer, Mr. Hope was also a humanitarian. For 50 years, he went on the road to entertain American troops, wherever they were stationed. In 1997, he became the only person in history to be designated an “honorary veteran,” for his dedication to the U.S. Armed Forces.

The video clip below is an episode of a Dean Martin Celebrity Roast of Bob Hope, featuring Don Rickles. It was broadcast on October 31, 1974. Among the guests seated at the dias were Bob Hope, Jack Benny, John Wayne, James Stewart, Ginger Rogers, Howard Cosell, Phyllis Diller, Flip Wilson, Rich Little, Milton Berle, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Governor Ronald Reagan, Reverend Billy Graham, General Omar Bradley, Astronaut Neil Armstrong, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, President Gerald Ford, and Mr. Hope’s wife Dolores.