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  Israel Faxx                                      \/ /  \/ /
  August 4, 1994 Volume 2, #144                    / /\__/_/\
  Electronic World Communications, Inc.           /__\ \_____\
  8916 Reading Road, Cincinnati, OH 45215             \  /
  Internet: ewcnews@tso.uc.edu Phone: (513) 563-7424   \/
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A church in Baltimore, Md. Is trying to raise $500,000 for repairs. And members don't mind getting the money in pennies. Leaders of Saint Ann's Roman Catholic Church say they hope the church will collect $500,000 in eight weeks. That would be a lot of pennies -- 50 million. Saint Ann's church says they will also accept dollar bills.

Knesset Ratifies Israel-Jordan Peace Agreement

By Art Chimes (Jerusalem)

Israel's Knesset has overwhelmingly approved last week's agreement between Israel and Jordan. The vote was a lopsided 91-3.

Crossing party lines in a non-binding vote, the Israeli lawmakers gave near-unanimous approval to the agreement that ended the 46-year state of war between Israel and Jordan.

Before the vote, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin urged passage of the measure, saying the Washington Declaration is an intermediate step on the way to the signing of a full peace agreement.

Rabin sought to reassure members of the Knesset that Israel is not making any concessions on the status of Jerusalem, despite language in the Washington Declaration acknowledging Jordan's special role in administering the Muslim holy places here.

On Tuesday, Rabin said Israel did not intend to negotiate with the Palestinians on the status of Jerusalem until 1996. The Palestinians want to open talks on Jerusalem immediately in an effort to maximize their control in the city where they hope to establish the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Christopher will Travel Down Middle East Road

By Victor Beattie (Washington)

US Secretary of State Warren Christopher resumes his Middle East shuttle diplomacy later this week with a focus on sparking progress in negotiations between Israel and Syria. The trip comes as Israel's foreign minister appealed to Damascus to open a two-track channel for negotiations.

Christopher leaves Washington Friday for Cairo, then goes to Syria, Israel, and, finally, Jordan before returning home sometime in the middle of next week.

The trip comes one week after the historic non-belligerency agreement signed in Washington between Jordan and Israel. Next week Christopher will watch Jordan's King Hussein and Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin open a new border crossing between their two countries.

The Israel-Jordan agreement is widely viewed as giving momentum to the more difficult talks between Israel and Syria. Those talks have been stalled over the future of the Golan Heights -- Syrian territory captured by Israel in 1967 and annexed in 1980. Syria demands a full Israeli withdrawal, while Israel has offered a partial withdrawal in exchange for tangible signs of peace, including recognition.

Christopher has suggested the Syrians need to be more flexible in their position.

As Christopher prepares to depart for the Middle East -- Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has called on Syria to enter into private, as well as open, talks. He says private negotiations might achieve serious progress, much as they did when Israel negotiated with the PLO in Oslo.

Jewish Leaders Confer with FBI about Terrorism

By Michele Kelemen (Washington)

Representatives of 17 US Jewish organizations met with the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to discuss recent bomb attacks on Jewish targets in London and Buenos Aires and potential threats to US security. The Jewish groups say they are pleased with the FBI's vigilance, but add that the agency needs more resources for counter-terrorism efforts.

The chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Lester Pollack, described the one-and-one-half hour meeting in Washington as satisfying. He says FBI Director Louis Freeh and the Jewish organizations are all concerned about public safety in the wake of what he calls the heinous attacks in Britain and Argentina. The bombing in Buenos Aires last month killed nearly 100 people at a Jewish cultural center.

Pollack says the FBI is doing what it can to help in that investigation and the one in Britain and to alert the Jewish community here in the United States to take safety precautions. He says the meeting with Freeh also covered what steps can be taken to improve counter-terrorism in general in the United States.

U.S. May Prosecute Yankel Rosenbaum Murderer

The United States Attorney General, Janet Reno, has stated that the United States may seek to prosecute Lemmerick Nelson -- the man accused of murdering Yankel Rosenbaum -- during the 1993 anti-Semitic black riots in Brooklyn, N.Y. Nelson had been acquitted of the murder by a jury that was found partying with Nelson's lawyers shortly after the verdict; however, the US government may seek to prosecute Nelson for 'violating Rosenbaum's civil rights.' Rosenbaum was an Australian Jew studying for rabbinic ordination in New York at the time of his murder. [New York Post]

Klezmer Musical Opens to Rave Reviews

By Martin Bush (New York)

Klezmer is sometimes called the music of the Jewish soul. This rhythmic Eastern European folk music permeates and drives a new musical called "Shlemiel the First."

"Shlemiel the First" began its stage life in 1974 as a play by the late Isaac Bashevis Singer, the Nobel Prize-winning American writer. Robert Brustein has transformed it into a sprightly musical, sprinkling its whimsical plot with lively dances and traditional klezmer tunes.

"Shlemiel the First," a kind of Jewish fable, takes place at the end of the 19th century in Chelm, a tiny agrarian town somewhere in Eastern Europe. The hero of the musical is "Shlemiel," caretaker of the village synagogue, a simple, guileless fellow with little ambition.

One day the members of the town council decide to send Shlemiel on a mission. "Journey out into the world," they tell him, "and inform everyone how astonishingly wise we councilmen are here in Chelm." Unhesitatingly, Shlemiel goes.

One day into his journey, this synagogue sexton meets a mischievous fellow, and that precipitates the adventure that follows. "Before you go to sleep, Shlemiel," advises the mischief-maker, "face your boots in the direction you want to go in the morning." However, once Shlemiel is asleep -- according to Larry Block, the actor who plays Shlemiel -- the prankster faces Shlemiel's boots back toward Chelm.

"But he's convinced that he's heading out into the world. So when he comes into Chelm, he's amazed to find a town that looks just like the town he left but surely couldn't be the town he left. He even meets a woman who looks very much like his wife and two little children who look like his children. And this woman, who seems to be a little nicer than his wife, he feels, and he proceeds to fall in love with her and she sort of indulges him. She thinks he's a little crazy and the high point of the play: they reignite their passion. They had been married for many years and had children together and kind of gotten bored with each other. And then through another turn of events, his boots get turned around again. He comes back to town again thinking he's had this adventure. He forgives his wife who tells him that another man looking like him came to town. And everyone lives happily ever after."

Even the wise men of the town council eventually admit their folly, saying: "We're talking about Chelm where dumb is smart, where stupidity's an art. We put the horse behind the cart. We never meet until we part."

"Shlemiel the First," produced by the American Repertory Theatre, has already played to splendid reviews in New York and Philadelphia, and on September 21st begins a two-week run in Cambridge, Mass. It may eventually be made into a television or motion picture film. Jack Kroll's comments in "Newsweek" magazine are typical of the critical response to the show. He calls "Shlemiel the First" "the most fun musical of the season."

Actor Block, who plays the title role, says he notices that people in the audience seem generally willing to suspend belief and enjoy the show's naive premise.

"It's very far-fetched, and yet it's so silly and done in such a stylized way that we accept it as a kind of fable, in the way we might accept an animal speaking to someone. These events, while ludicrous, make such a good point of how, seen in a different context, what is familiar to us takes on a new value, that I think people do find it delightful."

"Shlemiel, the First," a musical of Jewish origins, is a hit, attended and enjoyed by audiences of all backgrounds. In New York Newsday newspaper, critic Jan Stewart praises it as the "hippest, happiest musical of the year."

An "Israeli" Arab Filmmaker Looks at "the Enemy"

In "Blue and White are Not My Colors," Avner Birnheimer tells the story of the making of the film "Independence" by Nazar Hasan, a filmmaker with a master's degree in anthropology from the University of Haifa who lives in a village near Nazareth in the Galilee. He describes himself not as an Arab Israeli or Israeli Arab but rather a Palestinian of Israeli citizenship.

In the film he describes how Israel Independence Day is nothing to celebrate and that on Memorial Day his people feel uncomfortable being near Jews when the sirens go off in commemoration, when Jews stand in silence and all traffic stops.

Hasan is particularly critical of well-meaning liberal Jews writing and making films about his people. To one such author, Hasan reacted: "I'm sick of reading what the Jews write about us, although it's important to know what the enemy thinks about you. I don't care anymore about these liberal Israeli gestures, and I don't have the patience anymore for these films showing Palestinians in Israeli society....They should go write about their own people."

Hasan's film was funded by Israel's Channel 2 Television and has been entered in the Jerusalem Film Festival.


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