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May 17, 2011 5:31 pm

JNF-OR Joins AICF at Tully Hall Gala

avatar by Maxine Dovere

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Broadway Sensation, the Jewish National Fund (JNF)-Or Movement-American Israel Cultural Foundation (AICF) annual gala concert “hit the boards” May 16 at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.  Songs of tribute and hope rang through the auditorium in an uplifting salute to the accomplishments of three organizations dedicated to positive accomplishments on behalf of the State of Israel.

Classic Broadway melodies were reinvented to carry the message of Israel’s achievements and optimism. From the Broadway Sensation “Chorus Line” to David “Dudu” Fisher’s and Tovah Feldshuh reinvented lyrics of some of Broadway’s best to the emotional words of the songs of the Scottboro Boys singing about the power of going home, to a taste of Shai Baitel’s upcoming production of “Superspy,” based on the story of Israel’s famed secret agent, Elie Cohen, the colorful, musical evening pleased the ear while raising awareness of the essential work done by JNF-OR and AICF.

Noting his personal thanks to the AICF scholarship that helped progress his own career, “Dudu” Fisher spoke of the positive message Israel’s music and art carry to the world.  Sharing the stage with Tovah Feldshuh, the two presented an unmatched cohort of Jewish talent, Israeli and American, singing the praises of the Jewish State.   The evening’s honorees, Shaul and Gloria Nakash, brought warm greetings, noting the important work being done to foster Israel’s development in the Negev and Galilee regions.  Special greetings from the international diplomatic community applauded the friendship between countries with shared hopes and histories.

Again, Fisher’s rendition of “Bring Him Home,” sadly, once again dedicated to Gilad Shalit and the soldiers of America, caught the emotions of the audience. Words from Russell Robinson, CEO of the Jewish National Fund, emphasized the importance of the OR and JNF partnership and its essential work in developing Israel’s environmentally sound future.  Israel’s Consul General in New York, Ido Aharoni, clearly enjoyed the evening, still bringing attention to the importance of vigilance in protecting Israel’s future.

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The Or Movement was founded in 2002 by Ofir Fisher and Roni Flamer, recipient of 2010 the Prime Minister’s Prize for Initiative and Innovation.  “We have begun to change the face of the Negev—with energy, determination, and an entrepreneurial spirit,” noted JNG CEO Russell Robinson. To date over 25,000 families have moved to “periphery” areas, “a vital task” important to Israel’s long-term security and economic survival, “better demographic distribution, improved national security and a higher standard of living for Israelis.

Or has helped develop the Negev towns of Sansana (1999),  Givot Bar , (2004), added to the population of Kibbutz Kramim near Beer Sheva. The Or Movement is dedicated to the development of modern communities in the Negev and Galilee, “Israel is no longer a country of exiles.  Bringing people to the Negev is what tomorrow is about: our presence is a threat to our enemies.  Shai Baitel, Director of the or Movement in America, says “this will change the image of the Negev and the Galilee,” the Or Movement is about “excellence – investing in our people and taking Israel to the next level.  Or’s purpose is to insure the future of the Negev and the Galilee.”

Acting Consul General of Israel in New York Ido Aharoni spoke of the need to foster the growth of the Negev and Galilee. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

Post concert greetings: "Dudu" fisher and Shai Baitel, Director of t the or Movement in America, share a moment of at Alice Tully Hall foll lowing the 2011 Or Movement Gala Concert. Photo Maxine Dovere.

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