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Jewish Journal

A Multimedia Birthday Party for Israel

by Diane Arieff

October 15, 1998 | 8:00 pm

There may not be much to celebrate in the news headlines these days, so what better time to throw a birthday party? In this case, it's a celebration of Israel's 50th year -- an elaborate, multimedia event slated for Thursday, Oct. 22, at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

"Rejoice! Celebrating Israel at 50" will combine well-known Israeli performers with local talent for an evening of music and visual imagery to mark the half-century since the birth of the modern Jewish state.

"First lady of Israeli song" Chava Alberstein, who has just released a new album with the Klezmatics, will perform, as will Duo Re'im, well-known television and recording artists in Israel. Local singer/songwriter Craig Taubman, named one of the top 10 children's artists for 1998 by Billboard, has composed new songs for the event to be performed by a 100-member Rejoice! youth choir, composed of talented young singers from a dozen area synagogues.

A unique visual component will also be a centerpiece of the evening's entertainment. A series of 400 images by local photographer Eric Lawton will be projected onto a screen. Lawton was commissioned to travel to Israel last May for Rejoice! Taken together, his photographs of arid landscapes, archaeological digs, Jerusalem street portraits and more capture Israel's raw beauty and diversity. "What struck me during this trip to Israel," Lawton told The Journal, "was the coexistence of places like ancient archaeological digs and sophisticated places like Technion. It's really incredible how far in both directions of time the country stretches."

Rejoice! was organized by the Jewish Federation/Valley Alliance and is co-presented by the Federation and 17 other supporting, community organizations.

Ticket prices for the event range from $18, to VIP seats at $72 and $125 (including a reception with the performers). Tickets can be purchased from community sponsors, in which case the synagogue or organization keeps 20 percent of the proceeds. Tickets are also available at Ticketmaster and the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza box office. For VIP seating or a list of sponsors, call the Valley Alliance directly at (818) 464-3200. The event begins at 7:30 p.m.


A series of 400 images by local photographer Eric Lawton will be a centerpiece of the evening's entertainment.

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