Posted by Micha Keynan
Howard Rosenman was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised on Long Island. His mother and father, Israeli Jewish parents are from Mea Shearim and Shaarei Chesed in Jerusalem, Israel. His family had previously lived in The Old City for seven generations and carried a classic set of values and customs. Howard attended and graduated from Brooklyn College and then went to medical school for three years. In 1967, he had the desire to finish medical school at Hahnemann Medical College, but instead retired his schooling to serve as an extern-medic in the Six Day War as a part of the Israeli Defense Forces. Soon after he served in the war, Howard met his dear mentor Leonard Bernstein. Leonard Bernstein is the composer of “West Side Story,” “Candide,” and was the conductor of the New York and Israel Philharmonics. Thirty days after the Six Day War, Leonard Bernstein conducted Mahler’s historic Resurrection Symphony on the newly re-conquered Mt. Scopus. Isaac Stern played the violin. Howard was at that symphony and met with Leonard Bernstein after the concert. Mr. Bernstein asked Howard to become a “gofer” on the documentary, JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM, that they were filming of Mr. Bernstein conducting the IPO in Judea and Samarea for the IDF. It was then that the Maestro convinced Howard to follow his passion for film and music and leave medical school and make the leap into storytelling and show business..
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Howard tells us, “The next time I met Elizabeth Taylor was during Richard Burton’s run of “Hamlet.” I convinced Richard I was the producer’s assistant and I convinced the producers that I was Richard’s assistant. They loved me and I had a job. See, Elizabeth Taylor was so gigantic, there’s nothing like it today not even Brad and Angelina. The crowds were ecstatic whenever Elizabeth was seen. Richard was appearing as Hamlet at the Lunt-Fontaine Theater. There were all these policemen on horseback holding back the crowds when Elizabeth would be driven in, to spend the intermission and second and third acts with Richard. My job was to bring in Elizabeth from the limo into the theatre then into the dressing room where Richard was spending the intermissions. I spent every single performance during those intermissions with Elizabeth and Richard. I got very close to Elizabeth through the years.”
Howard produced his first film for television in 1973, “Isn’t it Shocking” and the dominos kept falling as projects kept coming. In 1976, he produced his first film for the screen, “Sparkle.” Howard tells us about Sparkle, “The film was about three black girls in Harlem in 1956 that sing and form a girl group… Joel Schumacher and I both met in 1972 and we both had a love for Diana Ross and the Supremes and we both loved R&B music and we both wanted to do a musical.” So we wrote the story, Joel wrote the screenplay and I produced it for Warner Brothers in 1975. Howard’s film projects include other films such as THE MAIN EVENT with Barbara Streisand, 1979; RESURRECTION, 1980, both of which he produced with Renee Missel; LOST ANGELS, 1989; GROSS ANATOMY, 1989 (includes Howards’ true stories about being a med student); FATHER OF THE BRIDE, 1991; STRAIGHT TALK, 1992; BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, 1992; FAMILY MAN, 2000; BREAKFAST WITH SCOT, 2007; COMMON THREADS: STORIES FROM THE QUILT which garnered an Oscar and a Peabody; CELLULOID CLOSET which won him his second Peabody and many other feature films, including a remake of Israel’s most successful comedy of 2009, A MATTER OF SIZE, which he is about to produce for Paramount Pictures with Carol Baum and David Permut. Jon Turtletaub is set to direct. Howard Franklin is writing.
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Through the years of producing mega-movies Howard especially made time to give back to the community. With a remarkable need to help those suffering through HIV/AIDS, Howard and Marianne Williamson, and now long time friend Elizabeth Taylor, started a non-profit organization, Project Angel Food. Howard explains, “…is a Meals On Wheels for HIV/AIDS patients, now one of the most successful charities in Southern California. Elizabeth Taylor gave us the first 50,000 dollars from the ETAF…” The non-profit is, and has, helped innumerable amounts of people through this epidemic then, now, and tomorrow.
Today Howard has been very busy remaking his first feature “Sparkle” for SONY.
Howard shares the details with us: “Debra Martin Chase and the Bishop T. D. Jakes and I are remaking the movie today for the new generation of kids that have grown up and we decided to set in 1968 in Detroit. Whitney Houston plays a former R&B singer who gets disgusted with the R&B way of life and turns to the Church. When her daughters, who sing in the church, want to go out and sing in the secular world, she doesn’t like it. It creates great conflict… Whitney Houston is starring in it, we are devastated about her passing, she was one of the biggest stars; although she was a super star, she didn’t act like one. Whitney brought star quality to the whole production and her epic performance made the film a true gift to the film world. Whitney and I had such a lovely relationship, with our joining passion for music we laughed and joked around all the time, on and off set. I think her passing was a freak and unfortunate accident; we discussed so many future endeavors for her comeback career. Whitney was excited and focused on her career and her natural love for sharing music with the world could be seen by everyone around her. Jordin Sparks, who won American Idol a few years ago, also stars in it…. Curtis Mayfield wrote the original five songs, that now R. Kelly has reproduced. He also wrote four more songs. Salim Akil, who created “The Game” for the CW, directed it. His wife, Mara Brock Akil, who created “Girlfriends” for BET, wrote a fantastic script. It’s fabulous. I am also in the film. It’s opening nationwide August 10.
Here we have it, Howard Rosenman doesn’t just sit behind the camera, but he acts too and being in 2012, “Sparkle” isn’t his first role. Howard goes on to tell us how he landed a role playing opposite Sean Penn in MILK, 2008, directed by Gus Van Sant, “…Gus said to Francine Maisler, the casting director about casting the part of David Goodstein, the owner of the very powerful gay magazine, The Advocate (whom Howard knew well): “Get me someone who looks like Howard Rosenman, who talks like Howard Rosenman, who acts like Howard Rosenman and has his vibe….” So, Francine says: “Let’s get Howard Rosenman!” Gus says to Francine: “Can he act?” So Francine calls me up: “Have you ever acted before?” I answer: “Yes, when I was thirteen I did Henry Higgins at Camp HILI, in Hebrew, and Susan Koskowitz was my Eliza!”
Howard has acted in two more films after MILK. “Coming and Going,” directed by Sophia Loren’s son Edoardo Ponti, starring Sasha Alexander (who used to be Howard’s secretary!) and “Should’ve Been Romeo,” directed by Marc Bennett. With more films on the way, Howard’s schedule is filling up fast; however, he still makes time to give back like, teaching classes on how to make it in Hollywood and how to pitch your script. With Howard’s firsthand experience on wheeling and dealing in Hollywood, much credit is due to him for to the explosion of Israeli television remakes brought to U.S. televisions. In 2001, Jean Friedman and Rita Spiegel asked Howard to begin the Master Class for Creative Producing, (under the auspices of The Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, the Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Cultural Partnership, with Tel Aviv University and the Tel Aviv Cinemateque,) that taught Israeli producers that they had product that could be bought by U.S. buyers. He taught the first class with the very successful manager-producer, Susan Landau. Lynn He then asked Lynn Roth to join him. The Master Class is the most successful program of the Federation. Howard tells us: “The Israeli producers became very savvy about the U.S. buyers and learned they had Intellectual Property that could be remade for The States…” Remade they were! Such as, the Golden Globe nominated “In Treatment” for HBO and Howard Gordon’s “Homeland” for Showtime. Many other shows also came into fruition like “The Ex List” for CBS; “Traffic Light” for FOX; “The Frame” for the CW; “Who’s Still Standing” for NBC and many others in the works. Nina Tassler took over from Howard after he led the Master Class for seven years.
We sit with Howard, enjoying the beautiful day, listening to his educational Hollywood stories. Stories that demand applause and others that will be continued…. In a rush to leave, Howard tells us he has an important event to attend, he has been asked to speak at Bruce Weber’s Memorial for Elizabeth Taylor in New York, just one of many noteworthy speeches he will be giving in the years to come.
2.18.12 at 12:13 am | Long ago, one-time great friend of maestro. . .
11.26.11 at 4:02 am | Chansoner Enrico Macias lives in France, but his. . .
11.4.11 at 1:31 pm | The Stem Cell Lift® is a product of medical. . .
9.21.11 at 4:06 am | The new musical, JOLSON AT THE WINTER GARDEN. . .
7.21.11 at 1:41 pm | Nitzan Koshet is an Israeli born actress who. . .
5.11.11 at 9:37 pm | Matkot, by definition, is a “collaborative game. . .
11.4.11 at 1:31 pm | The Stem Cell Lift® is a product of medical. . . (25)
7.21.11 at 1:41 pm | Nitzan Koshet is an Israeli born actress who. . . (5)
11.26.11 at 4:02 am | Chansoner Enrico Macias lives in France, but his. . . (4)
November 26, 2011 | 4:02 am
Posted by Micha Keynan
Minutes before midnight, before they extinguish the moon , and before turning off the lights, the phone rings from Paris, it rings in French. “Monsieur Keynan, Enrico Macias on the line.” Clearing of the throat. My French is stuck in my high school quicksand, “Comment allez-vous?” I hear Macias across the Atlantic. “Mercy, mercy, et vous?” Croaking frogs gulp, my eyes deviate from their sockets. “J’ai quelques questions?” (Walla, I flow.) “It’s Okay”, I hear Monsieur respond in English, and I am suddenly on solid ground.” We can do it in English or Hebrew!” he says with a thick accent.
Chansoner Enrico Macias lives in France, but his frequent visits to Israel and his warm relationship with the country reveal his heart. He will arrive here on December 1st to sing for a warm and loving Israeli audience at the Haim Saban theater (Haim will be sitting in the front row.)
Macias, born “Bemazal Tov” Gaston Guernsey at the city of Constantine, Algeria, was his homeland. His father was the violinist in Sheikh Raymond’s band. Sheikh Raymond also happened to be the father of Susie, Macias’s future wife.. Macias, born into music, followed his father’s path and studied guitar with Sheik Raymond. His friend named him Enrico, which grew to become his stage name. Enrico recalls, “Without Sheikh Raymond, I would not be today Enrico Macias”. His love affair with Suzie started when he was 15 and she was 13. Several years later, they married. Susie had suffered from heart problems and at the age of 18 had the first open-heart surgery ever performed in Paris. Although doctors told her she could not conceive she managed to give birth to two kids, a boy and a girl, against all odds.
Underground independence Algerian movement fighting burst against the French colonialism. Muslims slaughtered Sheikh Raymond and in turn, Macias, his friends, and many Jews understood that the homeland Algeria was not a safe place for them anymore. In 1956, Macias left for France. At age 23, he settled in Paris and began his musical career. He took his beloved Algerian songs and adapted them to the French taste. He was a poet of nostalgia for people, culture, places, and especially to his home where he was born and raised. At first he appeared in cafes and small clubs, gaining many fans; then finally in 1962, he made his first record.
Macias’s songs became the voice of longing of North African, Jews in France and Israel who abandoned their beloved homeland and adored his music. Macias became, in a few years, one of the top singers in France.
Macias toured and had great success, first in France and later throughout the world. His concerts filled auditoriums such as, “Olympia, Paris”, “, Dynamo Moscow Stadium,” “Carnegie Hall “in New York and “Albert Hall” in London; as well as, Japan, Canada, Spain, Italy, Turkey and of course Israel. His musical career over the years made him an international artist, admired and sought-after for 55 years and still going.
Among his hits all these years are:
Enfants de Tous Pays
Oh Guitare, Guitare
La Femme De Mon Ami
Les Millionnaires Du Dimanche
As an international success, Macias was considered a person that carries a universal message of peace and brotherhood among peoples and for that he was honored with “The mark of the Legion of Honor” by the French government in 1985, was a candidate for “World Ambassador for Peace and Protection of Children” UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 1997 and received a special medal from the Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz and Peres in 2006 to support Israeli troops.
Macias appeared more than forty times in Israel, his second home. From the mid-sixties on, his popularity grew. Enrico Macias became the soundtrack of many childhoods and leaves memories of the faces of our parents weeping by an old record player playing one of his wonderful nostalgic songs. “I am very proud for my small contribution to the history of Israel,” he answers my question about the special relationship to Israel, “I will continue to maintain a love relationship with Israel as long as I live, nothing can change my love for Israel, not money, not fame, or anything else. I’d give my blood and life for Israel.”
He appeared voluntarily in front of soldiers and joined the paratroopers, with whom he crossed the Suez Canal during the Yom Kippur war. In 1978, he was invited by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in Egypt to appear in front of the Pyramids to celebrate the peace treaty with Israel. From the 70’s to the 90’s Macias continued touring the world with his successful albums.
He wrote a poem in memory of Anwar Sadat’s assassination. Then the next song in 1995, sung in memory of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The sky fell on Macias, one bleak day in 2008, when his beloved wife Susie died after a long struggle with heart disease. Two months after the death of his wife, Enrico Macias, came to mourn and rest in his beloved city of Eilat. This brought him new and exciting insight. At that time, Macias was planning to go Eilat and set up a musical complex where with a recording studio, a place for artists, and the production of his next album. “My heart is always in Eilat,” Macias insists.
At the club of hotel Harrods Macias was invited to the stage, taking up a microphone, the familiar sounds of his immortal hits began playing. Macias’s singing ‘Oh Guitar, Guitar, caused the guests to get consumed by pleasure. Only his friends realized the strength required for the grieving Macias to grab the microphone again, and yet they were convinced that this was the best cure. In the past, this was music that helped him get over the murder of his wife’s father, Sheikh Raymond, one of the greatest musicians of Algeria. On that day, the music stood by him again, helped him get over the immense pain of separation from the daughter of Raymond, his late wife, Susie. “Music is a drug,” says Macias. “I thought I couldn’t sing again after Susie’s death, but it’s stronger than me. The first time I came to Eilat, was in 1964,” Macias recalls, “It was quite deserted, with only one hotel, a Moroccan restaurant and Rafi Fifson, my first friend in the whole planet who became my promoter in Israel. Fifson recalled the first concert in the amphitheater: “The hall was packed, there was tremendous enthusiasm and somehow, no one had bought a ticket at the box office, everybody just came.” Macias fell in love with the southern city and began visiting regularly. The French population in the city adored him.
Although he had achieved international fame, countless concerts and records, Macias was and still is, a simple man, with overwhelming human and large doses of Parisian charm. He smiles from the heart, tenderly touches his friends, never patronizing and easily creates warm relationships. In Eilat beach, for example, you could find him playing backgammon with a friend. “All great men I’ve ever met - Shimon Peres, Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, Abba Eban, all were simple,” he explains the attraction. “When I am on my own, it’s a catastrophe,” he admits. “I miss Susie, she was a wonderful woman, generous, with a good heart. All the time she was concerned for children and friends, a fantastic woman.” Three years ago after the death of his wife declared Macias: “I want to live in Eilat, I want to make “aliya”, coming here alone first and then bringing the whole family. At first, they will be here on vacation. I hope they fall in love with Eilat like me and decide to move here as well.”
“Why did you want to live in Israel”? I ask, “I can go to America, or anywhere else,” explains Macias, “but I want to die in Israel. Since Susie died, death does not scare me anymore. I will not die where there is anti-Semitism, Like Jacob and Joseph were in Egypt. They were like kings, and still, Jacob said, ‘When I die, take my bones to Israel, our roots are there. “When are you coming to live in Israel?” I insist on the phone, a minute of silence on the line and then come the answer, “When God wants, when he would give me a sign”. This is not the first time that Macias informs of his desire to live in Israel. Several years ago, he told the Israeli public that he bought land in Rishpon and he intends to live there. At the same time he was told that the plan was constrained because it is agricultural land that cannot be built upon. The difficult bureaucrats may play in favor of Eilat and bring Macias to choose the southern city as their home.
Do not get confused with all this talk about death. Age 73, the sight of Macias does not reveal anything about his age. He created a charismatic international career and is still filled with his Zionism. Macias was always identified with Israel and supports it wholeheartedly and pays for this political identity, even professional prices: “I have canceled concerts, I was not allowed to enter Algeria and even President Sarkozy who is a friend of mine could not help me obtain the visa,” says Macias. “During Operation ‘Oferet Yetzuka’ in Gaza, I was the only Jewish artist who participated in a show of support for Israel in Paris. Immediately afterwards, this decision cost me one of my concerts,” he says and does not regret for a moment the support and the price he paid. My alliance with Israel comes first, when God gave us back the land of Israel, to me it symbolizes the return of the messiah. In my eyes the Messiah is IDF. ”
Macias recently, released a new record that moved many of his supporters. He sang in Yiddish. He learned to memorize the songs. “I did not sing like a fool who does not understand the words and sings like a parrot”. And why is this sudden revolution? I wonder, “I want the Ashkenazi Jews to love my songs as if I’m also an Ashkenazi. And that the Ashkenazim and Sephardim will love each other and prove to the world that the Jews are able to give an example of brotherly love”.
Jewish and Israeli fans in Los Angeles have been waiting eagerly for the arrival of their favorite singer. The town has been buzzing in excitement.
November 4, 2011 | 1:31 pm
Posted by Micha Keynan
On a bright and beautiful day in Beverly Hills, I came to interview the world renowned cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Nathan Newman, the innovator of the Stem Cell Lift®. When I entered his beautiful, classy and welcoming office I was greeted by his professional staff with a warm smile. As I sat in the reception area, I met a few of Dr. Newman’s patients whom all reaffirmed the praises that I had heard about him before coming to visit him today. They spoke of him with gratitude and appreciation for his professionalism, broad knowledge, artistic talent, ethics and great bedside manner. Coming from a family of physicians, Dr. Newman continued in their footsteps by attending Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, one of the top ranking medical schools in America. He then completed his internship in Internal Medicine at the UCLA-VA Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he began his life-long journey of studying and researching the function of fat cells in the body. He continued his medical training in Dermatology at the esteemed Cook County Hospital in Chicago and completed his training with prestigious Cosmetic Surgery Fellowship through the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery in Riverside California where he could integrate his love for art and medicine.
“It was a natural thing for me to want to become a doctor as it is a family tradition; my brother, father, and grandfather were doctors. As a child, I loved to visit my father at his clinic and I wanted to be like him—a caring and compassionate doctor.”
“I established my cosmetic surgery clinic in Beverly Hills 11 years ago and about seven years ago through experimentations and research I started to develop a process that separates stem cells from your own fat cells for use in cosmetic, reconstructive and regenerative treatments.” This discovery was the foundation for the Stem Cell Lift®.
MK: What is the Stem Cell Lift® procedure?
Dr. Newman: Today we have the ability to utilize your own stem cells that are the genetically programmed reparative and regenerative cells found in all tissues in our bodies for cosmetic or reconstructive treatments. The most easily accessible and most concentrated amount of stem cells are found in your own body’s fat. There are three steps in a Stem Cell Lift® procedure. First, my patients choose the area of unwanted fat on their body that they wish fat to be removed from. Then, local tumescent anesthesia is injected to numb the area that the fat is to be removed. Next, a modified mini-liposuction technique that preserves the viability of the cells is used using special instruments to harvest the fat. Second, the removed fat is processed using special techniques to concentrate and activate the stem cells being prepared for injection. Third, the face or any other body being treated is anesthetized using local anesthesia and the super charged stem cell enhanced fat is injected into the desired areas using specially designed instruments to sculpt and contour to the desired shape. The entire procedure takes less than four hours to complete and is done usually under local anesthesia.
MK: How popular is this procedure?
Dr. Newman: It is increasing in popularity as more people become educated about the advantages of the Stem Cell Lift® procedure. This procedure allows you to recycle your fat to improve your appearance and health in a safe, affordable, scar free, allergy free, stitch free manner, and is the best option for those patients who desire natural looking results.
MK: Can you tell me what is the difference between the results patients receive from the old method of face-lift compared to the new one, your Stem Cell Lift®?
Dr. Newman: The Stem Cell Lift® is a product of medical technological and technical advancements in combination with updated and new understanding of aging and its effect on the tissues in our bodies. Volume loss has been proven to be a major factor in facial aging. This three-dimensional concept is a major shift away from the two-dimensional approach of cutting and pulling. Tighter does not mean younger. In fact, removing fat from the face and eyes can make one look older. It is the restoration of the volume that has been lost over time and the re-establishment of desirable youthful proportions that gives a natural looking rejuvenated, rested and healthy appearance. Additionally, as with most technological advancements my procedure avoids many of he risks and complications associated with traditional facelift methods.
MK: Can you combine this with other procedures?
MK: Does every fat tissue contain stem cells?
Dr. Newman: Yes. Fat is part of our skin, the largest organ of the body. Fat has been found to contain the most concentrated number of adult stem cells of any tissue in the body.
MK: Is there a possibility that stem cells can convert and become different cells?
Dr. Newman: Yes. Stem cells found in the fat tissue are genetically programmed to repair and regenerate certain types of tissues. Fat derived stem cells can differentiate to become fat, muscle, bone, cartilage, and nerve insulating coverings, therefore they are ideal for cosmetic and reconstructive treatments for the face, body and joints due to their inherent ability to repair, restore and maintain these tissues in our bodies. It is believed that these stem cells tend to remain dormant in a hibernating state until it is stimulated and activated by signals from its surrounding cellular environment to repair or replace nearby cells.
MK: What is the difference between fat stem cells and embryonic stem cells?
Dr. Newman: The safest and most ethical treatments available today are from adult tissue stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are very different than adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells have the ability to develop to any and all tissue, while adult stem cells are more specialized and can become only specific types of cells. For example stem cells found in the blood and bone marrow are called hematopoietic stem cells since they will differentiate to different types of blood cells while adipose derived stem cells (ADSC) are capable of developing into fat, muscle, bone, cartilage and nerve sheath.
The stem cells found in fat tissues are the most concentrated and the easiest to retrieve. The hematopoietic stem cells turn into blood products such as red blood cells and white blood cells, but they cannot turn into other tissues, like muscles. Unlike the hematopoietic stem cells, the stem cells in the fat tissues can become muscles, cartilage, bones, etc.
MK: How is your procedure different from other doctors’ procedures?
Dr. Newman: Stem cell therapy using adipose derived stem cells is about 10 years old. Over the past 7 years I have modified and improved my technique and approach to stem cell therapy as I and a handful of other physicians around the globe gained experience and developed better technologies. In the scar free Stem Cell Lift® procedure I concentrate and activate the stem cells taken from the fat, then inject the supercharged enhanced stem cells into the areas that need to be treated or sculpted. All of the procedure is done on the same day in the clinic with local anesthetic so the patients are able to walk out of the clinic and resume their daily lives with minimal recovery time.
Dr. Newman: Based upon my experience and on the patients desired goals, I determine the extent of the procedure that will be needed to achieve the best results. Therefore, I can estimate the quantity of fat and stem cells that will be needed for each person..
MK: What is more rewarding, aesthetics or medical procedures?
Dr. Newman: My passion in medicine is helping and healing people and through education empowering them to make the right decisions for themselves. Of course I am a guide and facilitator when it comes to the technical and aesthetic matters in the art of medicine. Helping improve my patients’ lives physically, emotionally and psychologically is very rewarding. I love to see my patients’ smiles and increased self confidence, be it from the positive results of aesthetic or medical procedures.
MK: What other parts of the body can be treated?
Dr. Newman: The old adage ‘you can tell a woman’s age by looking at their hands is no longer true because, in addition to the face, the Stem Cell Lift® procedure is used to rejuvenate the hands, enhance the shape of your breasts, buttocks, calves, the external genitalia and tighten the vaginal canal all without a single stitch or visible scar
MK: What do you treat with stem cells that are not just cosmetic?
I have used the stem cells to treat defects left from previous surgical procedures, radiation burns, open sores and non-healing ulcers on the face and body. Although, stem cells are not a cure-all they are changing the way we practice medicine and perform surgeries.
MK: What can the stem cells do for muscles or joints?
I have also used the stem cells to treat joints, muscles and tendons to repair and restore functionality and alleviate pain. For example we are treating and studying the results of the Stem Cell Lift® procedure on patients, who are often on the verge of a knee replacement. The use of stem cells helps to reduce the pain, discomfort, stiffness and other joint symptoms with a simple joint injection. Most patients report marked improvement of symptoms and have avoided the risks, costs, pain, down-time, and long recovery associated with joint replacements, chronic pain medications, or serial joint injections that may give temporary relief. Although there is no long-term data available for this new treatment options, initial clinical results are very promising.
MK: Do you worry that method be copied by other doctors?
Dr. Newman: On contrary, I like to teach other doctors my system. My purpose is to help patients all over the world. My aim is to continuously improve the technique and proliferate it among other doctors. I want to help prevent people from having to go through complicated surgeries and improve the outcome and recovery time. In cosmetic surgery not only is there a lot of pain involved, but also a lot of complications and may be prohibitively costly. A facelift consisting of separate procedures for the forehead, eyebrows, upper eyes, lower eyes, cheeks, nose, lips, laugh lines chin, jowls, and jaw line would cost between thirty to sixty thousand dollars using the old method, and less than a third of the price using the Stem Cell Lift®—no cutting, no scars, no general anesthesia, minimal pain, or minimal risk—and all with the most natural appearing final outcome. If we teach the general public that the option to rejuvenate and repair damaged areas of their body using stem cells is available, they will demand it from their doctors, and the doctors will consecutively learn about it and perform it. The old system will be updated from a 2-D pull to a 3-D lift and restoration.
MK: Do you also have products derived from the stem cell technology?
Dr. Newman: We also produce a serum that is a derivative of human adipose stem cell production, it’s called Luminesce. It contains proteins and growth factors that can be applied to the skin externally. We took the reparative and rejuvenative language that the stem cells produce in the lab and put it into the serum. It is all natural and hypoallergenic.
MK: Can you combine this with liposuction?
Dr. Newman: Yes. It is a procedure that is commonly combined as most of the work to retrieve the fat and the stem cells found within it is similar to liposuction. It is ideal as you can remove the fat from where you don’t want on your body and inject them into another part of the face or body which you desire to enhance and rejuvenate.
Dr. Newman: Yes. One can combine the Stem Cell Lift® procedure with lasers, chemical peels, modified face lifts, and Botox®, to treat skin laxity, wrinkles, sun damage and discoloration.
Dr. Nathan Newman’s mission and passion is to continue to innovate and advance the science of stem cell therapy through research, teaching doctors and educating the public for the benefit of patients. He believes that using your own body’s natural healing and restoring ability found in these stem cells can result in more natural, less complicated, safer and more affordable treatments for cosmetic rejuvenation of the face and body, reconstructive restoration of wounds and defects, and even for joint and musculoskeletal conditions.
September 21, 2011 | 4:06 am
Posted by Micha Keynan
Born in New York to a famed family of actors, Mike first walked out on stage at the age of three, stole the show from his father and hasn’t looked back since. He has enjoyed a unique international career entertaining audiences on stage, screen and television, in nightclubs and on concert stages throughout the world. “The Komediant,” a documentary about Mike and his family, won the Israeli Oscar and is available on DVD and video.
Mike just enjoyed standing ovations in “Jolson at the Winter Garden,” the new musical he co-wrote and created, at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, and Off-Broadway and in Los Angeles as Meyer Lansky in “Lansky,” receiving his 2nd Outer Critics Circle Award nomination. He received his 2nd Drama Desk Award nomination and rave reviews in New York for his performance in “On 2nd Avenue.” He recently completed a sold-out concert tour of Israel celebrating his 50th Anniversary in Show Business and co-starred with Valerie Harper in the National tour of “The Tale Of The Allergist’s Wife.” Prior to that he starred in a National tour garnering rave reviews as Al Jolson in the musical “Jolson.” He won his 1st Outer Critics Circle Award nomination starring as Mike Todd in the Broadway musical “Ain’t Broadway Grand” and his 1st Drama Desk Award nomination for his portrayal of Mayer Rothschild in the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway revival of “The Rothschilds.” Mike starred on Broadway as P.T. Barnum in the Tony Award winning musical “Barnum” (a role he recreated in the Dutch language production in The Netherlands). Other Broadway credits include “The Megilla” and “Inquest,” in which he was hissed and booed eight times a week as Roy Cohn.
Off-Broadway Mike acted as host-narrator for the 92nd Street Y’s famous “Lyrics & Lyricists” series, inaugurated City Center’s popular Encores series in “Fiorello” and starred in “The Fishkin Touch,” in Murray Schisgal’s “Circus Life” and in the revival of Neil Simon’s “The Prisoner of Second Avenue.”
His recent regional credits include acclaimed portrayals of Tevye in “Fiddler On The Roof” at Salt Lake City’s Pioneer Theatre and at the Westchester Broadway Theatre; as Nathan Detroit in “Guys & Dolls” with Vic Damone; “1040,” a new musical by Jerry Bock (“Fiddler On The Roof”) and Jerry Sterner (“Other People’s Money”) at the University of Houston; as Kurt Weill in “Berlin To Broadway” at the Coconut Grove Playhouse (Carbonell Award Nomination); “Hatikva,” his tribute to Israel’s 50th Anniversary and the national tour of the Broadway musical “Those Were The Days.”
Recent U.S. TV appearances include “As The World Turns,” “The Cosby Mysteries,” “Law & Order” and HBO’s “Dog Watch” with Sam Elliot and Paul Sorvino.
Overseas, Mike has been one of Israel’s all-time popular stars since settling there with his parents and twin sister, Susan, in 1962. He is the winner of two Israeli “Oscars” for his screen portrayal of Kuni Leml, a kind of Israeli Forrest Gump. The Israel Cinematheque saluted his achievements in the Israeli film industry by honoring him at a special ceremony in 1997. Over the past decades he has had several successful television shows and been a recording artist for CBS Israel.
From 1978 to 1981, Mike hosted and starred in his own TV variety show in Holland. “The Mike Burstyn Show” was rated among the ten most popular shows in The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Among the many guest artists to make their Dutch television debuts on the show were Mike’s friends Ben Vereen and Chita Rivera, who recommended him to the producers of “Barnum.” Since then he has divided his time between the US, Holland and Israel.
Among his other numerous achievements: Mike had the honor of performing before President Reagan, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, and the Presidents and Prime Ministers of Israel; starred in a Royal Variety Show at London’s famed Paladium; and as a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces entertained the troops both in peacetime and during three wars, hosting and performing with Danny Kaye on his month-long tour of army bases and hospitals following the Six Day War. He is fluent in and has performed in eight languages.
Mike’s father, Pesach, was one of the great stars of the Yiddish theatre. His biography, “What A Life,” has been published by Syracuse University Press.
Mike’s late mother, Lillian Lux, partnered her late husband on and off stage for nearly 50 years. Mike recently brought her to Israel where they marked what would have been his father’s 100th birthday by mounting one of his legendary musicals, with Mike playing his father’s original role.
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Mike has been honored through the years with numerous artistic, cultural and humanitarian awards. He is an honorary board member of Gilda’s Club, a Regent of the American Friends of the Hebrew University, President of American Friends of Yedidim and served as Honorary President of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Israel.
Mike is the husband of a beautiful angel and the proud father of two incomparable sons and the very proud grandpa of one princess of a granddaughter.
July 21, 2011 | 1:41 pm
Posted by Micha Keynan
An Israeli-born actress on her way to the top.
By: Micha Keynan
We were taken completely by surprise, because it seems like she just appeared out of nowhere—but we found ourselves instantly captivated by this Israeli-born Hollywood actress.
Nitzan Koshet, with her big, charming smile and her effortless ability to switch between playing a young, blood-covered victim of a horrific kidnapping and other acts of violence, to playing a legendary, oh-so-seductive Marilyn Monroe-based character, and then as an outspoken woman in The Vagina Monologues—has managed to make us fall head over heels for her.
We were eager to find out, who is she, and how does she do it? After spending the afternoon with the up-and-coming actress at a Beverly Hills cafe, it is safe to say that Nitzan Koshet’s star is rising in the Hollywood skies. It’s shining brightly and it will be here for a long, long time. So let’s get to know her.
The Early Years
“In my work, I use life itself and my imagination,” opens the baby-faced actress.
“I am an observer. I like to look at people, get into why they behave one way or another, what fuels them to be who they are. I guess I’m fascinated by human nature.”
In conversation, Koshet quickly reveals her sharp thought process and a deep, insightful perception of herself, about people in general and the work she does.
I find her impressively wise beyond her years.
“I graduated couple of years ago from New York City’s Circle in The Square theatre school,” she says—its impressive list of alumni includes legendary Phillips Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Bacon and Felicity Huffman, to name a few—“and while in school I came across Arthur Miller’s play After The Fall and could not walk away from it. Shortly after graduation I found myself producing and starring in it on the New York City stage.”
But let’s start at the beginning.
“I was born on an Israeli military base, where I spent my first few years, due to my dad’s career in the Air Force,”—Koshet’s father was an Israeli Air Force commander and pilot— “and my mother worked as a marketing executive. We moved to Montgomery, Alabama, in the United States, shortly after.”
Though Koshet’s family returned to Israel eventually, her American-accented English stayed with her, as a result of these early years in the States. But when the conversation switches to Hebrew between us, so does the accent, and she sounds 100 percent Israeli.
“I had a very fun childhood,” she continues. “I lived mostly on military property, so my parents knew I was well protected at all times, and therefore gave me a lot of freedom to run around. My friends and I would disappear for the whole night sometimes, sleeping in sleeping bags under the stars. It was lovely.”
“We lived next to the only movie theater on the base, and whenever I would come back from school, or had free time, I would go see a screening of whatever they were showing,” says Koshet. “Since it was an afternoon at an Air Force base, and most people were busy, I would often find myself sitting in an empty theatre, by myself. It was my favorite thing to do.”
World Upside Down
Everything changed overnight for Nitzan and her family when she was 11 years old. Koshet’s beloved father died in a fatal military air crash. The experience obviously made a huge impact on the young girl; she became a gloomier, darker version of herself. She turned to art as an outlet.
“I wrote a lot, painted,” she says. “I became less and less verbally communicative during that process. I went into my own private world. In retrospect, I can understand why some people around me were a little worried.” She smiles, “It was a transformation from pink to black, lets just say. I was definitely testing boundaries at that point.”
“We were living in a small city south of Tel Aviv, in a neighborhood populated mostly with a mix of active and retired Air Force commanders and officers,” she continues. “I went to the local high school. A few of my friends attended drama class, and seemed to be having a blast, so I found myself wanting to know what it was all about.”
“We had a Tel Aviv teacher and director who would come in and put on shows with us few times a year. When I joined the class, he was casting for a Hnoch Levine play. The material was grotesque and the characters were larger than life. He looked at me—then a small, shy kid—and didn’t know what to do with me, or where to cast me. The lead female part was of this big woman, full of air, and very strong and sexy in a grotesque way. A friend convinced our director to let me try out for it. And while our director told him he didn’t see it happening, he agreed to see me, and a last-minute audition opportunity was created unexpectedly. Right then and there, I was given a song to sing. I heard it once on the piano, and then I had to go for it.
“The female character sings the song to few men who are in love with her. She is bragging about her body and beauty, but all in a very over-the-top, funny way. I took a chair and got on top of it, turned my back to the audience in the audition room, and started this dance routine that came out of nowhere, swinging my behind from one side to another before finally turning around to face the class and sing. I was still holding the lyrics in my hands! I got the part. To this day, that director would tell you he has no idea how such a big character came out of such a small girl.”
No Holds Barred
Koshet has great instincts as an actress, a natural ability to move and engage her viewers. When I ask her where she gets her inspiration from, she says, “Mostly from life itself. Don’t you think we are fascinating creatures?”
“When I stand in front of a person, I find myself wondering what they are thinking about. What is it about themselves that they are trying to hide from the world? It’s like a little game I play in my mind. It is much more interesting to know and experience who we really are, not what we are trying to be. I think people, just the way we are, are fascinating characters. Trying to appear like the next person, trying to blend in, is boring to me.”
“I have always been fascinated by the idea of achieving my full potential as a person. I think I was born with a strong sense of self, and early on developed a growing fascination with the mystery of what makes me do something, feel something. That was supported by a desire to be part of some kind of dialogue about human nature. It makes me happy. To me, this—acting, this art form—is about accepting one’s humanity, one’s true colors. Seeing ourselves as we are. Completely natural. And forgiving ourselves.”
“I think you need to be very accepting of human nature if you want to play a human being. You can’t shy away from some behavior or needs in your character’s life when you play them. Which means you need to be able to see your own true colors completely, and not be scared to ‘go there,’ with the character, as the circumstances of the story ask you to. I think you ought to be a little fearless examining and observing your own life if you’d like to portray others.”
“I am often attracted to extreme characters and dramatic, borderline fatal situations. The joke is, I am pretty shy at times myself and mostly don’t enjoy attention. But when it comes to my acting, I have nothing holding me back. I don’t feel it is about me. I get out of myself and my inhibitions and am invested in the story telling. If I do a seductive scene, I don’t feel it is about me, it is about the character I am playing, and that gives me courage to behave in ways I probably wouldn’t behave in my personal life, and to step out of my comfort zone. When my character gets murdered, or goes through a horrific rape scene, as soon as my director yells, ‘Cut!’ I will get up, take the makeup off, take a bath, and shake off the experience. I’ll go to the beach and relax. I try not to stay with it. Let it go.”
“Subconsciously, I also learn a lot from my characters, walking in someone’s shoes. It doesn’t matter if I’m playing comedy or drama, it’s a person, a life—there is a message in it. If it is intense material, a dramatic moment that I am communicating and it affects a viewer, and they in return feel something or maybe realize something about themselves, it becomes their moment, and nothing makes me happier than knowing that I was a part of that. I did that for them, in some secret way.”
And what actors does Koshet feel inspired her in her life and work?
“I grew up watching so many films and actors, and was probably influenced by their work subconsciously. My favorite actors to watch were Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Julianne Moore, Vivian Lee, Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, Jessica Lange, John Malkovich, Daniel Day Lewis, Johnny Depp, and Al Pacino. and at the moment I just can’t get enough of Christian Bale’s acting. What a talent.”
“But I don’t really think about it when I work. I just try to be true to the written material I am given, my role, my director and my own instincts, of course. I go back to my training when I can’t figure something out, and the work I learned at Circle In The Square [Theater School, New York], and remember conversations i had with my teachers there. And sometimes I just play for a while, till I find it.”
Love Talk and Matters of the Heart
When asked about relationships, at first, Koshet appears a little guarded, but then she shares a little about her past.
“I’ve always enjoyed the company of boys. I would have three boyfriends at times,” she laughs, “but, hey, I was nine years old, so I don’t think I realized it’s considered a bad thing. Plus, it was innocent of course. At a later age, I developed ‘real crushes.’ My first actual boyfriend was when I was 16. My mother was very cool with that. I grew up in a very independent environment. I feel very lucky to have always enjoyed a good amount of freedom and respect from both my parents.”
We Were Soldiers
After graduating high-school, Koshet joined the Israeli Defense Force as part of Israel’s mandatory service.
“I thought about joining the theater division in the Army, but ended up training to be in the Air Force operation room at a helicopter squad. I wanted to get close to my dad, I think, in a way, by taking a job that would allow me to learn more about what he did in the Army. I was very young when he died, and this gave me a whole new understanding and respect for who he was, what he did.”
“I chose not to go to the same squad he commanded in, as I was nervous about being treated differently as ‘the daughter of.’ I worked shifts of 24 hours and then would go home to my mothers, and rest.”
New York Times
Shortly after her military service, Koshet packed one suitcase and caught a flight to the Big Apple.
“I arrived in New York City by myself and crashed at my high school friend’s apartment in Queens. My mom was really supportive—she gave me license to go and pursue my dreams, and a lot of help in the process. I auditioned for two of the best schools I knew of, and got accepted into both. I chose Circle in the Square theater school for their great reputation and their impressive alumni list.
“After about a month in New York City, I started getting homesick. It wasn’t easy. There were nights I would ask myself, ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ I was lucky to have so much support and faith from my teachers at school, at a time that I was really unsure of my path or if I was even good enough.
“I had these legendary teachers [who discovered many of America’s top actors of this generation] tell me, ‘You are a real artist. You can do this. You have a real talent.’ They gave me the support I needed and challenged me to work harder everyday.
“The fact that we moved so much as a family growing up, and losing my dad at such a young age, kind of prepared me for life, in some way, and made me learn how to take care of myself. I became a cat-like person who always lands on their feet. I think that quality carried me through these times in New York.
“I graduated from Circle and was cast in my first show shortly after. I worked on a few theater shows during the time I spent in New York City after graduation. My favorite was After the Fall by Arthur Miller. It’s the most autobiographical play he wrote. When I read the play, I decided I wanted to produce the show. The play deals in-depth with Miller’s relationship with his second wife, Marilyn Monroe. It also touches political views and ideas of Miller. As an actress, I was immediately drawn to the Marilyn Monroe character, called ‘Maggie’ in the play. It also touches on the subjects of Judaism, Miller’s relationship to the Holocaust, and basically examines how we, as human beings and as countries, have the need to control each other to the point of mutual destruction.
“I approached Alan Langdon, an amazing theatre director I got to work and study with at Circle in the Square and asked if he’d direct this production, knowing he is the only person I wanted to work with on this complex material. He agreed immediately, but doubted I’d be granted the rights to produce this big play in New York City. Being a first-time producer, I wrote to the owners of the rights to the place and asked for permission. I explained to them in the most honest way why I believed in the play, who I was, and what I’d like to do with the material and production. After a few days, I was given the right to produce it in New York City! There I was, a first-time producer in New York, not sure I how I gathered the nerve to even get this production going! It wasn’t an ego thing, it was a true attraction to the material.
“Alan (the director) and I started casting right away, before we even had a budget to work with! All the things we were able to achieve at each stage of the production, enabling us to get to the next level, truly amazed me. I really didn’t think we’d get far at all with it!
“At the first rehearsal, looking at the whole room full of actors, producers, directors, assistants and so on, I was moved to tears. So many talented people were working on this project at that point! Who would have thought? I felt a huge sense of responsibility to make this a great experience for everyone involved. In a short time, we got all our investors. Circle in the Square donated their amazing rehearsal space, while left and right, everyone involved was working enthusiastically. We were all certain this was such a great project and were so happy to be part.
“I got to play the Maggie part, which was on some levels a life changing experience for me. This role demanded everything I got. She was deeply disturbed in her life, fighting substance abuse, mental illness. On a personal level, she was pretty much betrayed and abandoned by everyone she knew. I was deeply moved by her actual story and wanted to do her justice in my performance.”
Seeing Koshet on stage as Maggie made you want to pick her up, protect her and love her. It was a very vulnerable, brave performance. Both the audience and the critics fell in love.
“She is the type of person that experienced being a goddess and nothing at the same time. She is fascinating,” adds Koshet about her character.
“I tried to play her without the clichés. I felt her seductive persona was a result of a strong need for warmth, affection and help. She needed support so badly and that was important for me to portray. We all know she was sexy. But digging in deeper to her soul, and the need and the ‘why’ is more interesting and honest, to me as an actress, more than trying to be attractive. I think it leaves the audience with a more rounded experience as well. Hopefully.” She smiles.
The show was sold out and had a very successful run. When asked about that, Koshet says, “Me and Marilyn were so excited.”
“Because of the Maggie [Marilyn] part, I am here in Los Angeles. Out of playing her, walking in her shoes, I discovered a new courage to take my career to the next level, and to join the Hollywood industry, and make films, which was always a secret dream of mine. But I was very scared about this transition as well.”
During the time she spent in New York City, Koshet mastered her skills, performing in productions such an Off-Broadway production of The Vagina Monologues and Chekhov’s The Seagull, playing Nina, the young actress who gets lost and self-destructs in her pursuit of fame, while falling in love with the wrong guy.
“After arriving in Los Angeles, two years ago, I discovered the world of film again, a world I was very much in love with as a child. I wanted to get the theater training, as I realized most of the actors I look up to started in theater. But I wanted to end up in film. Or at least enjoy both worlds. I love the intimacy film allows you to have with the life you are playing. It doesn’t have to be big or loaded. It feels more realistic to me, in some way. But the experience of a live audience is pretty magical as well. So I’ll probably do both!”
The first one to take notice of the young star-to-be when arriving in Los Angeles was legendary producer director Michael Robin (The Closer, Nip/Tuck, NYPD Blue), who personally cast Koshet to appear in his pilot episode of Rizzoli & Isles on TNT, starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.
In a very short time, Koshet has been noticed by more and more industry leaders and has found herself working as a film and T.V. actress in this very challenging world of Hollywood.
Keith Gordon, the very well respected Dexter director said about Koshet’s work on the award winning show, “Nitzan was so gracious and did such a great job under difficult circumstances.”
In the show, Koshet played an American small town girl who falls victim to horrific acts of violence and sexual abuse on the fifth season of the acclaimed Showtime series.
“What she did was spectacular,” continued Gordon. “Everyone thought she did an amazing job!”
But Koshet seems surprisingly grounded about the whole buzz around her. “Listen, I work hard, and feel so, so fortunate to take part in these amazing projects and work with these great people. I just feel very blessed to be given the opportunities I have been given so far and am very eager to do so much more. I really just scraped the tip of the iceberg, as far as what I’d like to achieve in my work as an actress. There is this whole huge mountain to climb, still,” she modestly concludes. “I am the new kid on the block, and there is a lot I have to prove to people and myself.”
And work hard she does. Her days usually start at 6 a.m., going to the gym or practicing her lines and working on her next role. On a typical week, you’ll find her running around town in a constant juggling act, trying to make her auditions, meetings and shooting schedule work.
Koshet also works in commercials and has the occasional modeling gig in between her promising film and television debuts. She was recently cast opposite a huge Hollywood leading male in a summer film currently in development, playing his off-beat, charming love interest in a comedic love story.
“I am willing to try almost any material and style out there,” she comments when asked about her future selection of projects. “I just love to work! You know what would also be super cool, is if I get to do an action film at some point and kick some ass.”
Her huge smile takes over as she toys with that idea. “After all, I know my Krav Maga [Israeli martial art form] and am not afraid to use it!” she laughs. “Isn’t that the Israeli cliché? That we all are good fighters?”
Koshet is rarely cast as a foreigner though, due to her accent capabilities and her fair skinned, blonde-haired appearance. But she has played few Slavic roles in her career so far.
“Every time I come back to the U.S. from abroad, the people in customs think I am Irish for some reason! Born in Israel? Are you sure?” she amazingly acts out the customs officer questioning her at the airport. “But it’s never in a mean way, they just think it’s funny, I guess.”
But back on the topic of kicking some ass…
“I LOVE Tarantino’s films, and the Cohen Brothers. Working with these people is definitely on my Hollywood bucket list. And Scorsese! What a treat would THAT be!! He is truly amazing.”
When I ask her what makes her stand out, in a sea of young Hollywood actresses, she thinks for a minute.
“Good question. Maybe that I do both comedy and drama? I’ve been told that’s a unique quality. I’d also like to think that the fact that I am a hard-working and genuine person is something that is respected, as well as the talent. I think people are people in any profession, and we all want to get along, do a good job and be happy. So if you come across as a team player and good person, I think people respond to that, as much as they respond to good training and talent.”
Plans for the Future
“To be happy, keep working, be involved in projects that are exciting to me and to the people watching. Having a family of my own at some point. To give, I think that’s the secret. To be part of something. And to keep learning and discovering.”
When I ask if there is something we will never see her do as far as her acting goes, she looks at me, first very seriously, but then that signature smiles starts to crack as she says, “Never say never.”
For more info, go to www.nitzankoshet.com.
On imdb at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2390498
May 11, 2011 | 9:37 pm
Posted by Micha Keynan
MATKOT TEL AVIV - BERLIN
“Man is the mold of his homeland” so wrote the well known Israeli poet Saul Tchernichovsky.
This is the narrative that a group of Israeli artists is grappling with. They received a pair of Matkot (beach
paddle ball rackets) – material, shape and an Israeli brand - as the medium for an exhibit in Berlin.
Matkot, by definition, is a “collaborative game for two participants or more”. The goal of the game is to hit
a small rubber ball with a round wooden racket between the players as long as possible without dropping
it. There is no loser or winner in the game. The game is played primarily
along the beach or at other vacation destinations with water activities.
The ultimate conditions exist in Israel: miles of beautiful beaches and great warm weather where people
like to enjoy themselves. All the right reasons to turn the game into a national pastime and an Israeli icon.
The shape of the racket is round wood plank with a “bottle neck” shaped handle. The raw wood provides a
sense of nakedness and vulnerability.
The location of the exhibit is Berlin, the world’s center for contemporary art today, challenged the artists
with its Jewish history. The artists, in their own way, are developing a dialog with the material and the idea,
with the past and the future, with the “here” and the “there”, and above all with the present, with the being
in the “now”. The artists are struggling with anguish as they create their artwork from their inner being
while trying to bridge the contrast that the Matkot game symbolizes in the “give and take” between people.
We, the viewers, are privileged to join each artist in his/her own journey.
Some of the artists emphasized the material – took it apart and assembled, cut and added and created a
new world. Others put an emphasis on the idea that they want to communicate, form the environment to
politics, from the pastoral to the upcoming storms and the painful crash. Some artists expanded the horizon
into other countries and worlds including the dark inner worlds of man, his fears and desires.
The differences in culture, nationality, religion, color and gender all disappear when we engage in visual art.
The art bridges all, overcomes objections, and is free from all borders.
The artists united in a wonderful collaborative effort around a single idea and proved, as always, that its
sum is greater than its parts.
April 14, 2011 | 11:50 pm
Posted by Micha Keynan
An interview with Rachel Alon-Margalit
By: Micha Keynan
On a pleasant summer night, as he was driving back to his home on Trent Street in Bethesda with his wife Dvora after a lovely evening at the Schulman’s family residence, Joe Alon could not have imagined these were the last moments of his life. When they reached home, he parked the car just as he had done every evening in the last three years. Dvora came out of the car first and approached the door. While Joe was still seated behind the wheel, an unknown assassin shot him. One of the bullets pierced his heart and ended his life. This is not another fictional story by a crafty author of detective novels. It is the true story of his family as told by Rachel, the youngest daughter of Dvora and Joe
Colonel Joe Alon was the Israeli Air Force Attaché at the Israeli Embassy in Washington from 1970 to 1973. One of the founders of the Israeli Air Force, he was a fighter pilot who established the Hazerim Air Force Base in the Negev and served as its first commander. On the night between the 30th of June and the first of July, 1973, he returned home with his wife from a farewell party for Colonel Stella Levi at another Israeli residence in Washington and was shot to death outside his house.
It is difficult to describe Dvora’s shock as she came back from the hospital without her beloved husband, knowing that her partner, the father of her daughters, will never return. Dvora was the wife of a fighter pilot who participated in perilous operations behind enemy lines, who commanded soldiers at war and was a model of courage to his men. She waited for him in different air force bases across Israel as he left for death-defying training flights and for battles. She also witnessed several times commanders knocking on other families’ doors to deliver the most devastating news to pilots’ wives. She was familiar with the sense of dread, a constant presence in the life of a fighter pilot’s wife. But even in her worst nightmares, she could not have imagined that it would be at the doorstep of her home in a quiet, pastoral American suburb, where her and her daughters’ lives would be changed forever.
On that very night, a family friend and Joe’s colleague graciously and against all odds pleaded with President Nixon to provide a plane to take the family to Israel, so that Joe could be brought to his final rest in his homeland. Following a military farewell ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base, the family, accompanied by a few representatives from the Embassy and the Pentagon, left for Israel. Rachel was not even five and a half years old when she asked her mother in wonder, “Why isn’t daddy sitting with us?”His casket, draped with the Israeli flag, was placed between the seats in the presidential plane.
When the American plane entered Israeli airspace, they could see two Israeli Phantom Jets on each side, an appropriate, dignified escort for Colonel Joe Alon’s final return home. Flying one of the jets was Avi Lanir, a war hero who soon after died in Syrian captivity.
Joe was buried in Kiryat Shaul. Eulogies were delivered by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, the IDF Chief of Staff David Elazar and other dignitaries. In the great crowd that gathered at the funeral, many officers and generals shed tears of pain. When he delivered his eulogy, Moshe Dayan vowed that Israel would tirelessly pursue Joe’s murderers and that his sacrifice would not be in vain.
The mourning Alon family settled as planned in their home in Ramat Hasharon and tried to rebuild a normal, routine life. Rachel started first grade, Yael entered the ninth grade and Dalia, who was eighteen, joined the Air Force. She was an operations secretary in Hazerim Air Force Base, where we had lived only three years before. Dvora began volunteering in the maternity ward of a nearby hospital.
A few months after the family returned to Israel, in October 1973, the Yom Kippur War broke out. Dvora mentioned on several occasions that she felt Joe was murdered because he knew too much. What did he know? She could not tell. A few times in the US she saw him burn notes over the kitchen sink. She asked him what he was doing and he replied affectionately that it would be better for her not to know. Dvora was a strong, practical and rational woman. Rachel remembers her repeatedly saying that nothing could bring father back and that he would not have wanted them to lead unhappy lives.
Dvora tried, as much as she could, to learn about the progress of the investigation from her many acquaintances in key leadership positions in Israel. She was certain that the Israelis were doing their utmost to reach the truth of the matter. Her inquiries were gently but assertively refused again and again. Every door she tried to open was shut close. In 1974, Dvora went to the US hoping to follow the investigation there but she returned to Israel empty handed. She realized that the Israeli state and its institutions did not want to share the details of the investigation with her. Just as she had learned to accept the gaping hole in her heart left by her husband’s loss, she also learned to accept the fact that she might never know who killed Joe and why. Dvora died of cancer in 1995. After her death her daughters found a box hidden in her basement. The box contained articles from the Israeli press documenting Henry Kissinger’s numerous diplomatic visits to the Middle East in the early 1970s.
In 2004, 30 years after their father’s murder, Alon’s daughters, submitted a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice with the help of attorney Eliad Shraga. In the petition they demanded to be granted access to all the investigation material from Israel and the US. They decided on this move only after their repeated letters, meetings with former and current officials and other efforts to learn about the progress of the investigation had been frustrated. No one would tell them about the results of the investigation, whether the Israeli and the American authorities coordinated their efforts or whether there were any leads on possible motives or suspects. Only after countless rejections, excuses and unsatisfactory answers, the family decided to seek legal action.
This was not an easy step. The Israeli Air Force family embraced and supported Dvora and her daughters since Joe’s murder. Past and present Air Force commanders were close friends of the family, people who later became ministers and heads of ministries were frequent, welcome guests in their home over the years. During Dvora’s last years, as she was dying of cancer, they nursed her and devoted all of their time and strength to help her fight her last battle against the disease.. After she passed away and following a long process of recuperation, They felt that they were strong enough to wage a new battle. They were united in their conviction, which they had received from their mother, that it was better to know the truth and try to uncover why Joe was murdered and who killed him, than to continue to live in the dark.
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All three of the girls had by now academic degrees, they were married, had children, and led very busy lives. But the open questions about their father’s death did not relent. They believed that they deserved to know the details of the investigation, that it was their fundamental right and that the state should not withhold this information. Worried that people might think they were simply looking for publicity, they decided to pursue a legal recourse only after all their other efforts had been frustrated. It was no surprise to them that some thought their pursuit of the truth so many years after the murder was odd, but even some of their family friends wondered why they wanted to dig up answers that could potentially compromise Joe’s legacy.
The High Court of Justice ruled in their favor. The Israeli authorities were required to provide them with all the investigation material and to request from the American authorities any documents they had from their own investigation of the murder. The Israeli records that were given to them, however, were scant. They fitted into one brown folder that they were permitted to view at the IDF archive but could not take out due to concerns about information security. When they saw the file, they were deeply saddened but also angry and frustrated by how little information the authorities had compiled.
Many months after the Court’s decision, they were invited to the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv where they were handed five brown boxes with photocopied documents. For the first time, they had in their hands all the information from the FBI investigation. Anxious, they began to read the documents. There were pages upon pages of type-written documents but many of the paragraphs were covered with white rectangular blocks and next to them the numbers of the US law articles justifying their censoring. As they were not experts on international investigations but rather the daughters of the victim, trying to uncover the truth about the most tragic event of their lives, they could not process the information themselves. They could not make out what was important and what was not; they could not guess why some parts were censored while others appeared in great detail. They felt that they did not have the tools to study the material they had. Even though they felt a great satisfaction, having realized a part of their mother’s unwritten will to them, they still wanted to take the information to someone who could help them decipher it and perhaps finally give them some answers.
They were suspicious of the Israeli authorities that had done so much to discourage their pursuit of the truth. Who could they turn to? They sought the advice of professional investigators but they could not afford the fees they requested.
In the meantime, the pile of FBI boxes was a constant testament to their helplessness.
Shortly after they received the boxes, Aharon Klein, the TIME reporter in Israel, gave Rachel a call. He was writing a book about the Munich Olympics massacre and the subsequent reprisals by the Israeli secret service and Palestinian terrorist organizations. He wanted to interview Rachel because he was certain Joe’s murder was a part of that tumultuous period. Like many others, he also subscribed to the theory that Joe was murdered by Arab terrorists in the US. Following several meetings, Klein told Rachel that an investigator had contacted him through his US based publishers and had asked if he knew Joe Alon’s story and his family members. That investigator was Fred Burton.
Fred called the daughters a few days later. Slowly, they developed a genuine, strong and warm bond of friendship and trust with this man who they at first thought was a strange American “obsessed” with the case. It was a privilege to help Fred as much as they could with family details and information about the man whose murder changed the trajectory of Fred’s life.
The findings of Fred Burton’s inquiry appear in his book Chasing Shadows. The book follows the murder and the mystery surrounding its investigation and will be published by Palgrave Macmillan on April 12, 2011.
In July 1973, Burton was 16 years old. The murder that took place in his peaceful neighborhood, where the Alon family lived at the time, unsettled him and changed the course of his life. The book tells not only of Joe Alon the pilot and family man, but also of Joe the high ranking Israeli military official with intelligence ties. Despite the FBI investigation, his murderer was never found and the case was closed. In 2007, the case was reopened by a State Department special agent for counterterrorism, Fred Burton. The book describes his pursuit of the murderer as he tries to give answers to a family tormented by three decades of uncertainty. The reading experience leaves one breathless. It is a thriller rich in details, theories, and unsettling descriptions of the abuse of power around the globe. It is a fascinating tale of agents, double agents, terrorists and heroes that Burton chases across the world in his efforts to solve the decades old murder mystery. It is not another imaginative, fictional thriller; this is the true story of the Alon family.
Fred Burton’s book Chasing Shadows
Rachel was not even five and a half years old when her father was murdered, loss and longing have been a part of her life ever since. Her father was different from other fathers, he was absent. Since she can remember herself, she has always felt like she was missed out. Everyone who knew him would always say, “What a wonderful father he was, it is a shame you never knew him.” He was never there on important days - when Rachel started the first grade or when she celebrated her elementary school graduation, her bat mitzvah, joining the army, finishing officers’ training, college graduation, her wedding, her first child’s birth, the baby’s first tooth – but he was painfully missed during these milestone occasions. From 1973 and until her last day, his death anniversary will always be a part of Rachel calendar; there will always be this one sad day on the calendar. It would have been so wonderful to sit together with her Dad, share a beer, have a father-daughter dance, instead of this painful story she carry with her.
March 25, 2011 | 2:55 am
Posted by Micha Keynan
Shifra, 64, and Benny, 66, spend the last five years backpacking around the world, visiting 35 countries.
They spent time with primitive tribes in Papua Indonesia, the Zulu in Africa and the Hmong in Vietnam and China. They trekked in many parts of the world such as Nepal, Myanmar and New Zealand. They camped in the Everest Base Camp and in Patagonia. They attended the Dali Lama teaching and helped built a school in Ghana.
A siddur and a Chumash were packed in their backpack and they tried to find a Jewish Community wherever they went. They celebrated Shabbat and the Jewish Holidays in many parts of the world, including Iquitos in the jungles of Peru, and Luang Prabang in Laos.
They emailed a weekly “Travel Journal” to their family and friends, and we will publish selected journals.
Tuesday, September 6 - Karagol Lake with Shani and Danie
Karahan Pension, Barhal. We woke up at 4:00AM. It was dark. What am I doing here? Five years? Just the two of us?
What if I cannot keep up with him, what if I am not able to climb the high mountains? Carry this heavy backpack? Don’t I look ridiculous carrying my life, my home on my back?
And Benny said,” Why do you always worry about what other people think?”
I looked at Benny. I love him so much. I am traveling with my best friend, my soul-mate. Life gave me a second chance.
The famous Kachkar Mountains. Young Israelis who completed their military service were here to climb the mountains. We were advised to take a taxi to the start of the trail, a place called Nazara.
The dirt road was very bumpy as the taxi drove over rocks and running water.
We finally stopped and the driver pointed up the mountain and said ‘Nazara’. We saw a few wooden structures. Was that Nazara? Where do we go? And the driver pointed up and left. There were no signs. No clear paths. Nobody around.
I was following Benny and Benny was following the marks that the mules left.
That must be the path. Whenever I saw a pile of manure I was excited! We were on the right path.
Magnificent views, jugged mountain picks above, water rushing down. Purple and yellow flowers, delicious raspberries and blackberries. The climb was very steep and strenuous. The ground was muddy and we had to maneuver our way from rock to rock. We noticed some stone-wooden structures that were built into the mountains. They are called Yaylas. The yayla is a ‘summer home’ where the villagers
stay for the summer, tend their cows and sheep and grow the crops.
The Yaylas are built from whatever material is available in the mountains: stones, logs, mud. The stairs are made from a tree trunk; the steps were carved into the wood.
As I am huffing and puffing up the mountains, we were passed by an older woman, a boy and a girl, three cows and six sheep that were going up the mountain. They did not have hiking shoes and they did not seem to mind the rocks or the mud, they just kept walking in a very fast pace. Later we saw them cutting grass to feed their animals.
Further up the mountains we encountered two women who were watching the cows while knitting. Knitting in the Katchkar Mountains. What a sight! An old man with a very large basket on his back went into a Yayla. We smelled cooking and heard a crying baby. It is cold and isolated on these mountains. Yet people make their home up here.
The hike was long and difficult. From far we saw Rafi and Shani from Israel, who took the wrong turn. They walked toward us and we continued to the top together. Eating more raspberries. We stopped to catch our breath and marveled at the view. Water falls, snow on top of the mountains. Benny and Rafi were walking fast, Shani and I trailed behind.
Which way was up? Shani said to go straight up, Rafi said to go around. We were the only people on this enormous mountain. We were looking for the road signs that previous travelers left. They are called cairn or Rujum in Hebrew-Arabic? It is a pile of rocks to mark the way. I could barely walk when I heard Benny shouts “its here”. We still had quite a way to go and my legs did not want to go, my fingers froze.
Find more photos like this on EveryJew.com
At the top, we were at 2800 meter, looking at the famous Karagol Lake, surrounded by snow. Around the lake, jugged picks called “The Six Fingers”. We sat for lunch. Shani and Rafi had a “gazia” and they cooked delicious coffee.
Time to go back, the taxi was coming at 3:30pm to pick us up. Shani and Rafi would walk to Barhal and they stayed behind to make more Rujum to help future travelers. The way back was difficult, I slipped on small rocks as we crossed rivers and mud. My knees were trembling. Where was the path? We lost the path, we were in the middle of turnip field, ‘be careful not to fall into an irrigation ditch’, Benny advised. I wanted to sit and rest but Benny was rushing me because the driver was probably waiting for us. We still had a long way to get down. Benny spotted the taxi down below. Benny put two fingers to his mouth and whistle to the driver. How would I make it all the way down? We were 45 minutes late.
Back at Karahal Pension. Hot tea. We were safe at home.
Shani and Rafi arrived after 7:30, they were very tired and said that walking back from Nazara was too much. At dinner time the place was full of new guests. An organized tour from England, most people were from New Zealand. Stuffed pepper for dinner. Ahmed brought a second serving for everyone. I was retiring to the room, Benny stayed with Rafi, Shani, Debbie, Mendi, Daniel and his girlfriend and enjoyed the conversation with the young crowd.
I will start a journal, send stories home.