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>Israel Faxx
>JN Aug. 12, 1999, Vol. 7, No. 148

Hints of Anti-Semitism

By ICEJ News Service

Although a peace accord was signed almost five years ago with Jordan, it seems normalization and acceptance of Israel has yet to be fully realized on television. In a recent episode of the U.S. TV show "E.R.," all references to Jews and Judaism were "beeped" out. In a separate event, Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq reported that Saudi Arabia will boycott the World Youth Handball Tournament sponsored by Qatar later this month because Israel will send a team to participate in the games.

Eclipse Brings Arabs and Jews Together

By Meredith Buel (VOA Jerusalem)

Israelis and Palestinians gathered together in Jerusalem to watch the solar eclipse and urge their leaders to make progress in efforts to revive the peace process in the Middle East.

As the sounds of jazz music floated gently over the hills of Jerusalem, people from throughout the region gathered for what was billed an -- illumination concert -- an event where people could safely watch the eclipse, listen to music, and pray for peace.

Sixty-one-year-old Arnie Lawrence -- an American living in Jerusalem -- came up with the idea for the concert. Lawrence is an accomplished musician. For years he played in the band for Johnny Carson and the Tonight Show, and has played with performers ranging from Louis Armstrong to Elvis Presley. He says music brings people together - especially in a place like the Middle East.

"Music is a universal language that expresses the feeling of the inner heart and the soul and also it reflects all forms of prayer."

A Palestinian from the West Bank town of Ramallah -- Leon Ohannessian -- developed a device allowing those who gathered for the event to watch the eclipse without looking at the sun and damaging their eyes.

He says he was inspired by Arnie Lawrence's idea to bring people together to watch the eclipse and pray for peace in the Middle East.

"At the crucial time of politics going on in the area, at a time when people are trying to make peace, governments are trying to make peace, there comes Arnie with the idea of celebrating the eclipse phenomena. Which is; as being dark, and how much light you can see through this dark, and make people see that light through the music and through the love of your neighbor as Palestinians and Jews, and other people living in this country."

During the eclipse candles were lit. Prayers were offered for loved ones and for people who have died trying to make peace in the Middle East.

The event was held in an area of Jerusalem known as the Peace Forest -- a high point overlooking the holy sites for Muslims, Jews, and Christians in the Old City.

So with jazz in the air and against the backdrop of historic holy sights, Israelis and Palestinians watched the eclipse, prayed and celebrated together in a symbolic event they hope will promote peace.

New Jewish History Center

By Martin Bush (VOA-New York)

Five major Jewish-American cultural and research institutions in New York City have combined to dedicate a vast complex built to advance Jewish scholarship, art and culture in the United States.

This new cultural landmark consists of five unique yet complementary institutions. They include the American Jewish Historical Society, the Leo Baeck (bike) Institute, which specializes in German-speaking Jewry, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, which focuses on Eastern European Jewry, the American Sephardi Federation documents Sephardic or Middle Eastern Jewry, and the Yeshiva University Museum which interprets and exhibits Jewish art, culture and history.

The still-unfinished Center for Jewish History is housed in five renovated Manhattan buildings making up a single 100,000 square foot facility for documentation, preservation, research, teaching, exhibitions and public programs. The renovation costs, along with the projected endowment fund, total an about $55 million. The center is scheduled to open in the year 2000.

The center will house 100-million archival items, along with 500,000 library volumes, and tens of thousands of artifacts and works of art. Bruce Slovim, the chairman of the Center for Jewish History, says scholars have described the center as the Jewish Library of Congress or the Smithsonian Institution of Jewish Studies.

New York State is contributing $2 million to the center and New York City is giving $3 million. Rudolph Giuliani, mayor of New York - the city with the world's largest Jewish population - describes the Center for Jewish History as the symbol of the ongoing strength and vibrancy of the Jewish people of his city.

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