Bintel Blog

Defying Threats and Madoff, the AICF Marches On

By Benjamin Ivry

Visitors to the America-Israel Cultural Foundation website see bad news and good in anticipation of this year’s gala fundraiser January 10th at Carnegie Hall. The bad news, announced in a banner: “Unfortunately, the bulk of AICF’s endowments were invested with Bernard L. Madoff Securities.” The good news, AICF is one of the few charities to underestimate its own impact, since its slogan, “Building a Better Israel through the Arts,” is far too modest. Since 1939, the AICF has handed out over 100 million dollars to Israeli artists and cultural institutions, thereby making the world a better place, not just Israel.

No single concert or event can encapsulate the AICF’s full range of scholarship support in music, art & design, dance, film, and theatre. At the January 10th event, some of the most touching performances will doubtless be by veteran performers whose scholarships date back to the 1950s, like the ardent violinist Miriam Fried and the warmheartedly engaging pianist Joseph Kalichstein.

Absent at Carnegie Hall but very much present on the world scene are some still-young past recipients like the pianist Ran Dank, whose rigorous performances of Bach are in the great tradition, and the remarkable clarinetist Moran Katz who plays with transcendent passion.

Another scholarship recipient is the multi-talented actor Itay Tiran, who combines the stage presence of a younger Ewan McGregor with a moving, Broadway-style voice. The jazz scholarship program has been especially strong, supporting the pianist Alon Yavnai, an interpreter of somber grace and eloquence and the Sonny Rollins-influenced alto sax player Uri Gurvich.

The serenely masterful guitarist Gilad Hekselman aptly comments on the AICF website: “It’s great that in a country that is constantly under threat, there is an organization so devoted to the arts. It’s rare! From a culturally developed reality — peace will come.”

Watch past AICF scholarship winner Sivan Magen, a spectacularly expressive harpist who plays at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on Feb. 17.

Watch past AICF scholarship winner Inbal Segev, a radiantly vigorous cellist who performs a recital on March 10 at the West Bloomfield, Michigan’s Jewish MusicFest.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Alon Yavnai, Gilad Hekselman, Inbal Segev, Itay Tiran, Joseph Kalichstein, Miriam Fried, Moran Katz, Ran Dank, Sivan Magen, Uri Gurvich




Find us on Facebook!
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.