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33rd Board of Governors Opens with Song and Story

The songs were in Ladino, English, Arabic, and Yiddish, captivating the audience. And characterizing them, too.
The occasion was the festive Opening Ceremony of the 33rd Board of Governors Meeting.
But the evening was also in celebration of another milestone: the 50th anniversary of the Dov Noy Israel Folktale Archives, which are ensconced in the University of Haifa.
The multilingual event of songs and stories, “And the songs flowed with the stream,” originated in this rich collection of folktales, 23,000 in number and growing. “The largest reservoir of Jewish imagination”—that is how the Head of the IFA, Assoc. Prof. Chaya Bar-Itzhak of the Dept. of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, describes it.
The singer-narrator was Etty Ben-Zaken, who told the members of the Board and other guests who came to enjoy the evening that when she came upon the IFA, “it felt like entering a cave of treasures.”
Her opening narrative from this treasure trove involved a story from Ethiopia. That was followed by a song in Ladino, then a story from Egypt. A 2nd-year undergraduate student sang a song in Arabic, and Ben-Zaken followed that up with a song from Morocco. Stories and songs in different languages reflected the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe. She summed up the evening by referring to a medley with, among others, a Yiddish wedding song and a Ladino children’s song as “the Israeli melting pot.”
Etty Ben-Zaken adapted the IFA tales for her performance. Original musical arrangements for her songs were the work of two members of the University’s Dept. of Music, Prof. Oded Zehavi and Dr. Eitan Steinberg.
Bar-Itzhak revealed that some 400 stories a year were being added to the collection at the University. Her students are involved in two large-scale projects recording tales in Beersheva in the south and Shlomi on the Lebanese border in the north.
Another project will ensure that all these folktales are available for many generations to come—the entire archive is being digitized. She would like to publish a yearly anthology from the collection, which includes stories from all of Israel’s communities, Druze, Muslim, Christian, Circassian, as well as Jewish, Ashkenazic and Sephardic.
The tales and songs gladdening the hearts and souls of the audience that packed the Hecht Museum Auditorium for the festive Board of Governors opening gave impetus to University President Aaron Ben-Ze’ev’s message earlier in the evening. Speaking about both Israel and the University, he emphasized the mutual, self-fulfilling expectations of hope and optimism that he felt should and could permeate the general society, as well as this particular academic society. A window of opportunity had now opened in Israel, he stated.

In This Issue:

The University Becomes a Little Like Annapolis (and West Point)

Supported Academic Learning Aids Students with Problems

Synagogue/Church Controversy and a Digestive Amulet
Mark University’s Dig at Hippos-Sussita

Golumbic Elected Israel’s 1st European Fellow

Prof. Asher Koriat Is 1st Recipient of Prestigious German Award

Intelligence Corps Wisely Chooses the University

Sweating Before an Audience—Working to Control a Phobia

Michael Wainer—University’s First Vice President for Finance
and Business Development

Prof. Eli Salzberger Elected Next Dean of Law Faculty

University Responds to Tulane Students' Needs

A Look Back at Graduation 2005

33rd Board of Governors Opens with Song and Story

University Honors Five with Honorary Doctorate
First Egyptian to Conduct in Israel Adds Highlight to Ceremony

Social Responsibility Reflected in a Wide Pool

New Recanati Lab Dedicated


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