Once again, machlokes surrounding an event; this time, a Tel Aviv event honoring the 70th anniversary of singer Shlomo Ben Artzi, who is also marking his jubilee, 50 years as a performer. The event will also pay a tribute to Ezra LeMarpe as the organization’s Rabbi Elimelech Firer has saved so many lives and assisted countless others at the helm of the organization.
The venue for the event is the Tel Aviv Cultural Center, and dignitaries expected to participate includes President Reuven Rivlin.
On Israel Channel12 TV’s “Erev Tov” program revealed the decision to only have male performers at the tribute event has elicited the ire of opponents, despite the fact the evening event is for the general public, not intended exclusively for the chareidi public.
The report revealed that some of the performers expected to attend are now considering their next step after learning there will not be any female artists performing. Eyal Kitzis, and Israeli actor, was expected to participate as well as journalist Orli Vilnai, who told Channel12 she was not aware of any of these details.
Chaim Shemesh, the cultural director for Channel12 explains “there is no issue of excluding women. The rav asked that respect him, not to include women performers. This was discussed in one of the earlier production meetings, at which time it was explained to me that if women perform, it will be most difficult for the rav [to attend] and once I understood without thinking twice and we moved forward”.
“It is great that I can honor the rav, for I am telling you, he does things the government or any office or agency doesn’t, including the Ministry of Health. No one else is capable of doing this”.
Rav Firer’s spokesman and aide, Menachem Gashid explains: Rav Elimelech Firer will continue providing Ezra LeMarpe services to all seeking it, as he has done with ongoing mesirus nefesh over the past four decades, assisting hundreds of thousands with this volunteerism. Rav Firer respects every person and is proud to be shomer Torah and Mitzvos.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)