Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
In three minutes Tova Feldshuh, one of the leads from the recent TV series "Holocaust," had much of the audience at the Israel Independence Ball in tears.
Standing in front of the ballroom at the Washington Hilton Hotel, Feldshuh quoted from the diary she kept during her honeymoon and the one she kept during the filming of "Holocaust." "This is how it felt to go from sweet sleep to nightmares, from holding your love to holding a gun," said Feldshuh, who is married to former Washington attorney Andrew Harris Levy.
The entertainers at Sunday night's ball, which celebrated Israel's 30th anniversary, also included Ben Vereen, the singer who achieved enormous success in "Roots," and Chaim Topol, an international star who gained fame in Broadway's "Fiddler on the Roof." Vereen received the Israel Cultural Award, the highest award given by the country to a nonnative son Past recipients have included Frank Sinatra, Danny Kaye and Diana Ross.
Sitting next to Vivian Dinitz, wife of the Israeli ambassador, Vereen said that he appreciated all the awards he had received in the last year."Yet this is another country. Culture is a ticket to the peace train. Every time we reach someone through culture, we are a notch closer to understanding," said Vereen, who sang one song in Hebrew and also the standard, "You Can't Take That Away From Me."
Ambassador Dinitz said, "Every year the ball has expression of solidarity." Attendance at the ball is based on an annual purchase of at least $3,500 worth of Israel bonds.
Looking out at the ballroom floor, which had been lavishly decorated with pink, white and rose peonies by Howard Baylin, Arthur Burns, former head of the Federal Reserve Board, said the evening had been "deeply moving, because the entertainers not only worked hard at displaying their musical skills, but also showed their intense feelings about Israel."