Aboriginal leaders from Canada to visit Israel

Thirty young aboriginal leaders from Canada will travel to Israel to study culture and society in the Jewish state.

The Youth Leadership Development Mission to Israel will take place April 29 to May 6.

Under the auspices of Canada’s Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, the First Nations leaders will visit Christian and Jewish holy sites, study the Israeli immigrant absorption experience, and skate at Israel’s only full-sized hockey rink, located at the Canada Centre in Metulla.

The group also will meet with the Galilee branch of Kav Hazinuk (“The Starting Line”), an Israeli youth leadership development program funded by the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg.

“The objective of this trip is to help develop leaders among First Nations youth,” said Ron Evans, chief of the Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba, who will lead the mission. “I visited Israel for the first time last year and I was overwhelmingly inspired. The Jewish people are the historic, indigenous people of Israel. For Canada’s First Nations, Israel’s story demonstrates how an ancient people can maintain their heritage while embracing the modern world, and in so doing achieve self-determination.”

By studying the Israeli experience, “these highly motivated youth will return to their communities empowered with additional knowledge and leadership tools,” said Shelley Faintuch, community relations director for the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg and an associate director of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

“The future of Canada’s First Nations depends on building the next generation of ambitious, dynamic and innovative First Nations leaders. Our goal is to support this important project,” Faintuch said.

Yad Vashem pays tribute to Aboriginal activist William Cooper

Yad Vashem honored the “extraordinary act” of Aboriginal activist William Cooper, who led a rare individual protest against the Nazis in Australia.

At a ceremony Sunday night in Jerusalem, a chair for the study of resistance, endowed by the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange, was established in tribute to Cooper, who died in 1941 at the age of 81. It marked the first time that Israel’s national memorial to the Holocaust honored an indigenous Australian.

Cooper, the head of the Australian Aborigines League and an elder of the Yorta Yorta tribe, himself had no rights in his homeland in December 1938 when he marched to the German Consulate to deliver a petition protesting the “cruel persecution” of the Jews.

Although he was denied entry to the consulate, his march is believed to be the only private protest against the Kristallnacht pogroms.

Israeli Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar at Sunday’s ceremony said Cooper’s “extraordinary act … reminds us that human compassion can transcend borders, oceans and cultures.”

Unveiling the plaque in honor of Cooper, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd lamented Australia’s inaction at the Evian Conference on Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution.

“Australia, like so many countries, closed our hearts,” he said. “What we did then as a nation was wrong, just plain wrong.”

Fifteen members of Cooper’s family traveled to Jerusalem for the ceremony.

Cooper’s grandson, Alfred Turner, said that “We’ve always known about his story [and] we’ve always wanted other people to know about it.”

7 Days In Arts


They’re breakin’ out the fine china for two big Jewish entertainers today. As if seven Emmy’s and five Golden Globes weren’t enough, Ed Asner racks up another award “for his tireless contributions” to FirstStage Theatre, an organization dedicated to helping writers refine and develop their work for theater and film. You can attend their 20th anniversary gala honoring Asner for the bargain price of $75, proceeds from which will benefit FirstStage. Those with more to spend may consider dropping a cool $300 (or as much as $1,000) for the chance to see another legend. Burt Bacharach gets the “Mr. Wonderful” award and sings for his dinner at the 48th annual Thalians Ball tonight, too. Proceeds from this one benefit the Thalians Mental Health Center at Cedars-Sinai.

FirstStage Theatre Gala: 8 p.m., United Methodist Church, 6817 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 850-6271.Thalians Ball: 6 p.m. (cocktails and silent auction), 8 p.m. (event). Century Plaza Hotel, 2025 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles. (310) 423-1040.


You might’ve missed the celebrity elbow-rubbing Thursday night, but for those whose budgets don’t afford $150 cocktail receptions, there’s still time to check out the main event this weekend. Eighteen bucks gets you into Barker Hangar for the run of the ninth annual L.A. Art Show. Promising 60 vendors and dealers from the United States and Europe — and more than $50 million worth of works by “Old Masters to cutting edge contemporary, including photography” — it’s a veritable flea market of fine art. Israel Hershberg’s works will be among those displayed at the show. Those taking a liking to it should consider Forum Gallery’s “Special Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Israel Hershberg,” which remains on view through Oct. 18.

L.A. Art Show: Oct. 10, noon-8 p.m.; Oct. 11, noon-7 p.m.; Oct. 12, noon-6 p.m. Barker Hangar, 3021 Airport Ave., Santa Monica. (800) 656-9278.Forum Gallery: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (Tuesday-Saturday). 8069 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 655-1550.


Seven Days’ wacky event of the week award goes to the Australian aboriginal art auction taking place today. Milking the Aussie thing for all it’s worth, the event planners have booked a kangaroo — to do what, we’re not sure; Outback Restaurants will provide the catering; and John Olsen, consul general of Australia, is scheduled to attend. With the restrictions the Australian government places on the exportation of native treasures, it’s rare that pieces like these are up for sale. Holocaust survivor Simonne Levi-Jameson, whose life story is being made into a movie, is the owner of this collection, from which 18 paintings will be auctioned off. Proceeds partially benefit UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders.Fax invitation requests to: (310) 657-1761.


Tuesday brings you more very fine art. Painter Kamran Khavarani’s big and vibrant “Color of Love: My Dreams and Visions” exhibit at the Gallery on Lindbrook is a blending of impressionism, expressionism and abstraction inspired by the poetry of 13th-century Persian mystic philosopher Rumi. See the pretty pictures alongside works by fellow celebrated Iranian expat artist Jalal Sousan-Abadi through Nov. 1.Noon-6 p.m. (Tuesday-Thursday), noon-8 p.m. (Friday and Saturday). 10852 Lindbrook Ave., Westwood. (323) 656-2000.


Shimon Peres is back in town this week, stepping up to the podium to help kick off the new season of the Distinguished Speaker Series of Pasadena. The speaker has distinguished himself in various ways, including being a former Israeli prime minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Hear what he’s got to say for himself tonight.8 p.m. $38-$50. Pasadena Civic Auditorium, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena. (626) 449-7360. Peres will also be speaking on Nov. 12 at Stephen S. Wise Temple, Nov. 13 in Thousand Oaks and Nov. 14 in Redondo Beach. www.speakersla.com.


Had your fill of Down Under? Head downtown to the Central Library today to see some treasures from our side of the globe. Currently on view is “American Originals: Treasures From the National Archives,” an exhibition of 25 historically significant documents. Included in the show are Germany’s surrender in World War II, a complaint by Levi Strauss for infringement of his patent and the Louisiana Purchase Treaty. Head back Dec. 5-8 to see the Emancipation Proclamation, which will be displayed only briefly due to its fragile condition.10 a.m.-8 p.m. (Monday-Thursday), 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Friday and Saturday), 1-5 p.m. (Sunday). Getty Gallery, 630 W. Fifth St., Los Angeles. (213) 228-7506.


Richard Kline of “Three’s Company” fame proves he’s not just a gigolo in his performance as a very different Larry in “Boychik.” The acclaimed one-man show, written by Richard W. Krevolin, tells the story of a secular son who must come to terms with the death of his Orthodox father. It plays through Nov. 16.8 p.m. (Friday and Saturday), 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (Sunday). $15-$18. The Actors Forum Theatre, 10655 Magnolia Ave., North Hollywood. (818) 787-0300.