WASHINGTON (Dec. 1)
Israel’s gift to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts–a lounge converted by the genius of its people into a triumphant tribute to Israeli music through the ages–was dedicated yesterday. Diplomats, high government officials, Congressmen and cultural leaders were received at the formal opening by Israeli Ambassador and Mrs. Yitzhak Rabin and trustees of the Center, and met the Israeli artists and architect, Raphael Blumenfeld, who contributed towards the creation of the uniquely Jewish decorations.
Rabin said, in welcoming the guests, that Israel is making an effort to revive our ancient culture and civilization where it started, where it was created. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D., Mass.) said that in America “we all can think of what we give Israel. We rarely think of what it contributes to us – its sense of dedication to human values. If this magnificent room brings the US and Israel closer together, and all humanity together, this room will have served President Kennedy well.”
The lounge adjoins the Presidential box in the concert hall. American Presidents will use it to receive their guests. At other times, concert-goers will be permitted to promenade there during intermission and guides will show it off to tourists. Blumenfeld, who designed the interior of the Israeli Knesset, said the lounge’s art works represent “the first permanent exhibit of Israel art outside of a museum.”
Blumenfeld selected Israeli painters Shraga Weill and Ezekiel Kimche and sculptor Nehemia Azaz to create the art and interior decorations in the lounge. The value of the art and furnishings is estimated at more than $500,000. The cost was borne in part by Washington area “Friends of the State of Israel.”