Following several challenging months, we introduce new staff as the Circus heads to the USA this summer.
Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, had it that everything changes and nothing stands still. He was no clown, and if change means growth, then this is a good thing. But, in the thick of change, it isn't always clear how things may turn out!
Thus with the departure of two key staff in recent months - Dagan Dishbak our Galilee Circus trainer and co-director, and Nir Topper, the Foundation's executive director - many of our plans were up in the air. And to top it all we were due to take our Circus to the USA in August to learn and perform with Jessica Hentoff and Circus Harmony, in St Louis, Missouri.
Peace Through Pyramids, our collaboration with Circus Harmony’s diverse youth circus troupe, the St Louis Arches, began in 2007, and has been our most successful and important partnership. The story of our visits to St Louis and Circus Harmony's visits to the Galilee has been told in depth in Cynthia Levinson's 2015 book, Watch Out for Flying Kids! If you want to read the whole history, warts and all, that is where you can find it! After everything which our two circuses' partnership had achieved, the last thing we wanted was a negative epilogue to Cynthia's story, yet it appeared that we would have neither the funds nor the manpower to send a troupe to St Louis this August, as planned.
STOP PRESS! In fact Cynthia paid us a flying visit, with husband, Sandy, as this article was being drafted - you can see her pictured on the right of this article (back row, third from the left) with part of our troupe. Cynthia was pleased to see old friends and make new ones.
When we told Jessica that we might not be able to visit her this summer after all, she was in shock! But true to her motto, Defy gravity and other limitations, she refused to believe that we wouldn't find a way to send her a troupe. Jessica had already raised all the necessary funds at her end, and begun to publicise the program for the encounter. We knew we had to move earth and sky to find a way to be there.
A lot of hard work followed, with all the foundation staff coming together with the board and the parents of the children in the Circus. We were so impressed by the commitment of the parents and staff in particular, who have accepted that, sadly, we are not able to subsidize the children's travel costs as for former trips. Parents have in some cases made real sacrifices to ensure their kids can join the trip, and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity for personal and inter-group development.
So we are pleased to announce that we are sending a troupe of Arab and Jewish children and youth to St Louis this summer!
If you will be near St Louis between 1-14 August, do come along to see Peace Through Pyramids - Circus Harmony's St Louis Arches and Galilee Circus! See the panel to the right for more details.
We do still have some costs to cover, and are always in need of funds for all our activities, so if you would like to make a donation of any amount, please do so here.
Introducing our new staff!
Meanwhile, we are pleased to be able to introduce Michal Halel Abulafia, who replaces Dagan at the Circus. For a decade from the age of ten, Michal danced ballet professionally and studied at circomedia in England. She also studied at the School of physical theater in Israel, and has a bachelor's degree in dance and education. Michal has appeared in performances with many theaters around Israel and worldwide. She has taught circus in a variety of settings at the Jewish-Arab circus in Jerusalem, and now the Galilee Circus. For the past four years Michal has also been a medical clown at Nahariya Hospital and is building, together with Aref Moleh, the 'Farm of Peace howdoyado' at Yarka: a center for environmental education and creation in circus arts. You can find out more about Michal's work at circalafia.
In addition we are pleased that one of our most experienced alumni, Hala Asadi has joined the staff. Hala, who specialises in acrobatics, followed her younger brother, Ali, into the Circus and has never looked back!
So with all these changes, how do we feel?
Certainly the kids and parents, as well as the staff and board, are proud that we continue to grow, and bring together Jews and Arabs, having fun in circus, and showing the world what can be achieved.