UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Nittany Lion men’s gymnast Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel) has qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics based on his performance at a test event earlier this week in London, England. A junior at Penn State, Aronovich will compete as an individual, representing his native country of Israel.
The gymnastics competition at the 2012 London Olympics will take place from July 28-August 7 at North Greenwich Arena on the banks of the River Thames. A total of 98 of the world’s top men’s gymnasts will vie for team and individual honors at the 30th Games of the Olympiad.
After earning Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Year honors in 2010, Aronovich followed his rookie campaign up with a standout 2011 sophomore season, setting career highs in five events (floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, and parallel bars) and in the all-around. He recorded Penn State’s highest scores of the season in the pommel horse (15.100), parallel bars (15.400), and the all-around (87.150) and ended 2011 nationally ranked in the parallel bars, high bar, and still rings. Overall, Aronovich recorded 20 top three finishes, winning a total of 12 titles.
Aronovich was named National Gymnast of the Week for the first time in his career on March 3 after capturing two first place finishes (parallel bars and all-around) and a third place (high bar) versus Ohio State and then, one week later, earned his second career Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honor for placing first in the all-around and parallel bars and second in the high bar in road tri-meet with Minnesota and Iowa.
Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Aronovich possesses an extensive international resume. He competed in the European Championships from 2004-2009 and at the World Championships in 2006 (Aarhus, Denmark) and 2010 (Rotterdam, Netherlands). At the 2008 World Cup in Cotbus, Germany, Aronovich placed ninth in the pommel horse.
Aronovich was recognized as a Gymnast to Watch in the Big Ten’s 2012 preseason release, which also had Penn State ranked No. 3 in the conference coaches’ poll.
Penn State, ranked No. 6 nationally in the GymInfo Preseason Coaches Poll, opens the 2012 season on Saturday when it hosts No. 14 Army in a 7 p.m. dual meet at Rec Hall.
Rita Yahan-Farouz, probably the most successful female vocalist in Israel over the past 3 decades, has always embraced her Persian descent. Now, for her first time in her career, she goes back to her roots and releases an album which is based on the sound she absorbed in her childhood. It includes famous Persian songs which were translated to Hebrew, alongside songs she actually sings in Persian.
The first single from the album was ‘Shan’e’ (‘The Comb’), and for the backing vocals, Rita has invited her family, her mom who used to sing back in Teheran, and her sisters, to sing with her. “I still keep the original version of the song Shan’e in a bag full of vinyl records that my mom brought with her from Teheran when we moved to Israel,” Rita says in the press release. “The singer performs this song with a very soft and indulging voice over a very graceful music arrangement, and sings about a man who tells a woman to please use the comb as little as possible because every time the teeth of the comb go through your hair, they injure my heart which built a home there, and now it bleeds.”
Reality star and MySpace legend, Tila Tequila, has decided to give faith a shot. TMZ reports that she has been taking classes at a temple in new York to begin the process of converting to Judaism. She even went as far as skipping Christmas altogether in order to focus on her transformation.
TMZ spoke to Tequila and her choice to convert.
“As time passed, I started to become more and more fascinated with Kabbalah, the culture, and the way of life of the reform Judaism religion,” she explained.
“I just feel like the Jewish people have such a beautiful way about them, and I can’t wait to officially be Jewish! Shabbat Shalom.”
Tequila will most likely observe Reform Judaism, as she quips that “Orthodox is a little hardcore for me at this stage,” but anything is possible. Who would have thought that people would still be taking the time to report news bites about her?
Brett Levene, like any Jewish 15-year-old, is looking forward to going to Israel with FZY this summer on tour.
But Brett has to fit in modelling on catwalks in Paris and Milan.
The Immanuel College student from Barnet, whose blond hair, slim frame, green eyes and height meant he was snapped up by model agencies, said: “I am nearly 6 ft 3 in so that’s a big plus. I’m still growing, my mum tells me to stop drinking milk.”
Brett, who works for the Storm agency, and will model full-time after FZY tour, is doing London Fashion Week in February — but he will not work on Shabbat.
He appears on the cover of vampire novel, The Fallen Blade, and says: “I want to do campaigns, but it will take time.”
The Mount Hermon ski resort spawned Israelis’ love of winter sports. Its slopes quickly fill with skiers and snowboarders — once it snows.
But Israel’s only ski resort on the Hermon Mountain has churned out a generation of skiers who would not otherwise exist.
“There are far more Israeli skiers now than there used to be,” Stanley Rubinstein, honorary president and former chairman of the Israel Ski Federation (ISF), tells ISRAEL 21c. “As many as 50,000 go to Europe every winter to ski.”
According to the ISF, some 15,000 amateur and competitive skiers belong to 10 Israeli skiing clubs.
Incongruous as it may sound, skiing and snowboarding have become popular among Israelis, thanks to the Hermon site.
“Every type of Israeli skis nowadays,” says Rubinstein, “and most of them start on the Hermon.”
The resort first opened in December 1971, just months after Rubinstein arrived in the country from New York. “I worked as a ski instructor for the first seven years,” he recalls.
In those days, there was only one ski lift and a tiny local skiing fraternity. The resort underwent a development boom after the Knesset passed the 1981 Golan Heights Law, which brought the area under Israeli jurisdiction.
Now the site covers almost 600 acres and includes 10 chairlifts and cable cars; more than 40 kilometers of trails from novice level to competitive professional standard; a ski school with at least 100,000 alumni; shops; equipment hire; and several eateries, including a cafeteria at its summit. Two of the pistes are recognized for Olympic-level races by the International Ski Federation (ISF).
The summit cafeteria, reached by chairlift, has breathtaking panoramic views of the Hermon range and northern Israel.
The site is the world’s only ski resort inside a military area. Nestled between borders with Lebanon and Syria, it cannot expand any further.
“We’ve learned to live with this reality,” says Shaul Ohana, the site manager.
Rising from 1,640 meters above sea level to 2,073 meters, Ski Hermon can cater to 12,000 visitors a day. About 300,000 pass through its gates every winter, and another 40,000 during the tranquil summer months, when the cafeteria at the summit becomes the launching point for treks and mountain-bike excursions through the surrounding national parkland.
Snowboarding — the latest craze
“It’s a nice, medium-to-small resort by European standards,” says Ohana. “What is special about this place is that it’s excellent for snowboarding.”
“Skiers are going over to snowboarding in droves,” says Roy Itelson, who oversees the ISF’s snowboard department.
“We have young, talented and motivated snowboarders in Israel, attracted by the fact that it’s both an extreme sport and an Olympic event. We see a great future for snowboarding in Israel,” says Itelson.
In 2009, an area of the site was closed off for experienced snowboarders, including a 500-meter trail and four funboxes for the helmet-clad risk-takers to perfect their stunts. In another area, youngsters can frolic down a gentle decline on plastic toboggans.
The ski school, which can accommodate 500 students a day, features a “conveyor belt” for beginners to quickly return to launch point, making the learning process much more efficient.
Of course, everything depends on whether the snow falls.
“The Hermon used to get in two or three months of good snow every winter,” sighs Rubinstein. “Now, thanks to global warming, we’re lucky to have two weeks.”
Ohana remains stoic. “We just look to the heavens and hope to see snow,” he says.
In the meantime, about NIS 35 million has been invested in improving service in recent years, he says. “We’re constantly upgrading the infrastructure and expanding our ability to absorb more visitors. This includes more and better parking spaces and shuttle connections.”
Visitors can now stop at the new ski equipment store at the nearby village of Neveh Ativ, on the way to the resort, to rent gear and take in the surroundings. Another bottleneck has been widened by computerized cash registers and ski passes that open cable-car gates automatically, says Ohana.
Coexistence on the pistes
Many of Ski Hermon’s employees are from the Golan Druze community, especially the picturesque village of Majdal Shams just down the hill. Having grown up in these hills, they take to skiing easily. Now most of the site’s professionally-trained ski instructors are Druze.
“We exist side-by-side and have no problems,” says Ohana, a resident of Neveh Ativ.
The relationship has proved mutually beneficial, and a sumptuous meal at one of Majdal Shams’ authentic eateries has become an obligatory stop for many Ski Hermon regulars.
We are delighted to inform you that we have inaugurated the first TOUS store in Tel Aviv, Israel. The store, located in the popular Azrieli Mall, is our flagship in Israel.
We are planning to celebrate an official inauguration in the store in the coming months with a very special event and we will share all the details with you then.
The new store follows along the lines of the new TOUS store concept, in which the product takes on all the protagonism and all the customers’ needs are graciously attended to in a pleasant and comfortable setting. We are thrilled with our new store and we look forward to your visit!