■ BEFORE HE came to make his home in Israel, Richard Shavei Tzion, the founder and conductor of the Ramatayim Men’s Choir, served as a prayer leader in the Schoonder Street Synagogue in Cape Town, South Africa. One Shabbat morning in 1980, he noticed a little boy from the congregation singing along with him. Impressed by the youngster’s voice and musicality, Shavei Tzion invited the boy to join the choir and sing duets with him.

That was how Ivor Joffe began his distinguished career in Jewish music. Today, Joffe is the cantor of the Marais Road Synagogue, the largest congregation in Cape Town. In addition, he is the co-coordinator of the Jewish Music Program for the United Herzlia Schools and directs vocal ensembles and choirs.

On Tuesday, October 2, following a long hiatus, Joffe and Shavei Tzion will once again collaborate when the Herzlia School Vocal Ensemble, together with the Khayelitsha Mambazo African Men’s Choir, are joined on stage by the Ramatayim Men’s Choir at Jerusalem’s Yad Ben Zvi auditorium – for an exciting mix of African and Israeli rhythms. Although Shavei Tzion will be the conductor, it’s not yet certain whether he will also sing. It all depends on whether Joffe is willing to revive their duets.

Herzlia and Khayelitsha will also be performing at Yad Lebanim in Ra’anana the following evening.

Tickets for both shows are available at Bimot, *6226.

■ THE GRADUATION get-together for 1,500 students from around the world who have completed a one-year Israeli training course in agriculture was almost like a meeting of the United Nations. Agrostudies, which has been operating for 14 years, is a hands-on learning experience, with students studying once a week in one of three campuses and spending the rest of the time learning by doing under the watchful eyes of Israeli agriculture experts.

Joining in the celebrations were Gil Haskel, deputy director-general of the Foreign Affairs Ministry; Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, Uganda’s agriculture, animal industry and fisheries minister; Prof. Komi Paalamwé Tchakpele, Togo’s primary, secondary and vocational education minister; and Yaron Tamir, CEO of Agrostudies.

Agrostudies is considered to be among the pillars of Israel’s international aid programs for people from developing countries.
Among the graduates were students from Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Togo, Rwanda, the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, as well as countries that do not have full or any diplomatic relations with Israel, such as Bhutan.

“The aim of the program is to pass on the theoretical knowledge that students are learning in modern applied agriculture,” explained Tamir, adding: “We learn that program graduates become successful farmers in countries where agriculture is existential.”

The project, which is supported by the Foreign Ministry, strengthens the connection between these countries and Israel, a factor that has great political significance.

Representatives of the various countries participating in the program praised the enormous contribution that the program has made to agriculture in their respective countries.

 ■ IT SEEMS that queue jumping is possible at upscale hairdressing salons. Case in point last week was a well-known salon in the heart of town, which caters to both men and women. It was a busy morning with only a few days to spare before Rosh Hashanah and the place was a hive of activity. As often happens, the fact that one has an appointment at a particular time does not necessarily mean that one receives attention at the time stated.

Several clients had been cooling their heels for quite a while as they waited for shampoo, cut and style, as well as other services provided by the salon. As they waited, a distinguished looking red-haired man with matching red beard sauntered in and was trailed by a young man with an earbud. The distinguished looking gentleman did not have an appointment, but was treated with great deference, and waited for less than 10 minutes for his sorely needed haircut. The hairdresser, who snipped, washed, and styled the hair of the walk-in client, took 45 minutes to complete the job.

The client in question happened to be Likud MK Yehudah Glick, and the young man with the earbud eyeing the process was his bodyguard.