Concert strikes apolitical chord

Actors Leonard Nimoy, Richard Dreyfuss, Jerry Orbach and journalist Morley Safer provided narrative to the evening.

A live satellite hookup with Independence Hall in Tel Aviv featured a brief appearance by Natan Sharansky, the Israeli trade and industry minister. Philadelphia's Jewish community was among the first to work for Sharansky's release when he was a Soviet prisoner of conscience.

The event, billed as non-political and non-religious, kept mostly to its course. However, the memory of slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was invoked several times throughout the evening.

Tribute was paid twice to Rabin's widow, Leah, who was in attendance, once by the announcer and a second time by Dreyfuss, who has actively promoted the peace process launched by Rabin's husband.

In contrast, there was no mention of the current Israeli government, except to recognize the presence of Israel's ambassador to the United States, Eliahu Ben-Elissar.