The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra won’t be performing in Atlanta to celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday after all.
An urgent appeal from Ambassador Judith Varnai Shorer in January to raise $300,000 for the orchestra to conduct a Yom HaAtzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) tour of the Southeast was unsuccessful, and Shorer, the Israeli consul general to the Southeast, announced the cancellation Monday, Feb. 26, in an email sent to friends of the consulate and the Jewish Federations involved in planning the musical celebration.
“I had a dream to bring the South, the Jerusalem Symphonic Orchestra for the 70th Birthday of Israel,” Shorer wrote. “Unfortunately, I didn’t succeed in raising all the money needed and since March is here, I have to cancel all events. … I ask for your understanding. I am extremely sorry for the inconvenience I caused you and thank you all for the huge effort you invested in the preparations.”
Shorer said she booked the orchestra in 2016 to conduct a two-week tour of the Southeast this April. Stops would have included Charleston, Knoxville, Memphis, St. Louis and Kennesaw, and the highlight would have been a Woodruff Arts Center gala on Yom HaAtzmaut itself, April 18.
In Shorer’s plan, the fundraising would have covered the expense of moving, housing and feeding 75 musicians, their instruments and their support staff, the venues, and other costs, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and the other local Federations would have made money from ticket sales.
But she appeared to get ahead of regional support for the tour.
The consulate in Atlanta has been mentioned as a candidate to be one of seven diplomatic missions Israel is supposed to close from 2019 to 2022 under a budget agreement crafted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in January.
Shorer, who fended off a similar closure threat shortly after taking office in August 2015, had suggested that the orchestra’s triumphant tour would be persuasive evidence that the Southeast should keep a consulate instead of falling under the authority of an office in Miami or Houston.