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SUNDAY BRUNCH | In the spirit

Israel's Golden Days

April 12, 1998|MARY ROURKE

Next month, Israel celebrates its 50th anniversary as an independent state. The Skirball Cultural Center is starting the party early with exhibits, films and lectures that open April 23. The center will be transformed into a virtual trip across time. The birth of the nation to its place in the world today are told from an American point of view.

The most poignant moments in this story feature President Harry S. Truman, who went against U.S. policies on the Middle East in 1948 and officially recognized the new government of Israel. That history is illustrated with letters, government documents and other artifacts on loan from the Truman library in the president's hometown of Independence, Mo.

A related series of lectures by American statesmen, including former secretaries of state George Schultz and Alexander Haig, will update Truman's legacy.

For an overview of the American people's relationship with Israel, a photography exhibit shows images dating from the mid-19th century to modern times. Illustrated books by American missionaries and tourists, portraits by resident photographers in Palestine, landscapes, personal records of war experiences and the photojournalism of Life magazine photographer Robert Capa bring the country to life in pictures.

A program of films and workshops for children is particularly innovative.

"Children of Israel," a documentary, shows how Jewish and Moslem children live in the ancient city of Jerusalem today. An archeology workshop allows children to carve their own clay tablets and cylinder seals and draw hieroglyphics on papyrus.

The Skirball Cultural Center is at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. in Los Angeles. For more information and reservations to special events, call (310) 440-4500.

The George Schultz lecture is sold out.

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