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‘Egypt’: Rabbi-approved

GOOD MORNING: When Jeffrey Katzenberg was readying “Prince of Egypt,” he called the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance’s Rabbi Hier and asked him to set up a meeting with the heads of all three national rabbinical bodies: orthodox, conservative and reform. Hier did, and the three presidents flew to L.A. for a meeting at DreamWorks. Katzenberg opened his bible, said Hier, and “He started teaching the rabbis the Book of Exodus. He showed them an eight-minute clip. They were just getting over the shock of this reversal of roles when Jeffrey blurted out, ‘What do you think of the idea that the voice of God for the movie be that of a female?’ After we picked up some of the rabbis off the floor, Jeffrey pulled back, probably figuring that now he could get almost anything he wanted from them.” A three-hour meeting with the rabbis and Katzenberg ensued. (Of course, Val Kilmer played the voice of God — and Moses) … This story was told at Tuesday night’s Wiesenthal Center’s National Tribute Dinner at the BevHilton honoring Katzenberg for his “outstanding leadership in the cause of human rights.” He was presented with a hand-crafted silver menorah. As noted by Hier on the presentation, “When the Nazis ransacked the synagogues on Kristallnacht, a group of SS thugs stood on the shattered menorah taunting the Jews to come back and light it.” They do so, again, every year … The evening raised $1.5 million and Katzenberg, already a generous supporter (time and money) added a six-figure contribution. During the evening, the stories and film of five survivors of the holocaust were told/shown. The five were given standing ovations along with those for Knud Dyvy, a Danish police officer who secretly ferreted out Jews in boats to Sweden. And Manli Lo, daughter of Dr. Feng Shan Ho, the Chinese Consul General in Vienna who issued visas to hundreds of Jews thereby saving their lives. As Katzenberg said, how could anyone follow them and their survival stories? He urged continuing support to the museum and to what it stands for. He said he was lucky to have a rabbi like Marvin Hier — “and an attorney like Bert Fields!” Tim Allen, whose “Galaxy Quest” will be released by DreamWorks, emceed the evening. He noted, “I’ve spent 21 years in this business and tonight I’m back doing a gig in a hotel — introducing a rabbi (Hier) who has won two Oscars. I am honored to be here.” Hier’s Moriah Films is now also readying (with co-producer, Oscar-winner Richard Trank) next year’s film, “In Search of Peace” which boasts a generous appearance by President Clinton — who, with Hillary also taped hefty congrats to Katzenberg for the tribute dinner.

AND NOW IT’S “POKEMON” — THE MUSIC.” The film score by John Loeffler and Ralph Schuckett is about to be CD’d by Atlantic Records. It’s the first feature for Loeffler, president of Rave Music, who has written TV and ad scores for two decades. He produced the feature score in 10 weeks and eight days to record with a 40-piece symph orchestra. Loeffler also recorded a new theme for the Pokemon TV series to debut in January. The title: “It’s a Pokemon World.” It sure is … Despite orders to totally rest his voice, Andy Williams videotaped a tribute for Tina Turner. Williams, recuping in the desert, taped at a studio at NBC’s KMIR in Palm Springs, where Gloria Greer nabbed Andy to say a few words on her TV’er. Williams has a medical exam here Monday, after which it will be decided whether to undergo surgery. If he does, it will be a three-month vocal recovery. And he would not return to his Branson theater until September. An ice show may sub … This movie was long planned before the Egyptian air tragedy, but Gale Anne Hurd’s “Submerged” for MGM is now shooting, with Dennis Weaver playing a rich Texan whose 747 plunges into the ocean … Nancy Reagan was to cohost, along with Amir, an exhibition of paintings by Nancy’s friend Beverly Lohman (Mrs. Charles Morsey Jr.), but Ronnie Reagan’s sadly worsening condition prevented Nancy from attending, The showing of Lohman’s floral paintings, benefiting the Colleagues’ foundation for abused children, was held in the BevHills hotel’s Rodeo Room, converted into an Italian Villa. Among those purchasing paintings were the Sidney Sheldons, there with Anne and Kirk Douglas. Over $100,000 for the Colleagues was raised … Kirk joins Barbara Sinatra to cohost the 12th annual Frank Sinatra Celeb Golf Tourney Feb. 18-19 at Indian Wells benefiting the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center for abused children (located next to the Betty Ford Center at Eisenhower Medical Center.)

CELINE DION, GOLDIE HAWN and Whitney Houston are among recipients of the 1999 Bambi Awards announced by Hubert Burda Media Nov. 13 in Berlin for a one-hour b’cast to air Nov. 19 on Germany’s ARD … Tom Sherak is the first recipient of the Sylvia Lawry Volunteer Leadership Award from the National MS Society. Sherak has raised more than $9 million for MS research. His daughter, Melissa Sherak Resnick, who has MS, makes the presentation to her dad today at the MS Society’s National Leadership conference today in Anaheim … Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks receive the Navy’s highest civilian honor, the Distinguished Public Service Award, from Undersecretary of the Navy Jerry Hultin, today aboard the U.S.S. Normandy at Port Everglades, Fla.

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