Event eyes rebuilding of Sinatra Center

GOOD MORNING: Frank Sinatra never would have dreamed, back in 1978 when he and Barbara dedicated the Frank Sinatra Intl. Student Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, that in 2003 the school’s budget would require $11 million for security. On July 31, Hebrew U.’s Mount Scopus campus suffered a horrific terrorist attack in the cafeteria of the Sinatra Student Center. Nine were killed, 80 were injured. Barbara Sinatra, on behalf of the American Friends of the Hebrew University, hostessed Tuesday at her home in West L.A., an intimate evening to rededicate and rebuild the Frank Sinatra Intl. Student Center. The evening raised $250,000 toward that goal. Barbara greeted the generous group, noting the Frank Sinatra Student Center “has been the central hub of student activity on the Mount Scopus campus because it stands for goodwill, friendship and mutual respect. The building was deliberately targeted by messengers of hate and terror. Tonight we say to the terrorists our vision will win, and we have come together to give both our friendship and our financial support to rebuild the Frank Sinatra Intl. Student Center.” Among those on hand was Hannah Rahamimoff, dean of students at the Hebrew U., who gave an update on the school. Also Peter Willner, executive VP of the American Friends of the Hebrew U., and Linda Bennett, mother of Maria Bennett, a student from San Diego who was killed in the terrorist bombing. Guests included Anne and Kirk Douglas, past Scopus honorees, plus Richard Ziman and Peter Weil of the Western Region of the American Friends of the Hebrew University, Next Scopus award dinner (toasting yours truly) will be Jan. 28 at the BevWilshire.

MICHAEL FEINSTEIN MINI-CONCERTED the above generous group with songs and stories orchestrated to the Sinatras — whom he first met at a birthday party for Barbara at Chasen’s, where a frightened young restaurant piano player (Feinstein) had prepared a program of every tune he thought Frank had ever been associated with — even a song from “The Kissing Bandit.” A friendship developed over the years, including dinners at the Sinatras when Feinstein escorted Liza Minnelli. Recently, Barbara asked Michael to help her choose a piano for her new penthouse. She gifted him with a pair of Sinatra’s cuff links. He opened his Hebrew U. program Monday night with the patriotic “The House I Live In,” for which Sinatra was Oscar’d for the film version . . . This is a big week for Feinstein, who Wednesday night launched his new label, Feinery, with Concord Records at the Argyle on the Sunset Strip. The initial CD is “Michael Feinstein Sings the Livingston & Evans Songbook.” It is a loving tribute to the Oscar-winning songwriters — with Jay Livingston dueting on several sides along with Michael. Jay died Oct. 17, 2001, shortly after completing the disc, but the melodies — and the memories — linger on. The extra bonus in this package is a Q&A by Michael with the duo — revealing priceless musical yore about their songs and the golden age of Hollywood songwriters. Melissa Manchester is a guest singer on one of their songs, “Never Let Me Go,” and the CD also includes the first release of an original demo of “Anywhere but Here,” by Rosemary Clooney and Jose Ferrer.

ADD ANOTHER MUSICAL NOTE — Peter Duchin was toasted Wednesday night on publication of his first novel, “Blue Moon,” co-written with Edgar Award winner James Morgan Wilson. The party by Book Events & Authors Unlimited, at Diane Landers Simon’s BevHills home, precedes Duchin’s book-signing trek to SanFran, the site — the Venetian Room of the Fairmont Hotel — of the “Blue Moon” murder mystery. And this weekend, Duchin also makes his musical return to SanFran with his orch playing at — the St. Francis. This novel is the first of a two-tome deal with Wilson and Penguin Putnam, in which the lead character is a Duchin-like orch leader of the ’60s. The second yarn’s set in L.A.’s Cocoanut Grove, “where you first met me, ” Duchin reminded of those glamorous nitery days . . . Stars of those halcyon days — including Pat Boone, Mickey Rooney, Richard Anderson, Anne Jeffreys — limo’d up to Hollywood and Vine on Wednesday for the neighborhood’s newest tenant, the Motion Picture Hall of Fame, at the site of the Broadway department store building, across the street from the historic Hollywood Brown Derby . . . Hollywood Boulevard will be closed down in the block fronting the Roosevelt Hotel Nov. 14 when a 60-foot-by-90-foot chalk portrait of Audrey Hepburn will herald “A Heart for Children” event in the hotel benefiting the Audrey Hepburn CARES Team at Children’s Hospital, L.A. . . . A final note on Frank Sinatra: A previously unseen 1979 concert he performed in front of the pyramids, at the request of Jehan Sadat, is being restored by the Museum of Television & Radio along with the Sinatra archives. It will be shown at both the N.Y. and L.A. Museums, Dec. 6-Feb. 2. While many Egyptian fundamentalists opposed the event, Mrs. Sadat recounts in her autobiog that the gala concert by Sinatra was an artistic and financial success.