Posts Tagged With: Video

Neshama Carlebach’s Inclusive HaTikva

At the invitation of the Forward, Neshama Carlebach has recorded a new version of the first verse of HaTikva, Israel’s national anthem.

The Forward’s goal was to start a debate about how the wording of HaTikvah could be made more inclusive for Arab Israelis by setting new words to the prayerful voice of Neshama Carlebach. The lack of inclusiveness made headlines earlier this spring when an Arab Israeli Supreme Court judge, Salim Joubran, stood for the anthem but did not sing the words aloud.

The lyrics are a joint effort of Forward blogger Philologos and Neshama Carlebach. Philologos made suggestions for replacing several phrases that excluded non-Jewish Israelis. Carlebach added a repeat of the last two lines of HaTikva using the original words. Thus the inclusion of non-Jewish Israelis wouldn’t be at the expense of the Jewish Israeli experience.

Here are the revised lyrics. Changes are in bold with the original words following in brackets.

As long as the heart within
An Israeli [Jewish] soul still yearns
And onward, towards the East
An eye still gazes towards our country [Zion]
We have still not lost our hope
our ancient [2000 year] hope
To be a free people in the land of our fathers [our land]
in the city in which David, in which David encamped [land of Zion and Jerusalem]
To be a free people in our land
In the land of Zion and Jerusalem

For Philologos, these lyrics represent a change of heart. Back in 1998 when Israel made it to the World Cup, the anthem had also made the news. One of the Israeli team members, an Arab Israeli named Walid Badir, also stood but stayed silent. At that time Philologos had believed that there was nothing that could be done to make the words acceptable and people like Badir would just have to settle with standing and staying silent. This spring, after the Joubran story made headlines, he wrote,

I’ve changed my mind about “Hatikvah.” The successful integration of Israeli Arabs into Israeli life, on which the country’s future depends, has to have its symbolic expression, too. It’s unacceptable to have an anthem that can’t be sung by 20% of a population. Permitting it to stand mutely while others sing is no solution.

Neshama Carlebach is very aware of the sensitive nature of the song. As she explained to the Jerusalem Post,

I think it was a very controversial move, because to change the lyrics to a precious song like ‘Hatikva’ is a very big statement… It’s not about leaving the world we were in behind; it’s about opening our doors wider. I feel that if the world sees, in my own humble opinion, that Israel is not just a small exclusive group that they can’t touch, but a larger entity that’s willing to wrap our arms around the whole of humanity or even change our anthem, we’re opening our doors, and maybe the press would be better.

Categories: Building a Just Israel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eisner and the Activists: What Really Happened on Saturday at Route 90?

Within a week it had almost 600,000 hits. The video, released on YouTube a week ago, showed IDF soldier Shlomo Eisner striking a young distracted Danish man in the face with the long side of his M16 on Saturday afternoon (April 14, 2012).

After a flurry of articles including two New York Times articles (April 17, April 18), it looked like the story would die down. But on Friday B’Tselem released a new video filmed by Palestinian TV. The video shows Eisner hitting an additional 4 people, one in the back with his gun. Another person struck by Eisner was standing still in front of Eisner. In order to strike her Eisner had to take at least one pace forward and lunge.

Eisner had claimed that he was acting in self defense after having already been attacked. He said the first video had been heavily edited. It presented a distorted picture of what happened. The so-called cyclists were anarchists. For Eisner to have acted in any other way would have put lives at risk. Continue reading

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Holocaust, the Fourth Generation

I hope that you come to me
And tell me that you learned the word chronological
And that you put all the books on your book shelf in chronological order
And I hope that the diary of Anne Frank
Ends up ordered out of history between the dinosaur books and the caveman books…
I hope that you yell at me
and that you run to mommy, “Mommy, Daddy’s lying to me”….

I will patiently answer your “How?” and your eventual tearful “Why?”
You will bear witness, but I hope you resist
I hope that the world you live in is one that makes believing in the Shoah more difficult than believing in God….

The above poem is by Andrew Lustig, author and producer of the video “I am Jewish”.

Speaking about his video to the Times of Israel, he said:

Basically, I really hope that one day remembrance, regarding the Holocaust, can mean something different. I hope that my children can live in a world where they are so accepted and appreciated for who they are that the idea that anyone would hate them for it would be as unbelievable, at first, as if I told a child today that years ago people were hated and killed because they had hazel eyes, or dirty blond hair.

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Cuban Jazz Meets Klezmer : Flashmob on the Streets of Paris

The above video was a joint project of the JewSalsa dance school, TanJoe art Gallery, the Jewish Agency, et le FSJU. The concept and dance routine was an initiative of dance professor and musician David el Shatràn.

According to an article in the French JSS News, the dance routine is divided into four sections each representing different types of Latin dance rhythms in honor of the four questions from the Passover seder:

The flashdance itself is also meant as a kind of metaphor for the seder as well because it welcomes all to join in.

For more information:

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The Malavsky Family Choir

Cantor Samuel Malavsky, born in Kiev, was well known for singing with his sons and daughters in concert in the 1940′s and 1950′s, long before women cantors were accepted even in non-orthodox synagogues. Malavsky insisted on giving his daughters respect due to cantors as well. In concerts Malavsky’s daughters, and not just Malavsky, would sing with tallit and kippah. Several prayer tunes were composed with “boy alto” solos so that his daugher Goldie could sing. Some had soprano solos as well. Malavsky’s music may be some of the earliest cantorial settings deliberately composed for the female cantorial voice.

During World War II, they sang the High Holidays in San Francisco. The family frequently lead Passover seders in the Catskills as well. But in general, opportunties to use their skills to lead prayer were limited. Orthodox synagogues would not allow him to sing with his daughters. Conservative synagogues welcomed the family as a group, but Malavsky did not like the changes to liturgy. He found his solution singing in hotels, music halls. Sometimes the same Orthodox rabbis who would not let Malavsky and his daughters sing in their shuls would come to the concert at the hotel.

The family also did numerous recordings and even cinema shorts, as in this clip below (song starts at 0:56).

  • The family choir, known as “The Singers of Israel” performed ….
  • Malavsky’s cantorial style was known for its strong marked beat and syncopation. (jewish virtual library)
  • Goldie Malavsky : her own album – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fThlJSU-6EU , singing Ich Baink Ahaim

Some other songs by the Malavsky family:

  • Yedid Nefesh : Malavksy as soloist accompanied by soloist
  • Ribon HaOlamim : solo by Malavsky, no choir, but very beautiful classical chazzanut, shabbat song typically sung between shalom aleichem and eshet chayil
  • Tzur MiShelo Achalnu : Shabbat table song, sung after eating. (clip above)
  • Vchol Boei Olam : solos by both Malavsky, a daughter and the family choir
  • Tzena Tzena – Israeli folk song

For more about the “The Singers of Israel”, see

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Remembering Redemption: Vehi SheAmda

After the four questions and the story of the four sons we get to the Vehi SheAmbda, the reminder that redemption is an ongoing theme in Jewish life, occurring over and over again in history:

וְהִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לַאֲבוֹתֵיֽנוּ וְלָנֽוּ. שֶׁלֹא אֶחָד בִּלְבָד, עָמַד עָלֵיֽנוּ לְכַלּוֹתֵנֽוּ. אֶלָּא שֶׁבְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר, עוֹמְדִים עָלֵיֽנוּ לְכַלּוֹתֵנֽוּ. וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַצִּילֵנוּ מִיָּדָם

And it is this [covenant] that has stood for our foremothers and forefathers and us. Not just one enemy alone has stood against us to destroy us. Rather in every generation there are those who have stood against us to destroy us, and the Holy One Blessed Be saves us from their hands.

This version of the song is sung by Adi Arad, an Israeli singer who specializes in Chazanut and is also known for the prayer she composed for Gilad Shalit while he was in custody.

The song has both middle eastern and Ashkenazi versions. Some of the more interesting versions found on You Tube: the Caravan Tamir Israali Scouts chorus, middle eastern European (different tune), Israeli pop rock, and Elior Itzkovitz-cohen singing with orchestra and children’s chorus; ,

According to Issac Luria, the great kabbalist, one should cover the matzah and raise the wine glass. When done, the wine glass is lowered and the matzah uncovered.

It is as if we are acting out the story of rescue and redemption. Wine is dark and fluid. It has no fixed form. So too God in moments of darkness needing rescue. In those moments God cannot be grasped. But when redemption is revealed we can look at events and see God in our midst. The troubles become like liquid flowing away and we are left standing safely on solid ground. Moments of redemption are like matzah whose white color is reminiscent of light and understanding and whose flat surface and solid feel represents the foundational sense of God in moments of redemption.

Matzah also symbolizes redemption because of the way it was transformed. In the story of the Exodus during slavery matzah represents the bread of poverty and affliction. Then on the final night the very simplicity of matzah becomes the sign f redemption. The fact there was no time to let it rise is prove that redemption was not just on its way but rather in the here and now pushing them forward and out from Egypt.

Even within the seder itself we are reminded of many redemptions and rescues. Vehi SheAmda concludes the part of the Seder devoted to the story of Abraham. It precedes the story of Laban and Jacob. In yesterday’s post (Karev Yom: It Happened At Midnight), Abraham was our first midnight story of redemption. Jacob and Laban were players in the next two midnight stories. Placed as it is between Abraham and Jacob it acts as an acknowledgement of the first of many redemptions in Jewish history.

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Karev Yom: And it Happened at Midnight

Below in 1980 on national Israeli TV, a woman leading a seder, surrounded by family singing the piyut Karev Yom. The woman below is actress Hanna Rovina , winner of the Israel prize in 1956, singing the song in call and respone fashion.

The song has many versions, each showing a different flavor of Jewish music. Here is another version of Karev Yom sung by Yaffa Yarkoni. from her album Sabra. Yarkoni received the Israel prize in 1998 and died at age 86 at the beginning of this year. Instead of call and response she uses a driving beat and decorative melisma typical of Israeli Sephardic cantorial style.

There are also versions where the instruments take on a central role: here is a klezmer version with double base, clarinet, accordian, violin and drums sung by Evyatar Banai. The sound is sweeter and softer. And here, a middle eastren music setting with ud and gesang by Ensemble Majimaz.

The song, Karev Yom, expresses Jewish hope and longing for final redemption: a day where there is no day or night.

Draw near the day which is neither day nor night;
Exalted One, proclaim that Yours are day and night;
Set guards over Your city all day and night;
Brighten as day the darkness of the night;
And it came to pass at midnight! (translation by Josh Kulp )

The words are taken from the last verse of a piyut (liturgical poem ) found at the end of Ashkenazi haggadot, “And it Happened at Midnight”. The poem is a reworking of Bemidbar Rabba 20 which lists a series of events that all, according to tradition, happened at midnight. Each line excepting the last stanza (Karev Yom) begins with a different letter of the alphabet in order. Each event is focused on either returning from exile or alleviating the sufferings of exile. They are described in order starting with Abraham and ending with the final redemption.

  • Abraham’s victory over the kings that kidnapped his nephew Lot (Genesis 14)
  • Jacob’s return to his homeland which involved two midnight miracles: Laban’s dream and Jacob’s wrestling with an angel (Genesis 31:24, 32)
  • Israel’s escape from Egypt ( Exodus 11:4, 12:29 )
  • The tribes victory over Sisera, thanks to the generalship of Devorah and the clever thinking of Yael. Devorah defeated Sisera’s armies forcing Sisera to flee. He fled into the tents of his supposed ally Heber the Kenite, where his wife Yael stabbed him with a tent peg (Judges 4-5)
  • King Hezekiah’s victory over the Assyrian armies. The Assyrians had conquored the north of Israel and had surrounded Jerusalem. They sent Ravshaka, an Israelite, to demoralize them by saying that their God was a wsh and would not help them. Miraculously one night a significant portion of the camp was dead. 2 King 18 (fall 2 King 19:35)
  • The story of Daniel set during the Babylonian captivity. The poem names three events that happened at midnight: the rescue from the lions, Daniel’s visions and the death of Belshazzar.
  • The story of Esther also set during the Babylonian captivity. Haman decreed pograms against the Jews at midnight and the king read through the chronicles one night because he couldn’t sleep. While reading he discovered that Mordachai whom Haman wanted to kill, had in fact saved the kings life.
  • The end of times when Isaiah’s prophesy of redemption and in-gathering will be fulfilled (Isaiah 21:10-12)

The full Hebrew words are available here.

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Yes We Canaan: Breaking Free by the Ein Prat Fountainheads

The Ein Prat Fountainheads is a group of students and graduates from the Ein Prat Academy in Ein Prat Israel. Here is their latest music video.

The group began Chanukah 2010 when 20 students and graduates of the Ein Prat Academy got together to put together a video put together for the school Channuka party. It went over so well that they decideed to do another video for Purim 2011, this time with 100 people involved. Currently the travelling group has about 9 members but many more are involved in each video.

They put the Purim video up on Youtube for friends and family. The family and friends video went viral. The strong public response crystalized the students and graduates into a performing group. They have been making holiday videos and touring ever since. Shani Lachmish one of the group’s lead singers described the group’s goal in an interview with Shalom Life in May of last year (2011):

Our goal is to produce fun and meaningful music videos that put smiles on people’s faces and help them connect with their Jewishness in new ways. We also want to showcase the diverse, vibrant and highly-engaged Israeli-Jewish identity that is emerging in our generation of Israelis today,” said Shani Lachmish, graduate of Ein Prat and one of the lead singers of the group.

Their videos for Rosh haShanna also received a warm response. “Dip Your Apple”, a takeoff on Shakira’s Waka Waka, was Israel’s top You Tube video for 2011. At last count it had nearly 2 million views.

The initial videos were all take-offs on world pop hits. Since Rosh haShannah they have been moving into new territory by using original compositions. Both their Chanukah video and the video above releasd for Pesach 2012 are original compositions by Ben R., the director and co-producer of their 2011 Rosh haShannah video. Lyrics for the new video are available on You Tube (click through to the video and then expand the “See More” tab).

Their next Israeli concert will be in Jerusalem on April 10, 2011 at the Beit Avi Chai center in Jerusalem. They also have a US Tour planned for May 13-24, 2012. For list of appearances or to book a concert see http://www.foheads.com/events.php .

 

Website: http://www.foheads.com/
Ein Prat Fountainheads on Facebook
Ein Prat Fountainheads on YouTube
Ein Prat Fountainheads on Twitter

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Oy! Gevolt is Anything But (Yiddish Kletzmer-Metal Fusion)

This is more than kletzmer meets heavy metal, in Yiddish. The overlaying of the violin on top of heavy metal rythms, guitar and synthesized sounds makes the music dance. And there is something about laying the gutteral sounds of Yiddish on top of that that makes me think Yiddish was invented for metal and just didn’t know it. At least this is true when Anatholy Bonder sings. It really works.

The Russian-Israeli band , Gevolt, playing in the video below was founded in Israel in 2001 by Antholy Bonder and three others. The violin that is crucial to the band’s current sound was added in 2005. The synthesizers were added in 2007 making for a total of six members. By 2010 all of the original musicians except Bonder, had left and been replaced.

The song below “Tshiribim Tshiribom” without the metal sounds like this. Here is Gevolt’s version from their latest album, AlefBeis.

The band has released two albums so far “Siddur” in 2006 and “AlefBeis”in 2011. They are beginning work on a third. Each album takes four to five years to develop. The long development time is because, like many musicians, all of the band members have day jobs, some in music and some outside of it. Bonder works as a programmer. Two members work as sound engineers. Their violinist, Eva Yefremov, plays in an orchestra when she isn’t playing with the band.

All of the current members are Israelis who were born in the former Soviet Union (FSU), but the musical influences on their work span motown, rock, various kinds of metal, classical, and even asian chants.

Sidur has an orchestral and meditative dreamy feel sometimes shifting into a driving electropop sound. It draws on both Russian tunes and Jewish meditative themes. In an interview with Metal Israel in 2007, Bonder says the words are sometimes hard to understand (even more so for those who don’t speak Russian), but that isn’t the point because the words are meant to be felt not analyzed.

AlefBeis has a strong driving metal feel. It is based entirely on musical motifs drawn from traditional Yiddish tunes. Their upcoming album will contain newly composed Yiddish songs. The Forward, when reviewing preview tracks from AlefBeis published in 2007 qvelled:

Gevolt’s music is not auto-annihilation rock. Rather, it is a resurrection. Their composition of Hirsch Glick’s famed partisan song “Zog Nit Keyn Mol, Az Du Geyst Dem Letsten Veg” (“Never say that you are on the final road”) is stunning in both its lyrical beauty (Glick’s contribution) and its musical defiance (singer Anatholy Bonder’s contribution). When the metal disappears momentarily and band member Marina Klionsky’s klezmer-inflected violin plays softly, one begins to reconsider Singer’s statement. [who called Yiddish a dying language].

Gevolt will be appearing in Israel at Metal Fest in Tel Aviv on April 10, 2012. They are also trying to organize a US tour.

Gevolt Website: http://www.gevolt.com/

Gevolt on Facebook
Gevolt on Twitter
Gevolt on YouTube
Gevolt on MySpace
Gevolt on Last.FM

Additional information:

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My Sweet Canary: Roza Eshkenazy

Roza Eshkenazy was a cafe singer and prolific recording artist in the 1930′s. Known as the Queen of Rebetiko, her long career continued through the 1970′s. She died in December, 1980 in her mid 80′s, confused by Alzheimer disease.   Her music continues even today to influence and inspire Israeli, Greek, and Turkish artists.

Born in the late 1890′s to Sephardi Jewish parents,  she grew up near Thessaloniki.   She survived World War II with a forged baptismal certificate and a love affair with a German officer.  After the war she toured frequently in the USA and even considered living there. However, the love of her life remained in Greece.  By the late 1950′s she had returned to Greece where she lived until the end of her life.

Rebetiko, or “Greek blues”, is the name given to urban-Greek folk music and Ottoman cafe music based on Turkish modes and traditional Greek and Anatolian dance rhythms. Lyrics discussed themes of urban life and hardship, including the urban drug culture. It is accompanied by traditional stringed instruments, finger cymbals, and sometimes an accordion or  hammered dulcimer like instrument.

Her life and the Jewish-Turkish milieu in which she lived was memorialized in a documentary, “My Sweet Canary”, by Haifa born director Roy Sher. Continue reading

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