I was privileged to participate in an event called "Harmony for Humanity as part of the Daniel Pearl World Music Days. As you know, Daniel Pearl, a Jew with dual American and Israeli citizenship, a journalist and a musician, was kidnapped and murdered by extremists in 2002 in Pakistan. Since then, hundreds of musical events have been held around the world each October. The Music Days promote the Daniel Pearl Foundation's goal of using the power of music to promote tolerance to remind people of all cultures and religions that we share a common humanity
The concert was held in Lod, a city close to Kibbutz Gezer where Birkat Shalom is located. The concert was a gift of the U.S. Embassy, recognizing that the Jewish and Arab residents constantly strive to live side by side, with mutual respect for one another's culture and shared aspirations of prosperity and peace.
David Broza, Mira Awad, and the Jerusalem Jewish-Arab Youth Chorus performed and inspired all who attended. I share with you the background of the perhaps lesser-known performers.
Mira Awad was born in Rameh
village in Galilee
, Israel to an Israeli Palestinian Christian
father from the Galilee (Anwar), a physician by profession, and a Bulgarian
Christian mother. She studied at the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in Ramat HaSharon
. She participated in improvisational workshops in Israel and the UK sponsored by the BIArts, British Council
, and studied at the Body Theatre School after receiving a scholarship from the America-Israel Culture Foundation. Mira has collaborated musically with Achinoam (Noa) Nini, the Jewish Israeli singer. In 2009, they represented Israel
at the Eurovision Song Contest
singing There Must Be Another Way.
She was the first Arab Israeli
to represent Israel at Eurovision, singing the first Israeli Eurovision song with Arabic
lyrics. On November 19, 2009, ‘Awaḍ and Noa were awarded the Haviva Reik
Peace Prize from Givat Haviva
, to honor their commitment to peace and dialogue between Jews and Arabs.
The mission of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus is to provide a space for young people from East and West Jerusalem to grow together in song and dialogue. Through the co-creation of music and the sharing of stories, we seek to empower our singers to become leaders in their communities.
The final song, by David Broza, the Israeli musician, is an anthem to peace, which he wrote when Anwar Sadat came to visit Israel in 1979.
Yeladim lov'shim k'nafaim
ve'afim el hatzava
hem chozrim lelo t'shuvah
anashim chayim bemetach
mechapsim sibah lin'shom
uvein sin'ah leretzach
medabrim al hashalom
yihyeh tov, ken
lif'amim ani nishbar
itach ani nish'ar
We will yet learn to live together
between the groves of olive trees
children will live without fear
without borders, without bomb-shelters
on graves grass will grow,
for peace and love,
one hundred years of war
but we have not lost hope.
And all will be good
yes, all will be good
though I sometimes break down
but this night
oh, this night,
I will stay with you.