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  • Writer's pictureJosh Jacobson

Healing through music in troubled times

I'm feeling a strange disconnect. My personal life is delightful. I had a summer full of great travel adventures, music and family celebrations. And yet the news around the world is so terribly dark. In this time of rising anti-Semitism I think it is so important that we in Zamir do what we can to reach out to our neighbors, building musical bridges. Our concerts in churches and for general audiences are so important in that regard. And our tour to Berlin helps to reinforce the efforts that Germans are making to atone for their past and revive the great German-Jewish culture and combat the tiny but noisy group of neo-Nazis. In this time of wars in the Middle East, of course we will show our support for Israel. But in addition we will continue to build bridges through Middle Eastern Harmonies. We will show the world that there is another side to Israel, beyond what they see on CNN and in the New York Times.

Here are four poignant quotes:

"This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before." -Leonard Bernstein (from Tribute to John F. Kennedy Speech made at United Jewish Appeal benefit, Madison Square Garden, New York - 25 November 1963)

"In spite of nature’s ills and man’s inhumanities, there are baser and nobler options of action. And it is a part of being human to choose the nobler. War may continue to exist. We will continue to sing.” -Robert Shaw

"It seems to me that this CD [Zamir’s “The Songs of Israel”] has come up opportunely: it may well serve to raise the rather low spirit of our people nowadays. Although, a veteran fighter that I am, I simply go on fighting. And the only weapon that I am still able to wield at eighty is music. And you too, I suspect, and fearlessly." -Yehezkel Braun, December 26, 2002

"It is very important that people like you help us to remind the world that struggling with Arabs is not the only thing we are doing in this country." -Tzvi Avni, composer, winner of the Israel Prize

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