as at:2024-03-07 songs:6

Songs I think are important.

Thank you

To my brother who puts songs in my face and says "pay attention." And to Hana who gives me gentle guidance and occasionally chocolate.

Click the picture of a song to watch its video. When a video is running, click the icon on its lower right corner to expand or contract it.

Gathering Stars

I have a photograph stuck to my computer with scotch tape. It's been there since the start of my nephew’s IDF furlough. He had just come home. He fell to his knees and completely encompassed his 3-year old daughter in his arms. On one side see the teddy bear she tossed aside. On the other side, see the rifle still strapped to his waist.

She missed her אַבָּא. And אַבָּא missed her more than she could possibly know.

מְלַקֶּטֶת כּוֹכָבִם “Melaketet Kochavim” - Gathering Stars was written and performed by Yoni and Nina Tokayer (hence the made-up name "Yonina"). In their own words “This song was born during this war, after the morning of Oct. 7th when everything changed. It tells our story of the past few months, since we separated so suddenly, the reserves, the distance and the hope that better days are yet to come. Dedicated with love to all the families of the reserves, sending you loads of strength”

You Cannot Defeat Me

לֹא תְּנַצְּחוּ אוֹתִי Lo Tenatzchu Oti -- “You Cannot Defeat Me” is an unusual name for a song. And there’s something strange about the tenure of the whole song. Back in 1984, some thought it should be our national anthem. (They also said that about Jerusalem of Gold in 1967.) But that's the thing. It doesn't fit the typical mold of a national anthem.

Think about national anthems. The French national anthem is a good example. It is full of anger and violence. Beware the ferocious soldiers coming to slit the throats of your sons. But don’t worry. Our bloody flag is raised.

Now, contrast that with this song. Yes, we mention the bad guys but not with anger and violence. Instead, the we shake a finger at them.

The history of the song is quite telling. It was written by Naomi Shemer in 1984 amidst mounting terrorist attacks. It was recorded that same year by Yehoram Gaon. In 2023, the IDF asked (a slightly older) Yehoram Gaon to do a very special remake of that song. They made it for Operation Iron Swords which you may know better as the war with Hamas.

By the way, Hatikva is in a minor key. That in itself is telling.

Bring Them Home

Koolulam is a social-musical initiative aimed at strengthening the fabric of society. The project centres around mass singing events in which large groups of non-professionals come together to form a collaborative musical creation. Koolulam brings together people from all walks of life to do one thing: stop everything for a few hours and just sing – together.

Dec.18, 2023 Talya Yarom brought together 1,000 musicians, old and young, rockers and classical players, amateurs and professionals, to the Caesarea amphitheater for a day of recording and filming. The result is “Homeland Concert,” with a medley of lyrics from Ehud Manor’s classic song, “Home” and part of “Hatikva."

When Yarom put out a call on social media for musicians, nearly 2,000 people signed up, surpassing the level of interest she had hoped to generate. "it was amazing," she said, "especially at the end when families of the hostages joined us to sing."

Koolulam Medley

This is embarrassing.

It doesn't have a title... Its sections are wonderful... But it doesn't have a title!

It's almost as if the parts don't quite know where they came from. They don't quite know where they belong. Take the first part for example.

The melody is recognizable. The words are recognizable מי שברך לצה״ל -- Prayer for the IDF -- but that music wasn't written for those words. It's like the people who are singing them. They had recently been evacuated from their homes in the towns around Gaza. Here, you'll see them with some of their temporary neighbours in Netanya joining in.

You'll hear defiance. And you'll hear the words that were originally written for that tune. It's called אֶרֶץ צְבִי -- Eretz Tzvi -- The Land of Deer. ("Land of Israel") They were written for מבצע יונתן -- Operation Yonatan -- also known as Operation Thunderbolt, 1976. And finally, you'll hear a little bit of re-dedication.


ֵאַחנוּ is a short prayer.

[As for] our brethren, the entire House of Israel who remain in distress and captivity, whether on sea or on land, may God have compassion on them, and bring them from distress to relief, from darkness to light, from servitude to redemption, at this moment, speedily, very soon; and let us say Amein.

Opinions differ as to when it was written; perhaps the time of Saadia Gaon (9th-10th century), perhaps the time ot Rashi or Rambam (11th-12th century). In any case, events such as the First Crusade were times of horrendous Jewish persecutions any one of which would have prompted such a plaintive plea for divine rescue.

Shortly after the Torah reading on Monday and Thursday mornings, this text is recited by those in attendance. It is simply not possible to convey the pain behind those words nor the challenge it presented to Cantor Daniel Mutlu in this video. It is especially poignant at this time of rising anti-semitism in the world and Israel’s confrontation against Hamas, a large and well-funded terrorist organization committed to little else other than the destruction of Israel.

100 days עַם יִשְׂרָאֵל חַי

The audio and video components in most songs work together to deliver a message. Usually the audio is the mainstay. The video is often just there to back-up the vocal.

That's not the case here. Here we have 2 messages.

Within days after the horrific events of October 7, Eyal Golan wrote a song. He performed it, produced it, released it and added a colurful video.

Eyal brings us a message. Its title says it all. עַם יִשְׂרָאֵל חַי The nation of Israel lives. Eyal's message is an assertion.

You are about to meet Eitan. His also has a message. Eitan's message is a demonstration. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Eitan's message is its own story. I'm not sure I can put it into words but then again, I suppose that's the point, isn't it!