Jews and Israel: a state or a people

barbara Today while perusing blogs from The Other A Word – The Jewish Journal Blogs, I came across this moving recording by liberated prisoners of Bergen Belson broadcast by the BBC in 1945.

Listening to these survivors singing what came to be the national anthem of Israel, before there was a state of Israel, moved me to tears but it also pointed out the connection to Zion which we Jews have carried with us since the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Romans. I scrolled through the youtubes following this one and discovered Barbara Streisand introducing Israel’s national anthem, a year ago, in Israel, speaking about Israel’s national anthem, the same song, with minor variations that became also the national anthem of the State of Israel  “Hatikva/Hope”. The last line translates as – the hope of the Jewish people to be a free people in our country, the land of Zion and Jerusalem – Hebrew- Tikvateinu, Lihyot am hofshi b’artzeinu, b’eretz Tzion, Yerushalayim”.

Then I discovered this video “The best Hebrew Songs” a four minute medley of Hebrew songs performed by a band with Russian roots in a big band rock style. What are the songs they choose? 1.They start with Shalom Aleichem – Peace/shalom to you” 2. It is closely followed by May the One who makes peace in the Heavens bring peace to us and to all Israel. In Hebrew “Oseh shalom bimromav, Hu yayseh shalom aleinu, v’al kol Yisrael.” 3. Then we are treated to the most popular Jewish wedding song with a pantomime wedding couple: May this be a good omen and bring good luck to us and all Israel. Hebrew – “mazel tov ve siman tov, siman tov vemazal tov, yeheh lanu v’l’kol Yisrael.” 4. Then we are treated to an article of faith going back hundreds of years:  “I believe with full faith in the coming of the Messiah. And although He tarry, I will wait for Him to come every day. Hebrew – Ani ma’amin b’emunah shlaima b’viyat Ha Mashiach: V’af al pi sh’yitmamaya, ahakeh Lo b’chol yom sh’yavo” 5. And they conclude with: We bring you peace: Hebrew – “Haivainu shalom aleichem”. What I find so unusual about these songs is that  Three out of the five are taken from traditional and ancient prayerbook texts. Only the last one and the first one, “Shalom aleichem” and “Haivainu shalom aleichem” is a more contemporary formulation. And yet these are the songs that a contemporary and modern band chooses as the “most popular” Jewish songs.

I thought these three You-tube videos illustrate how Jewish people all over the world, for thousands of years have always been, and continue to be bound together, with the fate of the land of Israel and Jerusalem, by communal text and by communal song.

Multicultural Dinner – Fundraiser for Fondation Senegal Sante Mobile

Edit: The event was a great success! Thanks for coming out to support this worthy cause. Here are the photos from the event, which are now also all on Facebook. Visit our Facebook page to see the pictures and tag yourself or friends.

Fondation Senegal Sante Mobile is having a fundraiser on October 29th. The foundation was established by a friend of mine Shara Rosen to provide healthcare to Senegal’s most disadvantaged populations. Her medical background has made her well-aware of the needs for basic medical care in the developing world. Shara is a brilliant writer and has been a dedicated volunteer for American Jewish World Services in Senegal.

Title: Multicultural Dinner – Fundraiser for Fondation Senegal Sante Mobile
Location: Hotel Ruby Foo’s Singapour Room (7655 Decairie Blvd)
Link out:
Description: Multicultural Dinner – Fundraiser for Fondation Senegal Sante Mobile
With Music and Parables in English, French, Wolof & Yiddish
RSVP by contacting
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2011-10-29

The Fondation has accepted to furnish and support a birthing centre that is part of Gorom 1’s health complex. The centre serves some 10 villages and about 40,000 people. This pilot project will serve as a template that could be replicated throughout Senegal. The birthing centre will offer prenatal and postnatal care aimed at reducing the level of child mortality, which is now at approximately 151 per 100,000 live births in Senegal.  By comparison the rate of child mortality (0-1 years) in Canada is 5 per 100,000 live births. Further, for every woman who dies from causes due to pregnancy, there are about 20 to 30 more who suffer from short and long term effects of unmanaged pregnancies, such as obstetric fistula, ruptured uterus or salpingitis.  (Senegal Department of Health and Prevention, Division of Reproductive Health)  Prolonged difficult births can result in obstetric fistula, which make women incapable of controlling their bladder and rectum., which causes them to be ostracized in their villages.

But these are just statistics, there are women and children behind these number that desperately need quality maternal and child care services.

More importantly, in 2012, the Fondation will bring these prenatal services to the villages by way of nurse-animators that will work with village women to educate them on hygiene and nutrition and screen them for anemia, diabetes and hypertension.

Clearly this is a worthy project and the evening of storytelling in English, French ,Wolof and Yiddish sounds like great fun!

Hope to see you there.

Signed, Anonymous: Interactive Art Exhibit Sunday, September 25th

Psst… you’re invited to share a secret. Signed, Anonymous is a community art project inspired by Frank Warren’s PostSecret. It encourages participants to anonymously reveal their Jewish secrets on one side of a homemade postcard. Postcards will be showcased in an interactive art exhibit on September 25th and invite people to reflect on their own best kept secrets. For details, secrets and more, please visit or

This project is be produced by Suzanne Moscovitch. I encourage you to help spread the word about Signed, Anonymous. The Mile End Chavurah is also running a program called Jews on the Couch that will take place at 6:30pm at the Signed, Anonymous Exhibit.

Signed, Anonymous: Interactive Art Exhibit Sunday, September 25th at 6-9 pm EM Café (5718, av du Parc, Montréal)