Oznia, a blog of Israel things

~Mazal Tov, Boaz! by madeinisrael

Congratulations to Israel’s Boaz Mauda for placing an impressive 9th place (out of a total of 43 spots) in the 53rd Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in Belgrade, Serbia. The event, which took place from May 20-24, is an annual contest where countries that are members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU)* send a singer/band to represent their country in a continental-wide singing competition. Viewers from all the countries then vote for their favorite performer, crowning one country the victor. Russia won 1st place with Dima Bilan’s performance of “Believe.”

The ESC, which once was credited and respected as an international contest of musical merit, has become over the past several years known to showcase ostentatious costumes and meaningless pop lyrics. However, to me, it still represents an incredible feat of international collaboration for a common cause. A “musical Olympics” of sorts.

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~Yitzchak “Y-love” Jordan by aklionsky

I was listening to NPR this evening, and I heard something about setting Talmud to a beat, so I started paying attention. A few minutes later, the full segment came on (listen to the segment here)–it was about Yitzchak “Y-love” Jordan.


Y-love has become a famous musician in religious-hip hop genres, and took away more votes than even Matisyahu at the Jewish Music Awards.

He was born to Puerto Rican and Ethiopian parents, and began keeping with Jewish traditions at 7 years old. When he was older, he went to Yeshiva in Jerusalem, where he and his chavruta (studying partner) used rap to help with quick recall of Talmudic passages.

Now, Y-Loves music is in Hebrew, English, Latin, Arabic, and Aramaic–something which he says he hopes will connect people of all faiths, as all these languages are holy to some group of people. Y-love says he’s “building bridges and not walls between people” with his music, and anyone who likes music and is devoted to their faith will find something for them in his music.

Check out this video with some music clips and also Y-love talking about his background!

~Israel Solidarity Day in Chicago! by aklionsky

Thanks for the heads-up, aji525!

Chicago’s got great plans for celebrating the big Six-Oh with Israel, as well, also including the Idan Raichel Project.

On Sunday, May 4 the Jewish United Fund/Chicago Federation will host Israel Solidarity Day/The Walk With Israel. The Walk, an annual tradition that brings Jews from all around Chicago to celebrate, will commence with an Israel rally, that will turn into a 6k walk along the lake.

After eating falafel (delicious!), pizza, and other delicacies from kosher restaurants in and around Chicago, everyone will get to hear the famous Idan Raichel Project!

This will be Raichel’s second time playing in Chicago in less than a year, and I think it’s safe to say that everyone’s pretty pumped up about hearing him again!

The birthday celebrations continue that week at Northwestern University with guests like David Broza and Elie Wiesel.

~Yom Ha’atzmaut Is Coming! by aji525
April 7, 2008, 1:23 am
Filed under: music | Tags: , , ,

Want to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Israel? Hear great Israeli music? Enjoy Israel’s greatest talents? On May 7, 2008 at Radio City Music Hall Israel’s 60th Anniversary will be celebrated with musicians such as The Idan Raichel Project, David Broza, Rami Kleinstein, Habanot Nechama, Matisyahu, and many others! Israel has so much to offer, especially its musical talent. This is a special time in Israel, and we should make it special here especially in New York.

Also, since Yom Hazikaron (Israel Remembrance Day), precedes this joyous day, a tribute will be held during the concert for the fallen Israeli soldiers and victims of terror. Even though there have been some rough times we should all celebrate the creation of the state of Israel. And, what better way to celebrate than with Israeli music?! Usually, in Israel at this time, there is singing and dancing in the streets and loud celebrations. Why not join in with that happiness for Israel right here where we live?

There are many concerts here in the United States, especially in New York, from great Israeli artists. Keep updated with these websites.

The Idan Raichel Project’s website
David Broza’s website
Rami Kleinstein’s website
Matisyahu’s website
Hadag Nachash’s website (in hebrew)

For a taste of Idan Raichel’s music, check out this video:

~Subliminal: Israeli Music on a Deeper Level by ksbeck90
March 30, 2008, 5:11 pm
Filed under: arts/culture, movies/television, music, opinion, politics | Tags:

I think this video, featuring the song “Hatikva” by Subliminal depicts and emotes the struggle of our brothers in Israel that we in our secure and smug lives can easily forget to consider. It also express the intense, complicated political feelings of Israel.

Subliminal’s song, (a very popular one at that,) which I have translated into English (below) highlights the calamities of war which Israel wants not have to take place but the peace talks just mean nothing in this unfortunate age of terror: Our job is just to follow the dream and try to make things better. We are an eternal nation that has endured much in history, but, as Subliminal notes, nobody to date in history of the innumerable that have attempted have succeeded in obliterating the Jewish people, although too many try with unceasing determination. We must remain strong despite these challenges – that is the Israeli strength, the Israeli mentality and mindset that we in our comfortable lives might forget to remember.

Keep reading for a translation of Subliminal’s The Hope:
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~Israeli Singer/Songwriter’s Voice heard on Televisions across America by nachman18
March 25, 2008, 7:59 am
Filed under: arts/culture, music | Tags:

Next time you’re watching TV and the new MacBook Air commercial comes on, make sure to turn up the volume! Why? The commercial for Apple’s sleek new laptop features a song by Israeli singer and songwriter, Yael Naim. “New Soul,” the song featured on the commercial, is an upbeat, animated song. Currently, it is one of the top-selling songs on iTunes, Apple’s online music store.

Naim, although just recently heard of in the U.S., has been singing and songwriting her whole life. After completing her Israeli Military Service as a member of the Israel Air Force Orchestra, she released her first album, “In a Man’s Womb,” in 2001. Her latest album, titled “Yael Naim,” was released in France in late 2007 and is to make its debut in the U.S. in mid-March.

According to one news article, Naim herself is surprised that Apple chose one of her songs for their new commercial. She said that while she was writing the song, which was recorded on a single computer in her Paris apartment, she never thought that it would reach so many people and obtain such commercial success.

If you haven’t seen the ad, you can watch it on YouTube.com. You can also watch the original music video for the song on YouTube, and download the song on iTunes, or click right here:

~Israel Through Song and Bumper Stickers by shaynaschor
March 6, 2008, 3:44 pm
Filed under: music, politics | Tags:

A few days after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, David Grossman, an author and essayist, passed by a stopped car while driving on the highway. He aimed to get a closer look at what the driver was doing and soon saw he was scraping off a bumper sticker that said “Rabin rotzeach;” Rabin is a murderer. It was at that moment that Grossman suddenly realized how effective bumper stickers really are. They convey the strong viewpoints of political firebrands and portray a contemporary Israel. If you think about it, popular songs serve a very similar purpose.

The resonant lyrics and compelling beat allow the message of the song to seep into the minds of listeners, thereby subconsciously persuading them of some position. Grossman kept this in mind when he compiled Shirat HaSticker, a popular rap sung by HaDag Nahash. (Although he did not write it with the intention of creating a rap, Grossman, the father of teenagers, ultimately collaborated with HaDag Nahash.) The lyrics are essentially a recitation of bumper stickers representing a variety of topics and individuals’ standpoints in modern Israel: left wing, right wing, religious, secular, Zionist, and humorous. Many people feel that, in putting bumper stickers on their cars, they gain the ability to openly express their opinion in a society or under a government that they believe is denying them of the right. Similarly, music has been used as a powerful means of voicing one’s view freely for many generations. Many educators have incorporated this song into their curricula for teaching about modern Israel as they believe it provides “an extraordinary opportunity to tap into the best of two worlds, the impact of the Israeli bumper sticker and the power of the Israeli song.” Check out the video with subtitles here: