It is no secret that my own experience at
the General Assembly (GA) 2004 (in Cleveland, Ohio,)
further solidified my own aspirations for a career
serving the American Jewish community in some capacity.
Unfortunately, I was unable to join
this year's Yeshiva University delegation to the GA
in Toronto, as I had a "Chemistry Lab for non-majors"
that I could not miss. [Actually,
I could have missed it,
but then I wouldn’t have been able to graduate in proper
time... May 2006, here I come!]
One of the highpoints of GA 2004 was the weekend preceding the actual GA, where over 500 college students, representing Hillel’s from across the country (and YU), spent a Shabbat together. At that weekend, I met students from across the ideological spectrum (there were seven prayer services on Friday night; I led Mincha at the Orthodox minyan) and it was great to discuss many pressing issues with students from varying backgrounds. Not a common occurrence on the Washington Heights campus of Yeshiva University.
Singing at Seudat Shlishit was led by the members of the Voices For Israel project and we sang all of the clichéd Seudat Shlishit songs. Jordan Gorfinkel, and his “Voices For Israel” team, taught everyone in attendance a song that had debuted on their CD, written by Malki Chana Roth, hy”d, a teenager who was killed in the Sbarro restaurant on August 9, 2001. The song is entitled Shir Lismoach/ Malki’s Song and a version sung by Yishai Lapidot (Oif Simchas) and Yehuda! can be downloaded from the Keren Malki website [lyrics in PDF and MP3].
Today would have been Malki’s twentieth birthday and Hagahot has posted a shiur in memory of his sister. May Malki's memory be for a blessing and may the Lord avenge her blood.
Australian Jewish News
Fifty Jewish recording artists recently teamed up for the most ambitious project in Jewish music- all to the tune of showing solidarity for Israel. The musicians joined together to produce the two-CD set "Voices for Israel," which features the largest gathering ever of diverse Jewish musicians, including Dan Nichols, Rick Recht, SAFAM, and Shlock Rock.
In the title track, "Chazak Amenu: We Stand As One," the musicians raise their voices for Israel in a stirring new solidarity anthem, singing out: "We stand as one.... We must go on.... We will be strong." "The lyrics powerfully evoke the enduring hope of all Jewish people for unity and peace," says Jordan Gorfinkel, the man behind the idea for the CD. Gorfinkel is also co-founder and singer/songwriter for Beat'achon, a Jewish a cappella group.
"Voices for Israel" also features more than 30 songs that celebrate Israel and Judaism. One highlight is "Shir Lismoach: Malki's Song," written by Israeli teenager Malki Roth just months before she died in a terrorist bombing in 2001. In Malki's joyous song, she proclaims, "Each and every Jew has a spark and a beginning. This is a reason for rejoicing."
"Voices for Israel" sprouted on a blustery Saturday night in the winter of 2001, recalls Gorfinkel. Beat'achon was set to perform in a Cleveland synagogue, but soon after Shabbat ended, the community learned that a homicide bombing had occurred that day in Jerusalem. Beat'achon asked the synagogue's rabbi whether the show should still go on. The rabbi answered, "absolutely"- the community should come together at a time of tragedy.
The Beat'achon show went on and the group concluded the evening with an inspiring rendition of "Hatikvah," the Israeli national anthem. "A community member approached us after the show and urged us to record our 'Hatikvah,' saying that it is 'exactly what the Jewish people need at this time,'" recalls Gorfinkel.
Gorfinkel decided to take the idea one step further- envisioning a new solidarity anthem sung by an all-star lineup of Jewish musicians, with all proceeds from the song going to help Israeli victims of terrorism and their families. However, in observance of kol ishah- the Talmud's prohibition against men listening to women sing- only male vocalists are featured on the CD. The organizers made this difficult decision so that all parts of the Jewish community could stand united.
Working with the Israel Emergency Solidarity/One Family Fund, Gorfinkel hit the phones to line up the stars. "The response was amazing," he says. "Every artist said, 'Just tell me where to be and when.' My initial goal was 18 participants. We had to close the list at over 50!"
Not all 50 stars were able to be in one place at one time, but through the power of technology, their voices are joined in "Chazak Amenu." Many of the musicians recorded their tracks near their hometowns or on the road- from Sam Glaser in Los Angeles to Joe Black in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Lenny Solomon in Jerusalem. Recording star Yehuda! devoted nearly one year to blending the voices into one harmonious song.
"'Voices for Israel' is a testament to what the Jewish people can accomplish when we come together," says Gorfinkel. "I hope our music inspires other creative projects on behalf of Israel, and that we bring greater harmony to the Jewish people."
The Magic of Malki's Song - Cantor Carol Chesler
[This article was originally published in the March 2005 edition of The Cantor's Voice]
...My friend, Moshe, asked me to choose a song for our kids to sing during the concert, and I chose a piece I learned last summer at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, titled “Shir Lismoach,” or “Malki’s Song.” I first heard it on a new CD, called “Voices for Israel,” while driving to the Catskills for a Cantors Assembly Convention last spring. The tune is upbeat and joyous, and it was written by a teenage Australian Olah, named Malka Chana Roth. Simply put in the refrain, “You’re alive, breathing, movingthat’s a good beginning.” Here is a message of honest and sincere gratitude, the fact that being alive is something to be noted and appreciated. Tragically, however, Malki was killed in the suicide bombing of the Sbarro restaurant in the heart of Jerusalem in August, 2001. She had written this song, hoping to enter it into a contest the previous winter, but submitted it too late. She was just 15 when she was killed. During the Shiva period following her burial, some of her friends shared her song with Malki’s family. “In a spontaneous expression of sympathy and sadness, Malki’s friends fanned out across Israel during that mourning week in the summer holidays of August, 2001, and taught Malki’s song to hundreds of children and teenagers attending the Ezra youth group summer camp and in other summer youth camps throughout Israel. Since then, the words and music of this lovely creation have continued to be passed along via an informal network of teenagers in Israel and beyond.” (from the Malki Foundation website).
Click here to read the whole article.