Monday, May 08, 2006
A brief intro from Yitz: Reb Shlomo Carlebach had an intense love for every Jew, and for the Land of Israel. Whenever a war broke out in Israel, he was on the first plane to Israel – to encourage and entertain the troops. And when he picked up and moved his ‘House of Love and Prayer’ from San Francisco to Jerusalem, many of his followers – the ‘Holy Hippelach’ as he called them – followed him. Many of those who came had accompanied Reb Shlomo in his live performances and/or recordings. Among them are Chaim Dovid, Ben Zion Solomon and Sons [the Moshav Band, Soulfarm] and Yehuda Katz, who began his own ensemble, Reva L’Sheva.
A group of Israeli musicians is building bridges from North America to Israel, spreading awareness about Israel through art and music. They hope those bridges will bring Jews home to the Holy Land. Reva L’Sheva lead singer and Jewish soul-rock pioneer Yehuda Katz has developed an innovative educational project which uses music and the arts to promote a stronger connection to Israel among American Jews and help Israeli youth develop their Jewish identities. Katz, along with a group of musicians and artists who immigrated to Israel from North America, conceived of Artists and Musicians for Israel (AMI) when the experience of concert touring left them and their audiences craving something more.
Katz believes that AMI’s unique didactic approach succeeds in piercing through the superficial limits imposed by traditional educational routes, allowing the ideas of love of Israel and Zionism to enter into the hearts of American Jewish youth. “Music comes from the heart,” said Katz, referring to the Hebrew saying ‘What comes from the heart enters into the heart.’ “So it is with music. The comments we received in the States were that ‘everyone always comes here and speaks to the kids' heads, trying to push an intellectual rational message. You guys came here and poured out your hearts.’ How could we say no?" …
AMI artists view themselves as ambassadors for the State of Israel mandated to spread the word about the positive elements of Israeli life and culture often overlooked by the global Jewish community. “To hear young people who have never been to Israel talk about Israel in very strong, connected kind of terms is beautiful because it makes you wonder, ‘where does this come from?’ …Something inside of them, their neshama (soul), has a strong connection to Israel. To watch all these things happen, we were so moved. We felt that we have to go back and do it again. We like to feel like we’re going out as ambassadors for the State of Israel. Hopefully we are doing a good job.”
Read the entire article here.