December Dialogue
Bat Mitzvah-versary

The beating heart of music in Israel / Palestine

Hearing this track, and learning about this nonprofit organization, brought a bit of light into my Chanukah. (Thanks, A Way In, for sharing this song as one of your Chanukah posts!) So I figured I'd share it with y'all too. The song is called "Bukra Fi Mishmish," Arabic for "when pigs fly" or "when the impossible happens." It's written, and performed, by Israeli and Palestinian youth aged 16-20. It's terrific.

(If you can't see the embedded YouTube video, you can go to Bukra Fi Mishmish at YouTube.)

The song comes out of Heartbeat. Here's how that org describes itself:

HEARTBEAT is an international community of musicians, educators, and students using music to build mutual understanding and transform conflict. Founded in 2007 under a grant from Fulbright and MTV, Heartbeat offers a variety of programs to enable Israeli and Palestinian youth musicians to build trust and actively participate in defining their futures, by developing and spreading their music.

Fear, violence, ignorance and a pervasive lack of trust define the political and cultural reality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Most Israelis and Palestinians have only encountered the other side through televised reports of extremist violence, soldiers at checkpoints, or politicians. As violence intensifies in this small corner of the world, people retreat to their side, and are too often unable to trust in the humanity of the other. To break the status quo of separation and violence and to build a future of peace, security, justice, and freedom for all, people on both sides must know the other; they must communicate and understand each others needs, fears, hopes and shared humanity. People on both sides must be shown tools of change more effective than violence.

Music has an amazing ability to connect people, build trust and inspire hope in the darkest of places. Modern, popular music has long been the voice of change all around the world and a powerful means for youth expression and nonviolent action. By bringing together young Jewish and Arab musicians and strengthening their voices, we are working to build a global culture of trust, compassion, and respect.

I give tremendous credit to everyone involved in this project; I don't imagine that this kind of creative and spiritual work is easy, but I do believe that it matters.

If this sounds like something you might want to support, consider donating to Heartbeat. They're in the process of applying for 501(c)3 status, but for those who are in the United States, tax-deductible contributions to Heartbeat can be sent to their fiscal sponsor, Jewish Renewal congregation Am Kolel, by clicking on the PayPal link on that donate page.

Happy Chanukah to all! I'll be humming this song long after this festival is through.