The Renaissance of Jewish Music in Israel



As we mark two years since the beginning of the COVID lockdowns, most pundits would describe this era as a time of great darkness and for good reason. In Israel alone, our nation has grappled with the constant uncertainty of the pandemic, extreme political division, terror attacks and corruption. Pessimists abound!

But not everyone sees only darkness and gloom. The most frequently played song on Israeli radio in 2021 was Ishay Ribo’s upbeat Sibat HaSibot, “The Cause of Causes.” Last year, millions of Israelis drove carpools and washed dishes while listening to Ishay sing “You can see the sun on the horizon, I’m sure the end of the road will be clearer… Open for us gates of faith, gates of understanding, that we have no king except You! The Cause of Causes…” As Sivan Rahav Meir noted, “the gap between the news and the playlist has never been so big.”

Like the prophets of old, Israeli songwriters and musicians are ahead of their time, offering us a joyous glimpse of what Israel can one day become. Religious and “secular” musicians regularly perform together for diverse audiences of Jews, singing songs of faith and holy yearning. At Ishay Ribo and Akiva Turgeman concerts, Sefardim and Ashkenazim and men with and without kippot sing and dance together, expressing a powerful feeling of unity and common purpose that transcends political and religious differences. 

In the pages that follow, we take a deeper look at some of the talented musicians who have succeeded in blurring the lines that, for too long, have separated Jews from one another. “Sing to Hashem a new song, His praise from the end of the earth…” May the singers of Israel teach us a new song the song of unity and redemption!

© 2024 World Mizrachi

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