January 2015


As we start a new year with renewed energy, we hope to welcome 2015 with a song in our heart. We therefore dedicate this issue to Israeli music past and present. Music has a direct path to the heart and with its richness and diversity presents many teaching opportunities. We hope you take the time to explore the many resources we present to you, and share them with your students and community.


In this issue we bring you a glimpse into the transformation of Shirey Moledet (Songs for the Homeland), Israeli music resources available online, local musicians/educators, and upcoming music events


We have many other resources, online and for rent, that we are eager to share with you. Please contact us with any requests or questions.


We hope you enjoy and use these resources and we encourage you to forward them to colleagues and friends.


Best wishes,

Ilan and Vavi

Israel Education Initiative

Jewish LearningWorks


moledetShirey Moledet 
Songs for the Homeland

Israeli popular music has come a long way since the early days of Shirey Moledet (songs for the homeland). Dating from the 1920's and on, these songs were mostly written by people who were not born in Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel), but who adopted her as their homeland. Typically written and sung by immigrants, filled with verve and ideology, in solidarity and as a collective voice, they sing the homeland's praise, addressing her in the female form. "We Love You Moledet (Homeland)". These early Shirey Moledet helped forge a new identity for Jews in Eretz Yisrael and later helped shape the profile of the mythical Tzabar (Israeli born). 


In the canon of this genre one song stands out - Morning Song (Shir Bokerwritten in 1935 by Natan Alterman and Daniel Samborsky. Lyrics in Hebrew and English


Morning Song - Shiru Shir Havura


Many songs written since then could fall under the category of Shirey Moledet, and yet it is fascinating to see what kind of transformation took place. Here are a few songs to check out and explore:


There's no Turning Back (Ein kvar derech chazara)

Yoram Teharlev, Yair Rosenblum, 1968

Written for the Navy Troupe

Lyrics in Hebrew and English


I Have No Other Country (Ein li eretz acheret)

Ehud Manor, Korin Alal, 1982

Sung by Gali Atari

Lyrics in Hebrew and English


All Your Wonders Are Not Over (Od lo tamu kol pla'a'yich)

Rami Kleinstein, 1985 

Written for the Northern Army Division Entertainment Troupe

Lyrics in Hebrew and English


Here (Kan)

Uzi Chitman,1991

Sung by Orna and Moshe Satz

Received third place in the Eurovision Song Contest

Lyrics in Hebrew and English


Only Here (Rak po

Hadag Nachash, 2004



If we place Shir Boker as one bookend of this genre, we might look at "Awake, Arise" (Uri, Ur) by Aviv Geffen as the other bookend. It is almost the opposite of Shir Boker in mood and intention, but has all the elements of Shir Moledet. It expresses love for the homeland and a longing for collective and national unity: "Awake, arise beloved homeland..."


Awake, Arise (Uri Ur)

Aviv Geffen, 2000

Lyrics in Hebrew and English 


Born in 1973, Aviv Geffen became the voice of Israeli youth during the 90's.

The song was chosen as the song of the year by the music academy and was heralded as "a new Shir Moledet", and it is used in Israeli high school curricula as an example.


On November 4, 1995, the Israeli peace camp arranged a rally to support the peace process. Geffen was invited to sing in that rally, and unexpectedly decided to perform "Cry for You" (Livkot Lekha), which Geffen wrote and gave to Israeli singer Arik Einstein. The lyrics had prophetically preceded the tragic assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin later that night. "Cry for You" became a kind of national anthem, and was the song that symbolized the Candle Children movement (youth who populated the Rabin's mourning site by lighting candles). 



Aviv Geffen in Cesaria 2012
Aviv Geffen, Awake Arise, Caesarea 2012


And so it seems that even Shirey Moledet came a long way since the early days!


Israeli Music Resources

Web Resources

In the last few years many new websites and web resources have been made available for musical exploration. From full episodes of documentaries about Israeli music to articles and music lists, it's all at the tip of your index finger. 

Music Voyager

This travel-based music series features host Jacob Edgar - an ethnomusicologist, cultural musician and music critic - exploring thriving, exotic global music scenes to discover emerging talent. Edgar travels all over the world to hear cutting-edge musicians and immerse himself in their cultures. Three full episodes of his visit to Israel are available online, under 30 min. each.


Music Voyager - Voices From The Desert
Music Voyager - Voices From The Desert


Music Voyager: Songs from the Holy Land


Music Voyager: Tel Aviv - Rocking Israel



The Music of Music: Learning Hebrew Through Song - The iCenter for Israel Education.  Explore the iCenter web site for more excellent resources


Israeli Music Videos (presented by Historama.com)

Contemporary Israeli Music from the past 10-15 years with lyrics in English

With corresponding Video Playlist


The Sounds of Israel - MAKOM Music Blog

Top 10 Music Festivals - Israel 21c


12 Top Israeli Bands to Watch in 2015 - Israel 21c


Israeli Hip Hop as a Democratic Platform

Zionist Hip Hop

An article By Yael Korat 
Anamesa - An Interdisciplinary Journal, NYU 



Educational and Curricular Material



From Invitation to Piyut and Piyut North America, and for those who missed our wonderful event Piyut with Yair Harel, a great resource with Piyutim (liturgical songs of past and present)

Resource Book

Corresponding audio


Psalms for the Perplexed - Kobi Oz

A booklet with background information and commentary on songs from the album. 

Video links with English lyrics:

Secular Prayer



Elohay - Kobi Oz & Rabi Nissim Messika - with English translation
Elohay - Kobi Oz & Rabi Nissim Messika - with English translation



Shirat Hasticker - Hadag Nachash

Lesson plan



Hebrewman - Ehud Banai

Lesson Plan



Questions for God - Hatikvah 6

Lesson Plan



Idan Raichel

Lesson Plan



Songs of Then, Songs of Now

This program, specially developed by MAKOM Israel Engagement Network for Israel@60, presents five songs that feature remakes and adaptations of  classic Israeli songs by contemporary Israeli artists.

Films about Music/Musicians

Films available at the Jewish Community Library:


Ritah G'ahan Faruz

Rita G'ahan Faruz, one of Israel most beloved singer/songwriter and world renown, immigrated to Israel from Iran with her family when she was eight years old. On the eve of her forty-ninth birthday, with enormous tension between Tehran and Jerusalem looming in the background, she records her first album in Farsi.

Catalog link 


Sarit Hadad - Hagiga - Live concert in Caesarea

Catalog link



The story of Zohar Argov, a singer who became the idol of the Israeli masses, helped catapult Mizrachi music into mainstream, and whose complex personality led to complications and conflict in his life.

Catalog link


Rita - Ahava Gedolah in Concert

Catalog link 


Dudu Fisher in Concert

Catalog link


Yohoram Gaon in Concert

Catalog link


Lelakek Ta'tut - Licking the Berry

Romantic comedy with love triangles, music, and the army.

Catalog link

More Films:


Black Over White - Tomer Heymann film Trailer
Black Over White - Tomer Heymann film Trailer



Black Over White

The concert in Addis Ababa is not just another performance by the Idan Raichel Project, but a journey back to the homeland of two of the project's lead singers, Cabra Casay and Avi Vograss Vesa. The film raises questions about identity and seeks to reawaken the pain of immigration, which is still there even after so many years, rekindling the authenticity and bond to the place that will exist forever in their minds and hearts.

Written and directed by Tomer Heymann

More about the film


Aviv (F---ed Up Generation)

Directed by Tomer Heymann, this feature documentary follows the life of Aviv Geffen, a controversial Israeli singer whose liberal upbringing led him to refuse to serve in the Israeli military. Over the last six years, Geffen has become a spokesperson for the country's youth, and this film chronicles the rise of his career, his family roots, and how he finds the inspiration to write music.

Jericho's Echo

Jericho's Echo introduces us to some of the colorful characters of the little-known Israeli punk scene, and gives us insights into their lives through interviews, verite' scenes, and live musical footage.


More about the film 


Knowledge is the Beginning

Daniel Barenboim established the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra with the late Palestinian writer Edward Said in order to bring together young musicians from across the political divide in the Middle East, noting that "knowledge is just the beginning" of the tolerance and understanding they wanted to foster through music. The triumphant Ramallah concert heard here is evidence of that success.

More about the film


Channels of Rage

The film focuses on two young rap artists, Subliminal, an Israeli Jew, and Tamer Nafar, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, and focuses on their music, friendship, and their politicization as public figures. The film traces the relationship between Tamer and Subliminal, as the events of the Second Intifada unfold.

Provides an insight into the challenges of dialogue and coexistence even the best intentions cannot overcome.

Available in its entirety on YouTube


Extensive list of Israeli films about Music 

from the Israel Film Center at JCC Manhattan


IMPORTANT: Some of the films contain language and situations that might not be appropriate for teens. 

musiciansLocal Musicians/Educators  


Shay Rachman

Music Together


Shay Rachman teaches Music classes for children (0-5) using a great mix of English & Hebrew. For the past two decades Music Together has been one of the leading music programs in the US performing as a standalone educational musical platform in collaboration with local schools. This internationally recognized early childhood program pioneered the concept of a research-based curriculum that strongly emphasizes adult involvement. Music Together has recently added a Hebrew Component.


Shay is a singer-songwriter, born on a Kibbutz in Northern Israel, with a B.A. in Music and Communications from the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music and is currently living, playing, and teaching in Palo Alto, California.

Lior Ben-Hur
Musician and Educator 

Born and raised in Jerusalem, Lior Ben-Hur has traveled all over the world where he spent time learning, performing and sharing experiences with musicians and artists. His band, Sol Tevel performs regularly in San Francisco. 

Lior Ben-Hur offers a  variety of educational and musical programs for every age group. In the past 10 years Lior has worked with numerous Hebrew schools, day schools, congregations, Hillel houses and camps, and has experience working with kids, college students and adults.

evetsLocal Events

Shlomo Gronich Piano Perforamnce
Shlomo Gronich is known as a multi-faceted artist - a composer of classical and folk music, a singer, an arranger and lyricist, as well as a composer of music for cinema, theater and dance. 
Saturday, February 14
Palo Alto JCC

Asaf Avidan

Asaf Avidan
Asaf Avidan "Reckoning Song"


While Asaf Avidan has drawn comparisons to Janis Joplin, Jeff Buckley and Nina Simone, he possesses a voice that is utterly singular. As London's The Independent recently put it, "If you haven't heard Avidan's music, prepare to be astounded."


Wednesday, February 18

Thursday, February 19

Doors: 7PM, Show: 8 PM (21+)

Bimbo's 365 Club, 1025 Columbus Ave, San Francisco

Diwan Saz
West Coast Premier
Diwan saz concert 2014 Jerusalem
Diwan saz concert 2014 Jerusalem

Direct from Israel, Diwan Saz is a Jewish-Muslim-Christian ensemble performing a rich variety of music from throughout the Middle East. Featuring virtuosic performances of piyutim, or Jewish liturgical poems, Turkish folk songs, Rumi-inspired compositions and Bedouin folksongs by a 14-year old prodigious singer.  

Saturday, March 14 at 8:30 pm

First Congregational Church, 2501 Harrison Street, Oakland

The Jewish Music Festival presents its 30th anniversary and final season February 26-March 22, 2015 in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco Tickets on sale from January 10.

TICKETS: Tickets are $28 general admission / $24 seniors (65+), full-time students and JCC East Bay members.