When the going gets tough, the only way to move forward is to think differently. Following the disheartening drive from the South, the Lorde tribute project picks a new direction. Part 12 of 15. To read the rest of the series, click here. Friday was the last day of the rainy spell. The brave editor of this series, Mike Schaeffer Omer-Man, and Emily, his human rights lawyer wife, had us over for a hummus brunch in Jaffa. Beyond their apartment's large French windows were the comely, winter-gray Mediterranean and something even grayer: a concrete ruin, an abandoned high rise that used…Read More... | 5 Comments
Life & Culture
It's cease or desist for the Lorde project, as Yuval gets a rare opportunity for a long nocturnal drive with a great musician. Part 11 of 15. For more, click here. We all packed up into a seven-seater Suburban: Mira Awad, three other actors and myself. Yigal Ezrati, Jaffa Theater's director, was the driver. Clearly I couldn't bring up the project right way, so I was quiet, which brought about an uneasy silence. We pulled into a gas station by the adjacent kibbutz. Yigal left the car to fuel. Mira hummed something, she was in a lovely mood. "So why are…Read More...
The story takes a southern turn, as Yuval heads into the desert for a possible rendezvous with an elusive star, and has disturbing thoughts on the way. Click here to read the previous chapters of the ‘Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries’ And so I was left with no choice. I had to travel to a freezing desert plateau, where I would chase Mira Awad and try to make her change her mind. The way to Sde Boker by public transportation begins with a 70-minute train ride to Be'er Sheva. At Tel Aviv's Hahagana station I bumped into another traveler headed for the same poetry…Read More...
Two nights in Jerusalem bring many a new acquaintance, and make things seem so much simpler— or complicated. Click here to read the previous chapters of the ‘Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries’ Winter was only getting more severe, which presented a dilemma. Being a poetry lover, I head south each year for a poetry festival held in the heart of the desert, at the Sde Boker boarding school. This year I contemplated skipping. Sde Boker is perched atop a steep mesa, overlooking a dramatic canyon and is perfectly exposed to desert winds that can be vicious when winter is earnest. The poets are put up…Read More...
There's more to Israeli music than your typical Do-Re-Mi, but as our heroes try to explore new scales, they run into a false note. Click here to read the previous chapters of the 'Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries' The storm was beating relentlessly at our shutters. It was too cold to go out to Nehama, too rainy to meet up and record. Yaron and I chatted online instead. "I want one of the Israeli songs we do to be Mizrahi," he wrote. This was a good enough and important enough of an idea that it warrants a break from the anyway hibernating…Read More... | 4 Comments
Ironically, it's a break from music-making and partner-searching that produces a first duet, and with a very special musician, too. Read the previous chapters of The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries here. On the fifth morning of the tour, after having breakfast at the group's Jerusalem hotel, I climbed aboard the bus and found that we had a young guest. It was Husam's 12-year-old daughter, Mayar. He explained that school is still out for the winter holidays. He thought it would be nice to take her to the Israel Museum with us. At first I was amazed to see Mayar on this side…Read More... | 1 Comment
It's time for the local Lorde tribute to go over the Line, in more than one way. Read the previous chapters of The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries here. On Boxing Day we traveled down to Bethlehem. We were five: my girlfriend Ruthie, three members of her research team (she is a doctoral student of social psychology) and yours truly. We have all been to Bethlehem before, where Israelis seldom venture, since like other Palestinian cities, it is designated "Area A." It is illegal for us to be there, and most are scared off by cautionary tales that dehumanize the Palestinians living…Read More... | 1 Comment
The team gets the hottest recruit this side of the separation barrier. Read the previous chapters of The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries here. "He who wishes to fly must first learn to walk," said Nietzsche, and I say: before teaming up with Palestinians, an Israeli Lorde fan must find Israeli partners. Yaron surprised me with snobbery, and rejected many names we discussed. Only with one did he seem truly confident. Fortunately, she is my personal friend: the super talented Shira Z. Carmel. Shira is an impossibly diverse artist. Over the years that I have known her, she formed and headed no less…Read More...
Part four, in which our heroes find a jar of rare yeast spread, and have a wonderful time chuckling at 'Google Translate.' Read the previous chapters of The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries’ here. On Tuesday I wrote Hanin: "It's time to look for a singer. You said you knew a few." There was no response that day, nor the following. I told myself to be patient. On Friday I read a spectacular op-ed in Haaretz, authored by none other than Mira Awad, the same Galilee-born Palestinian singer whom Hanin rejected. Awad wrote about going out for drinks with a mixed group of Arab…Read More... | 1 Comment
Between general despair and out of fear of offending the anti-normalization movement, the project moves on and Lorde makes an unlikely fan. Read the previous chapters of The Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries' here. More than a week has passed and I haven't heard from Hanin. I figured we need find another translator. Meanwhile, Jewish-Arab partnership in this unholy land received a major blow. Vandals set fire to Jerusalem's "Hand in Hand" school, one of a tiny handful of bilingual schools in the country. The arsonists turned out to be activists with "Lehava," the same organization to which I dedicated my version…Read More... | 2 Comments
Between the years 1948 and 1952, thousands of babies, children of mostly Yemenite immigrants to the newly-founded State of Israel, were allegedly taken away from their parents and given up for adoption to Ashkenazi families. Now a group of activists is telling the stories of the traumatized families who vow never to forget. (Translated from Hebrew by Maayan Goldman) The baby in the photo is younger than my Abigail. His name is Rafael - a tiny baby, seen here in his mother's arms. She wandered from Damascus to Beirut and onto the shores of the promised land, before being placed…Read More... | 11 Comments
If anything, satire in our society runs the risk of being too safe, of making its targets appear less dangerous than they really are. In cutting them down to size, satire sometimes humanizes as much as it disparages. By Don Futterman This week 17 French citizens were murdered because some people literally can’t take a joke. Artists were martyred for mocking Islam and Islamic extremists, police lost their lives because they were charged with protecting those artists’ right to free speech, and Jews were slain because they were Jews. A joke, for or an instant, inverts the way we look…Read More... | 9 Comments
Yuval Ben-Ami and his gang are going where no man or woman has gone before: They are trying to produce a bilingual, bi-national album based on the songs of pop prodigy Lorde. The only problem: The gang itself is homogenous to the core. An insurmountable challenge? For the entire Israel-Palestine Lorde Diaries, click here. A week after our Yemenite feast, I met with Yaron to start working out the details. "I have a title for the EP," I told him, "I want it to be 'העונה לתספורת קצרה,' that's 'Buzzcut Season,' the name of one of Lorde's songs. I think…Read More...
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