Arik Einstein – Lost and Found in Translation

November 28, 2013 by

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Along with the heart-felt tributes to Arik Einstein, there has been a fascinating undercurrent of emotional hoarding on the part of some Israelis. Assuming that no one outside of Israel has ever heard of Arik Einstein or any of his songs, they then make a further assumption that it is their job to explain what he and his music meant. Yet after this double-assumption, everything closes down. Writes Israeli-born Liel Leibovitz: “I have nothing to say to you about Arik Einstein. I’m sorry to sound like a prick, but you wouldn’t get it.” It’s an extreme comment, but sums up a prevailing sentiment. Those non-Israelis, they won’t get it.

There is something rather beautiful and also sad about this kind of response. The character and the music of Arik Einstein made its impact in the way the best of art should: Through our hearts. His music touched millions, each of whom received it as if created for them alone. This is the paradoxical magic of art. As a result, when feeling his loss, it is a personal emotional loss that – when we are sad – we sometimes fight to “own”. “You wouldn’t get it,” is a perfect way to maintain the purity and unique authenticity of my pain. To Full Post

Culture Vulture – Haim Hefer z”l

 

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Haim Hefer one of Israel’s unquestionable cultural icons, and Israel Prize laureate, died yesterday in Tel Aviv at the age of 86.

His coffin will be in public view in The New Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv from 13:00 today, before it is buried this evening in the artists village of Ein Hod.

Born in the Polish town of Sosnowice in 1925, Hefer’s family moved to Myslowice that Hefer described as a very important town for the Jews as “Bilaik lived and wrote there for at least a year.”

Even if you think you don’t know his work, you might be wrong. If you know some of the “good old songs of Eretz Yisrael”, then you probably know some of Hefer’s work. His songs can be found throughout the sound track of the State of Israel. “The Red Rock”, “Yes, It’s Possible” and “In Those Days” are just a few of his iconic creations.

At the age of 11 he came on aliyah to Mandatory Palestine with the Machanot Ha’Olim youth movement, and by the age of 17 he was already a fighter in the Palmach.

When he first arrived, Hefer was speaking classical Hebrew, and used Hebrew expressions of a previous age as a result of the Hebrew classes he took before coming on aliyah. At first his classmates from Raanana would give him a hard time for his Ivrit, but very quickly he managed to integrate. In a Haaretz interview from a few years ago, talking about his early days in Palestine, he is reported as saying “I never denied my origins, but I knew Hebrew. That’s the whole deal.”

Here Harel Skat interviews him for Channel 2 (no English translation)

Here is a Channel 1 clip in which Achinoam Nini sings just to Hefer. At the end he says “I have never heard such a beautiful rendition in my life”

Another Channel 1 clip of a collection of his songs is here

 Hefer made it clear that he doesn’t want Kaddish or El Maaleh Rachamim recited at his funeral, but rather “I’d prefer a little Sacha Argov.”

Make Your Own Israeli Music Video

 

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Celebrating Israeli Culture and Expression (Pride):
We believe that one of the most beautiful expressions of להיות עם חופשי בארצנו (To be a Free People in Our Land) is the flourishing of Jewish culture and art that has come as a natural progression from the Jewish people building a thriving society in their ancestral homeland. To Full Post

Rabbi Daniel L. Lehmann, President of Hebrew College

 

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From my perspective, the “Come Home” videos suggest a profound indictment of Jewish education and identity formation in Israeli secular culture. To Full Post

Ruth Calderon, Executive Director of Alma College

 

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These are poor commercials in my opinion.

The fact that they will “always remain Israeli” is true, and an interesting cultural truth. The next stage – help them to return home – is not essential, paternalistic, and blind to the interesting new cultural developments taking place in Israeli communities abroad. To Full Post

Dr. Ruth Calderon, Chair and Founder of Alma College

 

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These are poor commercials in my opinion.

The fact that they will “always remain Israeli” is true, and an interesting cultural truth. The next stage – help them to return home – is not essential, paternalistic, and blind to the interesting new cultural developments taking place in Israeli communities abroad. To Full Post

Engaging with Israel through Culture

 

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 Click here for downloadable pdf. 

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Israel – Myth and Reality

 

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 Click here for downloadable pdf.

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Camp Israel – Day Eight – Israel 1996

 

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The Gesher Theater – Russian influence on Israeli arts

 Click here for downloadable pdf.

 

Palestine under Roman Rule – 20

 

The period of Roman rule of Eretz Yisrael is important in our consideration of “teaching Israel” for several reasons:

  • Continuing the conversation that began with Shivat Tziyon, about the significance of land, autonomy, sovereignty, and exile: if we are living in our land but do not have sovereignty, are we in a kind of exile?  Or does exile only refer to physical separation from the land?  How important, in our relationship to the land, is political independence?
  • Another conversation that continues and blossoms during this period is about Judaism’s relationship to foreign cultures.  The Jewish-pagan polarity that is so evident in the Bible becomes much more complex and nuanced during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.  This brings us to down to the modern discussion of “what is Jewish culture?” and “What is Israeli culture?”  Is any culture that is rooted in Israel ipso facto Israeli?  Jewish?
  • It is during this period that the basic documents of the Oral Law are codified; thus, the “Jewish Tradition” as we know it, both Halachah and Aggadah, is founded upon the records of the discussions of the rabbis of Eretz Yisrael under the Romans – and this includes, of course, the place of the land itself in that tradition (see lesson 22, The Mishnah).

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