Excites Jerusalem Audiences
June 2011, By Rabbi Jennifer Gorman, MASORTI / MERKAZ Canada
So often we hear the negative side of the fight for pluralism from the Masorti point of view, but there is so much more. All over Israel Masorti is brings together Jews excited for Judaism. Through our kehillot, the NOAM youth program, social action programs, and public appearances of our youth and leadership, Masorti is creating a positive presence in Israel.
Recently, Shirat Machar, NOAM’s performance troupe, was the only youth group honored to perform in Chagall Hall at the Knesset to celebrate the opening of the General Council of the World Zionist Organization. The audience, filled with Diaspora and Israeli leadership, included representatives of the worldwide Masorti movement organizations, Masorti Olami and MERCAZ Olami.
This was the second time in a little more than a month that Shirat Machar was featured in a prominent Jerusalem venue, another example of how Masorti is making its mark on Israeli society, helping to bring together individuals from across Israeli society.
On Yom Yerushaliyim, the lively coed NOAM vocalists took to the stage of Kikar Safra, outside Jerusalem’s City Hall. Shirat Machar was the sole group selected by event organizers to perform before the crowd of about 800 teens from youth groups throughout the city, representing the religious spectrum from secular to Orthodox. With singing and dancing to the beat of Israeli and traditional Jewish tunes, the atmosphere was electric, as youth from every religious stream joined in Shirat Machar’s engaging repertoire. This was especially significant in light of several prior Jerusalem events where girls were not permitted to perform.
NOAMistim are justifiably filled with pride by their selection and by the enthusiastic reception audiences are giving them. Remarked one NOAM participant: “Now everybody in Jerusalem knows there is a positive Jewish alternative, where boys and girls can sing Jewish songs together.”
Shirat Machar had everyone rockin' and rollin' in the aisles, on the stage at Kikar Safra on Yom Yerushaliyim.