Ochi chornye - Black Eyes in New Jersey

By
April 17, 2014 16:14

Extraordinarily, it seems that we old-timer Israelis are more familiar with the melodies than the Russian speakers themselves.




Yoram Drori

Yoram Drori and his wife (far left), Yesh Atid MK Ronen Hoffman, singer Iryna Rosenfeld, philanthropist Matthew Bronfman, Chaim Chesler and (far right) Foreign Ministry senior official Gideon Meir and his wife.. (photo credit:BATYA DRORI)

It was at 1:30 in the morning in one of the lecture rooms in the Sheraton Parsippany Hotel in New Jersey when I made what was, for me, a fascinating discovery about the young Russian-speaking Jews who grew up in the former Soviet Union.

Many dozens of the hundreds of participants in a just-concluded Limmud FSU festival sat in a circle and enthusiastically joined in a spontaneous singalong in the center of which was a young singer, Iryna Rosenfeld. The 24-year-old from Kiev had won second place in the local version of A Star is Born. She was accompanied by a virtuoso accordionist, Ronen Hoffman, who is better-known to Israelis as a Knesset member for the Yesh Atid political party. Iryna sang in Russian, Yiddish, English, and notably, in Hebrew.

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