Hallelujah winner Evan Malach 370.
(photo credit: Rafi Daluya)
Canadian Evan Malach overcame a few technical difficulties at the beginning of
his performance to walk away with the first prize at the final of the global
Jewish singing competition “Hallelujah” on Saturday evening.
final, held in Ramat Hasharon, was the culmination of a song contest that saw 29
Jews aged 18 to 30 from around the world come to Israel to connect to their
Jewish roots though Hebrew songs.
Malach, 27, was overcome with emotion
upon receiving the news that he had won the contest with his rendition of Ehud
Banai’s “K’nani Blues.” He walked away with an $8,000 cash prize.
charismatic Canadian was also awarded the opportunity to record a duet with Dudu
Fisher, which will be released as a single in Israel and on global Jewish radio
stations. As if that wasn’t enough, Malach will travel to Jewish communities
around the world to perform.
The team of judges, headed by veteran singer
Yehoram Gaon, said it was a difficult decision to make but agreed that Malach
deserved to win. Courtney Simmons from the US came in second place.
23-year-old, whose family cheered her on from the crowd wearing matching
T-shirts, won a cash prize of $4,000. Russia’s Polina Zizak, 18, came in at third
place and walked away with $2,000.
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Some 1,000 people attended the
impressive live show in Ramat Hasharon’s Ussishkin Square, with Sport and
Culture Minister Limor Livnat and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz in attendance.
During a half-time break in performances, Steinitz took to the stage and joked
about budget issues, but highlighted the importance of the singing competition
and vowed to make sure that money would be available for similar events in the
Steinitz showed his support for the competition by saying
“Hallelujah is Zionism and pure pleasure.”
“Hebrew song is the most
beautiful, powerful and essential part of renewed Jewish culture. There is
nothing more important than an evening like this that connects the Diaspora to
Israel,” the finance minister told the crowd.
Livnat also addressed the
crowd: “The State of Israel was established as kibbutz galuyot – [the
in-gathering of the exiles].
Hallelujah represents the kibbutz galuyot of
young singers. This is Zionism itself.”
The 14 finalists all gave
emotional performances of personally selected Hebrew songs. Last year’s winner
Mexican singer Adam Kleinberg, who recently made aliya, wrapped up the
proceedings with a cover of Meir Banai’s classic “Geshem.”
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