Israeli singer performs in Hebrew for the Pope

"It's such an honor for Israel, the fact that a Jewish Israeli singer has become a fixture at the Vatican," said Achinoam Nini

October 7, 2018 16:58
1 minute read.
Pope francis achinoam

Achinoam Nini and her daughter, Yum, perform for the Pope last weekend.. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Israeli singer Achinoam Nini performed for a very small – and very elite – audience last weekend. Pope Francis.

Last Saturday, Nini and her family had a private audience with the Pope at the Vatican, and she sang two songs for him.

“He was so moved when I spoke and sang in Hebrew,” Nini, known internationally as Noa, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. “He’s a wonderful man.”

Nini and guitarist Gil Dor performed two songs for the pope – adapted versions of “Ave Maria” and “Beautiful That Way.” On the latter song, Nini’s daughter, Yum, joined her in singing together for the pope.

“It seems the Holy Father loves Hebrew, and loves the song ‘Beautiful That Way,’” Nini wrote on Facebook several days ago, sharing a video of the meeting. “I decided to sing half the song in Hebrew... that way, Yum and I could connect the message of hope that shines strongly through this song, to our own culture, our quest for peace, and on into the future. Francis, who is all heart himself, was thrilled.”

This isn’t the first time Nini has encountered Pope Francis; the pair first sat down together in 2016, in Krakow, and she has performed for him at the Vatican as well.

“We were invited to perform our Ave Maria, in a small intimate setting for the Pope himself, upon his request,” Nini wrote on Facebook. “What an honor. I love this man. He’s so full of light. The world would be a lesser place without him.”

In fact, Nini has become somewhat of a staple at the Vatican; Pope Francis is the third pope for whom she has performed. In 1994 she sang for Pope John Paul II, and she later performed for Pope Benedict as well.

“It’s such a kavod [honor] for Israel, the fact that a Jewish Israeli singer has become a fixture at the Vatican, loved and respected by three Popes,” Nini told the Post. “[I sang] a prayer for peace directed to people of all religions, singing in Hebrew... bringing a message of peace.”

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