Ashdod offers ‘equality’ series of artistic events

The concerts are the idea of Nurit Topaz, whose position within the city government is a liaison to develop plans for people in the community with different special needs.

Emek Amrami [L] and Eyal Peretz will perform at the 'We are All Equal' shows.   (photo credit: Courtesy)
Emek Amrami [L] and Eyal Peretz will perform at the 'We are All Equal' shows.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The city of Ashdod is making news in an artistic way. With the full backing of the city government, special committees and private organizations, Ashdod will open a series of six different, free concerts and art happenings over the next six months devoted to the idea that “we are all equal,” (tav shavei sharim), at Beit Aryeh Klang, the House of Musicians and Artists.
The concerts are the idea of Nurit Topaz, whose position within the city government is a liaison to develop plans for people in the community with different special needs.
“For 60 minutes,” explains Topaz, “we invite the community to enter together the world of song where everyone is equal. Our goal is to provide an experience which promotes feelings of sharing, togetherness and cohesiveness. We, the entire community of those with special needs and not, will not only have the opportunity to sing together but also have the occasion to share interactive, hands-on artistic experiences.”
Topaz points out community singing with musicians and vocalists, some of whom are disabled and others not, is one of the many attractions in which the community can participate.
“We are setting up a projector and large screen to show words of well-known Hebrew songs and their translations,” says musical director Ronen Haronian. “A moderator will use sign language for presentation. Our first concert will open its doors on the evening of November 18 at 18:30, and feature a band which is a mix of musicians – two who are disabled and the rest not.”
“Sa’ar Buchbinder is autistic and plays piano and keyboard instruments. He completed his service in the army, and music is one of his passions. Emek Amrami is in a wheelchair due to a car accident 25 years ago. He has a beautiful voice and is a great musician. When not working in his profession as a tour guide, he and Sa’ar tour the country, giving musical performances and telling their personal stories.”
Haronian points out that it is also important for the audience to feel involved and know their favorite songs will be sung. Therefore, a “wish box” will be present at the first concert so audience members can put in their requests for inclusion at the December concert when the band “M’ever LaKol,” made up of musicians with special needs and without, will perform.
“Music has no boundaries, it is a universal language,” explains Haronian. “We hope that these enjoyable musical and artistic happenings will foster an appreciation of performers, with and without special needs. By singing together, we can communicate and raise acceptance. We will be able to overcome fears and erase preconceptions.
“In essence, our vision is to raise the awareness of the general public that disabled or not, we are all equal.”

Performance dates in Ashdod are November 18, December 2, January 13, Feburary 17, March 16 and April 6.