A modern Pessah message

Our understanding of the world is repeatedly caught up in the latest Twitter feed and hot-off-the-press headline.

March 29, 2012 21:25
2 minute read.
YAAKOV SHWEKEY and Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein

YAAKOV SHWEKEY and Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein 370. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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If words are the language of the mind and music is the language of the soul, then when combined with compelling intensity, the result is a new genre of communication.

And this is exactly what South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein and Yaakov Shwekey, one of the most popular performers in the world of contemporary Jewish music, have created – an innovative collaborative production with a relevant Pessah message. Spoken through the language of the modern world, the video is available on YouTube and the Chief Rabbi’s website, and is a prime example of using current digital platforms to convey eternal truths.

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Set against the backdrop of Shwekey’s emotionally powerful Vehi She’amda – Goldstein depicts the miraculous sweep of Jewish destiny from the Exodus from Egypt to stopping a nuclear Iran, imploring us to respond accordingly and to fulfill our divine historic destiny.

Directed and edited by Wayne Kopping, the video message is presented with heartfelt vigor, contextualising present-day events from an emotional point of view. The video is in the spirit of the Haggada, of telling the history of the Jewish people.

Interwoven with Shwekey’s inspiring music, it features fascinating film footage from the Holocaust, the 1967 Six Day War war and the current Iranian crisis, portraying a powerful message.

“Judaism is not just about detached intellectualism,” said Goldstein. “The music and strong visual imagery are about an emotional and spiritual response. It’s not just an academic experience but an emotional and human one too.”

Our understanding of the world is repeatedly caught up in the latest Twitter feed and hot-off-the-press headline, he said.


“Often we get pulled into the vortex of a particular event’s intensity, to the point where we are not able to see the larger picture” Goldstein added.

The video is an attempt to look at the bigger picture. By journeying through history, we are able to piece the various fragments together to form a large, integrated whole. For director Kopping, it is about big-picture issues facing Jews all around the world.

“Rabbi Goldstein is putting himself out there, saying the things that need to be said, to as many people as possible. By using this medium, we can actually reach Jews all over the world,” said Kopping.

(The video can be found on the following link: Chief Rabbi Goldstein’s website: http://www.chiefrabbi.co.za/2012/03/vehisheamda/

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