Hallelujah contest final and documentary to air

Jewish song competition aimed at finding "the next Jewish star" to be broadcast on Channel 1.

Hallelujah Song Contest 311 (photo credit: Aviv Ahofi)
Hallelujah Song Contest 311
(photo credit: Aviv Ahofi)
The final for the Hallelujah Jewish song competition – a combination of American Idol, Eurovision, Glee, a Birthright tour and an Israeli sing-along – will be broadcast on October 12 on Channel One at 8:15 p.m.
(The final round took place in August but was not broadcast then because so many Israelis were on vacation.) It will be preceded by a documentary on the competition at 7 p.m., also on Channel One.
The contest, which comes with an $8,000 prize and a contract to record a duet with an Israeli star, is a new version of a nearly 20-year-old Hebrew song contest for young Jews from around the world, amped up for the Internet age. The contest’s mission, according to its organizers, is to find the “next Jewish star.”
The Grand Finale was held in Ramat Hasharon in front of an audience of 3,000. The 30 finalists – who come from all over the world – spent several weeks in Israel to rehearse and to tour the country. The documentary details their experiences over this period.
A long list of organizations worked together to sponsor this contest, among them the Foreign Ministry, the Jewish Agency, MASA, the Ramat Hasharon municipality, The Jewish Agency, Beit Hatfutsot, Nativ, IDF Education Corp, and Taglit, along with Limor Livnat, the minister of Culture and Sport.
Hundreds of teens and young people, ages 16-26, took part in the preliminary round, and viewers voted for the finalists via a website.
The finalists represent Jewish communities from the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, France, Australia, Argentina, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, England, Turkey, Costa Rica and Uruguay. In addition, there is an Israeli, Mor Machlav of the IDF Education Corps.
The team of judges was headed by veteran singer Yehoram Gaon and includes such well-known Israeli musicians and producers as Kobi Oshrat, Hanan Yovel, Yehuda Edar, Tomer Hadadi, DJ Skazi, Niv Tomer and Eitan Gafni, Hallelujah’s founder and head producer.
Tzahi Gavrieli, a former advisor to prime ministers Ehud Olmert and Benjamin Netanyahu, helped to make this year’s contest a reality.
Gavrieli said that combining a Hebrew song contest with auditions via the Internet was “a wonderful idea for this era.”
Contestants chose mainly contemporary Israeli pop tunes, and the experience of singing in Hebrew is important, said Gafni.
“So many young Jews all over the world don’t feel a strong connection to Judaism or to Israel. Hebrew songs and a contest like this are a beautiful and fitting way to help build and strengthen a connection to their Jewish identity.”