Art for the soul

The ‘Kol Halahan’ show at the Jerusalem Arts Festival features a stellar lineup.

Tomer Raz-Globerman 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Tomer Raz-Globerman 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The 11th annual Jerusalem Arts Festival starts on Monday and, as the organizers have it, will offer the public “a week of exhilarating festivities, with hundreds of artists, singers, dancers and dozens of shows.” In fact, at least in temporal terms, the bumph sells the event short, as the festival is spread over nine full days, ending on March 27.
Each year the Jerusalem Municipality’s Culture and Arts Department puts together a wide-ranging program that reflects many of the capital’s multicultural and multiethnic facets, and across a number of artistic disciplines.
Over the nine days there will be dance, theater, music and other entertainment offered at all sorts of venues across the city, including the Jerusalem Theater, Khan Theater, Gerard Behar Center, Yellow Submarine, YMCA and St. Andrew’s Scottish Church.
One of the most emotive items in the nine-day program is the Kol Halahan (Sound of the Tune) show which will take place at the Jerusalem Theater at 6 p.m. on March 25. The show features a stellar lineup, including mega-decibel rock act Hayehudim, veteran cross-cultural vocalist-percussionist Shlomo Bar and 2009 A Star Is Born semi-finalist singer Liran Danino. However, the accent is very much on the collective efforts of 14- year-old Tomer Raz-Globerman and some of his schoolmates at Hayovel Junior High School in Mevaseret Zion.
The idea for the show was spawned a few months ago, when Tomer was diagnosed with leukemia. “He wrote music and lyrics before that happened,” says Tomer’s mother, Einat Raz-Globerman, “and then contact was made with Hayehudim – Tomer is a big fan of the band – and the whole thing started taking off.”
Initial contact with the rock band was facilitated by Erez Meshulam, who runs the Ma’agalim Shekufim Shel Koah (Transparent Circles of Power) project of the Israel Cancer Association.
“Hayehudim took a song, called ‘Pagashti Bachura’ [I Met A Girl] that Tomer wrote the lyrics and music for, and they arranged it together with him,” says Raz-Globerman. Tomer was due to perform the finished article at a charity event at the President’s Residence, however medical matters intervened. “Tomer was put into isolation after a couple of bonemarrow transplant operations, and the doctors didn’t allow him out of the hospital to go to the charity show,” explains his mother.
But the mountain was willing to come to Muhammad. “A few days after the concert that Tomer couldn’t attend, Hayehudim went to the hospital and played the song with him.” Music, it seems, hath powers. “For a few days after that Tomer’s blood count rose dramatically,” Raz-Globerman recalls. “Art simply raises the spirit. Tomer started on the road to recovery after that jam session when he was in hospital.That encounter with Hayehudim saved Tomer’s life at a critical juncture!”
Suitably buoyed by his hospital synergy with the rock band, Tomer decided that he shouldn’t be the only one to have fun and benefit from the recuperative powers of music. He suggested that more professional artists be brought on board, to help other musically gifted youngsters develop their art.
“Tomer doesn’t consider himself to be sick,” his mother continues. “He sees himself as a young boy who wants to help his friends at school progress with their music, and to benefit from the same sort of help he got.” The latter does not only refer to the Hayehudim synergy. “Tomer’s schoolmates never stopped supporting him, and the whole family, throughout the last year in which he was very sick – through all the very tough times.”
Indeed, everyone joined in to help get the Kol Halahan show off the ground.
Besides the star performers there will be video clips projected onto a screen behind the stage and, prior to the 6 p.m. start time, there will be a photography exhibition and human-installation slot. The show will also feature several numbers written by Tomer, and performed by some of his talented schoolmates.
Raz-Globerman says the idea behind the show is not to raise funds but to galvanize people into devoting some of their time to cancer sufferers. “We are not selling tickets to the concert, admission is free, and the auditorium is already full. Everyone involved in the show has volunteered their time. We also promoted the event with a street performance. Everyone at the school – students and teachers alike – has helped to make this a success.”
All told, the festival incorporates 28 shows by amateur and semi-professional acts, and a number of free entertainment spots. Jerusalem Arts Festival director Sammy Navot says the event has become a fixture on the local cultural map and that “it aims to nurture, further and encourage all sorts of areas of creativity, and to present the general public with unique quality shows at reasonable prices.”
As per each year, at each evening of the festival there will be brief “artistic glimpses” and free entertainment in the Jerusalem Theater lobby, between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m., and after the auditorium shows, starting from 10:30 p.m.
The festival kicks off on March 19, with the mammoth World Voice show, at 8:30 p.m. in the Jerusalem Theater, which presents songs popularized by divas from Israel and around the world. The 70 participants in the show will perform material made famous by Edith Piaf, Mercedes Sosa and Barbra Streisand – and our very own Yaffa Yarkoni and Shoshana Damari.
Other standouts in the festival program include two performances of the stirring Ha’ashkenazi theater monodrama, which is based on a Shalom Aleichem story about a down-trodden man who is looking to eke out a living as a trickster but gets a valuable lesson from a wily Jew. The show features Rami Ben-Gur and will take place at the Khan 2 Theater on March 19 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
There will be another emotive theater performance, at the Gerard Behar Center, on March 26 at 8:30 p.m., when the Pardesiya Local Council’s Local Theater company performs Dabru Sfetayim Yechefot (Talk with Barefoot Lips). The show features three women who have experienced sexual abuse, and have to contend with the public’s lack of willingness to listen to their story.
On the dance front, fans of Eastern culture should have fun at the March 20, 8:30 p.m., performance of Cinema Masser, at the Jerusalem Theater. Cinema Masser is based on belly dancing and other Eastern dance forms as portrayed in the Arabic movies that, for many years, were screened on Channel 1 on Friday afternoons. Meanwhile, the March 21 performance of Tzaluta at the Gerard Behar Center offers an intriguing look at the interface between the world of Torah and contemporary dance.
The musical fare in the festival lineup is rich and varied, and includes the Spanish Music concert at the YMCA on March 20 at 8 p.m., with a selection of classical and opera works, while the Yellow Submarine will host a show based on popular movie numbers at the Cinema Paradiso show at 1 p.m. on March 23.
• For more information about the Jerusalem Arts Festival: or call *106.