Singing in Jerusalem, and harmonizing in Washington
Friday’s performance, professionally video-taped, will be repeated in Washington in the hope that the AIPAC delegates will gain a broader appreciation of life in Israel beyond the news headlines.
By PEGGY CIDOR
At AIPAC’s next conference, scheduled to begin Sunday, March 24 in Washington, DC, there will be – besides the usual speechifying and behind-the-scenes diplomacy – a refreshing sound from the courtyards of Jerusalem.“Koolulam” – a social-musical initiative aimed at strengthening the fabric of society, according to its organizers – will broadcast its most recent impromptu concert from Jerusalem in the hope the AIPAC delegates will similarly harmonize together.For those not familiar with the format, Koolulam creates mass events in which non-professionals collaborate. Its mass singing last year at Tel Aviv’s Yad Eliahu Arena of the song “Al Kol Ele” became an Internet sensation.Participants enter as hundreds or thousands of individuals, and leave as a collective, bearing a tangible common thread – a great human ensemble, with a shared reality.Somehow it works, as Israelis trade their cynicism for song.That is exactly what happened Friday at the Tower of David Museum, when some 1,000 Israelis and tourists joined with the three conductors to produce the song “I’ll be there – Reach out medley and Blue voice.”Friday’s performance, professionally video-taped, will be repeated in Washington in the hope that the AIPAC delegates will gain a broader appreciation of life in Israel beyond the news headlines, and will raise their voices to sing along, too.While not promoting any particular philosophy or political approach, Koolulum’s message of “Raise your voice,” “free the music” and “be the power” helps people achieve a cheerful soldiarity. When the sing-along ends with “I’ll be there with a love that will shelter you,” what more can people ask? Nothing indeed, and no wonder the song ended with a roaring “reach out” partaken by all the participants.Yinon and Ifat, a couple from Givatayim attending the Friday event, said this was their third Koolulum sing-along event, and added they plan to attend these sessions whenever possible. “It makes us feel good, and this time, we had the opportunity to visit Jerusalem, so what can be better?”Hundreds of people of different ages and origins sang their hearts out – in a sunny, spring day in one of the most beautiful locations of the Old City – while paradoxically a few hundred meters away another ancient site – the Western Wall – was the scene of an angry confrontation between haredim and thousands of Women of the Wall.The near-riot went on, while in the Tower of David courtyard, Koolulam continued its happy vibe of bring people together in song until 1 p.m. As Yinon summarized, “It is so easy to be happy and to feel good vibrations towards people around you that you never met before and probably won’t meet again. That’s the message, and if this time it will be shared with such an important conference in the USA – maybe they will also, over there, feel as good as us here.”And then sunset approached, and Jerusalem fell quiet again as she prepared to welcome the Shabbat queen.