'Hatikva' to go for Guinness record

Initiative to join 38 Israeli towns, Jews in 7 foreign countries to sing anthem simultaneously.

guinness book 88 (photo credit: )
guinness book 88
(photo credit: )
Naftali Herz Imber could not have conceived it when in 1878 he wrote the words that eventually became Israel's national anthem. But if businesswoman Galia Albin has her way next week, "Hatikva" won't just unite world Jewry for a few minutes - it will break a world record. Albin's "Live 'Hatikva'" initiative will join communities from 38 Israeli towns and Jews in seven foreign countries, including the United States, France and Argentina, for a simultaneous singing of Israel's national anthem that would break a 15-year-old Guinness world record for most people singing a national anthem at one time. "This is a one-of-a-kind effort," says Albin, the CEO of Almedia Group. "The objective of the project is to make sure that Jews around the world, no matter where or of what denomination, known the words to our anthem, and understand its contents and significance." The event will begin at 10:50 p.m. Israel time on May 7, and will be broadcast nationally. Albin first conceived the plan after she witnessed a debate in the Knesset over changing a verse in the anthem, from "Nefesh Yehudi homiyah," or "the Jewish soul yearns," to "Nefesh Yisraeli homiyah," the "Israeli spirit yearns," in an attempt to address non-Jewish minorities. "Hatikva" was not made the official national anthem until 2004. "When I was exposed to the Diaspora, I realized that the support for Israel as the center of the Jewish people had deteriorated," Albin told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. "That's what was most important to me, as we're approaching the 60th anniversary. I was inspired by the Live Earth concerts [a series in 2007 to combat global warming], and said, 'Let's do Live "Hatikva"!' I was amazed how united the support was." The idea to enter the Guinness Book of World Records, Albin says, is an effort to appeal more broadly to the younger population. The Guinness guidelines for what is officially known as the record for "most people singing a national anthem simultaneously" stipulate that participants must sing the entire song, knowing all the words. "The whole history, the whole meaning of us being back in here, in Zion, are in those eight lines," Albin said. She hopes to make it an annual tradition.