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Tel Aviv - Shwekey Publicly Thanks Chayalim in Historic Israeli Concert

Published on: January 4, 2013 10:42 AM
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American super star Yaakov Shwekey in  record breaking concert held at Tel Aviv's Nokia Arena Jan. 1 2013. Credit: ISRAEL BARDUGO American super star Yaakov Shwekey in record breaking concert held at Tel Aviv’s Nokia Arena Jan. 1 2013. Credit: ISRAEL BARDUGO

Tel Aviv, Israel - One of Jewish music’s brightest stars took to the stage this past Tuesday in an effort to express his gratitude to Israeli soldiers in a record breaking concert held at Tel Aviv’s Nokia Arena.

Over 8,000 people were in attendance for an evening of music with Yaakov Shwekey, among them 2,000 invited guests, all members of Tzahal.

“As a singer, what can you possibly do to thank the soldiers who put their lives on the line every day?”  asked Shwekey in an interview with VIN News.

“It was such a privilege to be able to use the gift of music to bring people together for something like this. Publicly thanking Israeli soldiers is something I have wanted to do for a long time and with the recent rocket attacks we decided it was time to make the idea become a reality.  I have seen European newspapers and the way they write everything about Israel is so twisted.  They portray our army in a very negative light and I felt we owe it to our soldiers to express our gratitude and show them how much Jews of all types, from all over the world, appreciate them.”

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It took over two days to build the set for the massive concert, entitled Shir Lachayalim, which featured an unprecedented160 musicians of all ages.

“They didn’t have enough music stand lights in Israel for all the musicians,” reported Shwekey.  “They had to ship more in from China to make sure we had enough.”

Yaakov Shwekey and Israeli singer Shlomi Shabat at Rehearsal before a sold out Concert “Shir L’Chayalim“ at the The Yad Eliyahu Aren.

Among those who joined Shwekey onstage were Lieutenant Colonel Shaya Abramson, chief chazan of the Israeli army, fourteen year old child phenomenon Michel Cohen, winner of the inaugural season of Israel’s Beit Sefer L’Musica, popular Israeli singer Shlomi Shabat and Metalish.

In addition to performing many of his well known hits, Shwekey also sang two new songs that were written for the evening, one a hora called Lo Yisa Goy and the other entitled Misheberach, with lyrics from the weekly tefila said in many locations on behalf of the Israeli army.

“The mood was electric,” said Yochi Briskman, the concert’s producer and musical director.  “Yaakov taught the audience the chorus before he sang the song.  His backup choir for the song was the Israeli army choir.  It was incredibly moving and beautiful.”

While the overall theme of the night was thanking the chayalim for their efforts, unity between Jews from all over the spectrum was also a major part of the event.

“The night wasn’t about politics,” explained Shwekey.  “It was to show that no matter what side you are on politically, or where you are holding religiously, we want to say thank you.  People have a tendency to label others, but it doesn’t matter what color yarmulka you are wearing or how religious you are, we need to pay less attention to our differences on focus on the fact that we are all Am Yisrael.”

Photo Credit: Israel Bardugo -  Mendy Hechtman


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Read Comments (17)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jan 04, 2013 at 10:55 AM PashutehYid Says:

What a beautiful kiddush hashem and show of achdus.

2

 Jan 04, 2013 at 11:22 AM Anonymous Says:

I loved this story. To express Hakaras Hatov to all those soldiers who put their lives on the line every day warms my heart. This is the way it should be. As the previous commentator said, It's a tremendous show of Achdus something sorely lacking in todays world.

3

 Jan 04, 2013 at 11:33 AM brooklyn mom Says:

Yaakov--you are an astounding person!! Kol Hakavod to you for remembering that these are the people who are protecting our fellow Bnai Yisrael. Hashem should continue to bentch you with your wonderful voice and your amazing songs.

4

 Jan 04, 2013 at 11:57 AM sane Says:

Very important! One of the failings of this generation is the utter lack of Hakaros Hatov - be it to G-d, fellow man or Zahal. There is some much cynicism and knocking down of all our ideals, institutions and leaders. If you don't appreciate what you have, it will be taken from you R"L.

5

 Jan 04, 2013 at 12:24 PM Crazykanoiy Says:

"...It doesn't matter how religious you are..."
Yes it does. Singers should stick to singing and keep out of politics and religion.

All agree that we must be thankful for what the soldiers do for us, however many Gedolei Yisrael strongly advise against joining the military. To make this concert at a time when the Torah community in Ereetz Yisrael is grappling with a change in the historical status quo and a draft of all Yeshiva students is most probably inappropriate.

6

 Jan 04, 2013 at 12:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Crazykanoiy Says:

"...It doesn't matter how religious you are..."
Yes it does. Singers should stick to singing and keep out of politics and religion.

All agree that we must be thankful for what the soldiers do for us, however many Gedolei Yisrael strongly advise against joining the military. To make this concert at a time when the Torah community in Ereetz Yisrael is grappling with a change in the historical status quo and a draft of all Yeshiva students is most probably inappropriate.

The so called "gadolei yisroel" who have urged their talmidim to ignore the lawful requirement to report for duty in the IDF are the ones who have improperly injected themselves into politics and should be embarrassed by this whole broigas. Kol hakovod to Shweky and all the soldiers who participated. The timing was 100 percent correct and shows that the vast majority of EY supports the concept of shared sacrifice and everyone contributing to the common defense of the medinah.

7

 Jan 04, 2013 at 01:38 PM Shlomo2 Says:

Reply to #5  
Crazykanoiy Says:

"...It doesn't matter how religious you are..."
Yes it does. Singers should stick to singing and keep out of politics and religion.

All agree that we must be thankful for what the soldiers do for us, however many Gedolei Yisrael strongly advise against joining the military. To make this concert at a time when the Torah community in Ereetz Yisrael is grappling with a change in the historical status quo and a draft of all Yeshiva students is most probably inappropriate.

You wrote that "All agree that we must be thankful for what the soldiers do for us."

Is that so?

I was wondering if you could cite some examples from Gedolei Yisroel who have openly expressed that sentiment.

I would be particularly interested if you could cite examples of this sentiment expressed by the present day Gedolei Yisrael who "strongly advise against joining the military."

Given that you say there is no contradiction between their advising against going to the military and expressing hakaras hatov, I trust that you would be readily able to cite examples where the Gedolim have done just that.

8

 Jan 04, 2013 at 01:55 PM InsideOne Says:

Reply to #5  
Crazykanoiy Says:

"...It doesn't matter how religious you are..."
Yes it does. Singers should stick to singing and keep out of politics and religion.

All agree that we must be thankful for what the soldiers do for us, however many Gedolei Yisrael strongly advise against joining the military. To make this concert at a time when the Torah community in Ereetz Yisrael is grappling with a change in the historical status quo and a draft of all Yeshiva students is most probably inappropriate.

At this point, I'm ready to say that our singers offer the vision that the so-called gedolim have shown themselves to be sorely lacking.

Compare this wonderful event and Lipa's recent common-sense statement on a college education against the head-in-the-sand pronouncements of teh Agudah, for instance, on child molestation.

Reb Yaakov and Reb Lipa: Our impoverished generation's gedolim.

9

 Jan 04, 2013 at 03:32 PM WW2 escapees Says:

I add to this comment,
The so called "gadolei yisroel" who have urged their talmidim to ignore the lawful requirement to report for duty in the IDF are the ones who have improperly injected themselves into politics and should be embarrassed by this whole broigas. Kol hakovod to Shweky and all the soldiers who participated. The timing was 100 percent correct and shows that the vast majority of EY supports the concept of shared sacrifice and everyone contributing to the common defense of the medinah.

The so called Gedolim probably include the children of those that escaped WW2 in the last minute, after telling the people without connections to stay, it will be OK. READ and STUDY HISTORY.
My parents, grandparents and probably your families suffered while those rabonim with the connection mislead them.

10

 Jan 04, 2013 at 03:59 PM Haredi Lite Says:

Reply to #7  
Shlomo2 Says:

You wrote that "All agree that we must be thankful for what the soldiers do for us."

Is that so?

I was wondering if you could cite some examples from Gedolei Yisroel who have openly expressed that sentiment.

I would be particularly interested if you could cite examples of this sentiment expressed by the present day Gedolei Yisrael who "strongly advise against joining the military."

Given that you say there is no contradiction between their advising against going to the military and expressing hakaras hatov, I trust that you would be readily able to cite examples where the Gedolim have done just that.

" .... I was wondering if you could cite some examples from Gedolei Yisroel who have openly expressed that sentiment [namely, that we must be thankful for what the soldiers do for us]...."

I'm wondering whether you can cite any examples of Gedolei Yisrael who have openly expressed that we must NOT be thankful for what the soldiers do for us.

11

 Jan 04, 2013 at 04:01 PM savtat Says:

Be very careful what you say about the Shoah - no one before the war could have imagined what was coming. To think that the advice to stay in place was willful is too awful to contemplate.

Having said that, Schweky's concert to show Hakoras Hatov to the Chayalim is fabulous. Every Jewish person on the planet owes Hakoras Hatov to the IDF - they protect Am Yisroel b'chol makom shehaym.

Together, we can conquer everything.

12

 Jan 04, 2013 at 04:48 PM Crazykanoiy Says:

I can cite many examples: Rav Chaim Shmulevitz zt"l, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel zt"l The Ponovizher Rav all expresed the chiyuv of Hakaros Hatov yet strongly advised their talmidim against joining the Army. Rav Shach had an Israeli flag fly by the Ponovizher Yeshiva on Yom Hatzmut as a sign of Hakaros Hatov yet he was outspoken in his opinion against joining the IDF.

In fact, the vast majority of Gedolei Yisrael both Ashkenazim and Sefardim have serious reservations about IDF service on Hashkafik and practical Halachik grounds. It is therefore wrong for singers like Yackov Shweket and Lipa Schmelcer to highlight military service in music videos and concerts at this time.

13

 Jan 04, 2013 at 06:20 PM esther Says:

Reply to #5  
Crazykanoiy Says:

"...It doesn't matter how religious you are..."
Yes it does. Singers should stick to singing and keep out of politics and religion.

All agree that we must be thankful for what the soldiers do for us, however many Gedolei Yisrael strongly advise against joining the military. To make this concert at a time when the Torah community in Ereetz Yisrael is grappling with a change in the historical status quo and a draft of all Yeshiva students is most probably inappropriate.

it doesn't matter in terms of how each of us views another jew.it certainly shouldn't make one more or less eligible for national service or tzahal. this is exactly the time to make the concert and plenty of yidden in ey don't feel that the chareidi appreciate the service.

14

 Jan 05, 2013 at 11:24 AM NeveAliza Says:

Kiddush Hashem of the first degree.
Don't get dragged down on the subject of "Gedolim", the Shoah, or any of the other usual sideshows.
What this performance did was wonderful for all of us.

15

 Jan 05, 2013 at 09:22 PM Crazykanoiy Says:

Reply to #9  
WW2 escapees Says:

I add to this comment,
The so called "gadolei yisroel" who have urged their talmidim to ignore the lawful requirement to report for duty in the IDF are the ones who have improperly injected themselves into politics and should be embarrassed by this whole broigas. Kol hakovod to Shweky and all the soldiers who participated. The timing was 100 percent correct and shows that the vast majority of EY supports the concept of shared sacrifice and everyone contributing to the common defense of the medinah.

The so called Gedolim probably include the children of those that escaped WW2 in the last minute, after telling the people without connections to stay, it will be OK. READ and STUDY HISTORY.
My parents, grandparents and probably your families suffered while those rabonim with the connection mislead them.

The fact is that Gedolei Yisrael both Askenaz and Sefard (who were mostly unaffected by the Holocaust - not that the Holocaust has any relevance to this discussion) overwhelmingly advise against Army service.

The reality is that each group has it ideas of morals and virtues which allow it to refuse Army service. The darling of the Mizrachi Movement Naftali Bennet said he would defy an Army order to evict settlers. Many leftist refuse to implement orders against Arabs because it is against their morals, and so to Gedolei Yisrael advise against Army service because the Army as is currently structured presents both halachik and hashkafik problems in their worldview.

16

 Jan 06, 2013 at 03:21 AM Shlomo2 Says:

Reply to #10  
Haredi Lite Says:

" .... I was wondering if you could cite some examples from Gedolei Yisroel who have openly expressed that sentiment [namely, that we must be thankful for what the soldiers do for us]...."

I'm wondering whether you can cite any examples of Gedolei Yisrael who have openly expressed that we must NOT be thankful for what the soldiers do for us.

Kaffui Tovah means not having expressed hakaras hatov.

I would love to hear about examples of present day Rabbonim associated with Degel HaTorah who have openly expressed hakaras hatov to soldiers. I would love to hear about it because I do not recall ever having heard it.

17

 Jan 06, 2013 at 12:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #16  
Shlomo2 Says:

Kaffui Tovah means not having expressed hakaras hatov.

I would love to hear about examples of present day Rabbonim associated with Degel HaTorah who have openly expressed hakaras hatov to soldiers. I would love to hear about it because I do not recall ever having heard it.

Read post #12. (BTW Rav Shach founded Degel Hatorah)

18

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