Today, much like every other day, I was sitting at my computer, randomly scrolling incredibly important Facebook post after post when I saw something profoundly moving.
It’s a recording of an Israeli pop song entitled ‘Aluf HaOlam’, (World Champion). Performed by the beloved and uber talented Hanan Ben Ari, an Israeli religious singer, its title is sheer irony. Unlike a regular pop song where the singer enumerates what makes him/her so fabulous, this song is heart-tugging, very raw and self deprecating. The song is a personal account of its writer’s multiple flaws and weaknesses (not quite what you would expect from a hit with over 7 million views on Youtube!) and how, despite these flaws, he keeps trying to be the person he thinks he can be.
I first heard this song in February of this year. Wowed by its brutally honest and magnificent lyrics combined with the gorgeous melody, I listened to it over and over (and over) again. But what really clinched my feelings was a hot summer’s day in Jerusalem a few months ago when I was privileged to attend an IDF graduation. I stood with hundreds of Jews, all of different ages and many from around the world as we waited for the ceremony to begin. And then it happened. ‘Aluf Haolam’ belted over the loudspeakers. As the crowd sang and swayed together, I felt a sense of indescribable pride, of unity and togetherness.
Today I heard the song again with its magnificent chorus:
אני אלוף העולם בליפול
ולקום כמו גדול
את תראי, כמו עוף חול
אני נשרף, אבל בוחר בכל יום להמשיך לחיות
אני אלוף העולם
But instead of joy, I felt my heart shattering as I watched Hanan Ben Ari accompanied by families of Israeli terror victims. This recording is part of OneFamily’s (an incredibly kind organization that assists the bereaved families of Israeli terror victims) current 36 hour long crowdfunding campaign (with just under 30 hours to go). It’s gut-wrenching to watch these bereaved family members singing. The sense of their grief but also their strength, their bravery and courage pours out of the screen and into my heart. It’s a cacophony of emotion. I would be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t tear up watching it.
Once I had finished ugly crying (not a pleasant sight) and had used up all the tissues in my home, I felt something else. Pride alongside the tears.
Pride because I live in a world inhabited by the awesome OneFamily, the epitome of kindness and goodness
Proud of a phenomenal pop star, who utilizes his talents not only for self expression but to contribute to and support people who have faced a hell I cannot imagine.
Proud of the courage and fortitude of the Jewish people which shines bright, always.
As the video points out, these families who choose life, who continue to bring up the next generation with hearts full of love after all they have lost, these are the real heroes.
For those who would like to contribute to OneFamily, please go to the OneFamily Website.