Tuvia Book
Author, educator, Tour-Guide, artist

Mourning Arik: a very Israeli shiva

As anyone who has spent time in Israel will know, whenever there is beautiful Hebrew music on the radio for extended periods of time, it usually means something sad has happened. It is called “Memorial Day music.” This Chanukah radio stations are playing the beautiful music of Arik Einstein following his untimely death on the eve of the holiday.

Much has been written and indeed heard about how his music symbolised the modern Jewish State. Millions of Israelis have grown up with, and been effected by, his music as was witnessed by the outpouring of national grief witnessed this week. His music and lyrics represented the, “good old Land of Israel.”

sunset from Tel Gezer

“Sunset from Tel Gezer” (C)2013, Tuvia Book

A couple of nights ago, I was on a night hike in the Judean Mountains.  After walking for a while and enjoying the peace I began to hear the sounds of guitar and young voices drifting across the stillness of the night. As I drew closer to the source of the music I saw a group of Bnei Akiva teenagers sitting around a campfire singing songs of Arik Einstein under the canopy of the stars. Some of the boys were extremely talented guitarists and the girls had beautiful voices. The eager young faces were reflected in the light of the bonfire. It was a special Israel moment. These youngsters reminded me of the lyrics of another Israeli music great, Naomi Shemer:

I saw many beautiful things…I didn’t believe my eyes when I saw such magic, Rachel’s songs and stars outside like a thousand years ago on the kibbutz with all the light and all the freedom I saw with my eyes.  I suddenly met in the corner the old “Eretz” (Land), the beautiful and the forgotten Israel, and she stretched out her hands to give and not to take.”

They were memorialising the fallen cultural giant through his music. A very Israeli Shiva. Binding up his memory with the Land and with his music. I was magnetically drawn to the circle and joined sat and sang the songs of my childhood and the many milestones in my life and connection to Israel. Thus time seemed to stand still as we sat and sang Arik’s songs of Israel in the Judean hills.

Suddenly I want to go home…and laugh…Give me a piece of Mount Tabor and a piece of the Kinneret. 
I love to fall in love with my little land of Israel
, warm
 and charming.”

-Arik Einstein

About the Author
Dr. Tuvia Book was born in London and raised in both the UK and South Africa. After making Aliya at the age of 17 and studying in Yeshiva he volunteered for the IDF, where he served in an elite combat unit. Upon his discharge he completed his BA at Bar-Ilan University, as well as certification in graphic design. He then served as the Information Officer at the Israeli Consulate of Philadelphia, while earning a graduate degree in Jewish Studies. Upon his return to Israel, Dr. Book graduated from a course of study with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, and is a licensed tour guide. Tuvia has been working in the field of Jewish Education, both formal and informal, for many years. He has guided and taught Jewish students and educators from around the English-speaking world for some of Israel’s premier educational institutions and programs. Tuvia has been guiding groups for Birthright Israel since its inception and, in addition, has lectured throughout North America, Australia, Europe and South Africa. Tuvia served as a Shaliach (emissary) for the Jewish Agency for Israel as the Director of Israel and Zionist Education at the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York (Jewish Education Project). He was a lecturer/educational guide at the Alexander Muss Institute for Israel Education (AMIIE) in Israel for a decade. Tuvia has lectured at both Bar Ilan University and Hebrew University. He was a Senior Editor and Teaching Fellow at the Tikvah Fund. He is a research associate at the Hudson Institute. Tuvia is the author and illustrator the internationally acclaimed Israel education curriculum; "For the Sake of Zion; A Curriculum of Israel Studies" (Fifth edition, Koren 2017), and "Moral Dilemmas of the Modern Israeli Soldier" (Rama, 2011) and has a doctorate in Israel Education. His latest book, "Jewish Journeys, The Second Temple Period to the Bar Kokhba Revolt – 536 BCE-136 CE," was published by Koren this year. To order: