A Musical Tribute to Israel

by Alanna Berman September 30, 2013


By Alanna Berman

While it is the job if the Israel Defense Forces to take care of Israel and her citizens, it’s the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces’ job to make sure that the soldiers are well-taken care of during their service. Through scholarship programs, religious and spiritual services, and state-of-the-art recreational space on army bases throughout Israel; the FIDF has made the lives of every soldier in the IDF better. With more than 120,000 supporters in 15 regional offices across the United States and Panama, the FIDF is reinforcing the bond between Jews in the diaspora, soldiers in the IDF, and the State of Israel.

This month, the San Diego regional office of the FIDF will host “A Salute to Israel: FIDF Sounds of Music,” featuring a musical journey through Israel’s history at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla. Maestro Ofir Sobol, musical director of the IDF Rabbinical Choir, will lead the evening’s events to benefit the services of the FIDF. Sobol wrote most of the arrangements for the concert, which will be performed in Hebrew, Yiddish and English.

“The compositions document the time in Israel from 1948 until today,” Sobol says. “We picked the best of Israel to present through music, and people who watch the show will see that it is very emotional to hear these songs. If you are somehow connected to Israel you will find your favorite out of the selection of songs here, too.”

Sobol says the concert is just one in a series of concerts he will preside over to support the FIDF. The blend of cantorial and Yiddish songs with Chassidic and chazanut music is a special blend he hopes will encourage attendees to support the efforts of what he calls “one of the most powerful organizations helping the IDF in the U.S.”

Other guests for the evening include Cantor Netanel Baram; San Diego’s own Jonathan Valverde, who runs the group Latinos for Israel; and IDF Chief Cantor Shai Abramson.

Abramson will take a break from singing for high profile embers of Israeli society and the bereaved families of IDF soldiers to be in San Diego for the event.

“[My role as the IDF Chief Cantor] is not just singing prayers, but also the Israeli [upbeat] songs,” Abramson says. “Through music, I can connect people of all backgrounds. Of course, to create connection between the soldiers and the Israeli people with the army, is not so easy, but if I can do that with music, I love it.”

As a member of the IDF Rabbinical Corps, Abramson sees the FIDF work most through that lens. Synagogues and houses of worship, previously unavailable to soldiers in parts of Israel are now being built nearly every day, which he says “is a way for all the soldiers – religious or not – to connect.”

Nir Benzvi, Executive Director of the regional FIDF office, says provididng for the spiritual well-being of soldiers serving in the IDF is an important aspect of his group’s mission.

“FIDF works closely with the IDF Rabbinate, which acts as the exclusive military ‘Halachic’ authority and is in charge of all religious matters in the military,” he says.

“Through the Spiritual Needs Program, FIDF builds and furnishes synagogues on IDF bases, thus providing the space and means for soldiers to pray and observe Jewish practices.”

The concert this month will allow supporters of Israel to come together in celebration of the work the FIDF does to support Israel and her soldiers through a unique cultural experience with top members of the IDF. Ticket sales from the evening event will of course support the many programs of the FIDF.



“A Salute to Israel: FIDF Sounds of Music,” will begin at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27 in the Sherwood Auditorium at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla. Tickets ($54-$250) are available online at tinyurl.com/fidfconcert or by calling (858) 926-3210.


3 thoughts on “A Musical Tribute to Israel

  1. It might occur to the American members FIDF in San Diego that there are some US sailors and marines not far from them who should be first in their thoughts when they are thinking about taking care of some servicemen. It might occur to the citizens of San Diego who are not Jewish that their Jewish neighbors might be more loyal to a foreign country, because that’s how they see it because that’s what it is, then they are to the country that has provided them with so much and to those who serve in its military. I am speaking of the US military.

      1. I’m not sure how one concludes that Americans that support the IDF are not thankful for the service men and woman in the United States military. I am deeply offended that you call upon the citizens of San Diego to look at their Jewish neighbors as traitors. Yours is a troubling opinion and certainly one that lacks any intellectual honesty.
        I am most grateful for the men and women of the U.S. Military that risk their lives so that Americans can enjoy the freedoms we have in this great country. One of those freedoms is that of free speech (even when that speech is filled with hate and completely devoid of truth). I never miss an opportunity to thank a member of the military for their service (can I count on you to help assemble care packages too?)
        Since the United States and Israel are allies, there is no conflict of interest. Israel provides a vast amount of training and critical information to the United States which has been very helpful in fighting the Islamofascists who murdered over 3,000 Americans on 9/11.

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