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The New Faces of Jewish Music? New Songs By Omer Adam & Hanan Ben-Ari

The Jewish month of Elul is here…and with it’s arrival, the countdown to Rosh Hashana begins. It’s a time of new beginnings, apples and honey, Shofar blasts, and of course, introspection and repentance.

As such, the world of Israeli music often kicks itself into New Year’s mode this time each year. Songs emerge offering blessings, good wishes, and prayers for the year ahead.

And inevitably, there will be references to the Jewish High Holy Day liturgy. (See one of the biggest hits from last year, “Seder HaAvoda” by Ishay Ribo.)

With Rosh Hashana 30 days away, the musical floodgates have opened. And so today (8/20), the world awoke to two gorgeous, powerful songs to help get us in the High Holy Day spirit.

Hanan Ben-Ari – Shvurei Lev (Those With Broken Hearts)

Hanan Ben Ari – no stranger to emotional songs with religious undertones – released “Shvurei Lev” (those with a broker heart). It is a breathtaking, spiritual, soulful song, with a Gospel-type choir thrown in for good measure. The song underscores all of God’s positive qualities: He is merciful, forgiving, heals the sick, creates light, etc. And he will also help repair my broken heart, Hanan sings, sending strength when I need it most.

From the song:

Who knows every pain
Who repairs every broken heart
Creates light and darkness
Makes peace and war…

And who will heal my heart
For whom am I longing
Like a sea that has no shore
Just tell me who
Who will embrace me
And ensure that I will not give up at the end…

Hanan Ben Ari – “Shvurei Lev”

Hanan Ben-Ari says that he wrote the song three years ago, but there was always another song which came out and took precedence. Still, he’s been singing it in his head non-stop ever since. “I sing it right before I break,” he writes. “It always makes me emotional.”

Omer Adam – Timchal Li (Forgive Me)

A major part of the Yom Kippur liturgy focuses on forgiveness. And whether religious or secular, we’ve all done things of which we’re not proud over the past year.

Superstar Omer Adam, who typically uses his musical pulpit to sing about love, shows a spiritual side in his new song “Timchal Li” (Forgive Me). Borrowing liberally from the Yom Kippur liturgy, his new song is a prayer for forgiveness as we approach the year ahead.

So come to me, God of awe, God of might
Will you listen to my voice, grant me forgiveness at the time of ‘Neila”
Have mercy on me, master of forgiveness
Because my legs have failed,
In you I will find comfort
Please save us…

Omer Adam – “Timchal Li”

Israeli Music and the High Holy Day Season

We’ve written before about the blurred lines between religious and secular in Israeli culture, and that trend isn’t going away anytime soon. When musicians on the Jewish circuit sing about God, repentance, and prayer… well, it’s easy to overlook if you’re not tuned in to that community. But when those messages are heard daily on mainstream Israeli radio, they’re much harder to ignore.

Two major Israeli songs about the High Holy Days…and it’s only the first day of the season! Can’t wait to see what else Israeli artists have up their sleeves as we approach the Jewish New Year 5781.

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