Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
Naomi Young is a poet and an artist, currently living in Los Angeles, but was born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel. Drawn from an early age to the art and surrounded by the beauty of the city, Young was captivated and often wanted to capture her feelings through her art and poetry.
"When I was seven years old, I received a yellow crayon from my teacher for being an excellent reader. It meant a lot to me, for I grew up with no art supplies or toys," She tells Israelife of the moment her artistic journey began.
In her poetry, Naomi invites the reader to take a glimpse into her soul, to share her strong yearnings for her loved ones, left so far behind and other places in the heart. In her book “Reflections of my Art and Soul” the artist exposes herself in an intimate and insightful way, yet she finds wit and humor in every situation. She is emerging as a talented artist and her colorful and expressive paintings adorn her poetry books.
Enjoy three of her poems, with paintings reflecting the words and feeling from them:
Sitting in the heart of Jerusalem, it feels nice
to watch the passers go by,
as if I’m in a rich museum, one of a kind,
it’s a feast for the eyes!
So many people, a plethora of styles and colors,
different tastes, aromas and flavors!
Two soldiers are strolling, the Russian looks a little busy,
the Ethiopian is smiling, he’s taking it easy…
they are “brothers”
of the uniforms, casually sharing a drink and laughter…
Musicians with an accordion and a guitar,
longing for the landscapes they left behind, real far,
though they’re feeling at home, at last,
they’re playing an old Russian tune from days past...
The tune is full of nostalgia, so soft and tender
it will make you melt and surrender…
A pretty young woman is dressed
to impress, prancing with a very short skirt,
she’s in a mood to flirt…
An Israeli guy who tries hard to look like all the rest,
thinks he looks his best
with baggy pants, half shaved head, one earring, no less…
A typical pushy Sabra girl is laughing aloud with her group
chewing gum with such chutzpah and attitude!
Orthodox girls are also pushing…strollers,
and carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders…
An old bearded man is selling red strings as good luck charm.
Surely it will spare you from any harm,
it’ll give you good health and livelihood, like a potion,
and for a small donation
he’ll bless you with a great devotion…
A seasoned blend of all kinds of flavors,
it’s a feast for the eyes right now in here,
I’m taking a deep breath of the air that’s crisp and clear,
as if I’m trying to absorb this colorful atmosphere.
In the narrow cobblestones alley people are sitting around,
loud music is sounding in the background…
A blend of smells and flavors with such flair,
an aroma of falafel is in the air.
Busy cafes with revolving people, whom in a quick glance
look like they’re not doing much, don’t have a chance,
with no purpose or destination.
These hard working people laden with worries and tensions
just try to escape from wars and confrontations
and the daily pressure, at all cost.
Loving their friends and family, they love life the most!
But above all,
they seek peace and quiet for their tired souls…
Oh how I long to comfort these beautiful faces
and see the joy of living in these ever changing places.
Jerusalem- many peoples and languages
a parade of characters and images,
nations and religions
different colors and origins.
when I see you thrive,
my soul is revived.
In you, I feel alive!
The seven days of creation
On the first day to the creation of the world
it was pitch black and complete void,
total chaos and mess,
nothing but darkness,
then, with thunderous boom and lightning so bright
came the big bang. God created light!
On the second day, there was water everywhere
wherever lakes, seas and rivers were.
Moisture filled the heavy clouds
it was non- stop pouring all around!
God separated the rain that was steady and slow
from the gushing water that was flowing below…
On the third day He gathered the waters to one place
into oceans, rivers, seas and lakes,
and now, on the dry land there were trees and flowers
bushes, plants, vegetables and fruits of many colors!
On the fourth day, so the bible says,
lights were created for the night and the day.
For the day a huge ball of fire with rays of light
and moon and so many stars to shine at night.
On the fifth day He made the sea creatures; whales,
octopus and sea lions swimming in corals and shells,
crocodiles, sharks, dolphins and jelly fish
and fish In any shape, size or color that you ever wish!
Above the sea in the beautiful blue sky
a red robin, blue jay and an eagle could fly,
owls and ravens, even a white dove
would spread their wings and soar above.
On the sixth day animals and beasts roamed the lands,
from a tiny purple butterfly to big elephants,
lizards and chameleons, zebras and lions.
Tigers, giraffes and rhinoceros,
monkeys and hippopotamus,
all having fun under the sun.
But the masterpiece of creation by the creator,
The Master of the world Himself, the only operator
was making a Man after his likeness
to fill the earth with wisdom and kindness.
Man will be superior to all other creatures.
He’ll dominates them all, giants and miniatures.
Knowing that it’s not good for man to be alone
and that man needs for his children a home,
He created for him a partner, a lover and wife
to cherish and enjoy for the rest of his life.
Together they work, repair and build the world
till they reach one hundred and twenty years old.
And when it was all said and done,
God was very pleased when He looked all around,
He completed the heavens and the earth!
So after some rest, He took a very deep breath…
He made the seventh day the very best
more special and holy than all the rest!
A day when one can pray, meditate and celebrate
rest, reflect and rejuvenate,
a day of peace and quiet,
pure joy and delight!
Thus with glory, exaltation and perfection
God concluded the seven days of the creation.
Deep Thoughts on Shallowness
Some days I look real nice on the outside,
but I feel shallow and subdued on the inside,
my hair is straight as sticks and falls flat
and my belly just sticks out…
Mirrors might show my reflection,
but can’t reflect my inner jubilation,
I may look like a fool,
but I feel amazingly cool!
I might look like I neglect
myself; But I feel great!
I think deep and reflect,
paint, decorate and create.
Wow! It’s so great to feel elated,
regardless of how I’m “decorated”.
Deep inside, we all need
to see, that beauty is only skin deep.
12.17.13 at 12:22 pm | Pro-Israeli activists waited years for the day. . .
12.17.13 at 7:30 am | BDS, the best of Hanukkah, TripAdvisor awards,. . .
12.16.13 at 11:12 am | Since winter here is rather short, and lasts a. . .
12.13.13 at 11:36 am | Since I live in Israel and am very passionate. . .
12.10.13 at 12:55 pm | What you are about to read sounds like a big. . .
12.9.13 at 12:35 pm | Mourning Paul and Seffy, lighting up Africa,. . .
12.16.13 at 11:12 am | Since winter here is rather short, and lasts a. . . (406)
12.17.13 at 12:22 pm | Pro-Israeli activists waited years for the day. . . (116)
12.17.13 at 7:30 am | BDS, the best of Hanukkah, TripAdvisor awards,. . . (50)
November 15, 2013 | 12:20 pm
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
Ivri Lider is an Israeli singer and songwriter, a pop star and a gay icon. In his solo career and as part of the duo TYP (The Young Professionals,) he has become one of the biggest selling contemporary artists in Israeli music. Since he shook up the Israeli music scene in the late 1990's, Lider has sold more than 200,000 records and won the "Male Singer of the Year" title several times in various national music awards ceremonies.
His debut album, Melattef Umeshakker (Caressing and Lying), was released in 1997, and its singles, "Leonardo" and "Tamid Ahava" (Always Love) were chart toppers in Israel. In this album, Lider brought a new pop-dance sound to the Israeli music scene, combining catchy melodies with deep lyrics. The album sold more than 40,000 copies, and was granted with the title of "Platinum Album." His second album, Yoter Tov Klum Me'kimat (Better Nothing Than Almost) was released in 1999, and also became a Platinum album.
In January 2002, Lider publicly came out of the closet, and spoke about his sexual orientation in an interview with the daily newspaper, Ma'ariv. Later, Lider also became a gay icon, and a well-known leader of the Israeli LGBT community. That same year, Lider released his third album, Ha'anashim Hachadashim (The New People.) His fourth album, Ze Lo Otto Davar (It's Not The Same Thing) was released in 2005. In 2006, he released an album of a live performance, in 2008, he released his next studio album, Be'ketzev Ahid Be'tnuot Shel Ha'goof (The Steady Rhythm of Body Movements), and in 2012, his most recent album, Mishe'u Pa'am (Somebody Once) was released. All those albums reached the title of "Gold Albums."
Lider also writes and composes songs for other Israeli singers, and composed the soundtracks of various Israeli films. Have a taste of his music:
Zachiti Leehov (I was privileged to love)
BeHultzat Passim (In a striped shirt)
BaHom Shel Tel-Aviv (In the heat of Tel-Aviv)
Hakos HaKchula (The blue cup)
November 8, 2013 | 12:22 pm
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
Liat Summerfield, 31, is an Israeli artist with a unique vision. Summerfield owns a line of paper products and jewelry called "Clowns & Crowns," inspired by a circus theme. "While studying art, I started building models of small circus tents and houses, and draw characters of clowns and acrobats, which I connected to the more general theme of travels and wandering and the journey to find a home," she says in an interview to Israelife. "That is why, in my creations there are small figures and characters such as circus tents, which symbolize wandering and alternative life, and houses, which symbolizes stability and belonging.
One other central theme inSummerfield's work is clowns. "They express another way of living, through movement, diversity, colorfulness, and playfulness we all have within and that we all must preserve! That is why I came up with the slogan: Save a Clown. My dream is that people would wear my clowns, and simply add more playfulness to the world."
November 6, 2013 | 12:23 pm
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
Glee- what a fun show. A bunch of high-school kids dance and sing, and though sometimes being "Slushied," they still enjoy life and sing about it. I watch Glee. In fact, I am a big fan of Glee. And Smash. And Revenge. And The Americans. And Modern Family. And Dexter. And this is just the top of the list.
Yes, I am an Israeli, and I love American television. In fact, I am not the only one. Everyone I know loves American television, and American series take most of their screen time. I don't know if what I said surprised you, so to make sure you read something new here, I'll add that the main topic of my conversations with my friends is not politics or the news, but the recent developments on Pretty Little Liars, and the relationship between Carrie and Sargent Brody. It's not that we don't have good original content here, it's just that we prefer yours. And it's not just television. We also enjoy our McRoyal, l-o-v-e Tarantino films, shop at American Eagle and enjoy our fair share of Taylor Swift or Kanye West.
What can I say- thank God for Globalization, which brought us one step closer to the American pop-culture. In the last few decades, thanks to technology mostly, the many civilizations of the world are gradually turning into one, as the citizens of the world share more and more interests. Those shared interests are somewhat “western” interests, such as capitalism and individualism. There is also shared mainstream music, movies, dress codes and more. Most of those western interests are driven by the country which became the center of the world, and is unofficially the world’s largest empire, the United States of America.
However, not all countries of the west side of the Globe are rushing into this American wealth. France, for instance, takes the American invasion very seriously. Did you know that back in 1972, McDonalds had to close their first restaurant in there, due to the French unwillingness to accept it? It took them seven years to reopen there, and this time for good, although with major changes of the menu, some say more than in any other country, in a way that fits the French culture. When Disney showed their intention in placing an amusement part in Paris, a dream come true for most countries in the world, French newspapers filled with harsh criticism, claiming that this American invasion will destroy the French culture for good, and leave nothing behind.
Now, this is nationalism at its proudest form. A nation which refuses to be carried away by the Globalization breeze. A nation which stands still, afraid to give in and become like anyone else. This is the exact opposite of the United States- the land of possibilities and the mother of multiculturalism. A stranger who visits France will immediately feel like a stranger, like a guest in an unfamiliar place. A stranger who visits the US, however, will feel right at home, no matter where he's from.
And us? Where is Israel in that US- France scale? Like in many others comparisons, Israel is unique. In some mysterious way, we manage to blend in quite smoothly in the Globalization circle, and at the same time, we carry a very strong "Israeli" identity with us. We love McDonalds, but can't refuse to a proper Israeli breakfast. We love Homeland, but never skip an episode of P.O.W (the original, Israeli version of "Homeland"). We use iTunes to download FUN's latest single, but also download our favorite Mashina song. We can blend in perfectly anywhere, but always let everyone know we are Israelis.
Once you take a close look at our culture, you realize how amazing this is, this almost perfect combination of blending in and keeping originality. We always talk about how we're dying to board a place and get out of here, but hang a flag on our balconies during our Independence Day. We always complain about the people, but gather in a joint effort to bring a soldier back home from captivity. We always say how we cannot wait for our next trip to the US, so that we can "enjoy a civilized society," but always happy to be back home. ישראלי זה הכי, אחי.
November 1, 2013 | 1:24 pm
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
Footnote is a 2011 Israeli drama film written and directed by Joseph Cedar, starring Shlomo Bar'aba and Lior Ashkenazi. It tells the story of father and son, both Professors studying and teaching Talmud and Judaism, and their complicated relationship. The son is extremely popular with his students and the public and has a young, modern take on his world of research. The father is very old fashioned, unpopular and frustrated by his would-be lifetime research achievement having gone unfulfilled, as a rival scholar published similar results one month ahead of him.
The story begins on the day the father revives a phone call from the Minister of Education, who tells him he was awarded with the prestigious Israel Prize, his lifelong dream. The following day, his son is summoned to an urgent meeting with the Israel Prize committee, where he is told that an error had occurred and that in fact it was he, not his father, who was awarded the Israel Prize. From that point on, the plot thickens as the son is conflicting on his following acts on the matter, as the father, living his dream, interviews to a newspaper and tells the world what he truly thinks of his son.
Footnote won the Best Screenplay Award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. It also won nine prizes at the 2011 Ophir Awards, and was nominated for the 84th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.
Enjoy the trailer:
October 25, 2013 | 1:51 pm
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
Israeli musician David Broza has been considered one of the most dynamic and vibrant performers in the singer/songwriter world.
His charismatic and energetic performances have brought to worldwide audiences a fusion of the three different countries in which he was raised: Israel, Spain, and England, filling concert halls with his famous guitar playing, ranging from flamenco flavored rhythmic and percussion techniques, to whirlwind finger picking, to a signature rock and roll sound. Broza unites the three worlds by utilizing his ability to take on the troubadour tradition, up to now, featuring the lyrics of the worlds' greatest poets. Broza's Spanish guitar has swooped audiences off their feet for decades, alongside songs that became a big part of the Israeli culture.
In early 1977, Broza performed the song Yihye' Tov (Everything will be alright,) which became the anthem of the peace process of those times, and is still a wish many of us carry in our hearts. In a recent project, Broza has written and recorded with the Palestinian music group, Sabreen, the song Belibi, that featured Broza and Sabreen's Wissam Murad, and two children's choirs, one from each side of the conflict.
Broza was awarded a Spanish royal medal of honor by the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, for his longtime contribution to Israel-Spain relations and his promotion of tolerance. In July, 2011, his 28th album, Third Language was released. The album was created completely by Broza, lyrics and music. The album was produced wholly and solely throughout the internet.
Picking only four Broza songs was not an easy task, so I hope this will trigger you to go to YouTube and listen to some more. Enjoy!
Belibech (In your heart)
Sigaliot (Violet)- performed with Keren Peles (and yes, it is our current Minister of Finance hosting the show...)
Sarabande (Fantasia Sobre El Tema De Hendel)
October 18, 2013 | 1:28 pm
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
Tomer Adaddi is an Israeli award-winning composer, pianist and musical producer, who has worked and collaborated with international musicians such as Andrea Bocelli, Mercedes Sossa, Il Volo, the Tenors, Michael Buble' and others.
He was born in 1983 in Raanana, Israel, and became successful both in the Israeli and the international music industry. He studied for his MA in composition at Mannes College of Music in New York, where he received the Felix Saltzer Techniques of Music Award in 2011. In 2010, he composed and arranged the song "Milim" (Words) for singer Harel Skaat, which represented Israel at the Eurovision singing contest. Adaddi also composed songs for other famous Israeli singers such as Boaz Shara'abi, Shlomi Shabat, Lior Narkis, Izhar Cohen, Shiri Mimon and more. In 2013, he won the Israeli ACUM Award as best composer.
In the field of international music, Adaddi arranged and conducted the "Jerry Lewis Telethon Orchestra" in 2007 in Las Vegas. In 2008, he musically produced and arranged the 10th anniversary for the Peres Center for Peace, honoring Israel's President Shimon Peres. There, he worked with international artists such as Andrea Bocceli, Mercedes Sossa, Elliot Yaminn, Dave Koz and others. Adaddi also worked with the legendary band, The Scorpions, and recently arranged and orchestrated Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" for the album "The Canadian Tenors" published nationwide by Universal Music.
Adaddi also composed music for several film projects, a few symphonic and chamber works, and conducted for different orchestras around the world. His piece "Integration for Orchestra" won the Bohuslav Martinů award at Mannes College of Music (NYC) and was premiered by the Israeli Chamber Orchestra at "Sounds in the Dessert" Festival 2010. Recently Tomer's Piano Concerto no. 1 was premiered in New-York City at Mannes Concert Hall by Pianist Natalie Tenenbaum and Conductor Isaac Selya with the Mannes "Green" Orchestra. The same Piano Concerto had its Israeli debut with the Israeli Chamber Orchestra and Conductor Roi Azulai.
Adaddi also worked with 16-Grammy-Award winning producer Humberto on the upcoming album Songs from the Silver Screen for America-Got-Talent's musical sensation Jackie Evancho and We are Love for Il Volo. He also worked on songs by the famous singer Michael Buble'.
Recently, Adaddi released his first solo album, Origins, featuring classical interpretations for famous Jewish melodies, performed by piano and string orchestra.
In an interview to Israelife, Adaddi talked about splitting his life between Israel and New-York: "Israel is my home, and where I feel at home. It's hard for me to be away from my family, my friends and the Israeli culture when I'm staying in New-York. I am also very connected to the Hebrew language, and feel that creating songs in Hebrew is home for me. However, music is an international language, and therefore the way to develop is to go outside to other places. That is how truly great things happen."
After years of composing and producing for others, what made you decide to release a solo album?
"In recent years, I got to perform in many fundraisers worldwide. After performing the Jewish melody, "Malachei HaSharet," in a piano solo, I received very good reviews and started thinking about recording an album that will be a combination of classical music and Jewish melodies which I heard every time I went to temple on Jewish holidays. I think that the actual trigger for recording this album was about two years ago, when my grandmother, Rina, passed away. It was at that time when I decided I want to record an album dedicated to her and to my grandfather, may they rest in peace."
Shalom Aleichem Malachei HaSharet
October 15, 2013 | 12:13 pm
Posted by Noga Gur-Arieh
Two years ago, the people of Israel finally sighed. Gilad Shalit has returned home.
It took more than five years and a great fuss for the Israeli Government and Shalit's captors (the terror organization: Hamas) to sign on this controversial deal. Some would say we gave up on too much- that we're letting more then a thousand killers go for just one soldier. However, there is not a soul in Israel who's not happy with Gilad's return. After endless days and nights without a human touch, Gilad Shalit received the biggest hug anyone has ever gotten. A hug of a nation.
Israel's small size has made us a family. For five years one of our sons was missing. There was an empty chair around the table during Shabbat dinners and Holidays. Everyone hugged Gilad's parents, Aviva and Noam, as another release deal failed. When Shalit's return aired, everyone’s televisions were set on the news channels. Everyone watched him get off the plane- skinny, quiet, and distant- and shed tears of joy. At night, people went to the streets to celebrate. Everyone cared.
Growing up in Israel is a bit different than growing up in the states. Every boy and girl knows that after graduating from high school they will serve in the Army. This service is mandatory; men serve for three years, and women for two. Since day one of boot camp, when you swear to serve the country, even at the price of your life, the country swears to do everything that's in its power to protect you. When a soldier is abducted, the government is expected to do whatever it takes to bring him back home. There were times of success and times of failure. Times when men came home to their families, and times when coffins were returned, so that the family would have a tomb to cry on. Unfortunately, a few release deals failed to succeed. The reasons are varied, but one thing is for sure: the public awareness always had a major effect on captives’ transactions.
For five years, the supporters of Shalit's return did not sit still. His parents built a tent outside the Prime Minister's residence. This tent was never empty. People constantly came to embrace and encourage the Shalit family. Activists handed out stickers and flyers, and from time to time, they even demonstrated outside of the Knesset. People have made it a point to never let the Shalit topic disappear from the public eye. Some said this ongoing massive campaign caused Shalit's takers to keep raising the "price" for his release. They said that the fact that there was not a day gone by without Shalit's name being mentioned in a newspaper eventually made Israel release more than 1000 killers in exchange for one Israeli soldier.
All of this may be true. I'm sure that the countless hits I get when I Google Shalit's name in Hebrew did not help the bargaining. However, I'm also confident that if the Shalit Family had given up, folded their tent after a couple of years, and headed home with their heads down, Gilad would not be home today. If Israel wasn't this one warm, loving family, where every mother saw Gilad as her son – the Shalit case would have ended up as a cold case.
Israelis never give up. Our country is 65 and still fighting for its survival. In 65 years we have overcome everything that one can possibly imagine. Our army is one of the most powerful armies in the world. One of the reasons for our strength is in our brotherhood; we are all brothers and sisters. We all know each other by two degrees, at the most. Our grandparents built our country with their bare hands. Now, it's our turn to protect this unique land. Some may fall while defending this precious piece of land and those who live there, we all know that. But we also know that when an Israeli is taken away while serving his country, we won't just sit aside and pray. We will bring him back.
To read Shalit's first interview, translated to English, go here.