When I first arrived in Israel, I fell in love with a type of music called "mizrachi" music. The tunes were so middle eastern, yet the lyrics reminded me of my beloved country music in the states. Mizrachi music stems from Jews who come from the middle east- Yemen, Morocco, Tunisia, etc. Much to my sadness I discovered that not many people seem to understand my love of this type of music (same with country music sadly!), but luckily I married into a sephardic family, who while they think I'm pretty funny for liking it, can somewhat understand the attraction.
Last night my wonderful husband got us tickets to see Kobi Peretz, one of these mizrachi singers I am so in love with. The concert was in Beer Sheva, right across the street from the place we first met. We ended up going with some of his cousins... and it was quite the experience! Kobi Peretz tens to attract a certain kind of crowd- 20 somethings in skimpy clothes, and others who wish they were 20 something, also dressed in skimpy clothes. This to me is what makes the rest of the concert so interesting, and such an only in israel moment
The first half of the concert was typical mizrachi dance music. After about an hour, Kobi Peretz called out another famous mizrachi singer, put on a kippah, and broke into renditions of famous psalms. Now in the states I cant imagine this going over very well, but here in Israel everyone just kind of went along. After another half hour so, Kobi Peretz broke into one of his most famous songs, "You Are Like Fire". Part way through the song it changes into "אנחנו מאמינים"- we are believers.
אנחנו מאמינים is a chant from the midrash, which has become a song favored by religious groups here in Israel. The lyrics can be translated as "We are believers, children of believers, and we have no one else to rely on but our father in heaven".
So once again a famous singer has broken into his concert with a religious tone... and how does this mostly secular crowd respond? They LOVED IT. As Kobi Peretz went back and forth between "You Are Like Fire" and "We are believers" the crowd jumped and sang and screamed and begged for more. It was amazing, and for the first time since I made Aliyah I really felt a part of it- of something bigger than myself in this tiny country lost in the middle east. The Gilad Shalit video had left me depressed, but this concert lifted my spirits- after all, we are all believers in this crazy little country we live in.