The Israeli musician Idan Raichel made a stop at Florida International University during his musical tour.
Raichel, who visited Miami to perform at a concert, stopped by the university to converse with the students and speak about The Idan Raichel Project, a cross-cultural collaboration musical project he founded 10 years ago that blends African, Latin American, Caribbean and Middle Eastern sound, as well as perform a few songs. This discussion was presented by the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center’s Hillel Young Adult Division.
Raichel, who is a keyboardist, producer and composer from Kfar Saba, a city near Tel Aviv, was born to a family of Eastern European roots. He told the students that the idea for the project was to start a musical one with friends from his neighborhood who immigrated from different parts of the world.
“Israeli society is about immigrants who came from all over the world,” he remarked. “Every 10 or 15 years there is a new immigration that changes Israeli society.”
Raichel remarked that the project’s biggest achievement was to bring the voices of the minorities living in Israel to Israeli mainstream radio. He told students to emphasize on the beautiful things of Israel and not only the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Israel has one of the most interesting melting pots,” he told the students. “It is one of the most interesting multi-cultural nations.”
Raichel also said that unfortunately, many young Israelis could not name one Palestinian song, or a play from Lebanon, or a movie from Syria, and vice versa young Syrians couldn’t name an Israeli song. Ely, a freshman at FIU and Miami Beach resident who grew up in Israel and didn’t want to disclose his last name, thought Raichel was right.
“My whole time in Israel I never heard a Palestinian song and I never saw a Syrian movie,” he said. “I never knew that kind of stuff existed. The fact that there is that kind of stuff out there and that maybe we should be looking more into that is very interesting.”
Aaron Holder, a senior in FIU and musical artist who resides in Miami Beach, enjoyed the presentation.
“His answers to all the questions were incredible,” he said. “There were really great questions that were asked and all of his answers were so pure and there was no political agenda.”
Fay Goldstein, a North Miami resident and senior who is also president of Shalom FIU that helped bring Raichel to the school, said “I think this presentation shows a different side.”
“People have their misconceptions and preconceptions of what Israel is and this shows the culture and beauty of Israel,” Goldstein added.
Romina Naparstek, director of Hillel Young Adult Division, thought the presentation was “open-minded.”
“It gives the students an opportunity to see Israel through the eyes of someone who lives there,” she added.
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