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Ishay Ribo's success belongs to us all

ishay ribo

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected])

Until a few years ago, the only times Ishay Ribo performed, he played for a few friends in a room at his yeshiva. Two nights ago, he appeared before 14,000 people at the Madison Square Garden arena in New York City -- the first Israeli singer to reach such heights.

Yet this achievement is not just an Israeli success story, but a Jewish one. Rabbi Mark Wildes of Manhattan wrote about this historic experience as follows:

"Fourteen thousand kids and adults, religious and secular, Amercians and Israelis, were singing together -- actually, praying together. For them, this was a night of inspiration, of pride, of celebrating their Judaism. Many base their Jewish identity on the Holocaust, on death, but we base ours on life, on the Torah, on song, on joy.

This night proved that Judaism does not belong only to grandma, but also to her grandchildren. Judaism is not just in black and white, but in color. 14,000 people sang with Ishay, with Akiva Turgeman, with Amir Dadon, and with Avraham Fried as, together, they cried out: "Ashrei ha'am she'kacha lo" (Praiseworthy is the people that has this). I thought to myself that I should, perhaps, bless "Shehechiyanu" (the blessing recited over an action performed for the first time).

The date advertised for this appearance was September 3rd, but the corresponding Hebrew date was the 18th of Elul, the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Hasidic movement. He is most famous for saying that the Messiah will come when, quoting Proverbs 5:16, 'the wellsprings (of Torah) will spread outward' -- that is, to the most outward place there is, even to Madison Square Garden."


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