May 23, 2019

Israel Sings Itself Into Unity

“The Hall of Isaac at the Tombs of the Patriarchs in Hebron, West Bank, was filled with thousands of Jewish worshippers — men and women — on April 23 in the intermediate days of Passover. Most came for a special mass singing event, where together they sang during morning prayers the verse “What will I return to the Lord,” from the book of Psalms.

Documented by drone cameras, amplified and accompanied by music, the event is part of the mass singing trend, Koolulam — which is a wordplay on “koolulu,” the traditional celebratory ululation of Middle Eastern and North African Jews, and “koolam,” which means “everyone” in Hebrew. The trend is taking Israel by storm and was certainly reflected in the mass singing at the Tombs of the Patriarchs.

Koolulam gathers thousands of strangers without musical backgrounds for a new arrangement of a familiar song in three-part harmony following a 45-minute lesson. But the music is actually not the main point. The event, which usually lasts about three hours, includes all sorts of social interaction exercises. The common singing and the final video clip are just the artistic product and the viral source of inspiration for other participants. The phenomenon, which started with local events with only a few hundred participants, has become over the past few months a social movement that has stirred hundreds of thousands, been viewed by millions on YouTube and drawn international attention.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"With many other countries already studying the Asian playbook, the United States and Europe could benefit from doing the same."

"Trump's cursing is one of the most straightforward parts of his appeal... Trump is not the only politician whose profanity has stood him in good stead."

"‘If we get all of this because Netanyahu wants to make Trump happy, that’s fine with us,’ says local council rep in Golan Heights as plans ramp up for ‘new’ neighborhood honoring U.S. president..."

"...there is something worth paying attention to in this latest petition from fans keen to have a creative work made the way that they want it. The comments on the petition are instructive."

"The sunny job numbers and steady growth hide the fact that most people think the economy works only for people in power."

"Like many other Americans, I now wear AirPods all day at my desk to combat the awful tyranny of the open office. Since they don’t cancel noise, they provide me with writing music..."

"The logic of attributing mental states to nonhuman animals is complicated. We cannot use deductive inference, because there are no general rules..."

"As the canon of English literature slowly, gradually opens itself up to books by women and authors of color, Modern Library and Penguin Classics have just launched two new series..."

"Egalitarian couples assume their progressive ideology will carry the day. Sociologists know that it doesn’t.... sharing child care is associated with valuing gender equality..."

"Business Booms for Sephardic Food: Women are leading the way as small businesses bring traditional recipes to the commercial marketplace..."

"With most animal populations, the niches that encase the populations are of constant size. Animal societies growing in a given niche have dynamics neatly fitted by equations with a constant limit or ceiling."

"Now some 200,000 Jews live in Germany, a nation of 82 million people, and many are increasingly fearful.... 85 percent of respondents in Germany characterized anti-Semitism as a “very big” or “fairly big” problem..."