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"Mashiv Haruach - From Safed to Jerusalem - A Concert of Jewish Soul Music"

The "Mashiv Haruach" concert in the Valley of the Communities at Yad VashemThe "Mashiv Haruach" concert in the Valley of the Communities at Yad Vashem
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On August 9, 2010, a concert of Jewish soul music was held in Yad Vashem’s Valley of the Communities. “Mashiv Haruach — From Safed to Jerusalem — A Concert of Jewish Soul Music” was held in the presence of hundreds of Holocaust survivors, next generations and friends of Yad Vashem from Israel and abroad. The towering walls of the Valley, etched with the names of Jewish communities destroyed during the Holocaust, made a perfect and imposing setting - the music soaring out across the Jerusalem hills. The music was a living memorial to the Jewish world destroyed during the Shoah, and the celebration of Jewish life that continues.

Among those performing at the concert were Maestro Giora Feidman (clarinet), Maestro Raul Jaurena (bandoneon), Maestro Corrado Giuffredi (clarinet), Emil Aybinder (accordion), Prof. Ilan Schul (clarinet), Prof. Gersh Geller (saxophone), Hanan Bar Sela (clarinet), Constantin Moscovici (pan-flute), Maxim Solniker (clarinet), Miri Grossberg (clarinet), Pazit Gal (piano), Shmuel (Mula) Sayevitch (piano), Manny Katz (bass) and Erez Munk (percussion).

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MC Benny Hendel related the following story:

In 1941 Eliyahu Yones was a prisoner in one of the labor camps on the road between Lvov and Zloczow. At night, after they finished working, they would gather at the corner of the barracks and would try to banish the hunger and the cold with music. One of the songs, a Gypsy song translated into Yiddish, was especially loved by the prisoners. Eventually, they began to sing it while marching in the snow and mud on their way to forced labor. The camp commander, Eple, began to appreciate the song as well.

Once this happened, Eliyahu was forced to sing the song at every opportunity possible, even under horrifying circumstances. One day an inmate tried to escape and was caught. Eple gathered all of the prisoners to instill fear and quash any thoughts of escape. Eple drew his pistol. The inmate had his back turned towards Eple. Ziser, the kapo, then approached Eple and whispered something into his ear. “You are correct,” declared Eple, and he ordered Eliyahu Yuns be brought forth to sing the Gypsy song. Eliyahu dreaded the situation, but they forced him to sing, and as he sang, and the crowd joined in for the chorus, the song became an ever strengthening hymn.

When the song ended, Eple returned his pistol to its holster and walked away. Everyone remained shocked. Then came the announcement to disperse.

Eliyahu taught me the song 35 years ago, when we were preparing a radio play. He didn’t tell me the story back then, but I read it years later in Eliyahu’s book in the Yad Vashem Library.

The Gypsy song is about a boy who goes to a fair in the city to buy a horse. On the way he sees “Kreitschme”, a pub. He goes in and has a drink. He has another and then another. He is running out of money and everything is becoming a blur. He doesn’t need a horse anymore. He’s got nothing left in his pockets, but despite all of his problems he jumps up and his song bursts forth.

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The concert was held with the cooperation of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture and Sport, the International Seminar of “Clarinet and Klezmer in the Galilee,” and the Centre of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel.