After watching the brilliant Israeli rock opera ‘War’ on stage, and blogging about it, I have been corresponding by email with musician Kobi Vitman who created it based on his experiences in 2002 as a reserve infantry soldier during Operation Defensive Shield, and the PTSD that followed. A couple of months ago, when the original cast recording was issued, I tried to convey to Vitman my own experiences as a listener and a fan of the genre, emphasizing the difficulty in trying to track down these musical gems once the curtain closes on the original show. In accordance with my beliefs about file sharing, copyright laws and my own experiences searching for recordings of Israeli musicals, I tried to push for making the entire album available online.
Well, I am so very happy to announce that as of this week, the album is indeed available online and for free. You can still purchase the physical CD, booklet and all, for 40NIS, but if you just want the MP3 files, they are now legally available on WarRockOpera.com. You can still watch the show live in its acoustic version. Check the website for details.
I have written before about Taglit-Birthright Israel , a beautiful program that sends young Jews from all over the world to visit Israel for the first time for free. Yes, free! There are no strings attached, and no hidden agendas: the goal of the program is posted on its website: “to diminish the growing division between Israel and Jewish communities around the world; to strengthen the sense of solidarity among world Jewry; and to strengthen participants’ personal Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish people.”
I am not sure people need much persuasion to get a free 10 day trip, but if you do you can check out this video, summarizing an evening of solo performances of monologues, spoken word and hip-hop inspired and performed by past participants, and directed by Vanessa Hidary, a.k.a. The Hebrew Mamita, of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam:
Make sure you check out the schedule for upcoming performances.
[singlepic id=46 w=320 h=240 float=right]American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, like Radiohead and others before them, have just released their new album in digital format absolutely free of charge. Band leader Trent Reznor explains: “I’ve been considering and wanting to make this kind of [instrumental] record for years, but by its very nature it wouldn’t have made sense until this point. This collection of music is the result of working from a very visual perspective – dressing imagined locations and scenarios with sound and texture; a soundtrack for daydreams. I’m very pleased with the result and the ability to present it directly to you without interference. I hope you enjoy the first four volumes of Ghosts.” (emphasis mine)
Listen to the ninth track off the first (and free) volume:
Now go download it yourself.
Just came back from an amazing experience – a ten day guided tour of Israel. I was one of five Israelis who joined a group of 42 young American Jews, in a free trip organized by a foundation called Taglit-Birthright Israel . They provide first time, peer group, educational trips to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18 to 26. Taglit-Birthright Israel’s founders created this program to send thousands of young Jewish adults from all over the world to Israel as a gift in order to diminish the growing division between Israel and Jewish communities around the world; to strengthen the sense of solidarity among world Jewry; and to strengthen participants’ personal Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish people.
300,000 people have already participated, so click here if you want to learn more.