by Sarah Blustain

Rehearsal for Peace

It’s not often that fundraising luncheons for American Jewish organizations erupt in song and dance. And it’s certainly rare to hear an honoree break out in Arabic song. These did take place at an unusually moving event in New York on behalf of US/Israel Women-to-Women, an American organization that funds feminist causes in Israel. The honorees this spring were 31-year-old Palestinian-Israeli actress and singer Amal Murkus, who sang in Arabic “The Peace Bird,” and singer/songwriter Debbie Friedman, whose soulful compositions have already become the canon for feminist seders, healing events and synagogue liturgy. Reading from her “Letter to Amal,” Friedman said she was moved when Murkus told her, “‘I love my land,’ and the only thing I could say back was, ‘I love my land too.’” The two sang together onstage, quite unrehearsed, learning tunes as they went.

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