Nikia Brown is not in Kansas anymore. More exactly, not in Kansas City, where she is from. She, her husband and young daughter are African-American converts to Judaism now living in Holon, Israel. For those of us who write a lot about the mishegas that goes on within the Jewish community, it is refreshing to hear someone like Brown talk about why she was drawn to Judaism and what being a Jew and an Israeli mean to her.
I couldn’t stop thinking, “You go, girl!” a I watched Brown audition for Kochav Nolad (A Star is Born), the Israeli version of American Idol. The fact that she doesn’t yet speak Hebrew didn’t stop her from learning one of my all-time favorite songs, “Uf Gozal” and singing it in front of those notoriously tough Israeli celebrity judges. Seeing famous performer Margalit Tza’anani grinning from ear to ear at the end of the video, exclaiming, “You make me want to sing with you! You make me want to sing with you!” is priceless.
© 2010 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.