Archive for July, 2011

Things Will Be Better…Or They Won’t

July 31, 2011

My generation grew up with singer-songwriter David Broza’s and poet-author-songwriter Yehonatan Geffen’s “Yihyeh Tov” (Things Will Be Better) as our anthem. We sang it at school, at camp, at youth group meetings. Don’t remember it? Yes you do. It’s the song they wrote a couple of days after President Sadat of Egypt came on an official visit to Israel in 1977, signaling a possible public beginning to what became the peace process between the two countries. Here’s David Broza singing this oldie-but-goodie last year, showing that it is still going strong:

Well now, Broza and Geffen have updated this anthem for a new generation – the one living in tents and protesting the high cost of living and economic disparities in Israel this summer. While the original lyrics were both cynical and hopeful, the ones for 2011 lean more toward the cynical, I think.

Following this new video of David Broza singing the 2011 version, is my translation of the lyrics. You’ll see quickly that the English is a bit clunky and that the lines obviously do not rhyme as they do in Hebrew.

For many years now we have been silent,

And denigrated to the ground.

Governments counted the money,

But nobody counted us.


No, poverty is not a crime,

And we will not be satisfied

Until the evil regime will come down

From towers to tents.


And things will be better when we will be the majority –

From Eilat to Hatzor.

Even if the journey is long,

We will march and not stop.


We will not listen to demagoguery,

No one will scare us-

Because for someone who has nothing,

There is nothing to lose.


You are easily sent

To die in wars

But if you come home alive

There is no life and no housing


And things will be better when we will be the majority –

From Eilat to Hatzor.

Even if the journey is long,

We will march and not stop.

© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Getting Lost In A Findable Context

July 29, 2011

This post was first published as “How to Lose Yourself in Jewish Lithuania” on The Arty Semite blog of the Forward.

The Summer Literary Seminars are about “getting lost in a findable context,” said the program’s founder and director, Mikhail Iossel, somewhat oxymoronically.

“It’s about losing yourself on a journey with others with a shared interest in literature and creative writing,” he went on to explain about the seminars that have been taking place since 1998 in St. Petersburg, Montreal, Nairobi and Vilnius.

Participants in the programs participate in intensive creative writing and literary workshops, and meet with local historians, journalists and writers. The Vilnius program, which begins this year on July 31, has a special “Jewish Lithuania” track for those interested in delving deeply into Vilna’s rich and deep Jewish past.

Click here to read more.

© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Gyrating To The Beat Of Peace

July 29, 2011

This post was first published as “Lebanese Belly Dancer Can’t Go Home Again” on The Arty Semite blog of the Forward.

Johanna Farkhry and Kobi Farhi

Lebanese-French belly dancer Johanna Fakhry has gyrated herself into some big trouble with her homeland. She has been barred from returning to Lebanaon following an appearance last month at Hellfest, an outdoor music festival in France, with the Israeli metal band Orphaned Land.

The Jerusalem Post reports that it was Fakhry’s idea to dance onstage with the Israeli musicians, and to hold up the Lebanese and Israeli flags side by side in a gesture of peace and brotherhood (though the Israeli one happened to have been much larger). Orphan Land’s lead singer Kobi Farhi was pleased to join forces with the belly dancer after she contacted him through Facebook. However, he warned her of his concern for her reputation and safety should she appear with the band, and especially should they wave their national banners together. Lebanon has technically been in a state of war with Israel since 1948.

Click here to read more and view the video from Hellfest.

© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved