Suspended For Singing

This piece first appeared as “Controversial Suspension For Contestant on Israel’s ‘The Voice'” on The Sisterhood blog at The Forward.

Ophir Ben-Shetreet sings on Israel's "The Voice."

Ophir Ben-Shetreet sings on Israel’s “The Voice.”

We like to encourage young people to develop their natural talents and follow their dreams. Just look how far the preternaturally talented 13-year-old diva Carly Rose Sonenclar got on the “The X Factor” with the support of her family and community (not to mention millions of American television viewers).

But that’s not necessarily how things work in some sectors of Israeli society. Ophir Ben-Shetreet, a 17-year-old with a voice as outstanding as Sonenclar’s (at least to my untrained ear) is a leading competitor on Israel’s version of “The Voice.” One would think that she would be rewarded for her confidence, effort and talent. Sadly, that is not the case.

Ben-Shetreet is essentially being punished for having an exceptionally beautiful voice and wanting to share it with the world. The 12th grader has been suspended (with the agreement of her parents) for two weeks from her religious girls’ high school in the seaside city of Ashdod. Her offense? Singing in public.

Click here to read more and to watch and listen to Ophir Ben-Shetreet singing.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

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