Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Israeli Singer and Beacon for Hope Shoshana Damari Dies at 83

Singer Shshana Damari passed away last night as a result of severe complications from Pneumonia. Damari was more than just a singer, she was an icon, a symbol of hope and resistance in a country has always needed, and still needs today, such symbols. She was the voice of independence, releasing her first album in 1948, and was beloved by all who every heard her sing or met her. She will be missed by all Israelis.

I had the fortune to meet and spend a tiny bit of time with Damari and her then-musical partner, Boaz Sharabi, in 1996 on Kibbutz Beit Hashita. In March of that year, she lost a son to terror, and seemed only to be the heart-broken women who we saw around the cheder-ochel every day. But on Israel’s Memorial Day, Damari showed what she was all about, getting up before the thousand person kibbutz and singing Hatikva at the end of the holiday in a tear filled performance with Sharabi.

As many people here know, Memorial Day flows right into Independence Day in Israel, and in the Independence Day morning she sang a few songs with the kids from the Kibbutz. I talked to her later that day, when she was operating a ride the Kibbutz had rented for the kids. She told me that it hurt to sing, that she missed her son, but that this only meant that she was feeling the same thing that most of the mothers in Israel had felt at one time or another. And that since Memorial Day had finished, it was time to get on with life.

Damari was more than an amazing voice; she was a pillar of strength, and a source of inspiration for the Israeli people and Jews around the world. I hope that Israel does the appropriate thing and gives her the a military funeral, symbolic of all that she has done and meant to the people of Israel throughout the years.

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Posted by Scottage at 11:01 AM / | |