Ten years ago, Ivri Lider was a gangly newbie with rock ’n’roll dreams. Today, he’s one of Israel’s biggest stars, huge in a way that’s very difficult to achieve in such a tiny place. He performs duets with reigning doyens and rising stars, fills the biggest halls and enjoys a generation-spanning popularity most American performers can’t imagine. His music moves through various genres, and at any given moment, Israeli radio is playing one of his oddly rocking electronica tracks, or a ballad he’s penned, or a tune from a movie he’s scored.
In Israel, just about every immigrant has some kind of “family” that isn’t family, a generous soul or two who took them in and helped make a foreign land home.
On a recent fall evening, a bunch of Jews got together to tell some stories for a Chicago audience. Most of them were Jews, at any rate. Except the Palestinian. And one of the African Americans. The other African American, National Public Radio commentator Aaron Freeman, converted to Judaism years ago.
An American friend of mine once asked me to list my favorite places in Jerusalem, not long after another American friend expressed his jealousy that I was in Jerusalem for Passover and he was not.In honor of Jerusalem Day this Friday, then, I want to clarify something for all prospective questioners: I, a kosher-keeping, davening Israeli
I am not always welcome in Jewish circles here in Chicago.A handful of people won’t talk to me; some won’t even look at my children. I was told by one Jewish communal official that I’ve supplied weapons to the enemy, and a prominent member of my community accused me, in a letter sent to dozens of people, of stabbing Israel in the back.