Israel’s National Poet Celebrated in Tel Aviv

A festive evening concert was held this Wednesday in Tel Aviv at Heichal HaTarbut for celebrating the poetic genius of the national poet of Israel, Hayim Nahman Bialik.

It was a diverse and rich performance that included some of the well-known names in popular music, ranging from Teddy Neguse’s rap music, to Alon Oleartchik’s Jazz and Ester Rada’s groovy blues.

The festival

It is actually the Niggunim Betzedek Alternative Jewish Festival that will take place for three days and Bialik was chosen as the opening concert because the poet is a cultural titan, offering a combination of difficulties and great promise.

Ashdod Elad Levi, the Israeli Andalusian Orchestra’s Artistic Director, said that the Israeli-ness is disrupted due to the festival.

He said that they use different and innovative ways of highlighting the Israeli culture and formulating their innate Israeli-ness.

In order to help people in enjoying this wonderful musical journey, different figures from the life of Bialik were portrayed by Clipa Theater’s actors and also for providing a textual context for the performance.

The poet

In his day and age, Bialik was known as the champion of Hebrew culture. Since he wanted modern readers to understand the richness that Talmud had to offer, he had put together some treasures in his Sefer HaAggadah in 1903.

He was extremely creative, as the poet is responsible for gifting a number of new words, such as airplane (matos) and rustle (rishroosh), to Israelis.

Apart from that, mass audiences were also attracted to the great poet because of Oneg Shabbat, a series of lively talks that he conducted for decades on the weekends from late 1920s at the first Hebrew city.

Nechama Hendel recorded poems by Bialik in her sweet voice in her 1965 record and it is just as brilliant as the American folk revival music that Odetta Holmes, or Joan Baez created.

Since they were written by Bialik, Hendel use the correct Ashkenazi pronunciation for singing the poems.

His work

As he is considered Israel’s national poet, Bialik’s works are also taught in classrooms, but many consider him as a poet of extremes.

This is mostly because of some of his works, such as HaMatmid (1901) and In the City of Slaughter (1904).

This is because he was either the poet of the loss and pain suffered by Jews, or one who wrote cute songs for kindergartners, as he wrote many of those as well.

In order to improve the accessibility of high culture, Clipa Theater’s artistic directors had been asked by Bialik House to assist.

In response, they have come up with an immersive and stunning theater experience called Anybody Home.

The primary purpose of this experience was that Bialik was gone, but those who visited the house could meet people he had had a personal relationship with.

The show had been performed originally in 2017 and was revived partly and adapted for the concert this week.

The directors said that the characters helped in understanding Bialik’s greatness and depth.

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