Feliza and Rabbi Or Zohar Share Israeli Worship Music
Days after the tragic act against the Jewish community in Pittsburg, Logsdon Seminary gathered for worship with Feliza and Rabbi Or Zohar from the Galilee region of Israel. The couple performed some of their widely recognized contemporary Israeli music and spoke about incarnating the grace of reconciliation in a troubled region. Members of Logsdon, HSU and the broader Abilene community attended the event.
Rabbi Or Zohar is a friend of Logsdon through his participation in Logsdon’s Israel Study Course as a lecturer. He is also a musician, teacher of Judaism and Kabbalah, and community builder in the Israeli Reform Movement. He serves as the reform rabbi of Misgav Regional Council in Galilee. Feliza Zohar is a singer-songwriter, song leader, artist and choreographer.
The couple began with a song titled “Barchu” which means “to bless” in Hebrew. They continued with “Adonai Safatai,” dedicating the song to the memory of the Pittsburg Jews who died during their time of prayer. They also sang “Lord, Heal her I Pray,” which combined Hebrew and English prayers to pray for peace and healing.
“We believe that religious leaders should be not part of the problem and also part of the solution for bringing people together,” Rabbi Zohar said. “We’d like our religion to be one that connects with people…Remember that as mankind we are one, despite of our differences.”
Their next song was “Hallelujah from the Depths” based on Psalm 130. The song could be applied to praising God from the depths of the heart, from the depths of sadness, or even from the depths of grassroots movements toward peace.
“We are not waiting on the government or the United Nations to bring peace to the Middle East,” said Rabbi Zohar. “We are there with our neighbors of different faiths practicing peace every day.”
The couple closed by singing the words of Psalm 23 and the peace prayer Jews pray three times per day. The program was followed by lunch and a question and answer session with the Zohars.
This husband-wife team has been sharing their original sacred music for over a decade, using it as a tool for bringing people together and for sharing a vision of a more pluralistic and progressive society in Israel. Feliza and Or have toured in North America, sharing their music, spiritual teachings, and life stories with congregations throughout the continent. Their original melodies are known, loved, and used in various congregations around the world.
Their first album Lev Tahor (2007) has been a pioneering voice in a new wave of contemporary Israeli spiritual music. Their second album Mikolot Mayim (2016) is a musical “mandala” of 13 original melodies that takes the listener on a spiritual journey through Shabbat. Some of their songs are included in the prayer songbooks Libi B’mizrach and Shabbat Anthology Vl. 9, (Transcontinental Music). Their music was recently featured at the 2017 WUPJ Connections Convention, Israel, and they presented their work at a Shabbat Luncheon of the 2017 URJ Biennial in Boston.