Magic Jewball

all signs point to no

 

iPod song of the week – serious edition

Filed under : iPod Song of the Week
On July 15, 2007
At 12:00 am
Comments : 9

As you’ve no doubt noticed, this blog is pretty chipper. That’s both because I’m the kind of person who sees humor in almost any situation and because there are enough downers in life that isn’t it nice to have a spot where you can count on laughter? But that’s for the other 364 days a year (or 100, looking at how often I actually post). This is the one day a year where not only am I a downer but I share it with you because I have a higher purpose. Not that making people laugh isn’t a good vocation, but anyway.

Today is 29 Tammuz on the Hebrew calendar, my mother’s yahrzeit, or anniversary of a person’s death in Yiddish. In Judaism you celebrate the date a person died, not their birthday. When you’re born you’re unformed but when you die we know what sort of life you lived. And I’d have to say my mother lived a pretty good one. So what I’d like to do is introduce you to or remind you of one of my mother’s favorite artists, Ofra Haza. My mother loved Middle Eastern music from Israeli pop to Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir and I grew up with Israeli music in the same way I ate pita and hummus before they became trendy (on the other hand, I didn’t know what gnocchi or sushi tasted like until I was in college or later).

Ofra Haza was perhaps the biggest Israeli artist internationally until her early death in 2000 (more depressing stuff, I know). She was the daughter of Yemenite-Jewish immigrants and her music always reflected that tradition, albeit with a modern flair, especially in the later part of her career when her songs were remixed and she experienced her greatest success outside Israel. Her biggest hit was “Im Nin’Alu” which my mother told me meant, “if we were locked up together.” Romantic! I always loved that song but I’ll be baldly honest and say that I don’t happen to own it so I chose my second-favorite as the iSotW, Galbi. Galbi is in Arabic (with a bit of English) and so I don’t know what it means, but if it comes from the same root as the Hebrew “lev” (Arabic and Hebrew share a lot of root words) then it has something to do with “my heart.” Either way it has the typical gorgeous Yemenite melody sung in Haza’s stunning voice, all over a dance-y beat. Perfection. (If you’d like to hear Im Nin’Alu, you can see the video here or just hear the five second haunting refrain here.)

The other thing I’d like to have you think about (yes, I’m being very pushy today) is the concept of charity. Today is the day I give my donation to the Boston Komen 5k Run/Walk for Breast Cancer Research in which a lot of my friends, many of whom are J-Ball readers and commenters, are participating. I do that not only because my mother died of breast cancer, which is a miserable disease that made her last five years hellish, but because she was all about giving time and money to causes she believed in. But you don’t have to give there. There are a lot of worthwhile causes out there (Doctors Without Borders and my struggling yeshiva high school are my personal favorites) and I’m sure there is somewhere you’ve been intending to give but just forgot. So, whether it’s in memory of someone you care about or just because you’ve realized how very fortunate you are, as Supertramp, who are not the iSotW, said, give a little bit.

וצדקה תציל ממות – משלי יא:ד

זכרונה לברכה



Napster:
Ofra Haza – Galbi

Streaming audio available on the iPod Song of the Week page.

 

9 Comments for this post

 
sarpon says

My thoughts are with you today, dear friend.

 
Lydia says

“In Judaism you celebrate the date a person died, not their birthday. When you’re born you’re unformed but when you die we know what sort of life you lived.”

I love this concept. Thanks for sharing all of this about your mom and for the donation to the team.

 
RN says

My thoughts are with you too.

 
NoShowMo says

Becca, I had no idea. I am thinking of you today, and your mom. Thank you for donating to the team, and we will race in her honor with pride.

 
~dogandmusiclover~ says

“In Judaism you celebrate the date a person died, not their birthday. When you’re born you’re unformed but when you die we know what sort of life you lived.”

I like that.

Thinking of you. Peace and love.

 
Becca says

Thanks, everyone. It was a tough day, but good too.

 
KP says

I wasn’t on top of this and feel like an ass for it. Sorry.

 
Soxy says

A little late, but hoping you had a peaceful day.

 
Becca says

No one needs to be on top of my life, truly. :) It’s all good.

Thanks, Soxy, I did.