Hillel Rio throws a Coexistence concert in honor of Israeli Independence Day.
By Keren Sharon
For the celebration of Israel’s 59th Independence Day, Hillel Rio de Janeiro decided to do something a little different from what they had done last year.
Familiar with the Coexistence Exposition of the Israeli Museum – On the Seam, Hillel Rio decided to hold this year’s Independence Day celebration under the scope of this important concept: Coexistence.
They invited Israeli singer Einat Sarouf to perform with the lead singer of a very famous Carioca music band, and a Brazilian cultural icon – Toni Garrido. Garrido is an African-Brazilian active in the promotion of equality and non-discrimination in Brazilian society.
The idea for the event, which attracted over 2,000 people, was to hold a music concert with both singers in one of Rio’s finest music concert halls inviting both the Jewish and non-Jewish community. The theme of the evening would be coexistence, respect and tolerance for others -- all slowly diminishing ideals in today’s world.
“It is amazing to think that an idea like coexistence emerged inside our Jewish community and reached the city of Rio in general,” said Hillel Rio staff member, Lana Griner.
The concert opened with Sarouf singing the Israeli song “Halevai,” which speaks of hope. The youth of the community packed the hall, singing her songs and the songs of Shlomo Artzi, Gaya and other famous Israeli singers. After her show, Garrido performed Brazilian pop music and at the end the two musicians joined forces to sing a famous song in Portuguese, and “Salam” holding the Israeli and Brazilian flags.
The Coexistence Exposition, composed of various pieces by different artists from around the world, was displayed at the entrance of the hall.
At the beginning of the show, a short video about the Exposition and its idea. In addition, the video highlighted the work of Hillel including a week-long tzedek project in Piaui, the poorest state in Brazil.
The integration of the two musicians, cultures and communities, on Israel’s Independence Day, was extraordinary and breathtaking.
“I was impressed when I saw near my house an outdoor poster of the Coexistence concert,” said Ilan Cuperstein, 20, a Hillel Rio student. “The show was great, I met so many friends that I had not seen in a long time. It was also very good to see an event from my community in a television news program.”
Keren Sharon is the schlicha for Hillel Rio de Janeiro.