Who would have believed that I would find myself arranging a concert in the beautiful Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. What strange paths our lives take after losing a child.
What to do first, all this would have been much easier in my own territory. To help find artists, catering, sell tickets, arranging all the logistics. How lucky to have had Gon to keep me sane and help with everything and also to have the volunteers whose only motivation was to support the Forum.
How to spread the word? How my father must have been chuckling in his grave me who resisted all things religious appearing in a Synagogue with 800 congregants and at the Celebrity Down Town Seder of at an Interfaith Council or for that matter speaking at the United Nations on International Women's Day. Not to mention all the electronic and press interviews.
Things started to fall into place at the last minute. Haim Cohen volunteered his restaurant in New York to do the catering, it was outstanding, and so much love and thought was invested into the food.
Artists like Paul Winter, David Broza, Conor Oberst and the Eroica Trio agreed to join Patti Smith to make the Peaceable Kingdom happen.
April 13th. The cocktail was a great success, people loved the Israeli wine, donated by Recanati and they enjoyed a taste of the talented chefs food from Taboon.
Yitzhak and Dr. Adel Misk spoke at the cocktail as well as Yossi Beilin, they were surrounded by so much love and support.
8.30 We all filed into the cathedral and my heart leapt when I say nearly a thousand people seated.
The Concert was an inspiring mix of music. My partner for the evening was Nadwa Sarandah. I discovered in her a kindred spirit. Nadwa told her personal story and then read a beautiful message from Desmond Tutu. The Palestinians can be very proud to have Nadwa as their representative. I read a piece on forgiveness.
We had such wonderful feedback on the evening. People left inspired and with a feeling of hope.
This concert was an extraordinary opportunity to trigger new contacts to support the Forum and for us as a group to get the message out.
There is no doubt that none of this would have been possible without Chris Wangro who produced the event with his wonderful team of volunteers. The Forum has a wonderful friend in this generous man.
Lastly thank you all for giving me this opportunity to help create the evening.
Smith, who penned her new song "Peaceable Kingdom" in honor of the occasion, will be joined by a diverse and eclectic array of critically-acclaimed entertainers including Israeli superstar David Broza, who will perform with one of Palestine's prominent Ud players, a capella vocal harmonists The Anonymous 4, all-female chamber ensemble The Eroica Trio, Grammy Award nominated composer Osvaldo Golijov and alterna-folk stylists Cat Power fronted by Chan Marshall, widely regarded as one of the most powerful performers in music today.
The Parent's Circle is a bi-national organization formed in 1995 by Yitzhak Frankenthal after the murder of his son by Hamas in 1994. Today over 200 Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost a loved one in the conflict belong to the circle. The group offers support and encouragement among its members both Israeli and Palestinian, who have paid the ultimate price, share the same pain and sense of loss. Together, they serve each other as sources of strength and pursue their common interest in promoting peace and reconciliation in the volatile region through education, negotiation, meetings with influential world leaders, lectures, and summer camps. A toll-free hotline has been instituted, resulting in approximately 1500 Israelis talking to 1500 Palestinians a day.