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Cartooning in Conflict
Chicago Nov. 4-6

Opinions
13/01/2010

Leonard Cohen sings for peace

By Roni Hirshenson


 

The compassionate poetry and music of Leonard Cohen has been my tranquilizer and soothing influence over the difficult period I have been through.

So one day I just got up and flew to the States to see and hear him.

And so began a journey which has culminated in a concert here in Israel whose proceeds will be donated to the Parents Circle and other NOGs committed to peace.

 

I arrived at the Beacon Theatre in Broadway and was amazed to see so many people from all corners of the world standing in the freezing cold of Manhattan just to stake their luck in getting a ticket to see the "legend" as Leonard Cohen is called.

On entering the hall what strikes one immediately is the simplicity of the stage no blazing lights and no gimmicks. But the moment the performance begins one realizes why not the depth and beauty of the singers and the absolute perfect professional band need nothing except  themselves. Leonard Cohen with his characteristic low and captive voice is a singer with a humble yet deeply profound personality that is so clearly portrayed in his passionate songs with their humanistic message. The crowd was mesmerized by his prayer-like music which filled everyone with a certain spiritual elevation. The performance continued for 3 hours (for me it seemed 3 minutes) and when it eventually ended I knew that I would seek out Leonard Cohen wherever and whenever so when I heard that his next concert would be in Berlin, needless to say I would be there!

Quoting from Leonard Cohen  "First we take Manhattan and then we take "Berlin".

 

This time I arrived in Berlin as a recognized fan of Leonard Cohen coming to hear the music that was so familiar to me by now. You can imagine my surprise and excitement when I got a personal invitation to come and meet Leonard Cohen himself for a meeting before the show! This meeting took place behind the scenes in their dining room. As is befitting the "legend" in his modesty, Leonard Cohen stood in line for his soup with the rest of the  members of very lovely team.

 

 

 

We sat together and I thanked him profusely for his generous donation to the PCFF. I emphasized the importance of his name appearing not only as a supporter of the PCFF but as a supporter of peace in the Middle East. I told him that his name is a symbol of hope and  inspiration to others. He, however, told me that we, the PCFF, are an inspiration and that it is our work and determination that gives hope.

His concert in Israel is dedicated to those who have paid the highest price in the conflict here yet have not given up their vision of peace and reconciliation. 

 

In the meantime, in Israel, Shmuelik Cohen, the P.R. for the Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF) in the past, (and who was involved in such projects as "Hello Shalom:" and the "Coffin" display) met Yitzhak  Frankeltal (the initial founder of the Parents Circle) who told him that he had been approached by the Leonard Cohen management  concerning an upcoming performance of his in Israel.

Leonard Cohen had decided that all proceeds  from his performance in Israel would be donated to NGOs committed to peace activities in this region. Yitzhak,naturally, was only too happy to propose the Parents Circle, knowing himself of the important work we do. A meeting was therefore set up between Roni Hirshenson, Ali Abu Awwad and the manager of Leonard Cohen.

This was a very critical meeting but on hearing our personal stories and the relentless work we do for promoting reconciliation  between the 2 peoples, there was no doubt that the PC would be a priority choice. They were deeply inspired by what they had heard.

 

All the net proceeds of his concert on the 24th September at the Ramat Gan Stadium will be earmarked for a newly established fund to benefit Israeli and Palestinian organizations that are working towards reconciliation.

 

We, members of the PCFF, are privileged to be part of this momentous concert and maybe this is one step forward towards a more peaceful future.

 

 

 Open Letter to those who call Leonard Cohen not to appear in Israel

 

Leonard Cohen to benefit the fund for Reconciliation, Tolerance and Peace with Concert in Tel-Aviv. 







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