I have, in past pieces, written about the Zamir Choral Foundation and its great work with both teens and adults. As an officer of the Foundation, I am of course a supporter of its programs and goals. But there are those moments when even I, who first joined the Zamir Chorale forty years ago as a college freshman, am still overwhelmed by the awe-inspiring moments that its remarkable fusion of music and love of Judaism can create.
Carole Basri stood in the bright sunshine in front of the Isaiah Wall, only blocks from the United Nations headquarters. She clutched a black-and-white picture of her white-bearded great-grandfather — the former chief rabbi of Baghdad.
“I come here as a Jew and an Arab,” she told a small gathering of reporters and Jewish officials Monday. “My family had lived there for 2,500 years, before the rise of Mohammed and Islam. I want to see Iraq someday, see the home of my parents and my legacy.”
It was 22 years ago that Chava Katz and 12 other young Jewish women were permitted by the Syria government to leave their homeland and travel to the United States to find a Jewish husband. Now, with Israel and Syria talking peace, she has mixed emotions.
"I hope they do it," she said of the peace negotiations. "But I don't trust any Arab countries. Would I ever go back? Never! Even my husband asks me that. But I would never return because times there were very tough."