On a windy Tuesday night on a rooftop overlooking Lower Manhattan, Yityish Aynaw, the first black woman to hold the title “Miss Israel,” dazzled a crowd of chic 20-, 30-, and 40-somethings who turned out to meet her at the penthouse apartment of Manhattan Internet entrepreneur Ari Ackerman.
At first, Mira Awad didn’t want to be thought of as a bridge between cultures. The Palestinian-Israeli singer and songwriter grew up in an Arab village in the Galilee, studied music in Tel Aviv and has written and performed with musicians of many backgrounds. She felt the weight of being an Arab in Israel who moved between cultures.
Jews have often regarded themselves within the realm of American sports not unlike the Israelite scouts who imagined themselves as small and insignificant as “grasshoppers” in comparison to the Canaanites who seemed to them as giants.