Inspired by the recent FB love stories between Israeli and Iranian youth (which were brought to my attention by a student in the class, who sent me a link to this article) I went back to researching the fate of the music of Iranian Jews in Israel.

Instead of lingering on how this very important group of musical traditions is often a misrepresented topic (especially in the US) – including the fact that there are virtually no examples from this region in the online playlists of the National Sound Archives of the National Library of Israel – I went down a little YouTube path.

This included a required stop by the many songs of Iranian-born Israeli pop singer, Rita (Rita Yahan-Farouz), from shvil habrichah (“Escape Route”: lyrics found here), the song that, presented at the Israeli pre-Eurovision contest, brought her to fame in 1986:

And to Rita’s more recent ethnic tinge:

And a live video of her latest Persian single, Shaneh:

But this search also led me back to my favorite interpreter among the younger generation of Israeli-Iranians, Morin Nehedar. (I met Morin when we were both students at the Hebrew University).

You can find several of her live performances, and those of many other artists, on the Youtube channel of the Persian TV in Israel. Looking up Morin on YouTube, in turn, brought me to watch a couple of samples from a program entitled Ibudim (“settings”), subtitled “new lives for forgotten texts.” Here she is, performing an original setting of echad ohev et ha-zahav (One Loves Gold, text here), a poem by Ya’aqov Steinberg (1887–1947), Yiddish and Hebrew poet, short-story writer, essayist, critic, and translator, who moved from Warsaw to Palestine in 1914 and stopped writing in Yiddish in favor of Hebrew (full bio in the YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe).

The program, which was organized by Bet Avi Chai, included another setting of the same poem, by Shlomi Saban: