Times of Israel: At a New York Synagogue, a Remarkable Israeli Civil Rights Tribute

Gospel music typically has more to do with Israelites than Israelis, but that changed Friday during Shabbat services at one of New York City’s oldest synagogues.

With the start of the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday weekend, Congregation Rodeph Sholom paid tribute to the civil rights leader by hosting the US premiere of the Israeli Gospel Choir, an unlikely ensemble devoted to the traditionally Christian genre.

The Shabbat service marked a gratifying milestone for choir founders Iris and Ofer Portugaly, a married couple who met while studying jazz — another largely African-American art form — at Boston’s Berklee College of Music.

See video below.  Continue reading at the Times of Israel.

Freedom House: Israel is Mideast’s only ‘free’ state

US-IsraelFlags-lgIsrael is the Middle East’s only “free” state, the US-based Freedom House wrote  in its annual report last week, a ranking in stark contrast to claims by the  country’s critics – both domestic and international – who argue that the Jewish  state’s democratic values are steadily eroding “Israel remains the region’s only  free country,” read the report, called Freedom in the World 2013, released just  days before Israel goes to the polls.

Continue reading at the Jerusalem Post.