“Amidst the recent tensions in the Middle East, a voice for peace and unity has emerged. No, it is not the voice of a political leader, nor is it the voice of a grassroots movement; rather it is the euphonious and haunting voice of singer Smadar Levi.”
Thus began my first-ever published article (read here), about the award-winning and fantastic world-music singer Smadar Levi. I am glad to report that Smadar is still using her talent and passion to bring peace of mind and heart to a people besieged by terror and conflict. During the current crises in Gaza and Israel, Smadar returned to her hometown of Sderot to bring goods and music to a population that has been paralyzed by fear and destruction.
The following is Smadar’s first dispatch from Sderot.
As the situation here in the south of Israel is escalating, I would like to bring you some of my experience from sderot, Israel. I arrived to Israel two weeks ago, shortly after the war started, needless to say there wasn’t too much time to enjoy.
After a search, I decided to join to organizations that work together to provide whatever is needed in the South region for kids and adults as one. Sderot is my hometown: that’s where I was born, and where my mom still lives till today. Like many of Sedrot’s courageous and proud citizens, she refuses to leave town despite the fact that a kassam rocket fell in our backyard.
The organizations I joined are “Lev Echad” and “Bekavod”, which provide goods such as food, toys and everything else that people need as they sit stranded in shelters for so many days.
This past week was in particular intense and stressful as the number of Kassam Rockets was between 40-60 a day in Sderot and nearby area.
Despite the risk we went to Sderot (about 40 people and soldiers), and prepared and provided hundreds of boxes filled with food, creative art, and toys; in addition we provided over 500 boxes of food for the soldiers serving in the line of fire. As we moved from Shelter to shelter we divided the time between listening to the kid’s stories and singing for them. Then we moved to the next shelter, and that’s how the day went.
Despite the horror faced on daily basis, the people of Sderot and the surrounding are in good spirit and keeping up the faith, which is so incredible. Seeing these people with such a positive spirit made me so proud that I belong to this little town that brought some of Israel’s best talent and personalities.
I spent most of one of the days with four soldiers and got to see much more than I expected; we actually got into a closed area (for residents) near Nahal Oz, and witnessed hundreds of soldiers who were about to go into Gaza; a moment after, we saw a kassam rocket being fired to Ashkelon. I did not expect to have seen any of that, but seeing it made me sad and torn.
Only peace, understanding and a fair leadership will create unity and harmony with our neighbors.
Tomorrow , I will be joined by a number of musicians and we will play music from shelter to shelter and hope that life will go back to normality and peace will arrive very soon.
If you have questions for Smadar, send them here. Please take the time to visit her website, and stay tuned for further dispatches from Sderot.