When singer Matisyahu performs for the Jewish Agency’s virtual Independence Day celebration on Wednesday, it will be the first time the homebound singer has performed in weeks.
“Doing something like this can potentially bring people together, and that’s awesome,” he said. “If feels like the right time and place to do something that will help people.”
The singer, who will be performing at 3 p.m. EDT, from his home studio in Nyack, New York, plans on singing his famed mashup of “One Day” and Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry,” along with versions sent in by audience members.
“I was thinking about maybe changing the lyrics for ‘One Day’ and doing something cutesy, but I don’t need to,” said Matisyahu. “This song really works for this moment in time.”
His appearance is part of a six-hour broadcast featuring personalities from Israel and Jewish communities worldwide, including actor Joshua Malina and Broadway star Ben Platt with Platt’s brothers Jonah and Henry, as well as an Israeli barbecue cooking class with chefs Haim Cohen and Adeena Sussman.
The broadcast will wind up with a two-hour party featuring the performance by Matisyahu and a global dance party hosted by Galgalatz, Israel’s pop music radio station, including call-in requests from Jewish communities around the world.
Want to perform with Matisyahu in a special video for Israeli Independence Day? Details…
“We have to get to the hearts and minds of our brothers and sisters in a new language,” said Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog. “The fact that we can bring Matisyahu and a cooking class of the tastes of Israel are things that offer emotional pleasure, because we know people are under huge distress.”
Herzog acknowledged the fears that many are experiencing during the coronavirus pandemic, within their family units, among their extended family, their community, neighborhoods and cities, their countries and the world.
“This is big stuff, there must be a silver lining and that is strong solidarity all over the globe,” he said.
During the broadcast, Herzog, the son of former Israeli president Chaim Herzog, will take viewers on a virtual tour of select sites across Israel that represent a national and personal significance for his family, followed by a tribute to prime minister David Ben-Gurion.
He told The Times of Israel that one of his favorite spots in Israel is Latrun, the former battlefield where his father, a World War II veteran, fought in Israel’s War of Independence.
“In every generation, there’s a challenge we must face,” said Herzog.
In addition to The Jewish Federations of North America, other event partners are the Ruderman Family Foundation, Hillel International, Etgar, Vibe Israel, Maccabi World Union, Maccabiah, JCC Global, and JCCA.
The Jewish Agency broadcast will begin with several hours organized by its Shlichut Institute at 11 EDT. Viewing options for the celebration and more information is available on The Jewish Agency’s English Facebook page.
Following an Israeli trivia quiz and an 11:30 a.m. indoor barbecue cooking class, experts will discuss Israeli fashion and technology at 12 p.m., followed by a look at Israel in sports, with special guests Gal Fridman (Israel’s windsurfing Olympic medalist) and Noam Gershony, Israel’s Paralymic gold medal winner.
At 3 p.m., Matisyahu’s performance and the two-hour Galgalatz dance party begin.