Sunny Son

Musician Orian Shukron composes song for hostage Omer Shem-Tov

The singer was inspired after a chance encounter with Shelly Shem-Tov, Omer’s mother

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

Musician Orian Shukron sings 'My Sunny Son,' the song he wrote in April 2024 about hostage Omer Shem-Tov (Screenshot)
Musician Orian Shukron sings 'My Sunny Son,' the song he wrote in April 2024 about hostage Omer Shem-Tov (Screenshot)

Singer and pianist Orian Shukron, known for original works that mix classical standards with Middle Eastern influences, wrote a song for hostage Omer Shem-Tov after a chance meeting with Omer’s mother in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market.

Shukron was in the market about a month ago when he saw families from the Hostages and Missing Families Forum speaking to sellers and visitors.

He listened to the conversation that Shelly Shem Tov — whose son, 21, was taken hostage from the Supernova desert rave — was having about not letting politics enter the debate about a hostage deal.

“She asked that people focus on unity,” said Shukron in a statement. “It’s a basic truth that you can’t deny, a mother and son who want unity.”

Shem-Tov told Shukron about her son, his love of life and people, music and having fun. She told him that Omer Shem-Tov is asthmatic and sensitive to gluten, small details that connected the singer to the hostage, as he is also asthmatic, sensitive to gluten and loves music and people.

Shukron headed home with Omer Shem-Tov’s picture and couldn’t stop thinking about him.

He called it “My Sunny Son,” which is what Shelly Shem-Tov calls her son, and found himself ready to record the song later that week.

Working with the municipality of Herzliya, where the Shem-Tov family lives, he made a video to accompany the song, including footage of the Shem-Tov family as they rally for their son and brother.

Shelly Shem-Tov, mother of hostage Omer Shem-Tov, from a video for the April 2024 song written by Orian Shukron (Screenshot)

The video also includes poignant footage of the Shem-Tov home, whose front door bears a picture of Omer, and images of his room, exactly as he left it on October 6 with his collection of baseball caps, guitar, clothing on the floor, bed unmade and bathing suit still hanging in the bathroom.

Hostage Omer Shem-Tov, 21, who was taken from the Supernova desert rave on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy)

Shelly Shem-Tov has said that when her son returns, he’ll tidy his room and turn off the light.

My sunny boy,
Remember your room was left a mess,
Waiting for you to come to put it back in order

Sunny boy,
When will you come back to shine?
My heart is here
bleeding, broken
At night I don’t sleep
For God’s sake

Sunny boy,
I want you to smile and sing to me
Put your head on me
So I can stroke your head
My sunny boy
Love you

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