Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and his wife Nechama paid a warm and personal tribute to Canadian Jewish singer and poet Leonard Cohen on Friday, honoring him as an artist who had deeply touched them on a personal level and as an important contributor to Jewish culture.
“This morning we looked at each other and thought the same thoughts: ‘Dance Me to the End of Love’ was the soundtrack to so many moments in our life as a couple and as a family,” Israel’s first couple wrote on Rivlin’s Facebook page.
“It added, like so many of his songs, a spirit and depth of emotion into our everyday lives,” they wrote.
Cohen, the storied musician and poet hailed as one of the most visionary artists of his generation, died at age 82, his publicist announced on Thursday.
זה לא יהיה אותו הדבר בלעדיו, כך נוהגים לומר אחרי מות. הבוקר הסתכלנו אחד על השנייה וחשבנו את אותן המחשבות:Dance me to…
“How sad to part from this man whose voice and face accompanied us for so many years. A giant of a creator, open to all people, who also knew how to accompany the State of Israel in the fields of battle and in times of growth,” Rivlin wrote.
Cohen famously came to play for Israeli troops during some of the darkest days of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Leonard Cohen performs for Israeli troops in the Sinai during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. At his left is Ariel Sharon. pic.twitter.com/5ZDm8efnCy
— Oren Kessler (@OrenKessler) November 11, 2016
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also praised Cohen as “a talented artist and warm(hearted) Jew who loved the people of Israel and the state of Israel.
“I will never forget how he came during the Yom Kippur War to sing for our soldiers because he felt he was a partner,” tweeted Netanyahu, who was a soldier in that war.
President Rivlin also commended Cohen for never changing his “obviously Jewish name” to appeal to others, like so many other artists did to make it in show business.
Cohen, who was brought up in Montreal but lived in California late in his life, will be commemorated at a private service in Los Angeles at a later date.
Cohen’s family was a fixture in Montreal’s Jewish community. He began his career as a poet before at first reluctantly branching out into music and eventually writing some of his generation’s most reflective and well-known songs, including the oft-covered spiritual “Hallelujah.”
“Leonard Cohen will continue to dance beside us to ‘The End of Love.’ Thank you for enriching us,” said the president’s post, which was signed “Nechama and Rubi.”