יברך יהוה וישמרך
יאר יהוה פניו אליך ויחנך
ישא יהוה פניו אליך
וישם לך שלום
The above traditional Jewish Priests blessing (“Birkat Ha’Cohanim”) was given by Leonard in the final moments of his concert in Israel to a raptured audience of some 50,000, I among them. His blessing will be in my heart forever. I pray the same for him today.
A month before his passing, during the event held for the release of his last album “You Want It Darker”, in reply to whether it was especially moving for him, as a Jewish man, to have performed in Israel, Leonard answered –
“Well, there’s a deep tribal aspect to my own nature. So, when I’m in contact with those deep resources, of course I feel a very special kind of nourishment. So, it is different. It is different because it arises from very deep wells of affiliation.”
As is the case with many artists, Leonard was pressured not to perform in Israel. After having his appeasement offer of holding an additional concert in the Palestinian city of Ramallah turned down, he committed the proceeds of the concert to establishing a fund supporting the Palestinian Israeli Bereaved Parents for Peace organization (http://www.theparentscircle.com), to the efforts of which Leonard, in his words, wished to draw our attention.
Held under the title “A Concert for Reconciliation, Tolerance & Peace”, mirroring the name of Leonard’s fund, these sentiments are as much needed now as then.
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