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Palestinian-Jewish musical duo offer ’a glimmer of hope’ at the Oasis of Peace Primary School

Wednesday 14 October 2015

A glimmer of hope in the darkness of the Middle East: A duo of musical ambassadors for peace performed today at the primary school, finely embracing its mission of long-term cultural encounter between Palestinians and Jews.

Today, on Wednesday 14th October, on the eve of the Hijri new year, a Palestinian-Jewish musical duo played for the children on the school lawn. The duo is composed of Hanna Khoury, a Palestinian violinist originally from Tarshiha in the Galilee, and Udi Bar-David, a Jewish Israeli cellist. Both live today in Philadelphia. They have been playing together for nine years, to audiences in the United States and around the world. For some of the pieces, the musicians were also joined also by a flutist.

The pupils loved the performance. They were thrilled by the music and especially enjoyed the opportunity to sing with the musicians a couple of popular folk songs. The teachers too were pleased as this year the primary school is placing a special focus on music as a tool for peaceful dialogue. In the village, we were honored to receive these musical ambassadors carrying a message of hope, especially at this crucial time in which our region is suffering an explosion of violence and hatred.

Hanna Khoury and Udi Bar David are no strangers to WAS-NS. They have performed here more than once, most recently in 2009. They also maintain a close connection with the American Friends of Neve Shalom - Wahat al-Salam. Udi Bar David is the founder of Intercultural Journeys, plays for the Philadelphia Orchestra and has been a faculty member at several universities. Hanna Khoury too is a gifted and noted artist, founder and member of several groups that are working to advance Arab music in the United States.

For both artists, playing in Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom and other places of cultural interchange has special importance. Their current musical tour of the region is being sponsored by the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia, Intercultural Journeys, the Main Line Reform Temple and by the Middle East Peace Dialogue Network.

The two musicians and a larger group are visiting Arab and Jewish communities in the region for a series of workshops, performances and dialogues. "Our unwavering dedication to a better and prosperous future for all in the Middle East is our motivation, as we continue to inspire others to join in the dialogue, on the way to a peaceful and secure existence."

We were pleased to expose our students to this inspirational duo, who are themselves role models for the transformation of the dialogue between the two peoples from the language of bloodshed and violence to the language of cultural appreciation, creativity and steadfast aspiration for peace.

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