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"For All Your Songs" (L'chol shirayich) - Songs of Labor, Work and Working People

WEBINAR RECORDING

The Y&S Nazarian Center marked May Day, the international holiday of labor, with a webinar exploring classic Israeli songs concerning work and workers, from the pre-State period to the present. Participants: Nili Alon Amit; an Israel Institute Visiting Assistant Professor at the Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies; Uri Dorchin, the Center's Visiting Assistant Professor; Daniel Stein Kokin, a scholar of Renaissance, Jewish and Israel Studies presently affiliated with UCLA and Arizona State University; Center Postdoctoral Fellow Assaf Bondy; and Amit David of Hillel at UCLA.

About the Program

In our third “For All Your Songs” event, we explored popular labor songs from Israel’s pre-state era to the current day, providing a window into the Jewish state's socialist-Zionist roots and how Israeli society has changed over time.

How did Hebrew music in the Yishuv or pre-State period promote labor as a central Zionist value? To what degree was this ideal sustained or subverted in songs from the first decades of Israeli statehood? And how have Israeli musicians portrayed the working life in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries?

Originally recorded May 1, 2020. 

Program co-sponsored by the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology

 

 Songs Presented 

Mi yivne Bait (Who will build a house in Tel Aviv) - Kipnis/Nerdi, 1929

Shir ha 'avoda ve'hamlacha (Song of work and labor) - Bialik/Nerdi, 1932

Lishkat Avoda (Employment office) - Joe Amar, 1959

Ahavat po'alei habinyan (The love of construction workers) - Naomi Shemer, 1965

Shir Avoda (Work song) - Danny Sanderson, 1979

Arbev et ha'tiach (Mix that plaster) - Ehud Banai, 1986

Avadim (Slaves) - Berry Sakharof, 1998

Tarim et ha'Einayim (Lift up your eyes) - Albert Soffer, 2013

 

About the Participants

Dr. Nili Alon Amit is a researcher and lecturer of philosophy of soul and philosophy of education at Hakibbutzim Academic College in Tel Aviv, Israel. During the 2019-20 academic year, she serves as an Israel Institute Visiting Assistant Professor at the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. She has previously held the Haifa University Presidential Scholarship for Doctoral Research and the Mofet Institute of Education (Tel Aviv) Postdoctoral Scholarship.

Alon Amit's research explores the history of ideas from Ancient Greece to modern times. She is the author of the forthcoming book: On Happy Souls: The History of Soul in Western Culture (Cambridge Scholars, 2021).

 

Dr. Assaf Bondy is a sociologist, who studies the political-economy of labor and industrial relations systems in advanced economies. As the Y&S Nazarian Center Postdoctoral Fellow, Bondy analyzes trade-union strategies and their revitalization, comparing the US and the Israeli contexts through a sectoral perspective. Bondy's works were published in The Journal of Industrial RelationsWork, Society and Law as well as in several edited volumes.

Prior to joining the center, Bondy was a Lady-Davis Postdoctoral fellow at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (Israel) and a research fellow in the ERC project Trafflab – “Labor Perspective for Human Trafficking”, at Tel-Aviv University. He has also worked with NGOs and trade unions in Israel as an activist and consultant.

 

Amit David is Director of Israel Programs for Hillel at UCLA. Before her time at UCLA, she led Masa and Onward groups through their Israel journey and created internship opportunities in Israel for American students. In the past two and a half years, she has been serving as the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow to UCLA Hillel, where she manages all their Israel programs, from Israel trips and delegations to AIPAC, to pro-Israel activism on campus. 

She served 3.5 years in the IDF as an Air Force Intelligence Officer and is currently a Captain in the reserved forces. Amit received her bachelor's degree in Political Science and Human Resources from Tel Aviv University. 

 

Dr. Uri Dorchin is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. In 2018-19, he served as the Israel Institute Visiting Assistant Professor at the Nazarian Center and previously held the Efroymson Fellowship for Visiting Israeli Scholars in the Department of Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Washington University in St. Louis.

Dorchin’s research explores cosmopolitan cultural interactions and their implications in contemporary Israeli society. More specifically, his work explores popular culture and its relation to fluid affiliations among Israelis (citizens and non-citizens) across national, ethnic, and racial categories of belonging. His recent research has focused on Israeli rap and hip hop music. He is the author of Real Time: Hip-Hop in Israel/ Israeli Hip Hop (Tel Aviv: Resling, in Hebrew, 2012) and numerous articles on Israeli ethno-politics.

  

Dr. Daniel Stein Kokin is a scholar of Renaissance, Jewish and Israel Studies presently affiliated with both UCLA and Arizona State University. He has taught at the University of Oregon, the University of Greifswald in Germany, and also served as both the Viterbi Professor of Mediterranean Jewish Studies and as a Y&S Nazarian Center Visiting Assistant Professor, both at UCLA.

Stein Kokin has published on Renaissance humanism, Christian Hebraism, Jewish folklore and visual culture, and Israeli film, and also develops presentations that synthesize the academic and theatrical, including most recently, "Breach of Protocols: Revisiting Zion's Elders." He initiated the "For All Your Songs" programming in honor of Israel's 70th anniversary in 2018.