Described recently by Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin as "the best of the best,” singer-songwriter, peace activist, and native son David Broza has been charming audiences around the world with his folk, rock, and blues music for more than four decades. Just in time for David's appearance on ReformJudaism.org's weekly podcast On the Other Hand: Ten Minutes of Torah, I sat down with him to talk about Israel and his music and peace-making endeavors.
ReformJudaism.org: How does music bridge the divide among the various "tribes" in Israeli society?
David Broza: Music is the most common and popular form of communication. Regardless of religion, creed, color, or political views, music and songs can have a positive effect on people, bonding them together. Especially when performing together, the beat and the harmony must align. Otherwise, you can lose control.
Why do you think your music is appreciated across various sectors in Israel – both secular and religious, Jewish and Arab?
I cannot say why, or if, indeed, it is appreciated across the various sectors in Israel’s society. I am very appreciative and grateful that it is received so widely.
How would you characterize Israeli music today?
Israeli music is the most diverse music I know. The fact that so many Jewish people from diverse backgrounds live side-by-side in Israel – let alone inter-marry – is the source of the uniqueness of Israeli music. There are so many different Jewish roots mixing together in Israel – the East meets the West, European meets North African and Eastern European ... diversity is everywhere!
Can you describe why your musical performances frequently include both Jewish and Palestinian musicians?
I make a point to include all styles and types of musicians when I perform. It reinvigorates and broadens my music. These days, for example, when I perform in the United States, Cuban musicians accompany me.
Can you talk about the youth work you do?
I have always tried to volunteer and contribute in any possible way to help underprivileged kids and their delinquency. In the last few years, I did this with youth in the Palestinian refugee camp of Shuafat in East Jerusalem.
More recently, I created a nonprofit foundation called One Million Guitars, that distributes guitars to underprivileged kids from 8 to 10 years old. Then, we provide them with guitar lessons for two years at the end of which they earn a guitar. This program currently is operating in the United States and Israel.
Want more from David Broza? Listen to this week's episode of On the Other Hand: Ten Minutes of Torah, which features the musician in conversation with Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism. Download it on Apple Podcasts, Android, or wherever you usually listen to your podcasts; you may also listen online at reformjudaism.org/podcasts.
In the coming months, David Broza will perform in these U.S. locations: Philadelphia, PA; Brookline, MA; New York, NY; Tucson, AZ; and Santa Monica, CA. For a complete list of tour dates, visit his website.