The Importance of Songs of Hope During War

By Brooke Schwartz, Amudim 2019-2021, Freshman at Brandeis

It was the day before our Kedma group was supposed to perform, and we weren’t ready.

Amudim had started practicing for Kedma in January. We spent months practicing, slowly chipping away at each section and going through our parts over and over again, but there were times where we weren’t able to practice for weeks at a time because we were all so busy. And now here we were, the day before our performance, struggling to get the last two sections.

And then suddenly we were in our apartments, under lockdown. Corona was basically gone; it hovered around like a thing from the past, no longer a threat, no longer relevant. It was the rockets that had imposed this lockdown now. And thus Amudim lost our last three hours of practice to a war.

The rockets were one thing in a string of things that made this year so crazy. Before that it was Meron—where I and five other students were, right in the Toldos Aaron section, not long before the tragedy—and before that it was coronavirus, where though Amudim was never once even quarantined, the threat of it constantly hung over our heads.

And through it all, we practiced. We practiced before we could use public transportation; practiced during a war; practiced at random times, in random places, once even in a bathroom—anywhere and anytime we could.

I am so proud of Amudim’s performance because I see not just the product, but all of the time I spent one-on-one with each student, sometimes hours, helping with each little part and going over vocal exercises. I see the times we practiced late at night when people were tired, or when people sacrificed their lunch and dinner breaks to come, or when a class was starting late and we all just stood up and started going through a section. These seven girls are amazing, and together we created something beautiful.