S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program Choir Competition Raises Thousands of Dollars for Disadvantaged Women

The cheering was so loud it could be heard from the street.

Choir CompetitionMore than 2,000 seminary students gathered for the lively proceedings at the 13th Inter-Seminary Choir Competition, an annual event co-sponsored by the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program of Yeshiva University and by the non-profit organization Kedma. All proceeds from the event are dedicated to helping disadvantaged women in Israel.

The choirs, which ranged from 10 to 50 singers, each performed a five minute song-and-dance number connected to the theme of “Songs of Hope,” while friends and classmates roared in the audience. The majority of choirs introduced original musical works about peace, Jerusalem, Diaspora Jewry and Messianic times. Hip-hop and soul music both proved popular, as did bongos and a near-universal choice of black costumes with colorful accents. In addition to singing, the performances included dancing and acrobatics as well as multi-media screen images.

“I’m excited to see my friends perform,” said Amalia Weinberg, of the Migdal Oz seminary and a future Stern College for Women student. “It’s awesome that YU is sponsoring this and I get to enjoy something from the college before I even go.”

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President Richard Joel, who addressed the students before the performances, echoed Weinberg’s sentiments. “We want to be part of the incredible experience these kids of this generation have—the year in Israel. YU is part of their life here, and we hope the same passion they use to express themselves here in song, will come with them to YU.”

In addition to representatives from each seminary and from YU, the judging panel this year included four women who work professionally in the performing arts: Chava Miriam Ashkenazi, who performs both as a solo artist and with the Kol Shira choir; Avital Maceles, a singer and actress with the Raise Your Spirits theater company of Gush Etzion; Yael Valior, who also performs with Raise Your Spirits; and singer Aviella Trapido, who has performed with the Tel Aviv Opera, the Israel Chamber Orchestra and the Israel Symphony Orchestra.

The performances were judged on a variety of criteria, including singing skills, creativity, expression of the assigned theme and stage presence. Midreshet Harova won first-place honors, the second time the institution has won first place in the last three years. Michlalah came in second and Tomer Devorah came in third. Sha’alvim for Women earned special mention for raising the most money for Kedma; total proceeds from the event reached tens of thousands of shekels.