Moshe Stern, the 79-year-old hazan (cantor) who is considered one of the greatest cantorial singers of his times, has not appeared for over 15 years. For the sake of Jonathan Pollard, Stern has decided it is time for a comeback.
After learning that Pollard, now in his 29th year in an American jail on charges of spying for Israel, is a fan of cantorial Jewish music and concerts, Stern wrote a special piece of music for Pollard's release.
Stern will perform the special rendition of Sim Shalom ("Grant Peace") at Tel Aviv's Heichal Hatarbut (Mann Auditorium), together with the Tel Aviv Philharmonic Orchestra. An earlier version of Sim Shalom composed by Stern can be heard here:
The performance will be held next Wednesday, during the intermediary days of Passover, the "Holiday of Freedom." It will take place during an event honoring great cantors, in a one-time concert that is likely to be Stern's last public performance.
Leading young cantors from around the world will appear at the performance leading up to Stern; the concert will be conducted by Dr. Mordechai Sobol.
Concerning Pollard's situation, a special session in the Knesset will discuss “The Government's Failure in the Matter of Releasing Jonathan Pollard," on Monday.
Reports last Tuesday suggested the US had offered releasing Pollard to Israel to keep the peace talks alive, in exchange for 1,200 convicted Arab terrorists and a partial building freeze in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Pollard later the same day waived a parole hearing, reportedly to protest the offer given his opposition to freeing terrorists.
But the proposed deal appears to have unraveled after the Palestinian Authority refused US Secretary of State John Kerry's appeals not to take unilateral steps which would scupper talks.
The ongoing incarceration of Pollard has been slammed as being a case of anti-Semitism by many, including Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), as well as Former CIA Director James Woolsey.