Thousands gathered in Tel Aviv’s HaYarkon Park Monday evening for what organizers dubbed a “mass-singing event” to mark the opening of the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly in Israel.

Some 3,000 JFNA GA delegates and participants from Masa Israel Journey– which brings Diaspora young adults to Israel for a wide-range of educational programs – kicked off the 2018 GA together with a message of unity through a massive social musical initiative.

In a Koolulam-style event, attendees gathered in the HaYarkon Park to jointly sing Clean Bandit’s chart-topping hit “Rather Be.”

Among the attendees were Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Isaac Herzog, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), Chairman of the Board for JAFI, Michael Siegal, Chief Innovative Officer of the OU, Rabbi Dave Felsenthal, Chief Innovative Officer of the OU, and numerous other executives from Federations, synagogues, and prominent Jewish organizations around the world.

Liran Avisar (r), Zachi Braverman (c), Isaac Herzog (l)
Liran Avisar (r), Zachi Braverman (c), Isaac Herzog (l)צילום: ריפליי הפקות צילום

“Music is and has always been one of society’s greatest connectors. Our event promises to provide a groundbreaking moment of solidarity so desperately needed in the Jewish world today,” said Liran Avisar Ben-Horin, CEO of Masa Israel Journey. “The effort to unite thousands of Jews in song will underscore the continued and crucial partnership between Jewish Federations, The Jewish Agency for Israel, and Masa Israel Journey, who continue to come together to invest in the next generation of Jewish leaders in North America, Israel, and worldwide.”

Masa’s GA kickoff event was modeled after the fast-growing movement Koolulam, which recruits large and diverse groups of Israelis to sing in unison and share viral videos of the mass singing events on social media. Masa organized its event against the backdrop of this year’s GA theme of “Israel & the Diaspora: We need to talk.”

Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Isaac Herzog said, "In my new position as Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel, I am thrilled to kickoff this year's GA with Masa Israel Journey, drawing Israelis and world Jewry closer together."