Monday, February 11, 2013

Israel's Rising Orthodox Star

Last month, when the new season of the Israeli reality show The Voice—the local version of NBC’s hit singing competition—debuted, no one expected extraordinary drama. Marching up to the studio’s stage, the eager contestants looked like the usual grab-bag of talent show aspirants: the frustrated actor, the high-school ingénue, the bartender who crooned to overcome her personal hardships, and so on.
Then it was Ofir Ben Sheetrit’s turn.
Ben Sheetrit—at 17, one of the youngest of the show’s more than 50 contestants—is a student at an Orthodox yeshiva for girls in Ashdod and the only Orthodox young woman in the competition. Before she stepped in front of the microphone, she briefly introduced herself. “I’ve loved singing ever since I was little,” she said. “I’m looking for a way to cultivate my talent.” One of the show’s producers asked her if religion would get in the way; many Orthodox Jews consider the public singing of women immodest. Ben Sheetrit smiled sweetly. “I think the Torah wants us to be happy,” she said. “It wants music to make people happy. I think you can combine Torah and music, and this is why I chose to come on the show.” With that, she started singing an Israeli classic, Ofra Haza’s “Od Mechaka La’Echad.”
Tablet Magazine

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