Songmaster Leonard Cohen visited Israel this week, performing to a sold out crowd of 47,000 fans. Israeli bloggers who were lucky enough to attend gave rave reviews.
During his time in Israel, Cohen also stamped out his legacy, inaugurating the Fund for Reconciliation, Tolerance, and Peace, a foundation dedicated to promoting peace among Israelis and Palestinians.
In a post entitled, “The High Priest,” Jerusalem Wanderings reports:
I kept on telling everyone at work for the entire week that on Thursday I had a meeting with the Jewish High Priest – the Cohen Gadol, the Priest of Priests.
(“Cohen” means priest in Hebrew.)
Leonard's voice was perfect. The band was incredible. He was incredible. The audience was great. Noisy when it had to be, yet when he spoke, you could hear a pin drop. Everything was incredible. So, yes, it was worth the fortune I spent.
Cohen's title is not for naught. Jerusalem Wanderings writes:
We must have been on the same wavelength somehow, either that, or I am psychic as all hell, because at the very end, right before he left the stage, he stood at the microphone with his hands up the way Jewish priests bless the people, and Leonard Cohen, the High Priest, blessed the audience in Hebrew with the ancient priestly blessing – “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord let His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord look kindly upon you and give you peace.”
Mike Darnell of Digital Art Jerusalem is similarly reverent. In a post entitled, “I Saw a Living Legend Last Night,” he glows:
The man somehow succeeded in granting the 50,000 people that came to hear him the feeling that we were all in some intimate jazz club, and Cohen, rather than was singing to a massive stadium was in fact just sharing the evening in the company of the most intimate circle of his closest friends.
View Darnell's photos of the concert via Flickr.
An excerpt of the concert shared by CityMouseGuide on YouTube lends a sense of the event's flavor.
Proceeds from the concert, an estimated $2 million, will be donated to Cohen's own foundation, the Fund for Reconciliation, Tolerance, and Peace, as well as the Parents Circle-Families Forum, the Palestinian Center of Research and Information, Radio Kol HaShalom [Eng: Voice of Peace], and Saving the Children- Peres Center for Peace.
Robert Kory, Cohen's manager, elaborates: “Leonard decided that if he was going to play in Israel, he wanted the money to stay here. We've met so many Israelis and Palestinians in doing this who are committed to peace.”
For background information on Cohen's relationship with Israel, please refer to Israelity's post, “Another Cohen in Israel.”