Aug 26 2008

Jerusalem and the Hebrews on Continental

by at 9:03 pm

We’ve been going a bit crazy working out our housing situation, but with things close to settled and no posts since the mammoth post from Day 1 (I know it was long, but there’s a video about slugs and poop you probably don’t want to miss), here’s one more story from the trip:

The audio programming on Continental Airlines features some interesting channels, including World Music (“Experience this musical journey around the globe”), B Tween (“Plug in for the hottest songs from all your slammin’ favorites. This month we drop Hannah Montana, the Cheetah Girls, Dora the Explorer, and more!”). There’s also Hindi Music, Japanese Favorites, and Chinese Pop. All of said stations claim to cover “top artists” or “the best” of ___.  I can’t judge these last few (though I believe the correct response to B Tween is OMG!sl@mmin’!) but I was particularly intrigued by the last channel they list: Shalom, “Tune in for this selection of Hebrew Music.”  Nothing about it being good, the best, the top, anything.  Just a “selection.” And, oh boy, what a selection. Thankfully for my ears, there was a list of songs so I didn’t even need to tune in to get the idea.  Let me provide you with some of the highlights, but believe you me, it was awfully hard to narrow it down.

  • “Ma Nishtana” (a Passover song meant for small children to sing at the seder table)
  • Debbie Friedman’s “Mi Shebeirach” (a prayer for healing)
  • “Lomir Zich Iberbeten” (this is Yiddish, NOT Hebrew)
  • “Ein Keloheinu” (a favorite closing song for Reform services)
  • “Desert Morning” (which is by an actual Israeli artist, but it sounds more like ambient middle-eastern music–in other words, nothing Hebrew about it)

Also baffling and hilarious were two songs called “Jerusalem.” The first is by Alpha Blondy & the Wailers and has Hebrew in it–checkout the lyrics. The second is by Sinead O’Connor (click to hear it on YouTube). If there is a repertoire of “Jerusalem” songs, where, might I ask, is Matisyahu on that list?  Nowhere to be found.

Ok Continental, I’m not sure what you think “Hebrew music” means exactly. Songs about Jews? Songs by Jews? Songs by Israelis?  Songs about parts of Israel?  I’m pretty sure “Hebrew” is a language, or, if you want to stretch it, an outmoded word for “Jew.”  And this selection of music is neither in Hebrew nor is it biblical. Though I would be very interested to hear music written by the Hebrews–know where I can find it???

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Jerusalem and the Hebrews on Continental”

  1. kenon 27 Aug 2008 at 2:59 am

    You might be slighting Ein Keloheinu. From my favorite source of truth http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ein_Keloheinu

    Ein Keloheinu is said at the end of the morning service (shacharit). In the Ashkenazi tradition outside of Israel, it is only said at the end of Shabbat and festival services, towards the end of the Mussaf service. However, in the Land of Israel, as well as in all Sephardi weekday morning prayer services it is said daily. In a few synagogues it is sung; in some Orthodox synagogues it is only said quietly by every person for themself and is not regarded as a critical part of the prayer service.

  2. Jasonon 27 Aug 2008 at 3:37 pm

    I have another story about Jews and airplanes for you. I flew back last week from Tel Aviv to Orlando, all things considered a very pleasant flight. Two hours before landing, they served breakfast. The stewardess walks down the aisle, “Pancakes or Eggs? Pancakes or Eggs? Pancakes or Eggs?” The guy sitting behind me, “Blintzes!?”

  3. Christineon 27 Aug 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Awesome website!

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