Despite the loss of words, I am writing to express the heartbreak and devastation that has unfolded over the past few weeks. Living and growing up in this part of the world, you learn to grapple with, and traverse, dangerous and extreme situations. But it was impossible to prepare for the horrific sights of the October 7th and the tragic events that followed.
Polyphony has always been, and will remain, a beacon of light in dark and difficult times. At the heart of its mission is the unwavering belief that the destinies of Arab and Jewish communities in Israel are inextricably connected; that together we can succeed in building a vibrant shared society based on mutual respect, equality and partnership. The alternative is not an option.
Like nothing that has come before, the new reality that is unfolding has threatened to undermine the convictions, values and microcosm for Israeli shared society that Polyphony has worked so long and hard to advance. And it has tested even its strongest partnerships in the most challenging ways.
It gives me great comfort to say that despite this difficult time, Polyphony’s relationships have become even stronger. Within a few days of the October 7th events, the conservatory in Nazareth reopened its doors. Most conservatory teachers travel from Tel Aviv. Initially several taught online while others traveled to Nazareth. Today, most have resumed in-person teaching.
Polyphony’s Music & Society Seminar alumni (chamber music, dialog and leadership program involving 10 Arab and 10 Jewish students) decided unanimously to proceed with their planned workshops. Concurrently, they are working on a project to elevate their voices during this difficult time.
Polyphony’s team originated the idea of creating weekly video episodes to keep its community informed about the many hopeful and positive activities happening within the organization. These will be shared with you via email and will be posted on Polyphony’s website. As in the past, Polyphony will continue to inspire hope among its constituents in Israel and abroad.
I leave you with a video recording of the Music & Society Seminar ensemble of 10 Arab and 10 Jewish musicians performing Manuel de Falla’s La Vida Breve arranged by Adi Ivgi, a Seminar alum.
With hopes and prayers for better days ahead,
Nabeel Abboud Ashkar, Executive Director
Board of Directors, Polyphony Education