By Sruly Meyer – COLlive
Renowned singer Yaakov Shwekey recently made an unexpected appearance at the Israeli Parliament, raising eyebrows and piquing the curiosity of many. For those familiar with Shwekey’s work, this venture into the political realm seemed out of place. However, his purpose for being there was far from political. It was a heartfelt mission driven by his passion for preserving Jewish heritage.
Shwekey was in Israel to observe the Shloshim (the 30-day mourning period) for his beloved mother. Shwekey dedicates his endeavors to her memory—a woman known for her kindness and compassion towards all.
During the visit, Shwekey wished to voice his concern over the lack of knowledge among Israeli children about the fundamentals of Yahadut (Judaism) and the core principles of faith. With the coordination of Chabad Rabbi Yoel Kaplan, Shwekey attended a parliamentary session to shed light on an issue close to his heart.
Speaking with COLlive.com, Shwekey said his intention was to create a positive impact, make a “kiddush Hashem” and garner minister and policymakers’ support. He met elected officials and legislative aids from a variety of parties.
Witnessing the inner workings of the parliament firsthand, Shwekey said he discovered an encouraging reality—a multitude of individuals striving to make a difference, determined to provide a better education for the younger generation and to ensure that no child grows up in Israel without a basic understanding of their Jewish heritage and the profound faith they possess.
Reflecting on the experience, Shwekey humbly admits, “I questioned my place within these halls.” He wondered if he belonged there, as he was not a politician nor someone deeply involved in politics. However, he continues, “As I entered the building with Rabbi Yoel, a security guard unexpectedly sang the words of “V’ha-Kadosh Baruch Hu, Matzilenu.”
It was one of Shwekey’s famous songs, based on the words of Vehi She’amda recited at the Pesach Seder. Shwekey says he interpreted this occurrence as a message from above. “This was a sign that I was meant to be there, carrying out his mission!” he said.
Before visiting the parliament, Shwekey had paid a visit to Rabbi Reuven Elbaz, Rosh Yeshiva of Ohr Hachaim educational institutions and a leader of the baal teshuva movement among Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in Israel.
Shwekey was also asked to sing and learn with soldiers of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). The encounter further fueled Shwekey’s determination to make a positive impact and preserve the essence of Jewish heritage for future generations.
The experience at the parliament revealed to Shwekey that remarkable achievements could be made through collaboration and the power of music.
Shwekey revealed that he is working on a new song that will serve as a valuable tool to instill the essential teachings of Judaism and nurture unwavering faith among Israeli children.
While politicians may have agendas, he witnessed firsthand the desire of many to do what is right and beneficial for future generations. Shwekey remains hopeful that his efforts, combined with the dedication of countless individuals, will lead to a brighter future where Jewish heritage is cherished and celebrated by all.
In his own words, Shwekey reminds us, “Sometimes, through a song, you never know what could come out.”