A (senior) star is born

Published date22 November 2022
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
The fifth annual Tel Aviv Star of the City competition, which took place last week, showcased a group of talented amateur singers in their golden years still seeking their moment of glory

The friendly competition is styled after Israel's hit American Idol-style show, Kochav Nolad (A Star is Born), but rather than young, naive hopefuls, all of Star of the City's contestants were retirees.

Some, like Harel Moshe, signed up for the competition on a whim. Others, like the eventual winner Zehava Gadasi, were intent on fulfilling a lifelong dream. For all, it was a night to remember.

Organized and promoted by Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality's Performance division, the physical powerhouse behind the event is creative director Yehuda Hager, who personally prepared each of the contestants and organized the evening's events.

At the outset of the evening, Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai, himself approaching 80, got on stage to say a few words before the performances.

Meet the contestants

Each of the 10 contestants was excellent in its own right, but four, in particular, stood out. Ariella Raz-Strousburg sang Geula Gil's 1964 ballad, "Talk to Me with Flowers" and brought the house down. During her performance, her husband approached the stage to sweetly give her a bouquet of flowers. Her strong, soulful voice struck a deeply emotional chord with the audience.

Shmuel Levine, who is from Jerusalem and lived in Florida for 30 years, sang the evening's only song in English – The Animals' "House of the Rising Sun." The song choice, inspired by Levine's chance meeting several years ago with The Animals' vocalist Eric Burdon, was perfect for his deep gravelly voice.

Harel Moshe, a career radio personality who also leads Jeep tours worldwide, only heard about the competition by chance and signed up on a whim. He sang Arik Einshtein's 1984 hit, "Od Nipagesh" (We Will Meet Again), which the crowd loved and earned him second place overall.

ZEHAVA GADASI was very at home on the stage. Born to a traditional Yemenite family, which she described as "good people but... antiquated," Gadasi was prevented from pursuing her talents at a young age. She had wanted to enroll at the Inbal Dance Theater at age eight but her father forbade it.

At 14, she and her older brother – Rami Danoch of the band Sounds of the Oud, who is sometimes credited with helping bring mizrahi music into the Israeli mainstream – auditioned for and highly impressed Bezalel Aloni (famously the producer and manager for Ofra...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT