Idol comes to Towson
The United States of America is known as the great melting pot, but what many people don’t know is that Israel is a country that was similarly formed through immigration.
On Oct. 29 the group Tigers for Israel invited Hagit Yaso, the first Ethiopian winner of Kokhav Nolad or Israel’s version of American Idol, to perform at Towson.
“We had opening acts by students and it was really a very diverse event,” Tigers for Israel chair, senior and psychology major Hila Arbell said.
The night began with various opening performances by students, including two members of Tigers for Israel, Stephanie Aseraph and Danielle Masica, who choreographed and performed an original hip-hop dance.
There were also several vocal performances, students Jamal Washington and Maria Rivere performed a rap, Washington wrote about overcoming adversity while Cesar Silva and Ben Conte played guitar to their song “Straight A’s”.
“LASO (Latin American Student Organization) their dance team Pasíon did a couples dance. There were men and women dancing together, it was really nice,” Arbell said.
Yaso not only performed her own songs but also sang covers of songs in English, Moroccan and Amharic. She also shared with the audience the inspiring story of her family’s immigration from Ethiopia to Israel as well as her experience on Kokhav Nolad.
Arbell explained how when Yaso won it was an important moment for the Israeli-Ethiopian population and how she believes that it is important to share this experience with the community in Towson.
“I think she stands for the diversity in Israel and I think what she brings is something different that not a lot of people know about Israel,” Arbell said.
At the end of the performance there was a question and answer session where audience members had the opportunity to ask Yaso about her family and her new career as a singer.
“At the end she was very willing to take pictures, we thanked her for coming so we got an opportunity to meet her,” Arbell said. “She was very nice and there was a line of people waiting to take pictures with her and she was very willing to stick around.”
The event itself was co-sponsored by both Towson Hillel and Goucher Hillel. However, it was the members of Tigers for Israel, a developing club, who coordinated the event.
“We are currently a committee within Hillel but we are hoping that we grow and we can become our own club…we are hoping that will happen next semester,” Arbell said.
Many of the members of Tigers for Israel are also members of Towson Hillel and are working to share the Israeli culture with students on Towson’s campus. When they learned from the director of Towson Hillel that through an organization called the Jewish National Fund, Yaso was visiting colleges across the United States; everyone was very enthusiastic about getting her to come to Towson.
“We thought this would be a really great opportunity for the first event that our club kind of puts together and it’s also an opportunity to show how diverse Israel is and kind of the culture that not many people know about,” Arbell said.