Sunday, October 15, 1995

Mordechai the Tzaddik

Hebron-Past, Present and Forever
by David Wilder
Mordechai the Tzaddik
15 Tishrei 5756
Sunday, October 15, 1995

Friday afternoon I came home from one of the most
exhilarating experiences I've had in a long, long time.
Hebron had a very special visitor - Mordechai ben David.
Mordechai ben David, for those of you who may not know,
is THE number one Hasidic singer - responsible for such
hits as "Mashiach" "Samchenu" and his current "Mitzvah
Gedola L'hiot b'simcha Tamid" (It's a big mitvah to
always be happy).
Hebron sponsored a number of major events over the
Succot holiday, including two music festivals, featuring
Mordechai ben David and Dedi Graucher. Conducted and
directed by composer Moshe `Mona" Rosenblum, the concerts
took place in Haifa on Wednesday night, to a capacity
crowd of 3,000, and in Tel-Aviv's Yad Eliyahu Sports
Center on Thursday evening to almost to 10,000 swinging
Hebron supporters.
The evening began with short speeches by Chief Rabbi
Yisrael Meir Lowe, who stressed the importance of "Eretz
Yisrael HaShlema" (the greater Israel), Tel Aviv Mayor
Roni Milo, who said, "if Jews don't have the right to
live in Hebron, which is over 3,700 years old, what is
our right to live in Tel Aviv, which is less than 100
years old?!", Noam Arnon, spokesman of the Jewish
Community of Hebron, MK Zevulun Hammer, Party leader of
the National Religious Party, and Likud MK Bibi
Netanyahu, who will hopefully be elected the next Prime
Minister of Israel. Netanyahu emphasized the major
problem plaguing Israel today, which in his words, is
EDUCATION. "Today's youth is ignorant of true Jewish
values, emanating from the Bible, and other Jewish
literature. When the Likud returns to lead the country,
we will make education our number one priority, and
educate our youth with the values evident in the children
living in Hebron."
The first of the two major features of the evening
was Dedi Graucher, who performed wonderfully for an hour.
Before his performance the packed audience viewed the new
Hebron sound and light show, Hebron, City of the
Patriarchs. This 15 minute feature radiates the lights
of Hebron, Past, Present and Future.
At 10:20PM Mordechai ben David took center stage and
gave the audience a performance never to be forgotten.
He sang one song with Dedi Graucher and dueted with "boy
wonder" Yehuda Ma'atuf from Kfar Habad for two numbers.
Singing until almost 11:45PM, ben David kept the crowd
clapping, swinging and on its feet until the very end.
On Friday morning Mordechai visited Hebron. Leaving
Jerusalem at 7:30 in the morning and accompanied by two
full buses, he arrived at Ma'arat HaMachpela for morning
services. The entire entourage received an in-depth
explanation of the Ma'ara and its history from Noam
Arnon, had breakfast in the huge Succah outside the
Ma'ara and split into two groups to tour Hebron. I had
the privilege to spend the next few hours with Mordechai
and his friends. We visited the Avraham Avinu
neighborhood and the Avraham Avinu Synagogue and then
traveled up to Tel-Rumeida, home of Hebron's most
infamous citizen, Baruch Marzel, who is still under house
arrest (for over a year)! Mordechai dedicated one of his
songs during the concert to Marzel and when he saw him in
Hebron hugged him and danced with him. Baruch gave the
guests a guided tour of the area, including Kever Rut and
Ishi, the tombs of Ruth and Jesse (King David's father).
Mordechai was photographed with almost all the soldiers
in the area, at his request. He entered a small base and
wished all present a happy New Year and a happy Festival.
After visiting Beit Hadassah, Mordechai sang and
danced his way up to the roof of Beit Shneerson, to the
Succah of the Heikan family. There he sang and danced
with Hebron's children for over 20 minutes, bringing
smiles and laughter to the faces of all. It was a truly
joyous event.
When the buses left back to Jerusalem at 2:00PM,
Mordechai ben David left a community of hand-clapping,
singing residents, who had the opportunity to enjoy two
of the star-singers appearances - one on stage and one in
person in Hebron. It was a day to remember.

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