Druze Music room
By: ICEJ Staff Writers

The sound of beautiful music penetrates deep into the soul and lifts one’s spirits.  

ICEJ Vice President for AID and Aliyah, Nicole Yoder, together with a team of ICEJ staff were in for a real treat in Kfar Kisra, a Druze village in the north of Israel.

Druze children with balloons

Immediately upon arrival, the ICEJ team was welcomed by a delegation of community leaders and teachers alongside children with huge smiles, Israeli flags, flowers, and blue and gold balloons! A general sense of excitement and anticipation pervaded the school on this very special day, when for the first time, a much-desired music room would officially be opened.

Once the ribbon on the new music room was cut, all was inspected, and everyone took their seats, Regional Council Head Gadban recalled his first encounter with the ICEJ as head of the parent’s committee at another school dedication several years ago noting, “Thank you for all that you do and have done for our community. No words can express our appreciation at how you have shown your love and concern for us. We first want to say thank you and second, we want to bless you.”  He went on to share his excitement over new developments in the community with the planned expansion of classes and a new regional school on the horizon.

Principal Sakar Shakur shared his vision for the music room, “Our hope is to help our children to develop good music, to believe in themselves, to become leaders and innovators, and to realize their dreams. Music helps us deal with life’s challenges and to express our emotions. Learning music will help our children develop new skills and interact socially. Already this year we are beginning the music program with the goal of becoming a ‘school that plays’ and we want to invite you to a performance next year!” While presenting Nicole Yoder with a plaque from the school, Sakar continued, “Thank you for your generosity and good heart. You’ve put a lot of light and love into your gift. Thank you for your generosity to help develop our school and for giving that brings real change.”

Looking around the room full of new instruments, sounds systems, storage cabinets, tables and chairs, the classroom beckoned full of creativity and opportunity. The music teacher gave a wonderful piano performance, while two schoolgirls accompanied with a song in Arabic about love. Meanwhile, a very shy little second grader mustered up the courage to give an amazing performance on an electric keyboard while his teacher accompanied him in song. It was such a delight to watch his little fingers run across the keys!

When given opportunity to share, Nicole Yoder introduced the ICEJ delegation which had accompanied her with representatives from Denmark, the Philippines, South Africa, Slovakia, Honduras, and the USA – a truly international representation of our friends around the world! She pointed out that “just as the Druze seek to protect their country and seek her good, so also do we, and that includes all the people groups that make up Israeli society.” An appreciative round of applause welcomed these remarks. She also blessed them and their children, “that this music room should be an enriching place for the children where they can develop their creativity and confidence, have fun and learn to innovate…and may it be a place from which music and gifted musicians will come out to bless families, the Druze community, and Israel.”

Nick Hansen greets a learner

This grade school, situated on a hilltop overlooking a lush valley, has 351 students coming from all sorts of backgrounds. Some of the classrooms are for children with special needs and many of the students come from low-income families who wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn music outside of a school setting. Touring the school later, it was evident how deeply Sakar cares about the school and the students – from the scrupulously clean hallways right down to the security needs and emotions of the children – nothing escapes his oversight. Speaking with conviction, Sakar noted, “This music room is a place that will bring much light and joy to the school children, and in turn, this will overflow into our tight-knit community.”

As we wrapped up our visit, a comment from Regional Council Head Yasser Gadban remains in our thoughts. In his thanks he noted with a smile, “There is only one problem that I’m now presented with. What to do about the other two schools down the road who would also like to have a music room to help their children learn and grow?!!”

Thank you for your generosity which is making a difference in the lives of these children. They now have an opportunity to allow their hidden talents to shine as they learn and develop their musical skills. Perhaps we will be able to help Yasser Gadban with this new challenge another time.

Through your giving, the ICEJ is able to meet social challenges in Israel and give a future and hope to all sectors of Israeli society. Please continue to support the work of the ICEJ by giving at: give.icej.org/givinghope