To celebrate Israel's 75th birthday, The Jewish Agency for Israel and Z3 Project partnered with Shaanan Streett, the frontman of HaDag Nahash, one of Israel’s most popular and influential hip-hop bands, to create a song that brings together the unique voices and diverse faces of the Jewish people in Israel and overseas. The project, which originated as part of our Partnership2Gether network which connects Jewish communities around the world, invited Jews globally to submit lyrics that expressed what Israel at 75 meant to them. Many of these messages were then incorporated into the lyrics of the song, performed by Shaanan and seven artists from all over the world who work in different languages. Artist and music producer Michael Cohen, known as Cohen, joined the production of the accompanying music video, which was also made accessible in sign language thanks to Israel's Sign Now organization.
Born and raised in Jerusalem, Shaanan Streett is an Israeli artist, musician, scriptwriter and social activist. He is the lead singer of HaDag Nahash, one of Israel’s most popular and influential hip-hop bands, and has also released two solo albums. In 2001, Shaanan founded the “One Shekel Festival” association, which works to make culture accessible for marginalized communities. Today, besides making music, he cohosts the Dream A Dream podcast.
Shaanan was approached by The Jewish Agency to lead the Voices Together project and was thrilled to come on board because of his deep understanding and appreciation for global Jewish peoplehood and connecting Jews worldwide and Israel through the arts, and specifically through music.
Raised mostly in San Diego, California, Noah Shufutinsky, who goes by the stage name Westside Gravy, received a Zionist education from his Russian-American Jewish father and Black Jewish mother. He graduated from George Washington University in 2021 and made Aliyah in July 2022.
Westside Gravy began writing songs and beats at age seven to express himself and got more serious about his music in high school when he started performing covers of other rappers’ material. He is best known for his anti-BDS song “Diaspora,” which he wrote and produced as a 19-year-old college sophomore.
He learned of the Voices Together project from his university rabbi who knew someone involved in the initiative and knew right away he wanted to be part of it as he would listen to HaDag Nahash in elementary school and felt this song was a way to give immigrants to Israel a chance to shine and celebrate the Jewish state.
Sandro, who goes by the stage name MC Sapinho, is a rap and reggaeton singer originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, who currently lives in Ashdod, Israel. A 40-year-old married father of four, he immigrated to Israel by himself in 2000 to fulfill his dream of Aliyah. He served as a fighter in the Golani unit and was seriously injured in a military operation in Tulkarm.
MC Sapinho started performing as a child at parties and singing for friends, and a famous singer even took him under their wing. Today, he performs at the Lima Lima club and sings reggaeton there and does a lot of gigs abroad. When he is not performing, he works at Ten Bis in Tel Aviv.
A friend who works at The Jewish Agency told MC Sapinho about the Voices Together project and as he was a fan of Sha'anan from HaDag Nahash, he was very excited to be part of the song.
Lea Kalisch was born and raised in Switzerland and moved to New York City at age 20. A singer, songwriter, actor, producer and entertainer, Lea has performed in numerous Yiddish plays, including her one-woman show, “In Love with a Dream,” in 2019. In 2020, she made a name for herself with the release of her debut single “Eshet Chayil of Hip Hop” as well as its music video, which was largely shot in Israel.
Lea enjoys utilizing Jewish texts (mainly from the Bible) in her work and making it modern while exploring what it means to be a Jewish woman. She is fluent in English, French and German, and also knows Yiddish, Spanish, Italian and Hebrew. Lea learned of the Voices Together project from an Israeli rabbi acquaintance who thought she’d be a great addition to the song given her unique background and Lea was happy to be asked to join in.
Born in Belarus, Pinhas Tsinman immigrated to Israel about a year ago from Ukraine where he had lived for 16 years, having worked as a Chabad emissary there for 12 years. He first started playing music at age eight when he learned to play the flute, followed shortly after by the guitar. By age 10, Pinhas was already part of a band that performed covers of Russian rock songs and was writing his own songs too. When he finished high school, he continued to perform with local bands.
In his 20s, Pinhas traveled to the US and deepened his relationship with Judaism, and during that time, he was exposed to the singer Matisyahu, who was both a Chabad Chasid and a quality reggae singer with Jewish content, inspiring Pinhas to compose songs about Judaism and life in Hasidism, which is how he got back into music.
Pinhas learned of Voices Together through a Jewish Agency emissary he knew in Ukraine and he immediately knew he wanted to participate as the project and its message of spreading unity really spoke to him.
// French, Hebrew
Judith Mechi is a singer and composer who immigrated to Israel six years ago from Paris, France. She started performing professionally at the age of 16 and even participated in a singing reality show in France that included duets with famous singers. When the program ended, she started working on her first album which was released at the age of 20, followed by a second album at age 24.
When Judith was 25, she decided to take a break from music and do some traveling. While on vacation in Israel for two weeks, she fell in love and decided to move to Tel Aviv. After living in Israel for a bit, she was contacted by the Israeli reality singing show Rising Star and participated in their 2019 competition.
Today, Judith writes songs in both Hebrew and French. Her agent informed her of The Jewish Agency’s Voices Together project and after being sent the melody, she wrote lyrics within five minutes, the words just pouring out of her. Judith is thrilled to be involved in Voices Together because, beyond the song, she feels she is taking part in something historic and big.
Deres Workneh immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia when he was 11 and currently lives in Petah Tikva. He graduated from boarding school and then studied electronics and electricity in preparation for his Israeli military service, drafting into the Air Force. In the army, he began to practice music, rapping in Amharic.
Before making Aliyah, he started learning Hebrew at a Jewish Agency school in Gondar, Ethiopia, so for him, being part of the Voices Together project was a full-circle moment. He learned about Voices Together through a friend working at the hip-hop magazine "The Hip-Hop World" and was very enthusiastic about being a part of it because of how The Jewish Agency helped him in the past.
JBC was born in Sydney, Australia, but moved to London, England, at a young age, later becoming active in the Habonim Dror Jewish youth movement. Growing up in a musical home – his father was a musician and other family members also work in the creative world – he began playing the piano as a kid and decided at age 15 that music was what he wanted to do with his life. Today, he performs around Europe with a group of local artist friends.
JBC joined the Voices Together project after learning about it through a friend and really connecting with its vision as Judaism is a very significant part of his life though he doesn’t typically incorporate it into his music.
// Sign Language
Hila was born deaf to deaf parents. Communication was challenging but even as a girl, she loved music as she could hear some of the sounds but not the voices, becoming a big fan of the Eurovision Song Contest and all its grandiosity. Hila’s love of music inspired her to start translating songs into sign language, using a translator to help her understand the rhythm of the words.
Today, Hila is the Vice President and Deaf Community Manager of the Tel Aviv company Sign Now, which offers real-time sign language interpretation for deaf and hard of hearing (HOH) people on their smartphones for free. She is married with three kids; her husband is deaf and her children are all hearing. Hila is also a sign language teacher and lecturer and has written two books and made dozens of Israeli songs accessible in sign language.
She learned about the Voices Together project through a friend and it immediately interested her as she felt it was a great opportunity to increase awareness in the music world of the deaf and hard-of-hearing population and help remove barriers.
Westside Gravy // English
I’m a San Diego foo with my hat to the side,
Catching a flight till I’m landing in the land I reside,
In the passengers side cruising music blasts in the ride,
Haim Moshe or Tupac how’s a man gon’ decide?
It depends on the vibe, damn decisions decisions,
im posted in my new ends
still proud to be an immigrant
Living where standing out and fitting in are synonyms
Dreaming of the Ingathering of the Exiles
thats what the mission is
MC Sapinho // Portuguese
Vou te dá um papo sou do Rio de Janeiro
Se você não entendeu sapinho no maior respeito
o bagulho é assim mesmo minha vida tá um mel
hoje eu moro em ashdod aqui em israel
Vou finaliza e falo de coração
para todos os amigos para todos os irmãos
Shaanan Street // Hebrew
זה אותו דיבור, בכל השפות,
אותו דיבור, בכל קצוות תבל,
תגידו מה נשמע ישראל?
זה אותו דיבור, בכל השפות,
אותו דיבור, בכל קצוות תבל,
תגידו, מה נשמע ישראל?
אותו דיבור / misma palabra
אותו דיבור / Mesma língua
אותו דיבור / Die gleiche Sprache
אותו דיבור / Та же речь
אותו דיבור / C’est le même discours
אותו דיבור / አንድ ቃል ነው
אותו דיבור / same message
זה אותו דיבור, בכל השפות,
אותו דיבור, בכל קצוות תבל,
מה נשמע ישראל?
Rebbetzin Lea // German
ahn schauen alle müde rein,
kommt ein Poet um wirklich da zu sein
Schaut dir in die Augen
Gibt dir was woran zu glauben
Schweizer meydl in New York
Ich fühl mich wohl an diesem Ort
Ja, wo Menschen sich ganz hingeben
Sich nicht schämen ihren Traumen nach zustreben
MC Pinhas // Russian
Всем привет МС Pinhas с вами
Настроение поднимаю позитивными словами
Из далёкой Беларуси через Киев мы в Израиль
Как евреи из Египта снова перебрались
Я родился в городе герое Минске
Читаю рэп на русском, но могу и по английски
В детстве помню Б-гу я молился
Наверно это привело меня к Иудаизму
Judith // French
Si souvent le cœur devance
L’esprit, ce qui me permet d’avancer
Tout se passe
Comme si plus rien n’a de sens
Que la terre sous mes pas
Il te faut tout recommencer
Avis, à ceux qui tout droit auront trace
Sauf le sentiment étrange
D’être juste au bon endroit
Dere Work // Amharic
ገነት ናት አለም አመስግኖ መኖር ላወቀብት
ፈጣሪን ያመነ ተፈጥሮን ያደንቃል
ከጀምበር ጋ ተነስቶ ያመሰግናል
ደግሞ ነጋ አዲስ ቀን
ይመስገን ፈጣሪ የዛሬ ስው ላለን
ጀምበር ስትወጣ እዋፍት ዝሲዘምሩ
ተፈጥሮን ማድንቅ እይደልም ውይ ይህይውት ሚስጥር
ተፈጥሮን ማድንቅ አይደለም ወይ የህይውት ሚስሩ
JBC // English
I look up at the sky
I feel connected I don't know why
From my toes to the nerves in my spine
Mind body soul be divine
I don’t ask why
I don’t ask or question
Cus the answer is love my brethren
Treat my neighbor how he treat me
It doesn’t have to be a friendship
Look who your friends with
Are they ready for anything
"Ma Nishma, Israel?" - Celebrating Israel at 75 Produced by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Z3 Project
Artistic concept and management: Shaanan Streett
Lyrics and Vocals: Shaanan Streett, Noah Shufutinsky (Westside Gravy), Sandro Koren (MC Sapinho), Lea Kalisch, Pinhas Tsinman (MC Pinhas), Judith Mechi, Deres Worknech (Dere Work), Jonah Baron Cohen (JBC), Michael Cohen
Music: Michael Cohen, Shaanan Streett, Kathleen Eligado, Barel Oved
Musical arrangement and production: Michael Cohen and Shaanan Streett
Programming: Michael Cohen
Keyboard: Barel Oved
Background vocals: Kathleen Eligado
Mixing: Uri Shochet
Recorded at Kaboom Studios
Music video and direction: Tal Agasi/Agas Production
Styling: Inbal Vaknin Grossman
Sign language: Hila Almog/Sign Now
Dancers: Viktoriya Bakhova, Polina Gutkina, Sonya Zavelska