December 2023 / January 2024ISRAELL'CHAIM

Israeli Philharmonic Heals Through Music


Following the horrific Hamas attacks on October 7, Israel State Department guidelines postponed the opening of the 87th Israel Philharmonic’s season. The orchestra immediately pivoted, despite the intensifying war, to bring hope and light to people in Israel and around the world. Some of their activities have ranged from volunteering to harvest vegetables to performing for evacuated families and uniting Jewish communities everywhere through the healing power of music.

Even though a musicians’ hands are their livelihood, philharmonic members did not hesitate to volunteer for time-sensitive harvesting work, supporting the farmers who were drafted. Instead of holding million-dollar instruments, they held tomatoes and avocadoes, to keep the economy going and feed the citizens of Israel.

In keeping with the tradition of the Israel Philharmonic bringing Israelis comfort during times of crisis, the Philharmonic has been traveling across the country in trio and quartet groups to perform for evacuated children, families and wounded citizens. Avida Bachar—a member of Kibbutz Be’eri who survived the attack but suffered a leg amputation and lost his wife and son —received an especially moving performance from Israel Philharmonic musicians at Soroka Medical Center.

The Israel Philharmonic continued to promote peace and unity for Jewish people everywhere on October 22, broadcasting their “Salute to Israel” concert to Jewish communities around the world. The musicians performed Israel’s national anthem, Paul Ben-Haim’s “Fanfare to Israel” and Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony, “Eroica,” to an empty hall with only the images of all hostages ‘looking’ at the musicians from the seats in the first rows.

Music Director Lahav Shani addressed viewers with a moving speech, “I ask myself, how is it possible to contain both this sense of distress and anguish alongside hope and yearning for life? In our daily life, this seems almost impossible. The grief and anger are so strong that it is difficult to feel anything else. But it is at these moments that music has incredible strength. Music can contain and reflect all our feelings, side by side.”


The concert has been viewed more than 150,000 times worldwide. To watch the Israel Philharmonic’s “Salute to Israel” concert, visit


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