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November 08, 2012 - Image 57

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-11-08

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points of view

>> Send letters to: Ietters©thejewishnews.com

Contributing Editor


Be Upfront: Morsi
Is Chameleon Like


Teen's music, lyrics
give new energy to
venerable Watchword
of our Faith.


hen Anna Dylan Brooks was a
ninth-grader at Temple Israel in
West Bloomfield, Cantor Michael
Smolash had noticed she wrote music. So he
asked the 13-year-old guitarist to "cover" the
Shema Yisrael prayer — to express it in her
own way.
'At first, I was intimidated,' said Anna, now
16. "Jews have said this prayer for thousands
of years. And here I was, sitting in my room
with an electric Epiphone SG, trying to write
a piece of music that would do justice to it?'
A music aficionado, Anna remains part of
Temple Israel's Teen Tefilah choir. She also
writes, composes and records.
In the wake of Cantor Smolash's challenge,
her goal was to write a song that was relatable
and universal, just like the ancient prayer.
Said Anna: "I wrote the lyrics to
a song I would want to hear one of
my peers sing —something like, 'I
won't tell you that He loves me: I
didn't like the idea of writing blind
praise. I wanted to write something
honestly that spoke to me."
Temple Israel high school's
"Spielberg-Schmielberg: You Too
Can Make A Jewish Movie" class
took the song and ran with it ... lit-
erally. On Oct. 17, after six months
of planning and production, it
released a music video featuring Anna and
other classmates performing her Shema. To
hear the song on YouTube, search for 'Anna
Brooks' Shema" online.
In writing her Shema, Anna drew inspira-
tion from her relationship with God.
"I always write my best music in what
seems like no time," she said. "I knew there
must be something good about this composi-
tion when the song, in its entirety, took me
just 20 minutes to write?'

"I wanted to write
something honestly that
spoke to me."

Anna Dylan Brooks

Depth Of Feeling

Anna's upbeat, heartfelt lyrics seem to tran-
scend her formative years, when teens often
are tentative or leery about religion, God and
In verse one, Anna confidently states her

"I won't tell you that He loves me. I won't
tell you that He saved my life.
But I can say as loud and clear
as I can sing from my lips to your
That there's One of our God in
every one of our lives (and that's
why we sing)
Shema Yisrael Adonai Elohaynu
Adonai Echad (oh, and that's why
we sing)
Shema Yisrael Adonai Elohaynu
Adonai Echad."
In verse two, she reinforces that
very personal connection:
"I won't tell you that He controls my life. I
won't tell you that to have His love would be
my everlasting plight.
But I can say as loud and clear as I can sing
from my lips to your ears,
That there's One of our God, our ner tamid,
our everlasting light."
Anna is the middle of three children of
Jamie and Steve Brooks. The family recently
moved to St. Joseph in southwest Michigan
because of Steve's job transfer; but they main-

Anna's Shema on page 34

gyptian President Mohammed Morsi
sent a supposedly icebreaking letter
to Israeli President Shimon Peres
this past summer, according to the Times of
Israel, which published a photo of the letter.
In the July letter, Morsi called Peres "a great
and good friend" and extended the wish to
maintain and strengthen "the cordial rela-
tions, which so happily exist, between our
Mohammed Morsi
two countries."
Does the letter mark a receptive era
between the two Middle East powers, a coming together between
the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Morsi and Israel's venerated elder
statesman Peres? Hardly.
The same October week that Egypt confirmed the letter as
genuine, Morsi apparently said "amen" to prayers by an Egyptian
imam calling on Allah to cleanse the globe of Jews and anyone
who supports them. Morsi's sanctioning of anti-Semitic hate was
exposed in a video of the mosque service. The Middle East Media
Research Institute, a respected Washington-based press monitor-
ing organization, translated the service.
"0 Allah, absolve us of our sins, strengthen us and grant us
victory over the infidels," prayed Futouh Abd Al-Nabi Mansour, a
local religious council head. "0 Allah, destroy the Jews and their
supporters. 0 Allah, disperse them, rend them asunder, 0 Allah,
demonstrate Your might and greatness upon them. Show us Your
omnipotence, 0 Lord."
The Morsi letter was interesting, certainly. Peres' staff indi-
cated the letter expressed hope for regional stability and security,
including for Israel. Still, it had an empty ring. Morsi not only rep-
resents the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, which governs Egypt
and is receptive to Tehran and Hamas, but also has kept his dis-
tance from the Netanyahu administration other than vowing to
honor any treaty with Israel.
Morsi's provocative amen is part of a cacophony of anti-Jewish/
anti-Zionist vitriol within Egypt, the most populous Arab nation.
Reports the Anti-Defamation League: "The drumbeat of anti-
Semitism in the 'new' Egypt is growing louder and reverberating
further under President Morsi. And we are increasingly concerned
about the continuing expressions of hatred for Jews and Israel in
Egyptian society and President Morsi's silence in the face of most
of these public expressions of hate."
Was the "amen heard 'round the world" meant to be a forced
rebuke for the conciliatory tone of the letter, which the Muslim
Brotherhood, not surprisingly, has tried hard to discredit? Maybe.
On Oct.11, the Brotherhood's supreme guide, Mohammed Badie,
urged the Arab world to replace talks with Israel with "holy jihad."
In a public message published by the Egyptian daily newspaper
AI-Ahram and reported by the Times of Israel, Badie maintained
that if Jews were permitted to pray on the Temple Mount, they
would destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and supplant it with the third
temple. He insisted Arabs could never hope "to achieve justice
from the Jews through the corridors of the United Nations or
through negotiations."
"Zionists only understand the language of force and will not relent
without duress," Badie continued. "This will only happen through
holy jihad, high sacrifices and all forms of resistance. The day they
realize we will march this path and raise the banner of jihad for the
sake of God, is the day they will relent and stop their tyranny."
Make no mistake about it: Morsi's presumptive literary
olive branch to Peres, noble as it seemed, ultimately proved
ignominiously hollow. Li]

November 8 s 2012


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