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Jewish-Arab Women’s Choir Wins International Prize for Intercultural Dialogue

Rana Choir, a mixed Jewish-Muslim-Christian women’s chorus from Jaffa, received a 2016 International Hrant Dink Foundation award last week in Istanbul for its role in fostering intercultural dialogue.

The foundation grants awards to “people and organizations working for a world free of discrimination, racism and violence, and through their initiatives inspire and encourage others to support their cause and ideals,” according to a press statement.

“It’s a great honor for us to receive this award because the other groups and people honored by the foundation did such courageous and inspiring things. It feels good to be in their company,” Mika Danny, the choir’s founder and conductor, told ISRAEL21c.

The award organizers said Rana Choir “proves the power of shared creation and song to foster intercultural dialogue and to form deep human relationships despite political differences, and with their singing are voicing their call for peace.”

The choir sings in a range of languages, including Hebrew, Arabic, Yiddish, Persian, and Ladino, and attracts members from equally diverse backgrounds. “Although no two women here vote for the same political party,” Danny told Haaretz in April, “we all share a belief that peaceful coexistence is not only desirable but possible, and what better proof than we.”

Rana Choir with founder-conductor Mika Danny (center back row, wearing glasses) and artistic director Idan Toledano, front left. Photo by Noa Ben Shalom

Among the other award recipients were a group in Ghana advocating against female genital mutilation; a Syrian refugee-turned-Olympic swimmer who jumped out of a sinking refugee boat on its way to Greece and pulled it for four hours toward the shore; a couple from Iraq who rescue Yazidi women kidnapped by ISIS; and athletes, teachers, and civil servants from Croatia and Slovenia who organized a volleyball game across a wired fence erected to prevent immigrants from crossing over.

Rana Choir will appear in nine concerts across Israel with the Andalusian Orchestra next January.

(via Israel21c)

[Photo: Rana Choir מקהלת ראנה جوقة رانة / YouTube ]