A Little Bit of Music and More!

As the second season of the Israeli version of the reality show, The Voice, is moving towards its final stages, in Israel it seems even a simple reality show only about “the voice” reaches stories beyond just a voice into deep issues of Israeli society and religion. 

The story I want to share with you begins with Ofir Ben Shitrit, an orthodox 17 year old senior in an olpana, a girl’s only school, from Ashdod that decided to audition for the Israeli The Voice. 

Ofir with her truly amazing voice passed the auditions and now she is qualifying into the semi-final stages of the season, but that’s not where it ends. 

Due to the fact that the halacha (the collective body of religious laws for Jews) determines the prohibition to a man to hear a singing voice of a woman, her school got a lot of complaints from parents from the religious community, and Ofir was expelled from school for two weeks. The fact that Ofir shook her mentor’s hand, of course did not make the school “happier,” as orthodox women are not allowed to touch other men.

“Since I was a little girl, I loved singing. I am looking for a place where I can use my full potential,” she said. In regards to the fact that she is religious she said, "I think the Torah wants us to be happy. It wants the music to make us happy and I think it’s possible to mix them together. That’s why I decided to go to the show."

In the last episode, the mentor, Aviv Geffen, and Ofir went to her hometown to meet her rabbi, but he didn’t want to interview due to the fact that “the complex message won't be transferred to the media in the right way." 

Ofir is one of the favorites of the show, and in a few weeks we will know if she is the winner of the second season of The Voice. But behind her beautiful voice stands a story that’s creating a lot of waves in Israeli society, especially now when the secular-orthodox dynamic is bubbling more than ever since the latest elections.  

Below is an interesting interview with the winner of last year’s Israel the Voice, Kathleen Reiter, another fascinating story of a Canadian/Israeli singer who moved to Israel alone just days before the competition, and now currently lives in Tel Aviv.