Shalem College
March 5, 2014

The One Song Project

How do you get a Hassidic yeshiva student, an IDF officer, an Israeli Arab, and a Russian immigrant to speak the same language? Put them all in a recording studio, said the Shalem College students whose community-engagement initiative brought singers and performers from across Jerusalem’s ethnic, religious, and social spectrum together—and proved that one song can indeed harmonize the melodies of a diverse and often divided city. Watch the video here (warning: the song is very, very catchy):

“We created The One Song Project to show the world that Jerusalem, far from being weighed down by history, is in truth a dynamic, forward-looking place, whose musical scene reflects that,” explains Shira Laurence, Shalem student and One Song coordinator. “The product,” adds fellow student and One Song producer Hayim Ezra Ani, “shows that Israelis can have a different type of conversation, one that takes the voices out of the echo chamber and into our complex reality. And the final result can sound great.” One Song now hopes to bring this vehicle to different groups within Israeli society in the months to come.

The One Song Project grew out of the Shalem College community-engagement program, which requires students to devote one day a week to a service-oriented initiative of their choice. Other community-engagement initiatives in which students are participating include a matriculation-exam preparatory program for young Ethiopian women and skills-building workshops for new immigrants in the neighborhoods surrounding the college. All these efforts, explains Dr. Stephen Hazan Arnoff, director of the college’s Department of Culture, Community, and Society, strive to connect the classroom to the world beyond, and to encourage students to make the public good part of their professional and personal lives. “One Song, like all of our student initiatives, is a means by which our first class is putting its creativity and talent to work for the people of Jerusalem, and for Israeli society at large.”