Long Beach, CA
Harmatz, 30, from Long Beach, California, decided it was time for a career
change and left corporate sales to follow his passion for music. Brian began
his new career as an artist, but he was looking for something more, a new
source of inspiration for his hip-hop, and Israel was where he turned.
traveled to Israel before but Brian said he decided "to return for an extended
period of time would help him truly absorb Israel's culture, learn more about
its tradition and better understand the conflict." After searching for a
program Brian decided the Hadassah-WUJS Jerusalem Arts program was the perfect
platform for him to be able to work on his music and experience life in Israel.
living in Jerusalem Brian has been working on his music and writing new songs
of which almost half have been influenced by his Israeli and Jewish
experiences. "The WUJS program was able to shed light on a new side of Israel
for me, I have found a new dimension for my musical inspiration" said Harmatz.
of the songs he wrote while in Israel creates a dialogue about the Arab-Israeli
conflict. The first verse takes on the perspective of an Israeli father sharing
with his young son about what to expect as he grows up in Israel. The
second verse comes from the viewpoint of a Palestinian child that has lost his
mother who was an innocent civilian caught in the crossfire, thus causing him
to seek revenge. The third verse connects the previous two and encourages
both sides to see the bigger picture:
still think the other suffers from insanity
Look back though, we're all from the same family
We hit a fork in the road once, and then twice
If women were in charge, their men wouldn't fight
Live and let live, a place to build and employ
Forget the focus of kill and destroy
And stop using children as a decoy
What else is there that we still can avoid
If the truth would be revealed, would things change?
If the truth would be revealed, we could end this pain."
In Brian's lyrics we can see how the WUJS arts program has given him the
opportunity to explore the country, the people and the conflict all while
inspiring his music. The program has helped strengthen his Jewish and Zionistic
identity; this opportunity has allowed him to “dig into the depth that is
Israel." The more he learns, the more he realizes the strength of Zionism
and the Jewish people.
in Israel Brian has improved his leadership skills and strengthened his
connection with the Jewish community. “I am confident my experiences in Israel
have revitalized my desire to lead a Jewish life,” Harmatz stated. Brian is just at the beginning of his
Jewish journey and plans to continue to build upon his Jewish identity and to return
to the U.S. as an active member of his Jewish community.