As Israel prepares to observe Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday night and Thursday 27 Nissan, Channel 10 News reports there is a machlokes brewing surrounding kol isha and official events marking the day on the Bar Ilan University campus. The university’s rav explains this has been the custom throughout the years.
According to the report, days ahead of the planned performances female vocalists have been informed they may play instruments and take part in official events but they will not be permitted to sing because of kol isha.
Student Yifat Blasiano, who was scheduled to be among the vocalists in a Holocaust Remembrance Day event told Channel 10 “I was told that I could only play [an instrument]. They are not permitting me to sing during the ceremony and this doesn’t serve anyone”.
The university rav, Rabbi Shlomo Sheffer is responsible for the programing and he told Channel 10 “If she wishes to play [an instrument] with us it is fine. We didn’t wish to get into the whole machlokes. This is how we act in the university”.
In response to the report, university officials explain “The Holocaust Day ceremony is intended for the entire tzibur of students and staff, religious and non-religious, those who avoid kol ish and those who do not. In order to avoid dispute regarding the character of the ceremony, the decision has been made to exclude female vocalists as was the case throughout the years and will be the case this year”.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)