Kfar Shmaryahu social club members gather round singer Achinoam Nini during her visit
Story by Terry Morris Photos: Richard Halon
Even the driving wind and rain and the inevitable traffic chaos could not keep the members of ESRA’s Kfar Shmaryahu club away from their regular weekly meeting one Monday evening in December. This was to be a very special happening for them, and the sense of anticipation and excitement was evident from the moment they started to arrive in their special transport vehicles. Achinoam Nini was paying a visit to the club that night.
Achinoam arrived and greeted each member of the group individually and then settled down to patiently answer their questions for more than one hour. Some very personal questions were asked and she answered them all willingly and openly, including stories about her long career and her singing for two Popes, also informing them that as a child she had been educated in a Yeshiva.
Matan with Achinoam Nini
A discussion arose about the name Achinoam and why she chose to use the name Noa for her overseas audiences who she thought could not pronounce her full name. She used many biblical references to explain this, and one of the group, Matan, matched her knowledge as they became involved in a kind of tennis game of quoting chapter and verse to confirm each point she raised. It was a source of great wonder and amusement to Achinoam and the rest of us alike as the two compared their depth of knowledge.
Inevitably the request for her to sing came from the enthusiastic audience, and she happily sang three of her favorite songs, accompanying herself by rhythmically drumming on her knees or her chest. The group loved every second and appreciated the photo shoot and autograph signing that followed.
It was an amazing and warm-spirited evening in spite of the weather outside, and by spending time with these young people who are severely handicapped Achinoam created memories that they will forever hold dear. It was an incredible gesture of love from one of Israel’s true international stars and it seemed to come so naturally to her.