Look at Me: Israeli Stories of Survival

Written by Shlomit Ovadia of JCC Denver.

We’ve all been privy to the tragic news coming out of Israel these past few months. Yet, how many of us have heard directly from those impacted?

On February 6, JCC Denver will be welcoming a live performance by the Israeli-touring band Shufuni from 7:00 – 8:30 pm.

Founded in 2022, the musical troupe began as a weekly, open-mic concert featuring emerging artists in Sderot, a Southern Israeli town famous for its premiere music scene.

After October 7, the group has taken a different direction.

“How do we get the voices of civilians, citizens, and soldiers to our communities in North America and for them to understand what’s going on,” Mitchabrim Director Uriya Roth asks.

Mitchabrim, an initiative that connects Jews in the diaspora to Israeli culture and programming, has teamed up with the JCC to bring Shufuni to Denver, to voice their experiences of October 7 through music. The concert has also been made possible thanks to our partnership with Moving to Our Center (MTOC), a nonprofit that facilitates intentional education, dialogue, and experiences for the Jewish community by bridging gaps on complex topics.

Since October 7, Shufuni has lost several band and audience members who were murdered by the horrific attacks by Hamas. The band’s Arabic name translates in Hebrew slang to, “look at me.”

“It’s not, ‘look at me,’ in a way of arrogance; these artists really want to be heard and noticed, and show the world: we’re here, we’re not giving up, and this is still part of our struggle. Even coming to America is part of the way to reclaim our lives and stories back,” Uriya explains.

The current tour features four artists from the Gaza envelope who will be touring five JCC locations over nine days, for a total of seven performances.  Each show will be 75-90 minutes and includes both musical performance and personal stories.

“Everything is very personal,” Uriya notes of the set. For example, Lenor will be dedicating a song to her friends currently being held hostage in Gaza. Other members such as Rotem and Mira’s songs will describe navigating life after being displaced from their homes in Sderot. Daniel’s song, “Bring Them Home,” mourns his parents who were both murdered on October 7.

“Each one has his own story related to personal life and community. Everything is related to where they are right now as humans,” Uriya explains of the stage performances.

Shufuni hopes to bring more musicians from Israel to JCCs, to build and strengthen the relationship between Jewish-American and Israeli communities.