I’m probably one of the few people in the entire world who made it a point to celebrate Sukkot in Jerusalem for 28 years in a row up until the COVID period. In the beginning my husband and the four children would get into our minivan or car and proceed southward for the annual ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles. The ONLY week in scripture in which G-d’s people are to rejoice was made easy for us due to this well-planned feast which drew thousands of people from around the world.
So what does this have to do with the “Nehemiah Musical?” Well, this explains how I would attend the musical. I was already in Jerusalem! I arrived late, as well as someone else since the location was “tricky.” The sun was in our eyes but we couldn’t help but being impressed hearing children singing the songs by heart (the adults were looking at the words). Young people were narrating at times. The choir members left their places and began to stack some rocks in the area. Sanballat came and rebuked the Jews for taking on the project in the first place. The choir members joined hands and danced around the musicians upon finishing the building of the wall. Ezra mounted a step and exhorted the people to continue to follow G-d’s ways as written in His Word. The instrumental musicians added a lot to the performance; some uniquely Middle Eastern beats!
An elderly woman came to the microphone and praised Efrat’s work citing its “professionalism.” This was Efrat’s first teacher of music composition, Tzippi Fleisher, a great composer, who believed in Efrat when no one else did. I dared to go forward and speak from the microphone that in addition to Efrat’s genius in writing this musical, she was a genius for choosing this very spot in Jerusalem which was filled with piles of refuse waiting to be taken away to a dump somewhere. I said there is no evidence of burning but it surely gave the feeling of broken-down structures. Were we standing on “holy ground?” There are greedy people who wish to buy the land and develop it. Many thanks to the Ben Gad family who invited Efrat to have the performance there. They also helped Rahamim to rebuild his great sukkah and all of us were invited to a light supper afterwards. What a beautiful gesture on the part of Efrat. She is to be applauded for joining folks together for such an effort to present G-d’s holy word and to give the glory to Yeshua.
The music was performed only three days before the horrific attack on Israel from Gaza; Israel’s 9/11. More people died in one day than at any other time since the holocaust of WW II. Jerusalem’s wall had been destroyed thousands of years ago. Now our security fence had been seriously breached. Where were the watchmen? Millions of people around the world are asking this question. Who isn’t praying? Who is fasting? We’re all hoping and praying for the miracle release of all 210 of our hostages being held in Gaza.
Efrat sees the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s gates, walls and towers as the present rebuilding of the society in Israel especially after the haters among us which grew to be “giants” in our midst suddenly seemed to calm down. She sees that the body of Christ also needs to unite and be built with all the different living stones into one solid wall against our enemies.
On March 2, 2023, I saw Efrat Gerlich’s “Daniel Oratorio” in the Jerusalem Theatre. It was an astounding success. The stage was packed with orchestra and an enormous choir. She had invited choirs from Germany and Slovakia to participate at great cost. It was worth it! This had been her dream for some 14 years. One can view the performance here. It is better viewed with the captions in English, Hebrew or German. These can be purchased by contacting Efrat at [email protected].
During Hannukah, G-d-willing, more performances of the “Nehemiah Musical” will be scheduled. She produced this musical in less than three months, a tremendous feat.