idf-soldiersOn every tour I lead we do a lot of singing.  To praise God together at biblical sites, in churches, while sitting on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, or at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem is a special part of group travel. Blending our voices in song is an inspired way of lifting our praise to God.

It is also a blessing to hear other groups singing as well.  One location where listening to other groups sing, especially in a different language, is at the St. Anne’s Church in the Old City of Jerusalem.  St. Anne’s is a Crusader church.  It was built in the 12th century AD.  The church’s high vaulted ceiling makes for a 8-10 second echo.  Talk about harmony on the scale of the Mormon Tabernacle choir!  To hear other groups How Great Thou Art in Korean, Spanish, or German is wonderful.  It’s a blessing to hear so much musical talent shared by groups from all over the world.

hallelujahIt is a little known fact that Israel’s own IDF (Israel Defense Force) have musical talent as well.  Called into mandatory military service at the age of 18, males serve a minimum of 36 months, with females serving 30 months. Following military service most Israelis then travel aboard somewhere (Asia, Europe, South America, United States) before starting university. Yet amidst the busy training and military service, there is time for singing.  Once in a while we hear IDF soldiers singing the Hativkah (Israel’s national anthem) at the Western Wall.  At other places we hear IDF soldiers informally singing Israeli folk songs while relaxing off-duty. We always pause to take it in!

Below is a special recording of a few IDF soldiers singing Leonard Cohen‘s “Hallelujah.”  I think you will find the talent amazing and inspiring.


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