Listen to this beautiful debut song from Israeli artist Moriya Naveh

A much needed musical interlude

During the darkest days of the 2016 presidential campaign, I used to joke that if U.S. politics ever got too depressing for me, I could always fall back on my trusty beats of global anti-Semitism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Most of the time, this newsletter reflects those interests, and dives into the heavier subjects that I’ve devoted my career to demystifying. But sometimes, I’d like to give you all a break and share something that simply brings some joy or wonder into your inbox. This is one of those newsletters.

Moriya Naveh is a 31-year-old Orthodox Jewish composer, singer, and multi-instrumental musician. She lives in Jerusalem with her husband and two children. And she just released an absolutely beautiful debut single off her upcoming inaugural album, “Touching Light.” You’ve probably never heard her remarkable voice, but I’m sure you will in the future.

The song, “Hinach Yaffa Raayati” (“You Are Beautiful, My Love”), combines original lyrics with verses from the Song of Songs, the Bible’s extended love poem. That book tells the story of two lovers searching for each other, a quest that was often likened by classical commentators to the relationship between God and his people.

Released to mark Tu B’Av, the Jewish calendar’s answer to Valentine’s Day, Naveh’s music video dramatizes the human search for connection, and how what we are looking for is often just out of our line of sight. “The act of searching is a basic element in all our lives,” she told me. “At any given moment we are seeking love, light, ourselves, and God. In the music video I wanted to express the idea that what we are all seeking is actually quite near to us—even right under our noses, or behind our backs. Yet sometimes we still need to journey great distances through the winding recesses of our hearts in order to find it.”

Watch the whole thing below:

(If you’d like an English translation of the lyrics, they’re in the YouTube video description.)

Naveh’s music reflects her unique musical and personal heritage. There are Middle Eastern influences, from the Moroccan side of her family, as well as Ashkenazi ones from the other. Likewise, her jazz sensibility, honed at the elite Rimon School of Jazz in Ramat HaSharon, comes through on many of her tracks.

Her debut album, Or Be’or Nogea (“Touching Light”), comprises 13 songs from the Shabbat liturgy, piyutim, and other original works. (My personal favorite is probably “Yedid Nefesh,” which she sings as a duet with her husband, Yedidya.) The album isn’t coming out until October, but there is a way for you to get the whole thing now.

Here’s how: Naveh has composed hundreds of songs, but without listener support, few of them will ever see the light of day. If you want to help bring those compositions into the world, you can sign up to back Moriya’s Patreon, where for just $2 a month, you can get advance access to her entire debut album, as well as monthly original music and art delivered directly to your inbox. (To reiterate, you can get the entire album two months in advance simply by becoming a patron.) I’ve already signed up, naturally, and if you like what you hear, I hope you will too.

Happy Tu B’Av!

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