Local Jewish organizations raise awareness with concert series

Monday, October 27, 2008 | 3:50 p.m. CDT; updated 9:40 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 28, 2008

COLUMBIA — It could be a symphony in Moscow. It could be an elementary school choir program in Kansas, a disc jockey spinning in Athens, or a band in Columbia. Whether they are classically trained or self-taught, musicians from all genres can participate in the international network of concerts known as Daniel Pearl World Music Days.

This world wide musical event is being brought closer to home by MU's Jewish Student Organization and Hillel, the Jewish campus organization, and Jewish Federations of Greater Kansas City and St. Louis.

If you go

WHAT: Daniel Pearl Harmony for Humanity concert, sponsored by MU's Jewish Students Organization, Hillel and the Jewish Federations of Greater Kansas City and St. Louis

WHEN: 8 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Mojo's, 1013 Park Avenue



"On a community level we want to give Columbia a chance to celebrate," said Stephanie Levy, special events chair for Hillel.

According to the Daniel Pearl Foundation Web site, America knows Daniel Pearl as the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002.  His captors saw him as "a media figure, an American and a Jew." Friends and family knew Pearl as someone who embodied "civilized values," a writer and a musician. Pearl was a classically trained violinist, fiddler and mandolin player.

World Music Days promotes tolerance and international friendship through music as a part of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, started by Pearl's friends and family. To participate, a local event must make a dedication or mention World Music Days. Registry for events can be found at Events take place throughout the month of October, to commemorate Pearl's Oct. 10 birthday, according to the Web site.    

Levy explained that the event encompasses everything Hillel hopes to accomplish on campus: encouraging involvement among Jewish students with the Jewish Student Organization, and providing the community with a chance to participate in an "awareness raiser" that encompasses the ideas of unity and tolerance that Daniel Pearl stood for.  Levy heard of World Music Days' success on the campus of Virginia Tech and had the idea of bringing the event to MU; she and Hillel president Amanda Kushner, who is an employee of the Columbia Missourian, wrote a grant proposal to the Kansas City Jewish Federation, which provides grant opportunities for Jewish student organizations once a year.

With the proposal accepted, the effort to recruit bands for the event began. The Oct. 28 Harmony for Humanity event held at Mojo's will include featured Denver-based band Kinetix, St. Louis band the Northwoods, Save Praise Dance Ministry of Columbia and Columbia's African Ministry Gospel Choir. Kerry Hollander, executive director of Hillel, explained that the different styles of the participants reflect the international theme of Harmony for Humanity.  

"While we hope that people enjoy themselves and will appreciate the talent and diversity on stage, we want people to remember that democracy allows freedom of expression and belief in artistry, in all its various forms," Hollander said.

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