Shalom Life | December 19, 2014

Sderot’s Hagit Yaso Captures Top Prize in “Israeli Idol”

21-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli’s rise to fame has a Canadian connection.

By: Daniel Horowitz

Published: July 25th, 2011 in Culture » Music » News

Sderot’s Hagit Yaso Captures Top Prize in “Israeli Idol”

As with all new olim, starting new lives in Israel, while exciting, comes with its share of challenges.

For 21-year-old Hagit Yaso, whose parents left their native Ethiopia in the early 90’s for a brighter future in the Jewish state, growing up in Sderot has not always been the idyllic backdrop one might associate with a talented artist. For more than 10 years and counting, the beleaguered residents of Sderot have been bombarded with almost daily – and unprovoked - Kassam rocket attacks, making relaxation and a sense of safety, rare commodities.

Fortunately for Hagit, her parents decided to make that trek to Israel those 30 years ago, because if it was designed to give their future children a better shot in life, it was an investment that has already paid significant dividends.

Fast forward to Saturday, July 23, 2011. The beautiful and mellifluous Hagit, standing on a beach in Haifa, surrounded by other stars in the Israeli night sky, her incredible voice drowning out any memory of those Kassams or sirens, singing her way to victory in this year’s Israeli version of American Idol, “A Star is Born”.

When the music stopped, this assistant daycare provider in a kibbutz near her humble home in Sderot instantly became an Israeli Cinderella story; and, more importantly, an inspiration to thousands of olim, just like her.

And, there’s an unlikely Canadian connection to this songbird’s success.

It turns out, representatives of United Israel Appeal Federations of Canada (UIAC) met Hagit over four years ago when she was part of the Sderot youth troop. It was during Hagit’s visit to UIAC’s Israel Emergency Campaign intervention project in Sderot where they watched the troop’s rehearsal, and noticed one talented young singer in particular, Hagit. So taken with the then 17-year-old’s talent and potential, and as part of UIAC’s visionary strategy to help the youth of Sderot reach their that potential, they awarded her with a scholarship to the Music School at the Community Center, which allowed her to receive voice lessons.

And that, as they say, was the start of a beautiful friendship.

Hagit soon travelled with the Sderot youth troop to the Great White North – Toronto and Montreal – to be exact, where they performed – and delighted - Jewish audiences.

It was soon after that visit that UIA Canada held its 40th anniversary, which coincided with Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations. As part of the joint celebrations, UIAC chose Hagit to perform a moving tribute to then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

A star is born, indeed, and judging by Hagit’s talent and poise, I have a feeling that this new star will burn brightly for a long, long time.

See for yourself, and watch one of Hagit’s winning performances of the season:

Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (40-31) Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (40-31) TrendingPresenting the Hasidic "Shake It Off" Hanukkah Parody [VIDEO] Presenting the Hasidic "Shake It Off" Hanukkah Parody [VIDEO] TrendingTop 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (50-41) Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (50-41) Trending
 

Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (30-21)

December 19, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (30-21)

Join Shalom Life in celebrating the 50 most talented, intelligent, funny, and beautiful Jewish women of the year.

Read More

Analyst Suggests Qatar 'Give' World Cup 2022 to Gaza

December 19, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Analyst Suggests Qatar 'Give' World Cup 2022 to Gaza

Tom Gross argues that the move would be beneficial for Palestinians in Israel

Read More

Natalie Portman Explains How 'Star Wars' Almost Ruined Her Career

December 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Natalie Portman Explains How 'Star Wars' Almost Ruined Her Career

The 'Black Swan' actress says no one wanted to work with her after 'Star Wars'

Read More

Liberace's Hologram to Go On World Tour, Starting in Las Vegas

December 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Liberace's Hologram to Go On World Tour, Starting in Las Vegas

The deceased performer will be entertaining a whole new generation of fans.

Read More

Adam Levine's Maroon 5 Rock Out at The People Magazine Awards [VIDEO]

December 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Adam Levine's Maroon 5 Rock Out at The People Magazine Awards [VIDEO]

On Thursday evening, Maroon 5 wowed the audience with a live performance of 'Animals'

Read More

Oops! Drake Confused Adam Silver for Donald Sterling

December 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Oops! Drake Confused Adam Silver for Donald Sterling

At the Toronto Raptors Drake night, Drake mixed up some important names.

Read More

Ambassador Dan Shapiro Urges U.S. Collaboration with Jerusalem College of Technology

December 19, 2014 | By ShalomLife Team
Ambassador Dan Shapiro Urges U.S. Collaboration with Jerusalem College of Technology

Shapiro visited the college for a private demonstration of several ground-breaking technologies developed by students

Read More

This British Politician Is Trying to Put an End to Racism & anti-Semitism on Twitter

December 19, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
This British Politician Is Trying to Put an End to Racism & anti-Semitism on Twitter

Luciana Berger, the subject of some 2,500 anti-Semitic tweets earlier this year, wants the platform to ban racist words

Read More

More Headlines