Bruno Mars Sings in Hebrew and Performs a Jewish Holiday Song During Israeli Concert – Kveller
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Bruno Mars Sings in Hebrew and Performs a Jewish Holiday Song During Israeli Concert

The Tel Aviv crowd sang along to the classic Sukkot song, "Shlomit Builds a Sukkah."

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 24: Co-Owner of SelvaRey Rum Bruno Mars attends the SelvaRey Pina Colada Party Hosted by Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak at The Hollywood Roosevelt on July 24, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

via Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for SelvaRey

This past Wednesday night, Bruno Mars gave a rousing concert in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park, and added some fun, Jewish musical tidbits to the concert.

In a video from the concert posted by Raz Shechnik, a media and music Correspondent at Yedioth Ahronoth, you can hear Mars singing “ani ohev otach” —  “I love you” in Hebrew — during his performance of “Calling All My Lovelies.” There are plenty of videos around the internet of him singing I love you in different languages during his world tour, but it’s definitely a crowd favorite, and knowing that Mars has some Jewish heritage makes it even more special.

Later, while performing his hit song “Castle in the Sky,” he called one particular dance move “the shwarma.” The dancing Jews of Tel Aviv were delighted by the silliness of it all.

Though perhaps the best part of the concert was when Mars’ keyboardist, John Fossitt, started playing the melody of a beloved Sukkot classic, “Shlomit Bona Sukkah,” which translates to “Shlomit Builds a Sukkah.” Written by beloved Israeli songwriter Naomi Shemer, the song is about a girl named Shlomit who builds a sukkah of peace. The song is full of lovely Sukkot imagery and alludes to the words of the Shacharit prayer. The Shlomit in the song is an homage to multidisciplinary artist Shlomit Lehavi, who was the daughter of friends of Shemer’s. Shemer chose her name for the song because of how wonderfully it goes with the Hebrew word for peace, “shalom.” In 2014, Lehavi admitted to Ynet that she’s never actually built a real sukkah.

Fossitt’s rendition was fabulous and festive, perfect for the holiday and for this fraught time in Israel, where we all need a little bit of peace, and the crowd happily sang along.

Mars’ father, musician Peter Hernandez, is Jewish and Puerto Rican, and grew up in Brooklyn. While the singer has talked about his Jewish roots, he wasn’t raised Jewish. Yet his songs have inspired quite a few Jewish parodies, including this Purim “Uptown Funk” parody and this blingy Hanukkah “24k Magic” one.

According to Times of Israel, Mars changed some of the lyrics of “Marry You” to “Tel Aviv, I think I want to marry you!” and ended the concert by promising to come back to the Jewish state very soon.

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