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This Israeli Pop Star Crashed Pandemic Weddings and Won Our Hearts

Screengrabs from Yuval Dayan's latest video, which show her performing at a socially distant wedding

Yuval Dayan makes really moving music. The 25-year-old Israeli singer-songwriter, who first won over local audiences at age 16 when she was a contestant on the Israeli version of The Voice, writes soulful and heartfelt lyrics and melodies filled with beautiful “silsulim” — the vocal trills inherent to Mizrahi music.

But in her newest video, the singer of Moroccan Jewish heritage gives us an extra reason to get emotional.

Dayan shot the video for her latest song, SheRak Techayech, which roughly translates as “May You Just Smile,” during the pandemic. She decided to surprise two couples on their wedding day with intimate performances during their socially distant, small weddings — one in Kiryat Yam, the other in Hadera.

It was filmed during the time when the Israeli government forbade outdoor gatherings of more than 20 people (the current outdoor gathering limit is now at 30). If you’ve ever been to an Israeli wedding, you know that that’s just not how it’s done — even a small and intimate Israeli wedding has at least 100 guests.

It’s so lovely to see the guests and couples’ looks of surprise when they realize Dayan, who is quite a popular singer in Israel, is about to serenade them on their nuptials. It’s even lovelier to see their reactions to her live music accompanying the life-changing ceremonies. Despite the masks, the fist bumps that substitute for hugs, and the disappointment these couples and their families probably felt at having to cut their guest lists, it’s a beautiful reminder that love is love, even in the time of coronavirus.

The song itself a reassuring tune about love, priorities, and celebrating the small things in life — which truly makes it a perfect pandemic wedding song. The chorus goes: “May you smile, all your life/That is all I ask for/ A small home, a garden for the children/ Believe, I am happy/Know that I am always watching over us.” Honestly, a garden for the kids is really what we need during Covid-19. I’m looking at you, all my city-dwellers!

But seriously, this song and its accompanying video are just so sweet. Thank you, Yuval Dayan, for bringing some love and beauty (and perhaps a few emotional tears) to our pandemic days — it was needed.

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