Songwriter Releases Rallying Cry for Welcoming Refugees
By Gabe Cahn, HIAS.org
Feb 09, 2018
“But Ruth replied, ‘Do not urge me to leave you, to turn back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.’” (Ruth 1:15)
As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, Shoshana Jedwab was raised with an acute understanding of the importance of providing safe haven to people fleeing violence and discrimination.
As a Jewish educator, singer-songwriter, prayer leader, and hand drummer, she has more than 27 years of experience bringing sacred Jewish texts to life for a wide variety of audiences.
After the 2016 presidential election, she realized she had a unique opportunity to merge these two core aspects of her identity and make her first foray into social protest music.
“Where You Go,” was originally conceived of as part of a ritual with the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, a training program in spiritual leadership for women on a Jewish path.
Jedwab soon discovered that this song could be adapted as a rallying cry for those voicing opposition to the Trump Administration's policies.
“This song is a song for the resistance. People have said it’s an anthem for the resistance,” she told HIAS.org.
Officially released on the one year anniversary of the Muslim Ban, Jedwab hopes the song can continue to gain traction at various demonstrations across the country.
For example, while the first verse concentrates specifically on refugees, Jedwab crafted the piece as a “zipper song,” so the majority of the verse remains the same each time she sings it, but one or two words change the specific subject.
“What I kept discovering about this song, was that people at demonstrations were hungry for new protest songs,” said Jedwab. “People were still singing songs from the 60’s.”
“I’ve seen strangers pick it up instantly. That’s what a protest song should do.”
Listen to the full song below.