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December 14, 2014 4:49 pm

Dudu Fisher Says New Hanukkah Single Has Added Meaning in Light of Recent Terrorism (AUDIO)

avatar by Dave Bender

Dudu Fisher at Branson. Photo: Dudu Fisher.

Dudu Fisher at Branson. Photo: Dudu Fisher.

On the debut of a new version of a beloved Hanukkah melody, iconic cantoral and stage legend, Dudu Fisher, tells The Algemeiner, “it’s tough to be so far away,” on the road as Israel copes with horrific terrorism at home.

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Fisher’s new rendition of “Maoz Tzur,” a 13th Century liturgical hymn traditionally sung each night at candle lighting for the eight-day holiday, is being released as Jewish families and institutions worldwide prepare menorahs (candelabrum) and wicks for the first night of the festive holiday, Tuesday evening.

“I recorded this song six months ago, and it took some time to finish and to edit it,” he told The Algemeiner, fresh from a recent performance in Branson, MO.

“I thought this song could be sung anytime, not only for Hannukah,” he said, adding, “but now, when I’m here and all these horrible things happened in Israel, and the period is so difficult – and then they told me that my son is serving in miliuim [reserve duty] in Duvdevan and I’m here…” he said on a personal note, speaking as a worried dad of a son serving on the front lines against Islamic terrorism.

Duvdevan is an elite undercover commando unit that served in Gaza, during the summer’s Operation Protective Edge, in the West Bank, and in other, classified operations.

Meanwhile, though, “I’m here with friends – the real friends of Israel – maybe the only ones today in the world,” he said of his latest performances in Branson.

“It’s amazing how [the audience] comes to the shows, with the flags, and screaming, and they praise the Lord, and there are ‘Hallelujahs!’ – I sometimes feel like I’m in a church,” he said, laughing.

“It’s really wonderful, and I’m very, very happy I’m here. But when these things are happening in Israel, it’s tough to be so far away,” he said, noting drive-by ramming, stabbings, shootings and firebombing attacks in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and elsewhere.

“When I left Israel to come to Missouri, I never thought and couldn’t predict that such horrible days were ahead of us,” he noted.

“Right now, the words (of Maoz Tzur) are so comforting, because they take us back thousands of years ago to understand that times were much, much worse then,” Fisher said of his rendition of the ancient paean to God’s redemption of Israel, in the face of persecution over the centuries by Egypt, Babylonia, Persia, and the Greeks of the Hanukkah story.

“And today we are in a much better place,” he said, optimistically. “From one side you are worried, but from the other, the words are comforting and I feel good when I sing it, when I think about it.”

When asked if he had received any hostile reactions or boycott calls to his performances, like many other Israeli entertainers and artists abroad, he was emphatic.

“No! Not at all – not here. You’re talking about the ‘Bible Belt;’ 90 million people who love Israel, love Jerusalem. They are so friendly,” he stressed, and then, in comparison, recounted less pleasant venues he recently visited in Europe.

“A couple of months ago I was in Switzerland. I’m traveling for 40 years now, and it was the first time ever that I felt antisemitism against me because I’m Jewish,” he noted, electing not to detail the disturbing incidents.

“Twice – two incidents, and it was terrible,” he recalled. “I’ll never go to Switzerland against,” he vowed, adding, “it was horrible; I really felt horrible.”

After Branson, Fisher said he is set to play two shows in Las Vegas, and then travel to Russia, Ukraine, and Siberia for a series of performances centering around the week of Hannukah celebrations, before, finally, returning home to Israel.

“It is six-seven weeks on the road – a long trip,” he admitted.

Listen to Fisher’s new version of an old classic here.

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