Project Heroes at Museum of Jewish Heritage Featured Israeli Singer/Composer Gilad Segev

A moving performance by Gilad Segev at the Museum of Jewish Heritage served as a brief antidote to campus chaos and dashed hopes of a ceasefire, our columnist finds.

| 13 May 2024 | 04:58

Despite news of campuses in chaos, not to mention the daily dashed hopes of a cease-fire, there was a true salve on May 3rd. The Museum of Jewish Heritage, in Battery Park, sponsored an event called “Project Heroes.” It featured a beloved Israeli singer/composer named Gilad Segev. (He also goes by the stage name Passerby)

His ten-song performance—replete with videos and stories about each—was nothing less than beautiful, inspirational, and even hopeful. The people who filled the museum’s lovely Edmund J. Safra Hall stood and wept at the end.

Joined by three first-rate musicians, Segev led each number with the name and photo of a particular Israeli citizen on a large screen. Then he told what that person did when war broke out in Gaza. Many were young people: one Rose, grew up in Atlanta and first visited Israel as a young child. She made the decision then to live there. Later, as a young woman, she joined the Israeli army and yes, died in its service. His song called ‘The One who Stayed,” is dedicated to Liron Barda who, rather than escaping the NOVA peace concert, stayed to help others. Neta Epstein was sheltering with his fiancée when a grenade hit their safe room. He jumped on the grenade, saving his fiancée but ending his life. Amor Abu Sabela saw a family trapped in a car, the dead father at the wheel. He got in and drove the family out of the crossfire. And the beat goes on.

The non-profit Project Heroes (contributions go to survivors in Israel) is dedicated to those who lost their lives, while saving the lives of others, on that horrific day. Jewish heroes throughout history are also honored and woven into the program.

The head of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Jack Kliger, was thrilled to offer his space to the Project. He said the museum has upped its security, like others, but remains determined to keep the mission relevant. “Every grandchild or grandchild’s grandchild should have a place where they can learn their family’s history” he says. “Thousands of students come every year to learn about the Holocaust. Our motto remains ‘never forget’ and ‘never again.’

Project Heroes has moved on to other cities. Interestingly, a similar piece, without the music component, is also taking place in New York. “In Their Own Words” consists entirely of eyewitness accounts of the October 7 massacres. Every word on the stage is taken from the actual accounts of survivors and families of victims. The play, at the Actors Temple on W. 47 th (a place of Jewish worship years ago) is up through mid- June.