Non-profit fosters love of Israel through music
March 9, 2012 | Joanne Hill - Correspondent
Israeli-Canadian Ravid Dahan, founder of Motek Cultural Initiative, says, “I’m in love with this community, with this city. If there is a way in this world that we can change perceptions of Israel, it's in Toronto. The change will come from here.”
TORONTO – A non-profit organization created to foster a love of Israel through Israeli music is hosting a concert by the world-famous Idan Raichel Project.
All proceeds from the March 18 concert at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, CNE Grounds, will go to the non-profit Motek Cultural Initiative (MCI). A Moroccan-themed after-party will feature DJs, belly dancers, food, a cash bar and a chance to meet Idan Raichel.
“I’m bringing my knowledge from the corporate world, combined with my Zionist passion and Israeli-Moroccan vibe, into the non-profit world,” said Ravid Dahan, MCI founder.
Dahan was a ballet dancer for 14 years but, after her military service, switched to a business career that involved opening and overseeing 49 stores in cities around the world.
She grew up in Kiryat Shmona, which is on the border with Lebanon and has often been targetted by Hezbollah. It upset her when people outside of Israel criticized her homeland.
“I’d get into arguments with people and get angry; that was the beginning. It was coming from a defensive mode and I think that’s how Israel behaves as a country for public relations.... The second I stepped out of this mode, I realized that people just don’t know.”
But more than that, she said, people in Canada “do want to know. They’re curious because it’s a new country, they’re always hearing the word Israel, and there are Jewish people around all the time.”
She came to Canada five years ago and loved it so much she decided to stay. She sold her stores and started a booking agency and artist management business, Motek Productions, in 2009 “to put Israel in a positive light. The idea was to bring Israeli [music] artists to Jewish organizations and have them interacting first with the community and then with others.”
After being told that many Jewish organizations lacked the funds to bring Israeli musicians to perform at their events, Dahan created MCI to raise the money to help sponsor such visits.
The goals of MCI are “to unite the community, show a different face of Israel, and give our next generation a better tool to explain Israel. What could be better than music? Music changes history. People who don’t listen to you [talk] will listen to music.
“And there is more than Hava Nagila and Yerushalayim Shel Zahav in Israel. We have awesome music, lots of talent. It makes sense: people from all over the world are in Israel; you have the taste of every genre.”
Dahan said MCI will be in full swing by September 2013.
For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.motekculturalinitiative.com.