In this first installment of a compelling three-part series, we delve into the multifaceted life of Yair Levi, an Orthodox Jewish Worship Leader in Israel. His journey intertwines the roles of artist, advocate, and soldier, reflecting the complexities faced by many in a nation under siege. Over the past four months, the escalating conflict in Israel has profoundly altered countless lives, including that of Yair, an artist ever-prepared to defend his homeland. Such a dual existence, balancing artistic passion with the call of duty, is a concept quite foreign to the American experience. As we explore Yair’s story, our hearts and prayers extend towards the peace of Jerusalem, the swift and safe return of hostages, the protection of innocents in Palestine, and the well-being of Jewish communities worldwide.
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June 2023 – The Artist Comes to Nashville
In this first insightful interview recorded in June of 2023, Yair Levi, an Israeli Orthodox Jewish Worship Leader, shares his remarkable journey from a military career to a spiritual vocation in music. Yair, a devoted husband to Yarden and father of three with one on the way, holds a unique lineage as a Levite, hailing from the ancient Levi tribe. His early passion for music was temporarily set aside as he joined the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at 18, eventually becoming a Major in an elite unit akin to the American Navy SEALs.
Yair’s eight-year tenure in the IDF was a time of deep introspection and transformation. He recalls the secrecy and intensity of operations within Israel and on its borders, which instilled a profound sense of pride and purpose in him. A pivotal moment in his service was the Suketan operation (we may have misunderstood Yair on this point and welcome correction), where he found himself questioning the risks he was taking. The answer, he realized, lay in the Biblical promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This realization that he was fulfilling a millennia-old dream of his ancestors to fight for their land was a turning point, deepening his faith and commitment.
Jews Are Loved By Christians
Post-military, Yair pursued his dream of becoming a musician. He was surprised to find that his music, deeply rooted in Jewish tradition and sung in Hebrew, resonated strongly with Christian audiences. Initially perplexed by this, Yair’s wife Yardin encouraged him to see it as part of God’s plan, leading him to embrace this unexpected turn.
Yair’s journey into music became a bridge between Jewish and Christian communities. He found common ground in the shared heritage of the Hebrew Bible and began educating his audience about its Hebraic roots. His insights, such as the deeper meaning of “Lech Lecha” in the story of Abraham, highlighted the importance of understanding Hebrew to fully grasp the Biblical message.
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Yair’s story is a testament to the unifying power of faith and music. His experience in the IDF shaped his spiritual path, leading him to use his musical talents to illuminate commonalities between Judaism and Christianity. His work is a beacon of hope and unity, transcending religious boundaries and promoting a message of togetherness under God.
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How To Support Israel
Amidst Israel’s ongoing war, plant a tree with KKL-JNF. Your contribution brightens the future, leaves a legacy, and unites history, faith, and nature. Go here to learn more.
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Joshua Swanson is the Editor-in-Chief of Worship Leader. He's also the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Authentic Media, Worship Leader's parent company, and the former CEO and Co-founder of the creative agency GTMA. His proudest achievement is his marriage to Rachael Joy and partnering with her in founding New Hope Children. As a performer and speaker, he’s appeared on TV networks like ABC, NBC, Lifetime, and Hallmark. His companies have worked with major brands like Sprint, Pokemon Go (he was also in a Pokemon movie), Pepsi, The Latin Grammys, the Billboard Awards, Corona and over 75 national developers. He’s narrated over a hundred audiobooks and was awarded Best YA Voice twice. His companies have been Inc. 5000 three different times.