Ten days after conducting the first World Creation Concert in Jerusalem, Dr. Mordechai Sobol passed away.
As was his annual custom, Dr. Sobol travelled to the U.S. to conduct music for the Jewish High Holidays. After the prayer services last Tuesday evening, he fainted. He was taken to a local hospital where he was diagnosed as having suffered a brain aneurysm. He died on Sunday.
As director of the Yuval Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Dr. Sobol was recognized as a leading force in Jewish liturgical music. Sobol was born in Hadera, Israel in 1951 to Polish Holocaust survivor parents. He began his cantorial studies at the age of eight and became a cantor at a very young age. In addition, he was also a composer, orchestrator and arranger for cantorial works for soloists and choirs. A popular performing and recording artist, he received several prestigious awards for his work, including the Jerusalem Prize and the President’s Prize for Education.
Two weeks ago, Dr. Sobol conducted the World Creation Concert at the Jerusalem Archaeological Park – Davidson Center held to commemorate the day on which Jewish tradition states the world was created. Intended to unite all the nations in praise of the Creator, invitations were sent out to world leaders and several were in attendance. The Temple Mount – or as close as it was possible to get – was chosen as the location because, according to Jewish tradition the creation of the world began at the even shtiya (foundation stone) that lay under the Holy of Holies in the Temple.
“It was a great privilege and a gift from Heaven to attend the last concert conducted by Mordechai Sobol, of blessed memory, ten days before he left the world” Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the nascent Sanhedrin and one of the organizers of the concert, told Breaking Israel News. “The concert took place in the courtyard of the Temple and was nothing less than a universal thanksgiving and praising of God for His creation. The concert was the foundation for peace, truth and justice according to the Torah of Israel and the prophets of Israel.There can be no greater legacy for a musical conductor.”
Mordechai Persoff, head of the Mikdash Educational Center and a concert organizer of the concert, said that Dr. Sobol was enthusiastic about the Creation Concert, taking it on as a personal mission.
“As the time approached for the performance, he told me that such a concert was suited for an audience of tens of thousands and not just the 1,000 who attended in Jerusalem,” Persoff told Breaking Israel News. “He was pleased that so many more saw the concert, and will continue to see the concert, via the Internet.”
Persoff noted that Dr. Sobol had a meaningful personal connection with the Creation Concert.
“Dr. Sobol had his son, Ophir, conduct the last three pieces of music in the concert,” Persoff told Breaking Israel News. “The Biblical commentaries say that the death of Aaron the Priest was made sweet because he saw his son’s consecrated to replace him.”
“It must have been equally as sweet for Dr. Sobol to see his son conduct his final concert,” Persoff speculated.
The concert can be viewed in its entirety online.