Ep. 123: Transcending divisions and conflict through song, with The Jerusalem Youth Chorus’ Micah Hendler

Jerusalem Youth Chorus

The Jerusalem Youth Chorus in Home (from Home)

The Jerusalem Youth Chorus is a choral and dialogue program for Palestinian and Israeli youth in Jerusalem. Through the co-creation of music and the sharing of stories, young people meet those from “the other side,” gain an understanding of the perspectives of one another, and become forces for peace, justice, inclusion, and equality.

Micah Hendler
Micah Hendler


The Jerusalem Youth Chorus (JYC) is an Israeli-Palestinian music and dialogue project. It’s been featured on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and in the New York Times and more than 100 other news sources. I’m so thrilled to have its Founder and Artistic Director with me today. Micah Hendler is joining me from Washington, DC. Micah was featured in the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 for Music. In addition to founding JYC, Micah is also a Founding Partner of Raise Your Voice Labs, a creative culture change company; he also writes for Forbes.com on music, society, and social change.


We discuss:

  • The news story that first introduced me to JYC in 2014 2014 during the Gaza War
  • What IS the JYC?
  • A typical JYC rehearsal
  • How does JYC’s dialogue work?
  • How do music and dialogue function together?
  • What draws youth to the program? And is it the same thing that KEEPS them there and involved?
  • What role does music play in this process? Would you be able to have the dialogue without the music?
  • How does the impact of the program reach BEYOND the participants themselves?
  • How/why did JYC start?
  • How is the JYC funded?
  • Micah is also a Founding Partner of Raise Your Voice Labs, a creative culture change company that helps organizations, companies, and communities transform their cultures and embody new visions for their future through deep group process work, collaborative songwriting, and music video production.

Connect/Other Resources

In-Episode Promo

This is a quick break to tell you about the digital sheet music site I have used for probably a decade! Sheet Music Direct is powered by music publisher Hal Leonard. They have more than a million sheet music arrangements that you can view – and listen to – right from your device for convenient online shopping and immediate downloads of educational, classical, and pop scores representing any genre and holiday. Prices start at $0.99 and you can both print your purchases instantly and access them on any device, which really comes in handy for our family when we’re out of state visiting Grandma & Grandpa, and they want to hear my kids play the piano! Sheet Music Direct has saved me countless hours of driving to music stores and sifting through bins of sheet music and books to find the right song (and hoping the perfect song isn’t out of stock). Access the latest hits and yesterday’s classics at sheetmusicdirect.com.


Micah shares the story behind, and audio from, JYC’s Home (from Home):

Closing Words

And that is just a little bit of the JYC’s Home (from Home) YouTube clip. I really encourage you to do yourself a favor and watch the full YouTube video. The link is in the show notes. It is so powerful to listen to the entire recording AND see the visuals – it is such a moving and inspiring experience! Thank you so much to Micah for coming on the show today and for all he does to enhance lives with music. Thank you to The JYC and its many collaborators for all you do to use your voice and platform and skills to bring better communication, relationships, and peace to our world. If you enjoyed this episode and have not yet followed Enhance Life with Music, be sure to tap the follow/+ button in whatever podcast app you use. This conveniently delivers each new episode to your device automatically, so it is ready to go whenever/wherever you are ready to listen, whether that is on your commute, shuttling kids around, working out, doing yardwork (which includes shoveling snow for those of us in Minnesota right now!). When you follow us, this also helps the show and helps others find the show. All links from today’s episode – and a transcript – can be found in the show notes. All links are also in the episode details right in your podcast app. You can reach me on email (mindy@mpetersonmusic.com), Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Thanks so much for joining me today. Until next week, may your life be enhanced with music.

View Episode Transcript

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