Here is my article that was published in the Guardian today. I preferred my original title, Leonard Cohen: That’s how the light gets in (taken from the quote below from his powerful song Anthem), which he both sang and said last night, but I guess the Guardian editor’s felt it was too poetic. A truly memorable concert. –Hillel
Leonard Cohen sings of love and peace
Three days before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when everything comes to a halt in Israel, Leonard Cohen sang:
Repent, Repent … I’m the little Jew who wrote the Bible, I’ve seen the nations rise and fall, I’ve heard their stories, heard them all, but love’s the only engine of survival.
The national football stadium in the Ramat Gan suburb of Tel Aviv has been the scene of many agonising defeats in recent times, but Cohen’s performance, with a background of signs saying “Shalom, Salaam, Peace,” was a triumph of the will. Or as Cohen put it:
Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
“How many roads must a man walk down, before they can call him a man?” asked his fellow troubadour, so many years ago when they both began to build their tower of song and enter into the consciousness of my generation. For Cohen to be able to reach the point of saying “I’m your man”, he had to overcome the theft of millions of dollars by his former manager, bouts of depression, transformations of identity, a fainting spell in one of his recent performances and a call that he should boycott Israel as a show of solidarity with the Palestinians.