Mexican singer Adam Kleinberg was chosen as the winner of the 2011 Hallelujah singing competition Thursday night in Ramat Hasharon, Israel. The team of judges, headed by veteran singer Yehoram Gaon and comprised of well-known Israeli musicians and producers such as Kobi Oshrat, Noam Gilor and DJ Skazi awarded Kleinberg the $8000 prize and the opportunity to record a duet with an Israeli artist. Kleinberg’s runner up is Oliver Ghnassia from Brussels, 19.
“I am so excited to be in Israel, it is a special feeling for me,” said Kleinberg after the contest. “The Hallelujah project was an amazing gift and coming in the first place is a dream come true.”
Hallelujah global Jewish singing contest was formed in 1992 by Eitan Gafni, and ran for three years, but a lack of funds led to its cancellation. In the beginning of 2011, Gafni decided to put his song contest out there again, after a friend of his son’s, who was a teenager at the time of the original contest ,returned home to Israel from an extended stay in Australia and encouraged him to help young Jews in the Diaspora reconnect to Israel through song.
Seven months later, and 30 finalists, ages 16-26, representing Jewish communities in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, France, Australia, Argentina, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, England, Turkey, Costa Rica, and Uruguay, arrived in Israel for a three-week tour of the country, and to work on their songs ahead of the competition.From these contestants ‘The Next Jewish Star’ was crowned, and now is headed for performances in Jewish communities around the globe.
A DVD of the contest is also being put together for distribution in Jewish venues around the world.
Contest plans for next year include holding auditions and semifinals in Jewish communities in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and London.