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Setting a 60th anniversary Guinness World Record

by michael May 06 2008
Municipal newsThings to do
Guinness: Purveyors of fine beer and goofy records

How's that song go? Something like, "Every time I tried to tell you / The words just came out wrong / So I'll have to say I love you in a song targeted squarely at gaining entry in a popular reference book of bizarre feats and obscure world records."

That seems to be the operating principle behind the Live Hatikva initiative, anyway. On Wednesday, May 7, the eve of Independence Day (Yom Haatzmaut), at 22:50, Israel-lovers at home and abroad will make an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the category of "greatest number of people singing a national anthem simultaneously," which you can find in the record book somewhere between "longest distance (overland) a 1973 Ford Pinto has been pulled by human hair alone" and "fastest mile run on stilts at a major historical site while performing an aria from Tosca."

The attempt will be kicked off in Israel at the conclusion of the Independence Day Lighting Up the Sky show, a fuzzily-explained spectacle described by its press release as "the lyrics of 'Hatikva' lighting up the sky all over the country." Whether this will be accomplished through fireworks, lasers, or a Book of Daniel-esque disembodied hand tracing portents of doom in the sky remains unknown. The countdown and following mass performance of "Hatikva" will occur publicly in Jerusalem and in dozens of other Israeli towns. Participating international cities and Jewish communities include New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Boston, New Jersey, Chicago, Colombia, Toronto, Jamaica, Finland, Ukraine, Moscow, Argentina, Riyadh, Cairo, Beirut and Kiryas Joel, New York. Okay, except for the last four.

Says event organizer Galia Albin: "This is the first event of its kind in the world, in which Jews unite around a song dedicated only to the Jewish world.... In this time, in which the possibility of one state for two peoples has increasingly been brought up in public discourse, including within leftist circles in Israel itself, there arises a need to strengthen the Jewish affinity of a State of Israel that respects the minorities living within its borders. In singing 'Hatikva,' every Jew in Israel and in the world salutes the state on its 60th birthday."

Albin, a businesswoman and television commentator, spent her time before the "Hatikva" initiative establishing her own leftist bonafides with ventures ranging from regional peace conferences to the Israeli debut of Penthouse magazine, which was beaten back by religious groups who evidently had some sort of moral quibble with frank pictorials of nude models frolicking with other nude models. Puritans.

For information on participation in this record-breaking event, visit its official website. Participating groups who adhere to the strict criteria set down by those pubhounds at Guinness will, in the event that the record is broken, receive an official commemorative certificate from the World Records people. They will not, however, receive any Guinness, which hardly seems fair.

Photo of tasty Guinnesses in various states of dismemberment courtesy of Scott Thompson from flickr under a creative commons license.

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