Sunday, May 10, 2009

Daniel and Juliano

At the time of my brief visit in Naples, I noticed flattering posters of the musical conductor of the city's 'San Carlo' theater, Daniel Oren. D.O. was born in Jaffa, Israel, son to an arab father and a jewish mother. He was lucky. He had great talent for music (both vocal & instrumental) and a very ambitious mother who had decided to invest a lot in her dream of having her son become a top musician.

At a certain stage, Daniel Oren went abroad to perfect his musical studies, away from an hostile environment that called people like him "stinking arab" and "dirty Jew". He developed an international brilliant career as a musical conductor, with Italy being the country that opened all possible doors for him.

As for his identity, it appeared he didn't have any dilemma about that. He chose his mother's orthodox jewish one (he wears a skullcap, as all jewish male observants do).

Maestro Daniel Oren

At the other end, is the story of Juliano (name sounds italian , but he's not) . Juliano Mer Hamis, a gifted, charismatic actor was born in Nazareth, Israel ,also to an arab father and a jewish mother. He grew up in a heavy political atmosphere, his parents being prominent members of the arab-israeli communist party.

Music has beneficial influence: it conveys messages of peace and tolerance, it calms , soothes and unites the spirits. Politics, on the other hand, stirs up negative emotions, feeds conflicts and frustrations. arouses violence.

From the newspapers I learnt that Juliano, the actor, gave his employers a hard time. Once , he slapped the face of a young actress, on another occasion he peed in the office of his boss, the director of the theater where he performed. At a certain point, he started to give interviews in which he claimed openly he feels alien in the jewish society. His parallel /next step was to join his mother in her political and human rights activity for palestinians . He directed some films on these issues . fully identifying himself with his palestinian movie heroes.

Actor and political activist Juliano Mer Hamis

Daniel, and Juliano - two people with one similar complex background - that of parents belonging to a different religion and ethnicity, in a region of interminable wars and conflicts. Their talents and their dominant jewish mothers helped shape the thorny path into something that ,more or less, suited their personal character and vocation.


  1. You are posing a very complex problem here,LOL. That these two people with similar backgrounds turned out so vastly different, has something to say about the variety in worldview and personality differences , even among people of similar backgrounds.

  2. Hi jeannete,

    This story has a special meaning on Mother's Day. The two mothers are even more interesting figures than the two sons. As far as I know, they both divorced their husbands and concentrated on their goals. Each of these women played a very dominant part in her son's life.

  3. Interesting post, Duta. Thank you for sharing this with us. I agree with you about the special meaning on Mother's Day. Mother's certainly do have influence over their children, both for good and bad.

    I wish you a very Happy Mother's Day!

  4. Mothers do tend to have more inter-action with their children. I think that the son who disrespected others, though, does his mother a dishonor, even allowing for his talent.

    I always learn a great deal from your posts. I appreciate you doing them.


  5. Very thought provoking post. Two men, similar backgrounds, different lives. What other outside factors influenced their directions in addition to their mothers?

  6. Kelly,

    Thanks. I completely agree with you as to a mother's influence on her children. I think, though,she has stronger influence on a daughter than on a son.

  7. Karen,

    Thanks for your comment and especially for the kind words in your last two sentences. That's very encouraging for me.

  8. Hi Lisa,

    Welcome to my little blog! Politics seemed to be the main outside factor that made a difference. Besides, the time when the parents separated from each other. I think that in the case of Daniel, the separation took place when he was still a child, so he was not in two different worlds, but mainly in his mother's world. In addition, his talent for music was obvious at an early age, thus he knew exactly in what direction he was going, so all that made things easier for him.

  9. I have two brothers, and both of them had very different relationships with our mother. It was interesting to see how the relationship affected their lives.

    Very interesting post!

    (I am going to learn more about Maestro Daniel Oren.)

  10. Jo,
    Thank you. I'm glad you find my post interesting.
    You do that, go learn more about the musical conductor. I've promised myself to read whatever available about the two mothers. It could be fascinatung , but I keep postponing it for lack of time reasons.