Rita Jahan-Farouz is an Israeli pop singer and actress, notable for being one of Israel’s most famous female singers. Rita was born in Tehran, Iran in 1962. Her family immigrated to Israel in 1970 and lived in a suburb outside of Tel Aviv.
She began singing professionally as a band member while in the Israeli Army during the 1980s, and rose to stardom quickly. Rita began her career in 1980 as part of a musical troupe in the Israeli Army.
In 1982, she attended the “Beit Zvi” school of acting. Her first exposure to the general public in Israel was at the 1986 Pre-Eurovision Song Contest, which decided who would represent Israel in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. Rita did not win, but her song “Path of Escape”, along with her provocative performance, garnered much interest.
That same year, Rita starred in an adaptation of My Fair Lady and released her self-titled debut album, Rita, which went triple platinum, selling over 120,000 copies. Since then, three decades has passed and Rita did not cease from performing, singing, recording, acting and becoming a true ambassador of good will for the state of Israel.
The release of her first ever Persian album “My Joys” gave Rita a chance to spread messages of tolerance, comradery and gap bridging via music. Not only did the album gained worldwide success, but it also lead to Rita’s unforgettable performance at the US Assembly hall in NY back in 2013.
2015 was an incredible year for Rita: not only was her first ever 2 CD set compilation launched (alongside a very successful tour; see next page) but also, she returned to the theater stage, reprising her role as Eliza Doolittle.
A trained actress and a remarkable soprano singer, Rita easily slipped back into Eliza’s shoes, dancing, singing, acting and captivating critics and theater goers’ hearts alike. In addition, she also continued her international efforts to spread the message of music’s ability to unite and break down dividing walls.
Hillel is the largest organization for Jewish students in the Diaspora and its activities currently extends over 550 campuses worldwide. This year, Hillel approached Rita in order to organize a speaking tour at a number of selected campuses. Hillel decided to pick Rita as they view her as “a figure which is a symbol and a personal example of Israeli culture… an icon which combines Jewish and Israeli alike”. In their letter they wrote: “we would like you, Rita – to tell your story and your family’s history, alongside your journey in the Israeli music culture, as you proved yourself as a leader and a personal example for women in general, and for Jewish women in particular”.
And so, Rita embarked on an intimate tour, visiting selected colleges and reaching out to a wide variety of students: Jewish, Muslims, secular and religious. Rita, who loves R&B, had the opportunity to collaborate with “Red Band” (an Israeli English speaking Muppet band) in a cover for Alicia Keys’ signature song and number one hit from 2001 – Fallin’.The new rendition was an overnight success, proving that Rita’s vocals has no boundaries and that she is as versatile, as always.