Koolulam20 20 SOI20 Podcast
Jan 30, 2023

Collective Effervescence with Or Taicher, Michal Shahaf, Ben Yaffet and Dr. Shira Gabriel (podcast)

The science behind getting "swept up" in a feeling of being part of something larger than yourself, and how it relates to human flourishing.

By Templeton Staff

A Templeton World Charity Foundation-funded study led by social psychologist Dr. Shira Gabriel is looking at the effects group singing events like those put together by Koolulam have on aspects of our wellbeing.

Have you ever been in a group of people, everyone focused on the same thing — a sports competition or a sermon or a performance — and you’ve had a feeling that you’re being transported or transformed by what you’re experiencing? It’s when you’re been a part of a collective moment of being that is so powerful and so meaningful that you forget about any self-consciousness or shyness or hesitation, and you feel swept up in what might be called celebration, or rapture, or joy, or love.

There’s actually a term for those beautiful, resonant, collective experiences — collective effervescence. This episode of Stories of Impact podcast explores the collective effervescence of Koolulam, “a social-musical initiative aimed at strengthening the fabric of society, centering around mass-singing events.” 

Six years ago, Or Taicher, an Israeli artist, was scrolling through YouTube when he came across a video that would change his life. In the video, thousands of religious Jews gathered at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Swaying, shoulder to shoulder, their voices joined together as one, they sang. Despite being a secular Jew, Taicher was moved. He felt the unity and spirituality and he wondered: could people sing together in a secular setting and feel that same unity and spirituality? Taicher partnered with musical director Ben Yaffet and CEO Michal Shahaf to create Koolulam, an organization that has now brought mass singing events to over 350,000 people all over the world. 

Listen to the podcast with the above player.

Learn more about TWCF-funded research project related to this episode.

This episode is winner of a 2023 Platinum Hermes Creative Award.

Music for this episode courtesy of Koolulam, featuring One Day and other choral works.

Built upon the award-winning video series of the same name, Templeton World Charity Foundation’s “Stories of Impact” podcast features stories of new scientific research on human flourishing that translate discoveries into practical tools. Bringing a mix of curiosity, compassion, and creativity, journalist Richard Sergay and producer Tavia Gilbert shine a spotlight on the human impact at the heart of cutting-edge social and scientific research projects supported by TWCF.