by Jarrett Hoffman
Avi Avital remembers meeting Omer Avital — no relation — in the cafeteria at the Jerusalem Music Academy.
“We both had this look on our faces like, ‘What’s in that strange instrument case?’” Avi told me during a recent phone call. “He was with his oud, and I was with my mandolin.”
They started talking and discovered how much they had in common. “There’s the family name, for one thing,” Avi said. “We’re not blood-related, but it’s the DNA of our heritage — Avital is a name that is typical to Jewish Moroccan families.” Both Avi and Omer were born and raised in Israel, their parents having immigrated there from Morocco. “We connected very fast.”