Hi! I'm Shawn Gilley and I'm a high school sophomore in Oak Park, IL. At this very moment, I'm actually in Israel, where I'm an exchange student for the spring semester. This album, HOLD ON, is an expression of my deep commitment to peace in the Middle East. These songs were written during the first semester of my sophomore year. The idea of the CD is holding on to hope and always remembering there will be better times. A little background for each of the songs: 1. Hold On - a song of hope for Israel (includes the chorus from HaTikvah, the Israeli national anthem) 2. The Time is Always Right - inspired by Hillel's famous quote 'If not now, when?' 3. May the Words - from Psalm 19:15 - Y'hiyu l'ratzon i'm'rei fi v'hegyon libi l'fanecha, Adonai tzuri v'goali. (May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You, O God, my Rock and my Redeemer.) 4. Shannee's Song (Mi Shebeirach) - Mi Shebeirach means 'the One who Blessed' and is a standard way of beginning a prayer that asks for God's blessing. This song/prayer was written for my great-grandmother Mitzi Lisagor who recently celebrated her 95th birthday. 5. Justice - inspired by Deuteronomy 16:20 - Justice, justice, shalt thou pursue. 6. Lo Yisa Goy - from Isaiah 2:4 - Lo yisa goy el goy cherev, lo yil'm'du od milchama. (Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war anymore.) 7. Shir Hadash - from Psalm 149 - Shir hadash b'shuv Adonai - Sing a new song unto God. 8. Shir HaMalot - Songs of Ascent - refers to the 15 Psalms sung by the Levites as they ascended the steps of the Temple. 9. I'm There - written in anticipation of leaving behind family and friends as I depart for a semester in Israel.