Shabbat Surfing: One Week To Go

There was a lot of hubub this week about how the National Mall is a disgrace. Like this blogger, we couldn’t disagree more. And with next week’s enormous Israel @ 60 Capital Celebration on the Mall featuring Regina Spektor, Mandy Patinkin, Mashina and characters from Sesame Street, we hope to restore the proud reputation of the Mall. Oh, and note to self, good choice not including Jackie Mason.

The news that Israel is in negotiations for a peace treaty with Syria adds an ironic postscript to President Bush’s comments to the Israeli Knesset last week about “appeasement” and make this guy look even dumber.

Rabbi Mordechai Rackover of Beth Shalom Congregation in Potomac begins a guest blogging gig at the Jew and the Carrot by lamenting the kosher dining scene in the area as “kosher culinary hell.” He’s on a quest for “deeper flavor profiles and ecstatic moments with well-crafted sausages and cheeses (just not at the same time) and really amazing wine.”

Finally, annoy a theater critic. Go see David In Shadow and Light.

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Shabbat Surfing: 60th Anniversary Edition

“How should American Jews pray for Israel?” asks Ari Kelman over Jewcy. His excellent overview comes in the wake of some recent brushfires in the blogosphere over suggested changes to the prayer in some congregations.

Meanwhile 60 Bloggers blog Israel’s 60th Anniversary, which may be taking the numeracy thing a bit far, but there are some outstanding posts among them.

What do you get the Jewish state that has everything except internationally recognized borders, peace with its neighbors and a healthy division between government and religion? How about a national bird?

Meanwhile the Rootless Cosmopolitan is silent on Israel’s birthday, but is quite excited for Frank London’s.

As for us, we don’t care what the calendar says. Israel isn’t sixty until June 1.

Regina Spektor Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg for the 2008 Washington Jewish Music Festival

I had in my hands for a short little while today the final printer’s proof of the program for the 2008 Washington Jewish Music Festival. It is going to be awesome. The hard copy won’t be back for a couple of days, but you can check out the program on-line here.

The Festival’s opening day is June 1 and if you read regularly, then you already know about Regina Spektor headlining the main stage at the humongous (and free) Israel @ 60 Capital Celebration on the National Mall. Oh yeah, and it also includes Mandy Patinkin–I hear he can sing a little. And Mashina, Israel’s long-standing kings of rock. Oh, and Oscar the Grouch with his Israeli cousin Moishe Oofnik— and we all know that there’s nothing cooler than Sesame Street, and no one kicks it old school better than His Grouchiness.

It is sort of impossible to write an over-view post covering the entire festival, so for the moment I’ll focus on the performer who I think has the most in-common with Regina, and that would be Rachael Sage. Rachael SageShe’ll be performing on Wednesday, June 4 at DC9 Nightclub. Both Regina and Rachael share roots in the New York folk (or anti-folk) scene and combine vivid lyrical styles with a musical adroitness that is at once accessible without sacrificing melodic ambition. What exactly do I mean by that? The music sounds as good as the smart lyrics that accompany it. While both are mainstream artists, neither has shied away from their Jewish identity, neither in their musical subjects (Spektor’s “Samson” and Sage’s “93 Maidens” being just two examples); nor in their public personaes, Spektor’s cover photo for Begin to Hope features her prominently wearing a Star of David necklace and Sage’s press materials describe her early musical efforts thusly: “When I started I was writing a lot of music that sounded like Elton John – if he’d been a nice Jewish girl from a long line of Russian cantors.” Rachael Sage is being presented in partnership with the 16th Street J’s Kurlander Program for Gay and Lesbian Outreach and Engagement (GLOE) and Regina Spektor will be back in DC later in June for the True Colors tour which raises awareness and funds for various GLBT organizations.

Take a listen for yourself and check back often for more information about the 2008 Washington Jewish Music Festival.

Click below to hear Rachael Sage’s My Word from her upcoming album, Chandelier

In Case You Missed It: Shalom Hanoch at Lisner Auditorium

Tali Chitaiad, the 16th Street J’s director of Literature, Music and Dance reports on Tuesday night’s concert: 

Shalom HanochIt was 65 degrees. It was pouring outside. The wind was gusty. And inside—Shalom Hanoch was singing. Rocking. Exciting the audience and enjoying himself. It was one of those elevating performances where you leave thinking how fortunate artists are to be able to create and perform and move their listeners. And how fortunate were we, his audience.

Shalom Hanoch is really one of the forefathers of Israeli rock. His music and lyrics, his performance, and especially his diligent search for new boundaries have been defining Israeli Music since the ’60s.

Tuesday night at Lisner Auditorium, Shalom Hanoch swept everyone away with his lyrical songs and got everyone on their feet with his rock and bluesy songs. He rocked the house together with four fabulous musicians: Moshe Levy on keyboards and guitar; Roni Peterson on guitar; Ziv Harpaz on bass; and Asher Fadi on drums. Hanoch performed songs from different periods of his career including Against the Wind, Maya, Man Lives Within Himself, White Wedding, On the Face of the Earth, Waiting for the Messiah, In this Life Time, and more.

Maintaining his amazing performing skills, youthful voice, and sweeping energy, Shalom excited the audience throughout the entire evening. He is an incredible performer and a humble human being—a unique combination for an artist of his stature.

Here was, once again, a celebration of Israel’s vibrant music scene. A celebration of this maverick Shalom Hanoch who, for decades, developed his unique Israeli voice and style, incorporating different genres (ballads, rock, blues) and making them his own. In doing so he laid the foundation for Israeli rock and changed the face of the Israeli music scene. Don’t miss him while he is in the States (March 8, 2008 – Los Angeles, CA)

To see a video of Shalom Hanoch click here (Windows Media Player required)

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