Sunday, March 1, 2009


Israeli dancing to rap music by Y-Love

Club dancing in flip-flops. 

A Breslov chassid dancing with modern Orthodox and non-religious guys. 

It's the Jewlicious Festival, and it's nothing if not fascinating to watch. 

For a "Jewish Woodstock," as LA Blueprint website called it, it was a lot smaller than I expected. The crowd in front of the stage was maybe 10 or 15 rows of people thick, with the rest of the room consisting of people just meandering about, dancing, or just watching. 

Some group (or maybe it was just one performer - I couldn't tell) named "Kosher Dillz" was rapping away on stage and I wasn't especially impressed with the cries of, "Oy vey all day!"

Dov Rosenblatt, of the band Blue Fringe, came up, and things started to get much better. Dov has a nice voice, plays guitar really well, and gave a very good performance. When the Moshav Band came on and sang a song with him, you could feel the excitement in the room growing. 

Then Moshav came on. The room was packed full and when Moshav started playing the crowd started moving together for the first time in the evening. Their music and charisma made it impossible not to be drawn in. The audience was so involved in the performance that they were practically breathing together. Without a doubt, they were the highlight of the evening. 

It seemed to go downhill from there. After Moshav left the stage, the room emptied out. The next performer, a German-Jewish pop singer, had a depressingly small audience, and when I wandered outside I found out it was because most of the crowd went to join a drum circle. 

My first drum circle. I was so NOT excited. But with the choice between a Jewish-German Britney Spears, dancing provacatively with a guy wearing a kippah who she called on stage, and a drum circle, I decided to just sit on the side and watch. 

The drummer wearing the, "60 Years of Getting Chai" did freak me out, but it was when the shofar came out that I knew it was time to leave. 

A dreadlocked-hippy playing a shofar in a drum circle fueled by the fumes of weed wafting through the air... That was just too much for me. Call me intollerant but it was so far out of my realm of normal that I didn't know what to do with myself. 

In spite of the scary parts, I had a pretty good time and I'm glad that I went, if only to see all different kinds of Jews coming together to dance and sing. 

Next time, though, can we do it without the drugs and alcohol, please?

1 comment:

  1. As a Reform Jewish woman, I was thrilled to be a part of that drum circle- it was my highlight of the Jewlicious festival. If only there were more spaces that we can come together, despite our differences, and dance, drum, and sing songs of our tradition and songs of peace.