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Monday, November 23, 2009

Nefesh B'Nefesh Hanukkah Flash Mob

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Born in the USA, Making Aliyah Today

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Jerusalem's "Rave" Reviews

When many people think of Israel, an image of people riding around on camels in the desert shooting machine guns may come to mind (if you think I'm joking I'll have you know I actually had a friend in college who seriously believed this until I informed him to the contrary that we actually have such advanced infrastructure as "roads" and "office buildings" and "malls"). If it's not the middle east conflicts that one may think of then perhaps Israel's numerous religious and historical sites, or it's pristine beaches and natural scenery, or it's world renown high-tech industry. But an often overlooked aspect of Israel is it's trance scene. Israel has given to rise to some of the top trance artists, including Infected Mushroom, a personal favorite of mine and almost anybody else into Goa Trance.

It's with this in mind that I feel I shouldn't have been surprised, though I still was, by what I witnessed this past Friday afternoon. While running an errand that involved schlepping from the the Machane Yehuda shuk to the old city, I started hearing a steady deep thumping coming from a side street off of Yaffo Street. As I kept walking it kept getting louder and louder. As I came by a corner I saw some people hanging out on the steps. A few more steps in that direction revealed security guards checking people's backpacks as they were walking in, and as I finally came past the corner I was privy to a full on dance club in the middle of the street. It was complete with what could have been club quality speakers, a stage, and tens of people showing off their best moves while the electronica was blaring out into the streets. I was left scratching my head and asking myself if I was honestly seeing a public sidewalk rave. But not just any public sidewalk rave. One next to the old city of Jerusalem, the religious capital of the world... in the middle of broad daylight... on Friday afternoon when everyone is (supposed to be) getting ready for shabbat. Turns out my eyes, and ears for that matter, were not deceiving me and it was actually happening. I even had a tiny yetzer hara trying to convince me that if it wasn't for my errand as well as the dead give-away peos and tzitzit, maybe I should have jumped into the crowd and relived some old glory days, but alas... the service of the Lord is very demanding upon His faithful ones.

The strange event stuck in my mind for several hours into shabbat, and I mentioned it to a friend of mine from yeshiva while we were walking to the home of our hosts for Friday night dinner. My friend informed me that apparently he's witnessed this same Friday afternoon rave before, just a mere several blocks from where I saw it. Apparently the trance scene in Israel is even better than I originally thought! So much so you don't even need to travel to Tel Aviv on a Saturday night, just walk around downtown Jerusalem on a Friday afternoon.

So for anyone who is a fan of good music, you now have yet another reason to make aliyah. Come to Israel... and don't forget your glowsticks!

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Thursday, March 13, 2008


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Matisyahu the Maccabee, From the Belly of the Babylonian Beast

So I caught Matisyahu and the Wailers on the second night of Chanukah. Read about it here - check out the videos.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

New Chanukah Music by Rocky!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Return Again

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Music for the (Spiritual) Revolution

Shuli Rand struggles and searches for God (From Hebrew Maariv Online)
Worth a listen & some thought!

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Music for Parshat Noach

Out of the Ark: Aharon Razel
The Flood: Avraham Rosenblum
Mabool: Orphaned Land (pretty intense bunch of Jews from Petach Tikva)

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Luciano Pavarotti a"h

"You are Jews and I am Catholic, but we both put the soul of man first, and that is the truth"

Pavaratti visited and sang in Israel a number of times, never cancelling concerts because of terror or politics. Here is a classic clip of the tenor joined by one of our generation's great Rebbes, Barry White shlit"a, singing one of the theme songs of the High Holidays: "My First. My Last, My Everything" ("Emet Atah Hu Rishon..."). Note the very excellent frock & "Bekeshe" the dynamic duo are sporting.

Thanks to proud Jewess Debbie Schlussel for the 'mekor'.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Pre-Kingdom Blues

Well I'm sittin' here waiting

In the Leftist State

Sittin here waiting

in this Leftist state

My brain's been washed and I can't recall the date.

So who's the enemy?

Why should I even fight?

Why be violent?

What gives me the right?

Watch Zehava and Ahmed go off into the night.

I got the Pre Kingdom

The Pre-Kingdom Blues

I got the Pre-Kingdom

Pre-Kingdom Blues

Hope I'm still here when the Big King rule the Jews.

Well they're raping and a pillaging

but we are in a dream

Yeah they're raping our daughters

and we're all in a dream

Do we ever wake up or will we all get creamed?

I'm sittin on a tree stump

in the Judean Hills

Feeling like a stupid chump

As the enemy kills

Boy I'm ready but Messiah still ain't here.

I got the Pre Kingdom

The Pre-Kingdom Blues

I got the Pre-Kingdom

Pre-Kingdom Blues

Hope I'm still here when the Big King rule the Jews.

I got the Pre Kingdom

The Pre-Kingdom Blues

I got the Pre-Kingdom

Pre-Kingdom Blues

Hope I'm still here when everybody gets their dues.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Elul Niggun: Father in the Forest

A Father Calls out to His Children

"...This soulful melody is a dialogue between the Almighty Father and His children, the people of Israel. The Father looks for His children in the Diaspora, Galut, and implores them to return Home to the Holy Land..."

"Where have you been that you have forsaken Me?" He inquires of His children, "Dear children, please return Home, I feel forlorn without you."

The children's answer is "But, Father, how can we return when there is a guard blocking the door?"

*Matisyahu's more recent version of the niggun HERE

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Friday, August 03, 2007

AFP Covers Aharit HaYamim

The AFP infiltrates Aharit HaYamim's festival. Not as nasty coverage as I would expect. Good even...

West Bank: Torah, reggae and marijuana at Jewish 'Woodstock'

by Michael Blum Wed Jul 4, 6:02 PM ET

BAT AYIN SETTLEMENT, West Bank (AFP) - A group rocks to reggae in front of a large star of David while a Jewish rabbi urges a return to the faith amid a cloud of smoke: welcome to a religious Woodstock on the West Bank.

At least 1,000 people, from Orthodox youths wearing kippas to hippies sporting multi-coloured ponchos, gathered on a summer night for the 8th edition of the "Festival of the End of Time." The setting is a pine forest in the Gush Etzion bloc of Jewish settlements.

"This festival gives me spiritual power," gushes Elisheva, a 16-year-old girl from Jerusalem. "There are sparks of holiness in the air." Close to her, teenagers smoking nargilas sit on carpets, swaying to the music.

A curtain is supposed to separate females and males during dancing but in the darkness the religious interdicts are quickly forgotten and everyone mixes freely.

The festival is billed as a "unique spiritual gathering." It aims to be a meeting place for radical settlers in illegal settlements across the occupied West Bank and non-religious Jews, many recently returned from spiritual journeys to India after their military service.

"Thank God all day long," chants singer Yehuda Leuchter, whose family created the festival of Jewish music in memory of their father, an American-born musician who died in 1994.

But the rabbis too have their say.

Michi Yossefi, the guru of young settlers, seizes the microphone and begins to preach the need to respect Jewish religious values to the assembled youths, who drink in his words.

He is not put off by the earrings worn by the males and the short skirts of the females -- his aim is to win back the lost sheep to the faith.

On sale at the stands erected in the forest are Indian fabrics, jewellery and CDs of the latest bands. Nearby, a couple bake bread in a rudimentary oven and offer salads and cheese to festival-goers at a modest price.

"Our message is that unity between the various strands of the Jewish people can hasten our redemption," says 25-year-old Raphael Barkatz, a Parisian saxophonist.

Moshe Karo, a 57-year-old immigrant from the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion, takes the stage to sing a little known song by French artist Serge Gainsbourg, "Sand and the soldiers," the rights of which were offered to Israel in 1967.

"Yes, I will defend the sand of Israel, the soil of Israel, the children of Israel, even if it means dying for the sand of Israel," he sings in French before translating into Hebrew. "The music is a form of prayer to God," says the singer.

As the night wears on, and the families and the few adults leave, the smell of marijuana fills the air.

For Yocheved, 25, who arrived with a group of friends from Jerusalem, the evening is an occasion to relax and meet new people.

"There is a friendly atmosphere, the music is good, there is happiness," she says before taking up a tambourine which she beats in time to the musicians on the stage.

The dawn begins to break. The musicians arrange their instruments and start the morning prayers while the faraway hills glow with the rising of the sun.

OK, well I don't know about the Guru Yosefi part, but kol hakavod Michael Blum for disappointing your editor, who was probably hoping for something with a bit more blood of Christian children in it.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

With Freedom's Holy Light...

In honor of July 4th I thought it would be nice to post the lyrics of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" were written in 1831 and which served as the USA's de facto national anthem for much of the 19th century. In many ways this song is fitting for Israel:

My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountainside
Let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom's song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our father's God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

Sadly, America is moving away from a G-d centered consciousness - check out the new dollar coin with the hidden "In G-d We Trust" (above). I held the coin in my hands and could barely see that cherished motto. Congress is trying to rectify this omission, but I think it's a good indicator of where America is going.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Fire on the Mountain

Music for Shavuot HERE (Track 5), HERE, HERE & HERE

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

See, I Knew it Was 'Tipex'

So Tipex has finally explained why they started spelling their name "Teapacks":

We were originally called Tipex, as in wipeout fluid, because we are trying to wipe out differences between people. We are combining together different kinds of Israel, like Arab Jew Israel with East European kind of Israel. But we found out there are students that are sniffing this fluid and it caused brain damage so we changed our name to Teapacks. We didn't want to take responsibility for this.

I know some guys named Ehud who should maybe change their names so friends of theirs don't maybe vote guys named Ehud into power.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Israel Day Parade?


So I was going to write this a couple of days ago. But a wise person once told me, to never write when your really angry, instead, chill out a bit, and see if you still feel what you want to say, because words are very powerful, and once spoken, are very hard to retract. So going against my nature, I listened...

This post will not be as sharp as it was going to be, but still voice some harsh criticism. A part of me feels that I am not in the position to say what I am about to, but I waited till the chill took over, and I still don't get it. I know I still live in America, and I know that some people think that, in itself, would nullify any views that I have about Israel and its future, however, I am a Jew, before an American, and for that reason, I feel a connection to a place that is not currently my reality (except when I close my eyes), but is still close to my heart. So for everyone reading this, take this paragraph as a warning, and if you are one of those that feel only people living in Israel should have a view regarding its land, proceed with caution.

That being said, I am proud to admit that I boycotted the Salute to Israel day Parade in NYC this lovely Sunday. Instead, I took my bike up to my nephews and went biking and had a bon fire. I have been going to this yearly salute to Israel parade for a while. Sometimes I march and other times I help activism run freely through the crowds of on lookers. But this year, I refused to be a part of it. The reason is really quite simple, but since I am Jewish, I will try to make it as confusing as possible.

Last week, I felt the Israeli people had the capacity to over throw the most corrupt government that I have ever known. Not only the ever so popular monetary issues, but also moral, and worst of all lack of common sense and direction for their nation. Before the Winograd Commission came out, most people that know how to use any part of their brain could have told you that Olmert and his club members were unqualified and incompetent with running our precious country. But that was all "here say" since no factual "proof" was at hand. Kind of like when my friends wouldn't believe me when I would tell them that leaving Gush Katif would do more harm then heal, nearly two years ago. Today we know this as a fact, and no one will deny this. But before Gilad was kidnapped and havoc ran free in the strip, no one would believe this un documented concoction I was ranting about. Well Israelis, you got your proof. Are you satisfied now? Will you listen next time? Now, after its not only common knowledge that Olmert, Pertz, and Livni have no clue what they were and are doing, but it has been documented and accepted by a "commission" What are you going to do? Ohhh, lets all shudder, as if this knowledge was just unraveled and came to light out of the blue. But okay, I don't live in Israel, so this is me NOT judging until I am in the position. But as humans, when we find something out, that we know is wrong, and it's been proved and explained via hundreds of pages, GET UP AND DO SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeh, a rally of 150,000 people, that's a nice START... but hello, it's a start, not a response. Please tell me that wasn't your response. Look in the mirror, look who you are, and what each of you can do, realize that if one time you got over 100k, then DO IT AGAIN. Stop settling, and accepting the situation that you have allowed yourselves to be placed in (this is me NOT ranting). But for this reason, I did not go to a parade in AMERICA and wave a white and blue flag, that signifies a people that accept a government that allows its soldiers
to be put in clear and present danger and NOT DO ANYTHING.

I will not associate myself with that. And although that flag signifies other stuff aside for the corrupt government, but in America, the flag represents the country. And right now, I can't. I just can't. Its one thing in America when citizens dislike President Bush and balm him for a war that some say he created. But where is my little "proof." The one thing that no one can bash. Who will admit with a clear conscience that the Israeli government has its citizen's intentions close to heart, or even near its body?

Then there is this parade, of people that wave a flag and prance around NYC all proud of supporting Israel, which I think is great, awesome, sweet, but really. I mean, really. Do you really need this kind of support, when you can't even get a government that doesn't care about you, OUT? What's up with Shas? Will they stay in a coalition that they know helped facilitate a war that was not planed from day one, and knew no victory. Israelis, who do you vote for? Who do you follow? Leaders that go toward money and when push comes to shove, will side with the corrupt rather then step down?

No I will not wave an Israeli flag in a parade down my hood. No I will not side with the corrupt government, nor with people that aren't pressuring their "leaders" to do the right thing. As you can see, you can't rely on them, now it's up to you. Or you can just follow and let our captive brothers stay where they are, and allow another war to ensue, and smile when you read about a bunch of Americans waving an Israelite flag through New York City.

I am really trying NOT to rant, and be chilled about wishing some of you could get some New York attitude in your system, and kick some... So instead, I am going to let you read the lyrics to a song, that when played really LOUD helps. I don't really like the band, but the lyrics are too perfect for what ALL Israelis should be feeling right now

You can listen to it,HERE

Partial lyrics: Dixie Chicks - Not ready to make nice:

Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything,
But I'm still waiting

I'm through, with doubt,
There's nothing left for me to figure out,
I've paid a price, and I'll keep paying

I'm not ready to make nice,
I'm not ready to back down,
I'm still mad as hell
And I don't have time
To go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is
You think I should

I know you said
Why can't you just get over it,
It turned my whole world around
and I kind of like it
Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything,
But I'm still waiting

I think this song is VERY self explanatory toward the topic at hand. However, if you would like me to reiterate the meaning that I find in it, I will be more the happy to comply. But for now, I think this post is long enough, and I hope I didn't upset too many people. But I'm not ready to back down, and you shouldn't either. I am here in NY and I am begging you guys, to WAKE UP, and don't just "get over it and make nice" because it's your life on the line now. No amount of Americans waving blue and white flags will "save" you this time. It's your time to get up and follow a leader, that's worth following, or at least get rid of the leaders that should be ashamed to exist in your precious country.

Nighty night, Dftss, and the omer :-)

~ Shulamit

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Friday, April 20, 2007

100 Brochos A Day (Music Clip)

Probably best not to analyze this new Yair Orbach (no relation) music clip. Just enjoy and laugh...

Hat Tip: Life in Israel via Sam

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Down on Maon Farm, Songweaver and the ADL: A Roundup

  • NRG has a great video of famous Israeli singer Sharon Rotter ("Ani Arutz Aleicha") visiting her relatives, the Dribbens, at Havat Maon (slated for destruction). She performs there for the hilltop/forest community's women. "It's like going to India without leaving Israel" she tells the interviewer.
  • This article takes a phenomenon caused by a pretty clear policy-choice and draws the completely wrong conclusion.
  • Jonathan Mark puts more delicately and less emotionally the sentiment I tried to convey in this piece from before the Disengagement.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Aharit HaYamim: Redemption Rock, Indigenous Jewsic

Aharit HaYamim is true redemption rock. The members of this musical movement have come on Aliyah from across the globe to bring new songs to the nation of Israel, who will collectively sing them to the harmony of the entire world.

I have written about the band and the annual music festival they put on ever since hearing them play in a Jerusalem cave and running into lead singer Yehuda around Musrara between gigs. Here are some video clips I just found of them:

And here is their web site and MySpace page (where a bunch of their songs can be heard/downloaded)

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Preparing for Pesach with Matisyahu in Jerusalem

There is not much that could get my wife to leave the house just two nights before Pesach...

I was hoping Matisyahu would sing my favorite niggun: "Kol BaYaar/ Father in the Forest": a powerful dialogue between Hashem the Almighty Father and His children, the people of Israel. The Father looks for His children in the Diaspora, Galut, and implores them to return home to the Holy Land. "Where have you been that you have forsaken Me?" He inquires of His children, "Dear children, please Return Home, I feel forlorn without you." The children's answer is "But, Father, how can we return when there is a guard blocking the door?"

Matisyahu did not disapoint: half way through he sang an extended version of the niggun. Listen to the Original, classic song HERE (from & Matisyahu's studio version HERE

What a night! So many Jews, from all walks of life: celebrating, dancing, praying and enjoying a powerful and inspiring(!) concert/ tefillah & performance. Great music, fun crowd; lots of joy and Jewish Pride.

Last Motzai Shabbat- while on a Heritage trip to Poland-I made Havdala with a group of students in Auschwitz, mourning the past; one week later we were surrounded by hundreds of Jews- alive in Eretz Yisrael- and look forward to a bright future.

Jerusalem VIDEO CLIP

"Indestructable"- Live Clip (from NYC) HERE

Fear nobody but His Majesty,
My spirit, you retrieved,
For You I wait silently,
It seems that you believe in me

Just a tool in the hands of the builder
Fill them with the strength to go further
Diggin deep for eternal treasure
Stay away from quicksand and false pleasure

Release me from their schemes
My distress you will relieve
Shield me on the path that's dark and slippery
They seek deception and futility

I stand with integrity
Sneak to the roof of that building
Don't want nobody here to see me
To say that I'm living in a fantasy
But I believe in find and keep

And I plead in sincerity
Wont you utterly remove the cloud hangin over me
Wont you wave that decree in the shade of your wings
Shelter me from the wicked who have plundered me
From my mortal enemies wont you shield me

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Searching for Chometz??

Open your eyes and look within:
Are we satisfied with the life we're living?
We know where were going...We know where were from.
We're leaving...We're going to our father land.
Wipe away transgression...Set the captives free...

Classic Pesach Cleaning Tunes:
Passover Theme Song (sung by Klal Yisrael as they crossed the Sea of Reeds)

Rebbe Shlomo: Kriyat Yam Suf (Track 9)

An Oldie but a "goodie"

Some beautiful teachings for the Seder night, from Rebbe Shlomo Carlebach zy"a HERE

Chag Sameach!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ariel Zilbers Sings of Homesh, Kumah and Returning Home

Israeli pop icon turned radical Land of Israel activist Ariel Zilber nailed the emotion surrounding the return to Homesh with his latest anthem (includes a Kumah shout-out)

Click here to check it out.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Israel Sends Sderot Band to Eurovision to Stick it to the (Ha)Man

The people of Israel - and I'm talking the TV watching, Eurovision-caring majority everyone is always trying to pander to and mind-read - have sent the world a Purim message: We are fixing to hang Hamanadinejad from a pole and are sick of slicing up our tiny birthright.

Well, after having the Defense Minister as a resident and after the government enacted a one-sided treaty over the heads of their young, most had given up hope in the people of Sderot rising up and taking to the streets. It turns out, a few of them have: Tipex - the band (who insist on spelling their name Teapacks, which they explained in their famous interview with Jewish music radio guru Ben Bresky.)

Teapacks, representing Israel in this years Eurovision (a competition usually consisting of annoyingly messageless songs that cross borders due to the common meaninglessness of pop music in most countries) submitted songs for the approval of their fellow countryman.

The song that won is called "Push the button" and ridicules Jihadists worldwide, starting with Hamanadinejad. The Scandinavian Nazi (the great thing about blogging is you can call whoever you want a Nazi!) organizers are already himming and hawing about the song - but the funny part is that should they disqualify it - an even better one is waiting in second place.

Salaam Salami is that song. It is a hilarious, yet dead focused indictment of the Oslo Accords and their Land-for-Peace successor the Road Map. It is also all in Hebrew, unlike Push the Button, which is in English and French as well.

In honor of Purim, a song representing Queen Esther has been chosen to enter Europe's pathetic kings' court. Instead of sending a Yemenite Jewish she-male to sing an ode to Cleopatra and Aphrodite (in 1998, when Israel had its third and last Eurovision victory) - Israel is sending a band of good-humored dudes from Sderot with a message to the world: The nation not only lives, but will no longer bow down.

Salaam Salami comes straight out and calls for en and to the policies of shaving off salami slices of the Jewish homeland, ending: לא כולם רוצים שלום - אז אולי מספיק

Teapacks's Koby Oz also always acknowledges the Most High.

(Thanks to Kikar Israel for the streaming songs linked above)

Here are the live versions voted upon by Israelis:

After seeing this video of Salaam Salami, I am hoping the Eurovision folks ban the first one - this one rocks!:

And here is Tipex, back in the day expressing the non-Sabbath observant Israeli's affinity for the restful nature of Sabbath in Israel and giving a shout-out to Arutz-7:

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