a different side of Israel

Tag: Concert

On Bibi, Bieber and Buber

We are now living in the month of springtime and this brings to mind three B’s, along with the brisket I will be eating at the family Passover seder. They are: Bieber, Bibi and Buber. That is, Justin Bieber, Binyamin Netanyahu and Martin Buber. All influential figures will go down in the hall of fame, though, one is not Jewish. Can you guess which?

Justin BieberThe former B – Justin Bieber is not a Jew. Actually, rumor has it his family is not that keen on God’s chosen. Record exec, Scooter Braun, found an amateur Bieber’s 2007 YouTube videos by accident while surfing the web. Braun contacted the boy’s mother, Pattie Mallette was reluctant to give permission for Justin to do a demo with Braun because of Braun’s Jewish religion.

She recalled praying:

“God, I gave him to you. You could send me a Christian man, a Christian label! … you don’t want this Jewish kid to be Justin’s man, do you?”

Apparently, God wanted just that – Bieber went on to become an international pop sensation. This week, on the heels of the Passover holiday, 700 children from southern Israeli communities hit by recent rocket fire from Gaza were given free tickets to see 17-year-old Justin Bieber’s conert.

The tickets for the show in Tel Aviv, as well as transportation, are a gift of The Schusterman Foundation-Israel, The Morningstar Foundation and ROI Community of Young Jewish Innovators.

According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, ROI approached The Schusterman Foundation to help cover the costs of the tickets. Bieber arrived in Israel on Monday and is scheduled to tour the country. He will visit Christian sites in the Galilee, Masada, the Dead Sea, Acre and Caesaria. He will also meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Though an official date has not been set for the meeting of Bibi and Bieber.

This meeting between Bibi and Bieber may be due in metaphysical part to Buber. That is, Martin Buber, the Jewish philosopher.

Martin Buber (1878 –1965) was an Austrian-born Jewish philosopher known for his philosophy of dialogue, a form of religious existentialism centered on the distinction between the I-Thou relationship and the I-It relationship. Buber observes the God-Man relationship as I-It, or I-Thou, perhaps, more I-Thou in Bieber’s Catholic religion and more I-It in terms of Bibi’s Jewish religion.

However, all religions see the God concept as an It. Moreover, Bieber and Bibi must build bridges based on Buber’s I and Thou philosophy of dialogues to appreciate the respective culture of each.

God Bless.

Rihanna Does Israel Right

The Grammy Award winning popular rhythm and blues singer Rihanna performed at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium Sunday night.

The 22-year-old singer, born in Barbados and currently based in the United States, spent two days prior to the concert touring sites in Israel – one such site was of course the Kotel where she purchased a Red-String Protection From Evil Eye Bracelet. She bought it on the steps in front of the Beit Midrash of the Aish HaTorah world center and made of it a photo opportunity.

As part of a volunteer project, Rihanna also helped paint a mural on the Kfir Scouts community center in Tel Aviv.
She said that her Israel journey was an “amazing, amazing experience.”

In September 2009, Rihanna performed at Jay-Z’s “Answer to Call” concert, a tribute to the police officers and firefighters who died during the September 11 attacks.
Metallica also performed in Israel a couple of weeks ago and other artists, such as the Pixies and Elton John have shows scheduled in Israel this summer.

In addition to her tour of Jerusalem, Rihanna’s first Israel visit also included a taste of hummus in Abu Gosh. The young artist refused to tell the reporters what she wrote in the note she hid in the Western Wall, saying that it was between her, God and the wall.

It was requested of the reporters to not to ask about her personal life or about the cancellation of the Elvis Costello gigs. Most of the press conference was devoted to the volunteering project, with Rihanna expressing her delight over the success of the campaign.

Tel Aviv was Rihanna’s last destination in her current European tour, which was launched to promote her latest album, “Rated R”. In the past two months she performed in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Scotland.

Bravo di Opera di la Scala in the park

Summer is often a wonderful time to attend open air concerts. And such was the case Thursday evening when the world renown Italian opera theater, La Scala of Milan, put on a performance together with the Israel Opera Company in Gan Yehoshua in north Tel Aviv. The concert, in which a special open-air version of Verdi’s Requiem was performed, was given free by both the joint performers, and the Municipality of Tel Aviv, together with other sponsors, including the Israel Tourism Ministry, the Italian Embassy, and Subaru automobile importers.

operaFor those thousands of people who had the pleasure of attending this concert, including those of us who came to Tel Aviv by train to avoid all the traffic and parking problems, we weren’t disappointed, although we had to scramble to get chairs and not have to sit or lay on the grass like many aficionados did; as many of those who brought their own folding chairs with them had to leave them at the entrances to the concert site – some sort of stupid management policy, we reckoned. The sheer numbers of people who attended, many of whom even brought babies and small children along (who were as enthusiastic as their parents for the most part) would have made many think that Madona had decided to up her September concert date; which will be performed in the same location.

Things finally got underway at 9:15 pm after some introductory remarks by His Honor, Mayor Ron Huldai, who used the concert as a good platform to talk about the ongoing 100th anniversary celebrations for his city and to express his gratitude for the gracious participation of La Scala, said to be perhaps the finest opera house in the world, depending of which side of the Atlantic Ocean one lives on.

The only criticism regarding the hour and a quarter concert, was perhaps the type of opera itself that was performed, Verdi’s Requiem; which as opera aficionados know, is a very “heavy” and serious performance, with a great deal of religious connotations, especially in regards to Christianity. While not being real opera fans, but were there for the experience, we felt that there might have been some better choices for a mid-summer night’s open air performance; such as Verdi’s Il Trovatore (The Troubador) or even Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. For an audience which was at least 90% Jewish, and with many observant people in attendance, the subject matter of this performance left a bit to be desired.

Despite this minor issue, the concert was still worth attending, even though we had to leave about 10 minutes early (stepping over and around people sitting and lying on the grass) so as not to miss our train north, and thus missed the “grand finale”, fireworks and all.

If we go to Madonna’s gig, we’ll be sure to pitch up early.

Depeche Mode Rock Group Wows Israeli Fans

Depeche Mode Israel 2009British rock group Depeche Mode, composed of lead vocalist Dave Gahan, guitarist, and song writer Martin Gore, plus keyboard genius Andrew Fletcher finally played their gig in Ramat Gan International Stadium Sunday night before more than 50,000 adoring fans. The rock group, which has racked up more than 50 hit singles and have had NO. 1 selling albums in the UK, USA, and many other countries, arrived for a concert that should have come off more than two years earlier, but was cancelled at the last minute due to political fall out in the aftermath of the 2006 Lebanese War.

The Gahan, Gore and Fletcher are the three surviving members of the original group that formed in the early 1980’s and were one of the hottest music groups of their time.

Israeli fans had already arrived at the stadium hours before the gig came off to “stake out” a place close to the stage where the trio and a number of accompanying musicians would be playing. Although the majority of the fans were young, a number of older ones from the group’s prime performing years were there too, evidently wanting to recapture a number of years that had sort of “slipped away” from them.

After some preliminary events, the real show kicked off at 9 p.m. when the Depeche Mode show actually began. The group didn’t disappoint their fans as they immediately began to pound out some of their most well known hits such as In Chains, Wrong, and Walking in my Shoes. Other well known Depeche Mode songs included Peace (in which they invited their audience to sing along) Lie to Me, Personal Jesus (perhaps in honor of the Pope’s visit to Israel) and finally their classic: Waiting for the Night.

The audience really got emotionally into the number, Peace, especially the last chorus:

Peace will come to me
Just wait and see
Peace will come to me
It’s meant to be
Peace will come to me
Just wait and see
Peace will come to me
It’s inevitability!

Some young women got so worked up during the performance that they tried to imitate the “dress code” of the group, even by taking off their tops and being bare breasted.

Those who made it over to the Galina Restaurant and Bar at the Tel Aviv Port afterwards (for a Depeche Mode after-party) got a special treat when the trio showed up to participate in the festivities and to celebrate Dave Gahan’s 47th birthday – those lucky to be near enough to interact with them that is.

It’s hard to say who were impressed the most during the evening: the Depeche Mode band or the fans. But it’s certain that Dave and the gang will be back again before long: and for sure, their adoring fans will be waiting to rock the night away with them.

Fashionably Late: The Beatles Will Play in Israel

Fashionably Late: The Beatles Will Play in IsraelMore than 42 years after their initial Israel concert was canceled by government authorities, the two remaining members of the original Beatles have been invited to perform here during Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations. Present government officials extended the invitations to Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with an official apology for canceling the original concert which would have taken place when the British pop group was at the height of their international fame.

There appear to be many versions as to why the 1965 concert was canceled at the last moment; but for the most part, the main reasons were that officials were afraid that the screaming fans would cause severe damage to the newly completed Hechal Hatarbut cultural center in Tel Aviv (located by the Habima Theater), and that the Finance Ministry was afraid there wouldn’t be enough foreign currency to pay the mop-haired group after Israeli Lirot was converted into either Pounds Sterling or U.S. Dollars. Both reasons seem a bit weak when looking back on the subject. The main reason might have been that the Ministry of Culture didn’t seem to think that the pop music quartet wasn’t of a high enough cultural standard to perform along with the likes of classical music greats like American violinist Isaac Stern.

Perhaps it was due to the fact that there wasn’t any “tele” (as the Brits call it) in Israel at the time in order to broadcast the event; and that the Labor led socialist folk in the government didn’t want to corrupt the innocent young minds that were being groomed to some day lead the country to great academic and cultural heights, despite being completely surrounded by Arabs who wanted to push an even smaller and more fragile Israel into the depths of the Mediterranean Sea. After all, the Six Day War had not been fought yet, and the West Bank and the Golan heights were still in Jordanian and Syrian hands. Gaza was being administered by Egypt who really didn’t give a hoot about the nearly million refugees from the 1948 Way of Independence, living on U.N. administered hand-outs.

Although both McCartney and Starr have visited here since that time, they haven’t been here together as the surviving members of what may go down in history as the most successful singing group of all times. In reference to the then government’s fear that the Beatles would corrupt the innocent youth of Israel, that fact that they played in the best concert halls in America and were featured on television programs like the Ed Sullivan show (where Elvis also made his big debut) means that John, Paul, George and Ringo were not considered to be morally corrupting in most places they appeared (expect possibly to a few fundamentalist Christian groups, that is). The other two former Beatles, John Lennon and George Harrison, are now playing their tunes “up above”.

Maybe now the remaining Beatles will finally get the welcome they deserve here, albeit blatantly, like they should have had more than 42 years ago.

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