Westsiders have a lot of choices: Federations, congresses, associations and shuls of every denomination. Out here in Old Town Pasadena, I can walk for hours without ever seeing a kippa. My kosher chicken doesn't come from the Kosher Club -- it comes from Trader Joe's. Instead of Jeff's Kosher Sausage, we eat veggie burgers and weird tofu.
Do you Westside people have any idea how spoiled you are?
Which is why, last Saturday night, we Havdalah-ed over to Temple Beth Am for a performance of "Jewish Soul Music" by the IKAR Band.
Maybe I'm jealous...like...we don't even have an IKAR in Pasadena and until the concert, I had never seen an oud. (See video below.) Worse still, at the concert, there were some awesome women from Ruach Nashim, the annual women's spirituality retreat at Camp Ramah (founded, not by Pasadenans, but by Westsiders!)
Life is so unfair.
About the concert. Our daughter's college friend, Lizzi Jill Honeyrose Heydemann, sings with the IKAR Band. During the week, Lizzi is a fourth-year student at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, but she is also a talented musician and songwriter. To our delight, the evening's program included some of Hillel Tigay's original compositions.
The music was meditative and trippy in an semi-Sephardic, non-Ashkenazi sort of way. Even the klezmer and Carlebach pieces had a unique sound, the result, Tigay explained, of the Middle Eastern instruments used by the band.
There were two ouds, which, I learned, is an ancestor of the guitar. I think I saw a buzuq and a mijwiz as well. (Note: the Arabic word al-oud, "the oud," became "lute" in English.)
Most of these instruments were played by a brilliantly-talented 14-year-old Milken student by the name of Asher Levy. Remember his name. He'll go far.
Anita Brenner is an attorney in Pasadena with a bad attitude and a great record.
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