It takes more than a sense of rhythm to make a DJ business successful. Being able to mix two songs together seamlessly is a good start, but each act needs its hook -- something that grabs the audience and draws it in.
For Avi Elhiani and Yoni Aviv, both 14-year-old Orthodox day school students, that unique spin comes from the melding of their distinct personalities and drawing from the musical heritage of their Sephardic cultures.
Before the Big Boyz D-Jewz make it to a gig, these young entrepreneurs have a lot to overcome -- heavy schoolwork loads, long hours spent perfecting mixes and dealing with conflicts that inevitably arise in any business arrangement. But when they overcome the obstacles, Elhiani and Aviv can focus on what matters most.
For many years, I used to have long talks with Anselmo Valencia, the Chief of the Yaqui Indian Nation, about the similarities and distinctions between the beliefs and practices of Native American cultures and Judaism. Similar discussions have taken place over the last 10 years between numerous rabbis and Grandfather Wallace Black Elk, a Lakota Elder. But the link between these cultures was all brought home to me a few years ago when my neighbors saw me blessing my Sukkah with the Four Species, and thought I was doing an "Indian" ritual. Suddenly, I realized the amazing similarities between the prayers of a chanupa, or medicine pipe (filled only with tobacco, let's be clear on that issue early on), and the waving of the lulav and etrog. Both practices are so incredibly important to their respective cultures, and both are so beautiful. But what is amazing in some ways is how similar the understandings, intentions and practices are surrounding these ritual objects.
It's a couple of hours before the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) quarterly Orange County Jewish-Latino roundtable group and Joyce Greenspan is worried.