Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: Lollapalooza, Reb Shlomo: Isn’t It Great To Be Jewish?

There may be dangers and fears, but there are so many reasons for the Jewish people to stay upbeat - look at the beautiful and exciting world out there.
Published: Monday, August 06, 2012 8:49 AM


Part of my job as CEO of a PR firm is to be glued to the news – and that makes it hard to stay upbeat as it’s rare that the news allows that.

Personally, I follow Jewish and Israel news – and that too isn’t often positive.

It is important to remember that being happy is also a commandment – so I want to share some beautiful and good news about Am Israel from the headlines and beyond:

  • A friend of mine called me this week to tell me he’s going to Vail for the week. He’s in his late 30’s, a wife and 2 young boys at home, and while he’s not religiously observant, we sit on the board of a non-profit board together. What’s in Vail? The Wexner Heritage Program – a two year program with weekly classes, and annual get-aways (this year to Vail & next year to Jerusalem). Simply amazing – my friend is a busy, successful real estate developer, who is generous with his time and money for charity but he would never have taken the time on his own to study Jewish heritage, history and community. Life is busy and kudos to the Wexners for realizing even successful lay leaders need more yiddishkeit in their life.
    • Projects such as these are so vital – and it is so amazing in these day and times that people can devote so much of themselves to the next generation of Jewish leaders and donors. I am sure my friend will repay the expenses in many years to come via service to Jewish organizations and it is such a blessing. Kudos are due to Leslie&Abigail Wexner who developed the foundation to promote Jewish leadership around the world and specifically strengthen Jewish leadership in North America and Israel. Thank you.
  • Lollapalooza, one of the world’s largest and most popular annual music festivals will be hosted August 20-22, 2013 in Yarkon Park, which of course has hosted other great concerts. "Israel is an incredibly sophisticated music market," Marc Geiger of WME Entertainment said in a statement. "Consumers have a voracious appetite for entertainment, yet there has never been a major music festival. To me, this combination screams Lollapalooza.”
  •              The music festival hosts more than 160,000 people over a three day period, and has helped expose and popularize many mainstream 
  •              artists. Opening people’s eyes worldwide to the beauty of the Jewish people and Israel has to be done in many different ways – and music is
  •              of course one of them. So many jobs, millions of dollars and other opportunities because of this move – and its great and exciting. Good
  •              news.
  • Soul Doctor, a story about the great Orthodox singing Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach is now on Off-Broadway through mid-August.
  •             Regardless of where one sits on the religious spectrum, Carlebach music stirs the Jewish soul. Carlebach said that when the Jewish people 
  •             lost the Holy Temple, so too was the music lost that was played in the Holy Temple, including beautiful voices & instruments. Enjoying
  •             Judaism, smiling, laughing, dancing – it’s what many of our synagogues are missing – happy people and happy souls. Certainly, spreading
  •             the word through high-profile venues including Broadway can be beneficial.

As a parent, I only want to live life for myself, my kids and future generations as a role model – wouldn’t it be great if we all would aspire to be Jewish role models?

With selichot just around the corner, it is a great thing to think of - and remember Judaism is about being positive and enjoying the beauty of being Jewish, and all of us in the Jewish community should speak about positivity, fun and excitement.

As Ze’ev Jabotinsky said be “proud, generous, and fierce” for the Jewish people.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, and a New York based philanthropist.