Tucked away in the small agricultural moshav of Beit Zayit, just north of Jerusalem is where the SoulShine Reggae Festival will take place this Thursday. Arutz Sheva - Israel National Radio's Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast spoke with the co-organizer Eliyahu Dov Shur about the event.
"This is for all the holy Yidden in Eretz Yisroel," Shur says, using the Yiddish expression for 'Jews'.
Although the main focus of the event will be the Jamaican and Carribean style of music known as Reggae, many of the bands will mix in Jewish Chassidic elements, rock and other sounds.
Shur also promises a DJ who will spin a mix of Bob Marley, and Shpongle, a British trance duo who has performed in Israel many times. "This is what people like to listen to in Israel, trance, Reggae and dub," Shur states.
Other performers will be Shivat Tzion, an Israeli reggae band that often sings Hebrew Biblical verses, Yerachmiel "Rocky" Ziegler, who will play Reggae cover songs as opposed to his own Jewish oriented material, Meir Chaim & Friends, and a new Jerusalem based rock band called the G-Nome Project. Shur's own band SoulShine will play Reggae music.
His band also includes long-time collegue and co-organizer Simcha Gluck, a real estate agent by day. Gluck and Shur used to be in the house band for the popular Tuesday Night Live in Jersualem events hosted by Ari Abramowitz and Jeremy Gimpel.
For Shur, the connection between Reggae and Jewish music is more than just its popularity in Israel. "I'll tell you something interesting," he explains, "the Jewish chords that are played in the songs that we sing on Shabbat are in A minor and E minor, the same chords in Reggae music, very simple and very beautiful."
Referencing one of his teachers, the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, he continues, "Jewish music can be arranged in many different chords, but most of Shlomo's niggunim [melodies] are played the same as Bob Marley and Peter Tosh and Israel Vibrations."
But most of all, Shur promises "lots of good music, good food, good times, and hanging out with good holy people. Music is something that brings people together, be'ezrat Hashem."
Shur is no stranger to music. He has released one solo album entitled Forgotten Ways, and an album together with his father and brothers entitled A Shur Thing. His father, Rabbi Moshe "Mickey" Shur used to perform with Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, the Diaspora Yeshiva Band, and other performers, both Jewish and non-Jewish of the 1960s.
The influences have not been lost of his son. The younger Shur states, "I heard a Torah from Reb Shlomo in the name of the Baal Shem Tov. He asks, 'When is Moshiach going to come? When all of the Yidden become Moshiach. How does every single Yid become Moshiach? When you make another Yid happy, whatever that is, you become a little Moshiach, and all the Yidden become a little Moshiach. Then the whole Moshiach consciousness of joy will be revealed again in the world.'"
The SoulShine Reggae Festival will take place Thursday June 28th from 4:00 pm - 11:00pm in Beit Zayit. For more information visit the Facebook page by clicking here.
Ben Bresky is the host of the Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast on Arutz Sheva - Israel National Radio. For free mo3 archives click here. To donate to Israel's independent live-stream audio and podcast site, click here.