At a Purim fund-raiser for the OneFamily Fund held last week in Jerusalem, renowned rapper Shyne lent his time and talent to the festivities.
Performing as a benefit for the organization dedicated to helping victims of terror and their families, the rapper wowed the audience with his delivery.
Talk about stage presence – even though it was difficult to make out what he was actually saying, the rhythm and finesse with which he said it made him a riveting entertainer to watch and listen to. The epitome of cool, Shyne radiated sheer star power.
He was the headliner of four entertainers that had donated their performances to the worthy cause that night, hosted by Marc and Chantal Belzberg, the founders and driving force of the organization.
At the start of the evening, New Orleans-style musician Dr. Jazz (aka Elazar Brandt) strummed away on his banjo, singing familiar down-home tunes such as “Carolina in the Morning” and “Has Anybody Seen My Gal?” As more and more costumed participants flowed into the party room of the elegant apartment building at 8 Rehov Ahad Ha’am, there was a full house to enjoy the rollicking renderings of local rock band Low Profile.
The British-born lead singer, who looks like a combination of Elvis Costello and Bono, put in a very polished performance, backed by his powerful band and dynamic drummer.
They were followed later in the evening by Shyne who, as a rapper, immediately had the audience’s rapt attention. After his performance, the Belize-born artist who now lives in Jerusalem gave a heartfelt speech, saying that he could relate to victims of terror, as he grew up in Flatbush, New York.
“Not the kosher Flatbush, but the West Bank Flatbush,” he quipped. He said he never knew from one day to the next if he’d be knifed or shot, and that he prayed every day that his mother would make it home alive, walking the few blocks from the subway after work – cleaning people’s houses.
An Orthodox Jew who’s had a highly successful career despite some unfortunate run-ins with the law in the US, Shyne attributes his good fortune to God.
“It’s all from Hashem,” he kept repeating. Ending his speech on an inspiring note, he said that everyone can help.
“You don’t have to have millions of dollars to help others,” he said.
“Just be kind to other people and don’t speak ill of others behind their
back, and you can already do good in the world,” said the rapper who
spent time in his youth trying to talk punks and gang members out of
shooting each other.
Fourth on the entertainment roster was comedian David Kilimnick, an
American-born stand-up comic who established the Off the Wall Comedy
Club in Jerusalem. As an oleh, his routine focuses on the trials and
tribulations of living in Israel. His parting shot that night was “If
you ask any Israeli living abroad what they would do if war broke out in
Israel, they would say without hesitation, ’I’d go back to my home
country.’” As the audience all nodded and applauded, the native New
Yorker capped it with, “If war broke out in Israel, I’d go back to my
home country, too!” NOT LOSING sight of the purpose of the event, the
evening was a well-balanced blend of revelry and reality.
Another person to take the stage that night was David Nachenberg, who
performed a rap song in both English and Hebrew.to show his appreciation
for One- Family and the work they do.
His wife had been wounded in the terror attack on Sbarro 10 years ago and has been in a coma ever since.
OneFamily has been paying for a caregiver to sit by her bedside, to
relieve her parents who have been keeping up a vigil all these years.
Nachenberg attended the party with his 12-year-old daughter, Sara, who
had been with her mother in the attack. Sara was accompanied at the
party by her OneFamily counselor for moral support.
The moral, financial, medical and spiritual support that OneFamily
provides to thousands of families throughout the country was well
documented in the short film that was shown. For example, the
testimonials from children at their annual summer camp for those who had
lost parents and/or siblings were a poignant reminder that while a
tragic event may end, the trauma is ongoing. As one teenager said, “You
never get over it.” But a little boy who had lost both parents summed it
up as follows: “They bring us to the camp to make us happy. Because
it’s not good to be sad all your life.”
IN THAT vein, the festivities at the party, which was laden with wine
and refreshments, culminated in the costume contest. About a dozen
participants paraded past the panel of judges, which consisted of Dr.
Henry Hashkes, Madelaine Black, Joey Harari, Brad Klein and yours truly.
As the judges deliberated about such costumes as the belly dancer, the
Mona Lisa, the Temple altar, the Indian woman, and the walking salt and
mustard dispensers, the decision for first prize was clear once Jeremy
Cohn had us figure out what he and his wife represented. He was wearing a
mesh beanie and a mesh bowtie. She was wearing printouts of the Yahoo
logo on her front and back.
“We come as a pair,” he said.
Okay, he was the Net? Right.
And she was.the software, we ventured. No.
“Look, there is a big ‘10’ on her printout,” he pointed out.
And then it all came together. They were a paired rebus: Net + 10 +
Yahoo. They were Netanyahu. Well, how could they not win first prize for
that? Appropriately, their prize was an iPod.
On a more sobering note, Marc and Chantal Belzberg were dressed as
doctors, in green scrubs and white lab coats. In his short speech, where
he thanked all the participants for attending the fund-raiser, Marc
explained how they had come by their costumes. They had called Shaare
Zedek to ask if they had any extra uniforms they could borrow for their
Purim party. Yes, they did, and they lent Marc the uniform that had
belonged to Dr.
David Applebaum. David Applebaum who, with his daughter Navah, had been
killed in a terror attack in 2003 on the night before Navah’s wedding.
He had been the chief of Shaare Zedek’s ER and trauma services and had
founded Terem. That costume could not have been more fitting.
Revelry and reality were out in full force that night at the OneFamily
fund-raiser. As the closing line of their film stated, “More than 15,000
families have been affected by terror in the past six years. We will be
there for all of them.”
As those numbers continue to mount, OneFamily’s dedication and resolve only grow stronger.