Let my people rock!

shlomo katz 88 (photo credit: )
shlomo katz 88
(photo credit: )
Take the breathtaking beach setting of the Ahava Dead Sea Festival. Take the amazing music and religious fervor of the Bet Shemesh Jewish Rock & Soul Festival. Now put them together during the Passover holiday. And finally, take the proceeds and have them purchase life saving equipment for Israel. It's called the Jewish Rock & Soul Music Festival and it goes off Sunday and Monday at the Ein Bokek hotel area in the southern Dead Sea, from 6 p.m. to midnight. Shlomo Katz will be performing there. So will Reva L'Sheva, The Moshav Band, and SchlockRock, among a host of others. Jonty Zwebner, one of the festival's producers, realized the need. "During Pessah there isn't that night life around the Dead Sea," he points out. "And there are thousands of people in the area looking for things to do." Festivals on the beach there cater to a secular crowd, while there is nothing for the religious. So Zwebner and his partner Ariel Pellei decided to put on a festival of Jewish music right on the beach. They got the venue they wanted and they got the acts they wanted. And they hope this will not be just a one time thing, but rather that it will become an annual event. They have reason to be optimistic. Their Bet Shemesh festival, going into its seventh year this Sukkot, attracts up to 10,000 people and has become a household name. This one should be just as popular given the timing and the beautiful locale. Jonty insists that this festival is for yeveryone. "We are not just a chassidishe festival." Certainly, religious people will feel completely comfortable that everything will be 100% kosher for Passover and there will be a mechitzah up for girls' dancing. But the secular should feel just as comfortable because the music will most certainly rock. "This is Jewish rock and soul," he says. Finally, everybody should be aware that all ticket sales will benefit Hatzolah, the non-profit Emergency Medical Service that assists the victims of terrorism and other medical emergencies throughout Israel. Advanced tickets cost 80 NIS per day or 140 NIS for two days. Discounts are available for kids, students, soldiers and groups. For tickets or more information call: (03) 532-5272, 052-5665600