Yes, the concert was undersold. And, while some said that it was just OK, that Jagger’s voice is showing its age (71, to be precise), that Keith Richards’ guitar licks were a tad uninspired, that the set list could have been better (perhaps too many relatively obscure songs), it doesn’t matter.
Why? Because it turns out that the most important words that emanated from Mick Jagger’s throat were not the words that he sang.
They were the words that he said.
I’m referring, of course, to this week’s Rolling Stones concert in Tel Aviv. Dayennu that the Stones bucked the BDS movement. Dayennu, as well, that the Stones decided to begin the concert later so as to accommodate fans who wanted to observe Shavuot. Dayennu, as well, that Ronnie Woods and Charlie Watts took a pre-concert detour to Jerusalem to visit the Western Wall.
But back to Mick Jagger. What was it that he said to the crowd in Tel Aviv that was so memorable?
Erev tov, Tel Aviv (“Good evening,Tel Aviv!)
Chag Shavuot Sameach, Yisrael (“Happy Shavuot, Israel”)
Anachnu HaAvanim Hamitgalgalot (“We are the Rolling Stones”)
Todah. Shukran (“Thank you”, in Hebrew and Arabic)
Hakol Sababa? (“All good?”)
Referring to sneakers that guitarist Ronnie Wood was wearing, he asked: Kanita Na’alayim Bashuk? (“Did you buy shoes in the market?”)
Jagger went on to refer to backup vocalist Lisa Fischer as maksima.
Not only was Charlie Watts al ha-tupim (“on the drums”)…
Jagger reminded the crowd that it was also the drummer’s Yom Huledet (“birthday”).
Jagger asked the crowd Atem Nehenim? (“Are you enjoying yourselves”?)
And told them Atem kahal meturaf (“You’re a crazy audience!”)
And then, it was Layla Tov, Ve’Shalom Tel Aviv (“Goodnight and goodbye, Tel Aviv!”)
But here’s what’s most impressive about Jagger’s foray into Hebrew:
First, he made the effort to inquire about how to say certain phrases. They’re not even standard phrases — did he go to some quickie ulpan in order to learn how to ask Ronnie about his shoes?
Second: he actually took the time to learn them.
And third: he spoke in both Hebrew and Arabic, reminding the world of the linguistic, ethnic and cultural diversity of modern Israel.
And now, the big, disturbing question: How is it that Mick Jagger, an English gentile rock star with no detectable Jewish background, actually spoke more Hebrew in one night than most American Jews will ever speak in their lives?
Because, as we all know ( or at least suspect), when it comes to Hebrew, American Jews have utterly failed the literacy test. Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, has called this generation of American Jews the “spoiled brats of Jewish history” — not only because of our failure to create a Jewish culture that is rooted in Hebrew, and not only for having the historical hutzpah to think that we are the only Jewish civilization that thinks that it can dispense with Hebrew, but for not even having the basic desire to learn Hebrew.
Now, I’m not going to get all Eliezer Ben Yehuda on you, and remind you of the miracle of the resurrection of a language and how that resurrection of a language mirrored and echoed the resurrection of a people in its land.
Why should I? Mick Jagger did it for me.
Just twelve phrases in Hebrew (one for each tribe of ancient Israel?). To paraphrase the Stones themselves: it’s only Hebrew, but I like it.
Rabbi Jeff Salkin is a well known writer and rabbi of Temple Beth Am in Bayonne NJ.
On the off chance that you couldn’t shell out the NIS 700 (approx. $200) required or charter a private jet to attend the Rolling Stones concert in Tel Aviv tonight, the band has been nice enough to post a sneak peek to Instagram.
Charlie Watts and Ron Wood were spotted at the Kotel in Jerusalem yesterday, while Mick posted a picture from Caesaria to Twitter:
At the Amphitheatre at Caesaria today. Looking forward to tomorrow, our first show in Israel! pic.twitter.com/isczJ71zaw — Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) June 3, 2014
Listen up, Israel: The Rolling Stones are excited to see you.
A video released by the band, on Tuesday shows guitarist Ronnie Wood saying: “We are so excited to be playing Tel Aviv on June the 4th. We can’t wait to be there, and we can’t wait to see you all in the park.”
The band has resumed its 14-country world tour, which was suspended in March after the death of Mick Jagger’s girlfriend, fashion designer L’Wren Scott. First stop: Oslo, where they first played on tour back in 1965.
At the New York release party for Eprhyme’s first CD a few years ago, the audience was an unusual blend of angel-headed Jewish hipsters bopping along to neo-Hasidic hip-hop, along with a smaller African-American crowd which was there to check out the new record drop. Eprhyme straddled two communities — the New-Jew one, and the urban hip-hop one — and while we shared space that night, I noticed there was little interaction between the two sub-groups.
Now, the follow-up to that first record is here, an 11-song mélange of styles and themes called “Dopestylevsky.” (Eprhyme, pronounced E-prime, is a master of the unpronounceable — perhaps a gesture at the ineffable God he invokes often in his music.) And so is that same productive tension. “Dope” is a more polished and more professional record — no doubt in part because of Eprhyme’s affiliation with the famous indie label K Records from Olympia, Washington. It is also more continuous with current styles of hip-hop, featuring more current musical stylings, half a dozen collaborations with mostly underground artists, and is less overtly Jewish in terms of content. The result? Less novelty, less preaching, but perhaps more potential to reach a wider audience with a Jewish flavor of hip-hop and rap.
Courtesy lucetg.com/Centaur Theatre
In Montreal, not only can a musical about smoked meat be more than a gag, but “Schwartz’s: The Musical” is a $240,000 professional production. That’s around twice the usual cost of a play at the Centaur Theatre, where the show is playing until May 7.
Schwartz’s, a “Hebrew Delicatessen” founded in 1928, is a mecca for meat lovers, and its waiting line is as much of a trademark as the items on the menu. Clippings on the wall testify to the many celebrities who have passed through: Tina Turner, Celine Dion, Mick Jagger, and many sports and political figures (there’s even a running joke that eating at the diner ensures future Canadian prime ministers a majority government when they come into power — a pertinent theory seeing as Canadians are going to the polls on May 2).
The musical reads like a dream — albeit the dream you’d have falling asleep with the “Best of Broadway” playing on repeat after a night of beer and that smoked meat sandwich that seemed like a good idea at the time. Alternatively, it feels like a two-hour infomercial for the famed delicatessen.
This article has been sent!Close