To host the show, Harvard Students for Israel (HSI) collaborated with Israel at Heart—an organization that travels throughout North and South America and Europe to promote the well-being of Israel.
The show, the first of 11 on the band’s North American campus tour, marked HSI’s first “cultural event” of the year, according to Amy M. Zelcer ’07, its president.
Known also by their Hebrew name, Shotei Hanevua, the Fools, who are Israeli, performed for a crowd of about 250, ranging in age from 15 to more than 50.
“When most people think about Israel, they focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Zelcer said at the event. “An event like this enables us to show the other side of Israel—the rich culture that flourishes independent of the blood and the bombs and the politics we hear about in the news each day.”
Described on their official website as “a fusion of reggae dub, side by side with hip hop and dance—all spiced with an eastern Mediterranean flavor,” The Fools released their second album six months ago after their first went platinum in 2000. They have taken the Israeli music scene by storm and, as of last summer, expanded their tour schedule to include the United States.
Wednesday’s concert centered on sending a message of peace.
“You [Americans] have the power to make an influence from here to there in your own quiet way. Thank you for the help that you have given and for the help that you are going to give to Israel,” said The Fools between songs.
Avi Poupko, Harvard Hillel campus Rabbi and Rabbinic Advisor to the Orthodox Minyan said, “The band’s name is based on an ancient Jewish teaching that states that the mind can sometimes get in the way of prophecy. At Harvard, where the mind is so important, we sometimes forget that the heart transcends everything.”
“The young people of Israel are proud of their Jewish identity but they want to put away the noise and find the universal peace inside,” he said.
The band seemed pleased with its reception.
“I really feel like the audience got the message tonight,” said one of the band’s singers after the concert.
“They were different to our Israeli audiences. They had…manners. They were a bit inhibited but they were thoughtful,” said the keyboardist. He said he hopes that he hopes the peace in Harvard’s audience will also be present in Israel.
“They were awesome,” said Milo “Mishy” Harman ’08.
Roee Gilron, a Brandeis student, said had seen the band previously in Israel.
“Tonight, they were more serious about their message compared to when I saw them in Israel. We used to listen to them in the army all the time. They’re cool,” said Gilron.
New York businessman Joey Low, who founded Israel at Heart six years ago, said the concert was just a small part of his goal. Israel at Heart arranges trips around the world for well educated, English-speaking Israeli students who win on his successful reality-TV show, “The Ambassador.”
Yesterday morning, band co-founder Roie Levi spoke at introductory and intermediate Hebrew classes, held in Sever Hall, about life in Israel.
“Israel is a country in the Middle East that is heavily influenced by Western and American culture, despite its geographical location,” he said. “I hope that, in this lifetime, we can find peace.”