Next Sunday, you’re invited to an Israeli dance party– but there will be no horah. We won’t be dancing in circles, and you won’t have to hold hands with anyone you don’t want to.
And I solemnly swear there will be no grape-vining.
Don’t get me wrong, Israeli folk dancing has its time and place; its charm and tradition. But next Sunday is about today’s Israeli music; the kind of music playing at 5 am as the beautiful people of Tel Aviv spill out of a nightclub onto the beach.
The Israel Center and 20|30 Project of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation are turning the Sabes JCC pool into a Tel Aviv beach Sunday, August 30, and if anyone is qualified to run the show it’s Eyal Rob, a screenwriting professor by day and well known Tel Aviv DJ by night. We’re calling it Minneapolis Heat, Mediterranean Beats.
At 3 pm, Rob will share stories of life as a young Israeli creative, a popular talk he gives around the country. At 4:30, Rob will trade speaking for spinning and begin that aforementioned Israeli dance party. You can register for this FREE event at jewishminneapolis.org/eyalrob.
This event is co-sponsored by Makom- A Project of Adath Jeshurun Congregation, Michael Walstien and family, and the Sabes JCC.
I had the privilege of Skyping with Eyal Rob (bonus behind-the-scenes tidbit: he has a lot of books in his apartment). We talked about his craziest night in Tel Aviv (he doesn’t remember), his favorite Minneapolis artist (he’s more of a Prince guy than a Bob Dylan guy), and why music in Israel is more than just entertainment:
What can we expect from your talk and from your DJ set?
I show a different side of Israeli life – a unique glance of the things being done in my city and my country that you normally wouldn’t think of when you hear the name Israel. I’m not a diplomat, and I’m not a politician, so I’m free to talk about Israel with some criticism, but mostly I want to show you crazy kids having the time of their lives.
The music in my set samples traditional and Israeli culture, like I’ll sample a song King Solomon wrote and turn it into a banger that people are dancing to on the dance floor. It’s a fusion from a lot of different places. Israeli cuisine is mostly Arab food with an Israeli twist—the same happens with music.
You’re known as a “cultural ambassador” to Israel. What do you think that means?
When I speak about Israel, I’m aiming to shift the spotlight to more of the daily life of a creative generation in Israel. I want leave people curious about what’s going on in Israel culturally—that’s my goal.
Why is talking about music specifically important?
Music is a language that anyone can understand. Yes, there’s conflict, yes there’s terror, but for me as long as there is music there is a sense of hope. If I can make people happy listening to music and dancing…it’s almost a mitzvah.
What American music speaks to you?
This is such a hard question – American music is so huge. It could be jazz, rock, disco, house, techno, track, hip hop. I’m always into something new. One day I’ll be into A Tribe Called Quest, the next it will be crazy disco. Or I’ll be into James Brown, or Kendrick Lamar.
What does a typical night out in Tel Aviv look like?
Tel Aviv is literally a city that doesn’t sleep. Literally. She could beat New York, she definitely beats L.A. You might start the night catching a live band, then you’ll go get something to eat and the restaurant has a DJ that spins. From there you’ll go to the first bar, then the second bar, then the first club, then the late night club at 5 am. We’re talking about a normal Tuesday right now. We won’t even talk about the weekends. Those are crazy.
What do you love most about Tel Aviv?
It’s both beautiful and ugly, big and small. It’s very contradictory, just like most of the things in Israel – but it finds its own unique way to be contradictory. It’s always changing, but at the end of the day it’s the same old Tel Aviv, with its shabby houses and fuming buses. It’s not huge like LA or skyrocketing like New York, but it’s always changing. That’s why I love my city.
See you August 30 at the Sabes JCC! To register for Minneapolis Heat, Mediterranean Beats visit jewishminneapolis.org/eyalrob