Kol HaOlam National Collegiate Jewish A Capella Competition Returns to Adas Israel

The 140 contestants from the 10 Jewish a capella groups join together at the end of the concert to sing 'Yerushalayim Shel Zachav" / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

Once again the seats of the Charles E. Smith Sanctuary were almost completely filled as somewhere between 900 and 1200 people, according to sources, came to show their support for Kol HaOlam, the National Collegiate Jewish A Capella Competition. Ten groups from across the country showed up this year, including Indiana’s Hooshir, Wisconsin’s Jewop, Bimingham’s Kaskeset, Michigan’s Kol HaKovod, Washington state’s Staam, Queens College’s Tizmoret, University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Kolot, and three local groups—Kol Sasson, Rak Shalom and Mezumenet,all from the University of Maryland College Park.

Mike Baxter, who hosts KolCast and started Six13, reprised his role as master of ceremonies. The judges this year included a capella guru and producer Elie Landau, director of DC’s Makela Deborah Sager, Jewish a capella singer, teacher and producer Jordan Gorfinkel and a capella singer and song arranger Brian Brandler.

There was an increased focus on beatboxing this year, with Jordan Savitsky from Rak Shalom winning an award for his vocal percussion skills. While the judges tallied the scores for the 20 songs performed, Jordan Fontheim from the University of Rochester and Josh Leviton, aka “The Orthobox” from the University of Maryland, improved some impressive beats for the audience. The havdalah ceremony, officiated over by Rabbi Gil Steinlauf of Adas Israel, also featured musical accompaniment by recent DC Jewish a capella group Jew Vox.

Tizmoret and Kol Sasson kept their first and second place medals, respectively, with Jewop gaining audience favorite. But since I captured both other Maryland groups on film last year, I of course had to pay special attention to Rak Shalom. Enjoy this Israeli classic.

With a broad and enthusiastic audience and so many spirited singers, I imagine Kol HaOlam will be a DC Jewish tradition for more years to come!

Upcoming Events: February 6-12

Shavua Tov! Below, I’ve compiled a list of Jewish events I’ve found to be going on next week. Please feel free to comment with any others, and I will add them. See you around town!

Monday, February 6

Respect DC Coalition

Labor Seder Planning Meeting

DC Noontime Series with D.C. Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning

Locally Grown Festival: Hot and Cold

Tuesday, February 7

The Honorable Mayor Vincent Gray 2012 State of the District Address at Sixth & I

2012 Annapolis Advocacy Day

AU: Cleaner, Greener, Better: Israeli Innovation in Greentech

Beginner Espanol Winter 2012

JSC: Folklore about the Binding of Isaac

Tuesday, February 7- Wednesday, February 8

Tu B’Shevat in the District; check it out!

Wednesday, February 8

Lilith Salon: What’s in a Hyphen?

B’nai Tzedek: The Last Jews of Yemen Exhibit

Chabad of Silver Spring: Third Annual Gala Dinner

Tifereth Israel: Israeli Movie Night—Beaufort

Thursday, February 9

The Shakshuka Master: Top Chef, Israeli Style

All the Single Ladies Reading

Friday, February 10

Sixth in the City Shabbat with Rick Recht

Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy: My Grown Up and Me

JCCGW: Shabbat Shalom Play Group

Ohr Kodesh: Tot Shabbat

B’nai Israel: 20s and 30s Shabbat Service and Dinner

Saturday, February 11

Our City Film Festival

Sunday, February 12

Kemp Mills: Special Needs Event

Tifereth Israel: Newish Jewish Inventions—Adaptation and Invention

CESJDS Graduation

Olam Tikvah: Israel on Campus

B’nai Tzedek: Family Game Night

Torah School of GW: Chinese Auction

Tifereth Israel: Yiddish as a Living Language

Locally Grown Festival: The Prostate Dialogues

Emery Shelter Visit: February 2012

Tu B’shevat around DC: 5772!

Graphic courtesy of free-clipart-pictures.net

Tu B’shevat,sometimes referred to as “the Jewish arbor day,” was a tithing holiday in ancient Israel and a way to count the seasons. It was never, however, without environmental impact; the Talmudic rabbis revered the trees of the land and dedicated this “birthday” for protecting fruit trees. By the medieval ages the Kabbalists added a special seder, modeled after Passover, and today advocacy has taken a strong foothold with planting and teaching about sustainability.

The DC Jewish community has several options for celebrants. Take a look below, and be sure to enjoy the fruits of this holiday! 😛 The official dates this year are from Feb. 7 to Feb. 8.

Earth Worm Disco, Celebrating Tu B’Shevat and Earth Day
Sunday, Feb. 5, 9:30 am
Temple Emanuel combines two environmental holidays, featuring music programs especially aimed towards kids.

Tu B’Shevat: Trees and Me!
Sunday, Feb. 5, 10:00 am
The Jewish Community Center of NoVa offers crafts and songs to celebrate the birth of trees.

Tu B’Shevat Family Seder and Israeli Dancing for Kids
Tuesday, Feb. 7, 5:30 pm
All-inclusive night at Ohr Kodesh!

Etz Chayim Tu B’Shevat Seder
Tuesday, Feb. 7, 6:30 pm
Jews United for Justice and Etz Chayim DC are looking locally at urban trees and sustainability in the District.

Tu B’Shevat: Rooted in Text and Reflection
Tuesday, Feb. 7, 7:00 pm
Sixth & I, led by Rachel Farbiarz and Jared Gottlieb, takes on the spiritual aspect of the holiday with text study and meditation.

Tree Party DC’s Tu B’shevat Celebration at the Embassy of Israel
Wednesday, Feb. 8, 6:30 pm
Fruit sampling, wine tasting, and Israeli hits by DJ!

Celebrate Tu B’Shevat Israeli Style
Wednesday, Feb. 8, 7:30 pm
The Jewish Community Center of NoVa offers a seder and sing-along with an Israeli twist.

Kesher Israel: Tu B’Shevat Seder
Friday, Feb. 10, 6:30 pm
Celebrate with the Georgetown synagogue.