I went to a concert last night. And everyone was Jewish.

So I’m not really one for music or concerts, but bast night the Cape Town Jewish community (yes, practically every single Jew of Cape Town) were treated to a concert by the Jewish singer Yaakov Shwekey (It’s strange being in a place with so many Jews, and actually not recognising people – you think you know everyone!) I’m not quite sure how to term him, you wouldn’t quite call him a “pop sensation”, and I don’t know if you could call him a “songwriter” (aren’t 80% of his songs from prayers, psalms etc?), but he is a pretty world renowned singer in the Jewish sense.

The event ran in true Jewish fashion. Shmoozing wit whoever you could find (and considering everyone was there, there were plenty of people to do that with) and as a result, the concert ran at JMT, or Jewish Mean Time, which in essence just means: late. On the one hand, it was sweet and heartwarming seeing so many Jews in one place to listen to some Jewish music. On the other, I just wondered how weird it must have been for people working there. Are we considered a creepy cult coming to listen to messages of our faith? We’re not, but the thought of what an outsider would think in this sort of situation was enough to keep me giggling to myself for the first 20 minutes of the show. When my giggling subsided, I started to actually enjoy myself. Instead of feeling like I was at a concert (or a Herzlia school production giving the sound and tech issues… shame, poor Abdul), it felt like a massive Jewish wedding.


If you’d read my previous post on the nature of Jewish weddings and the raucous that ensues, you would understand why.  My personal highlight of the night was for one of the faster songs, when so many of us left the confines of our seats and ran to the front to dance (men and women separately, of course). Instead of what one normally considered “dancing”, or even in relation to dancing at a Jewish wedding, it was really more of a mosh-pit (except instead of being tattooed and/or drunken the crowd was either modestly-dressed-and-sheitel(an expensive yiddish word for a wig)-wearing or black-hat-and-bearded.) Either way, this Jewish version of a mosh pit was quite the vibe. It’s a pity they didn’t continue singing the song for longer (it was such a far walk from our seats, we’d only just gotten there…)

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know many of his songs, but was reassured that considering most of it comes from some part of davening (prayers, psalms etc) I should recognise the words if anything. I was pleasantly surprised that I knew more words than I thought I did. His singing was very nice, but I did feel that for the ones that I did know, a Bnei Akiva (Jewish youth movement) ruach session could have given him a run for his money.


Yaakov Shwekey Concert Cape Town south Africa