By Stephanie Burton
Students at several Washington, DC-area universities enjoyed the unique sound of Shotei Hanevua (Fools of Prophecy), one of Israel's most popular bands, at a concert at the University of Maryland last week. The performance was part of the group's two-week American tour to several universities, where members hope to show students a softer side of Israel, beyond conflict and war.
Israel at Heart, an Israeli advocacy group founded by Hillel International Board of Governors member Joey Low, organized the U.S. tour, and the concert in Maryland was also sponsored by the Jewish Student Union, the Terrapin-Israel Public Affairs Committee, University of Maryland Hillel, GW SAFI, and the Israel on Campus Coalition. In addition to performing, the band members have spent time speaking with students in classes and club meetings about Israel's diversity and burgeoning music scene.
With a fusion of reggae dub, hip-hop and a Mediterranean flavor, Shotei Hanevua has produced two platinum-selling albums and has developed a very large fan base over the past six years. Now it hopes to count thousands of American students among its followers.
"I saw Shotei Hanevua in Be'er Sheva while studying there for the semester and loved them -- but it was different seeing them in America. I realized how much I miss the passion, people and culture of Israel… I felt a yearning to go back," said Stephanie Burton, a student at George Washington University.
Shotei Hanevua has also performed at Harvard University, Yale University, Cornell University, Binghamton University, Syracuse University, the University of Wisconsin, Madison and UCLA. It will conclude its tour this week with performances at the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University and San Francisco State University.
Stephanie Burton is a senior at George Washington University and an intern in the Hillel communications department.