Abraxas rocks out in Radical Jewish Music series at South Philly synagogue

     Rock quartet Abraxas plays at the Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel, a South Philly row home synagogue established in 1909, as part of a Radical Jewish Music Concert Series during the Hidden City Festival. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

    Rock quartet Abraxas plays at the Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel, a South Philly row home synagogue established in 1909, as part of a Radical Jewish Music Concert Series during the Hidden City Festival. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

    Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel, a South Philly row home synagogue established in 1909, is hosting a Radical Jewish Music Concert Series as part of the Hidden City Festival this month.  Abraxas, a quartet of rock musicians, performed songs from composer-performer John Zorn’s Masada Booke Two-The Book of Angels on Monday night to kick off the series.

    Abraxas’ leader Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz plays the gimbri, which he explained to the audience, is a “drum with strings.” After the performance, Blumenkranz reflected on the space. “This place should have music, it should have life, it should be happening here.”

    “The entire place is full and everybody is focused on the center,” said Morris Levin, a young entrepreneur and member of the board of directors who played an instrumental role in setting up the synagogue’s festival events.

    “There’s many different kinds of prayer and to fill a space like this with incredible music is a form of prayer.”  Levin also hopes that the synagogue will host more community events after the festival ends.

    The next segment of the Radical Jewish Music Concert Series at Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel features an intimate cellist concert with Volac on Wednesday, June 12.

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