Biblical Idol

Performed March 16, 2014 at the Mesorati School

Ha’Aretz Rank and File

Biblical heroes flaunt their talent

BIBLICAL IDOL: While many synagogues love a good Purim spiel, Jerusalem’s Mizmor LeDavid community has taken the holiday tradition a step further by turning it into a fundraiser. Allan Rabinowitz, the scriptwriter and producer of the synagogue’s annual spiels, told Haaretz on Wednesday that this year’s production, “Biblical Idol,” was held in a nearby school and filled an auditorium of 320 people. The proceeds went partly to the synagogue and partly to a synagogue-related charity called the Keren Doris Tzedakah Fund. Frances Kummer, a Toronto native who sits on the fund’s committee, told Haaretz its goal is to help “the elderly of Arnona, Talpiot and Baka purchase much needed medication, so they don’t have to make a choice between food and meds because of their financial situation.” Rabinowitz, who grew up in New Jersey and later lived out West, said the spiel was about Dead Sea cult members watching an ancient reality show song contest. The show, which included a full band, was a spoof of “American Idol,” with a twist: The panel of judges — among them, King Solomon — and all the contestants were Biblical characters. The winner ended up being Bilam’s donkey, portrayed by real-life Israel Opera member Jonathan Saunders, who sang “Impossible Dream.” Mizmor LeDavid, which started six years ago in a basement, now gets 200 people on a Friday night in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood, added Rabinowitz. http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/anglo-file/.premium-1.581024