A Socalled Hanukah Party in Toronto

Published: November 30th 2010
in Culture » Music

Hip Hop Hanukah

The Ashkenaz Foundation and the Annex Shul are teaming up to present a one-night celebration of Hanukah, featuring Jewish hip-hop sensation Socalled. The event -- taking place at the Mod Club on  Dec. 2 at 9 p.m. -- marks the first collaboration between the Ashkenaz Foundation and the Annex Shul.


“Ashkenaz approached us, wanting to partner with an organization serving young, urban professional Jews,” says Scott McGrath, Annex Shul’s chair of board. “Over the years our parties have earned a reputation for packing the house with their desired demographic as each organization is committed to serving this constituency. The synergy is great as the product that they offer, namely great music with a Jewish component, is something we are always excited to share with our community.”


Socalled (a.k.a. Josh Dolgin) is a Montreal artist who’s performed his fusions of klezmer and hip-hop at festivals and concerts around the world. He was recently the subject of documentary by award-winning filmmaker Garry Beitel, titled The Socalled Movie


Annex Shul’s spiritual leader Yacov Fruchter says audiences can expect what they've come to expect from an Annex Shul party: great people, great music and dancing. “We always blend our parties with some meaningful Jewish content and we couldn't be happier to include some live entertainment by Socalled to help accomplish this,” he says. “We'll light the candles together and have lots of time for schmoozing, dancing and l'chayims before, after and during Socalled's performance.”


The Annex Shul has only been around for a little more than four years, but the Shul continues to grow by leaps and bounds. “We now have an incredibly devoted and involved member base that participates in programming and leadership decisions to help us grow and constantly appeal to our community,” says co-founder Bram Belzberg. 


Belzberg had the idea to start the Shul after spending a couple years attending services at Montreal’s Ghetto Shul. He eventually moved back to Toronto and was searching for a similar experience back home. 


“I wanted a place where I could have fun at Shul, make friends and celebrate Judaism,” shares Belzberg. “I looked around and didn’t find anything but as I spoke to my friends about my frustrations I always heard the same feedback, ‘Why don’t you start one for us, we would love to join.’ So I did. I found a partner, Rich Meloff, and the two of us found a space, a leader and started the Shul. In the beginning, it was a bit disorganized as we tried to figure out our ‘secret sauce,’ but ultimately we found it and have seen great success over the years.”


Tickets to Hip Hop Hanukah are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Attendees are encourage to bring new, unwrapped toys for donation. For more information, call 416-979-9901 or visit www.ashkenazfestival.com.

Related articles: (Klezmer, Socallled, Hanukah, party, Annex Shul, Ashkenaz)

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