Hundreds gathered this week at New York’s historic Shearith Israel, the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue, for an evening of music and giving. Featuring the classical music of Jewish composers like Mendelssohn and Gershwin, the Salome Chamber Orchestra thrilled attendees with a set of musical pieces set off by the stunning architecture of Manhattan’s oldest Jewish temple.
Salome, an orchestra designed in 2009 to “make classical music sexy,” was accompanied at the Wednesday evening concert by classical Israeli violinist, Itamar Zorman. That fact, combined with the 40-strong list of Jewish groups that got involved, created an event that chief organizer Alana Shultz called an overwhelming success.
“I knew from the start that this was going to be an event for young adults. I also knew our acoustics would be incredible; the space was made for an event like this. The synagogue is a gem,” said Shultz, program director at the synagogue. “This was an event about beautiful music, bringing together the Jewish community, and philanthropy.”
The participating organizations—including names like the AJC, Dor Chadash, WIZO and CAMERA—received 50 percent of proceeds from tickets they helped sell. Likewise, a cocktail party following the concert gave guests an opportunity to read up on literature from some of the planet’s leading Jewish groups.
“All the organizations benefitted from the exposure to create a whole new audience of people. The concept was great from the start, the music was just magical,” Shultz said. “We definitely wanted to imbue the event with as much Israeliness as possible. At least 50 percent of the participating organizations were Israel groups.”
Planning and advocacy aside, the centerpiece of the evening were the sounds of musical notes taking to the towering heights of Shearith Israel’s ceiling. The final number, a rendition of Israeli national anthem Hatikvah, was the perfect cap to the concert, Shultz added.
“It was so soulful,” she said. “The arrangement was just the most beautiful, special arrangement.”