ChaiPod hosts first Jewish music lounge at Kent State

Courtney Cook

Senior English major David Sugerman plays his guitar at the ChaiPod music lounge yesterday afternoon in Centennial Field. DANIEL OWEN | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

Jewish musicians and music enthusiasts gathered under a white tent for an afternoon of food and music yesterday in Centennial Field.

This was the first event hosted by ChaiPod, a group created to bring together Jewish students who share a love for music.

“We’re trying to find ways to connect people’s interests with Jewish life, in whatever way that is,” said Mike Levinstein, assistant director of Hillel of Kent.

The event began at 11 a.m., and ChaiPod provided snacks and drinks, a “lounge” of chairs and blankets to sit on and multiple guitars and drums for students to play. ChaiPod also gave the opportunity to participate in a raffle for iPod accessories and iTunes gift certificates.

“I created a love of music through Judaism,” said David Sugerman, senior English major and ChaiPod music chair. “My two loves are rock music and Judaism. It’s always cool to meet people who share that.”

Levinstein said the Hebrew word “chai” means “life,” and the word “pod” can describe a gathered group of people. The point of ChaiPod is to integrate Jewish life into student life through music, he said.

“The idea is to build a community of like-minded students who program themselves,” Levinstein said.

When students approached the tent, they were given the option of filling out an order form with a list of songs on it. Hillel will deliver a burnt CD with the chosen songs to the students’ homes in a few weeks.

“The CDs are a way to follow-up on the people that came to the event,” Levinstein said. “A way to stay connected with the people who showed interest in ChaiPod.”

The tent was surrounded by two large speakers blaring music such as The Beastie Boys and Barenaked Ladies. Posters boasting “Jews Who Rock” paid tribute to Jewish musicians such as Gene Simmons, Bob Dylan and Guster, whose Jewish backgrounds have shone through in their musical successes.

Levinstein said ChaiPod would like to work to bring more Jewish musicians to campus not only to entertain, but also to promote awareness of current issues concerning Judaism.

Sugerman said ChaiPod is planning to hold many events like this, but soon the weather will be too cold for a tent in Centennial Field. The “lounge” will be relocated to a building on campus such as the Student Center.

Levinstein said the event will move around campus to try to interact with as many students as possible.

“We want to go wherever students are and connect Jewish life to wherever they are in their lives,” he said.

ChaiPod will host an open mic night at 9 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Rathskeller. For more information contact Kent Hillel at 330-678-0397.

“The basic idea of this is to find a group of Jewish students interested in music and get them together,” Levinstein said.

Contact Religion reporter Courtney Cook at [email protected]