By Mollie Higgins
Rak Shalom, a Jewish a cappella group at this university, performed its winter concert Saturday in the Stamp Student Union to a crowd of nearly 80 people.
Founded in 2005, Rak Shalom has continued to spread its enthusiasm for singing through its diverse repertoire consisting of a mix of American and Israeli pop to traditional Jewish songs.
The group’s performance included songs ranging from “Something to Believe in” by Parachute and “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5 to more traditional melodies such as “Od Yishama” by Ishay Ribo.
Freshman computer science major Noah Engelmayer, attended the concert after hearing about the event from the Hillel newsletter.
Engelmayer said, “I really wasn’t sure how good it was going to be because it’s a group of college students but they were really good, I’m really impressed.”
Junior broadcast journalism major Hannah Borison and senior marketing major Jannah Laserson performed “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey one final time before Laserson graduates in a few short weeks.
Before the two performed together, Borison gave a final senior send-off to Laserson and read her a letter in which she stated that Laserson has changed the group in so many ways during her years with Rak Shalom.
“We can always count on you to be prepared and ready to rehearse while still occasionally breaking out into a harmless dance,” said Borison.
With Rak Shalom saying goodbye to two seniors this semester, the group also welcomed five new members who experienced their first winter concert.
Freshman psychology major Aaron Robinson attended the event to support his friend, Sara Heckelman, a freshman undecided business major, who performed at her first winter concert with the group.
“They sing beautifully so I really enjoyed it and I got in the groove,” said Robinson.
Senior psychology major Avi Eisenstein performed for his last time as president of the group and said he was really happy with how the show went.
“We got a really good turnout, which gave us even more energy and I hope it showed to the audience that we were having a ton of fun on stage because we really like doing this,” said Eisenstein.
Eisenstein described Rak Shalom as an “irreplaceable part of his college experience.” He said he has met some of his best friends through the group and it has brought out some musical talent that he never even knew he had.
Rak Shalom will be electing a new president Sunday night for the upcoming year; something that Eisenstein said was starting to hit at his last concert as president and a senior.
“What you try to do is make each one better than the last one, so we’re going to keep doing that and I hope they keep doing that after I graduate also,” Eisenstein said.
Next semester, Rak Shalom plans to release some new songs and go on tour in California over spring break. The group hopes to be able to spread its music to communities in California who have probably never seen or heard them before.
Rak Shalom also just finished recording its sixth album, “High Resolution,” which will be released on Spotify in the upcoming weeks.