Letter from Glastonbury

By Tanya Winston, June 30, 2009

The Jewish Glastonbury ’09 team are back on dry land after an exhausting, muddy, surreal and insane week.

This year we set our sights higher than ever and did everything we could to provide a warm, welcoming and entertaining space.

In the tradition of Avraham we kept our tent flaps open to all weary passers-by, filling their glasses and their stomachs and giving them a break from the Glastonbury madness.

We were astonished at the number of Jews at the festival who were all excited to see a space and group of people that they felt a connection to, from the Malvern teenager who is the only Jew in his village, to Tamar from Alaska who proclaimed herself as one of the ‘frozen chosen’.

Funniest of all for us was seeing hundreds of people over the weekend posing for photos by our sign – we certainly caused a stir.

There were scores of special moments but best of all for me were:
A packed out informal Friday night dinner – saying Kiddush and hamotzi amongst the chaos around us was great fun.

A beautiful Sunday afternoon acoustic set from Israeli singer, Hadar Manor, who lifted our souls with her soaring version of D’ror Yikrah, and her humorous songs about London life.

Seeing people get stuck into our arts and crafts Tree of Life theme and watching them sit in the sun and create fantastic decorations out of recycled materials.

And maddest of all were our all night raves that attracted hundreds of people and were still going strong at 5am on Monday morning.

The crowds who spent their last night night dancing to Jewish DJs said that it was the best party they’d been to all weekend – truly a compliment from people who have the most music I’ve ever heard in one area to choose from.

All in all the biggest buzz came from the reaction of the non-Jews who spent time with us over the weekend.

An incredible number of people who’d never met a Jew in their lives went away saying how great they thought the Jewish religion was and how much they loved our hospitality.

After reading the Chief Rabbi’s recent comments in the JC about the rise of anti Semitism, it really reminded me that if we hold on tight to our authentic roots and proudly interact with the modern world, the positive impact can stretch further than we’d ever believe.

Thanks to JHub for making it all possible.

See our picture gallery of the Jewish tent at Glasto

Last updated: 3:35pm, September 22 2009