Kabbalah and nosh at Glasto

By Jessica Elgot, June 30, 2011
Festival-goers 'intrigued' by Jewish tent in the Glastonbury quagmire

Festival-goers 'intrigued' by Jewish tent in the Glastonbury quagmire

For muddy Glastonbury festival-goers already worn out by Friday evening, the Jewish tent was a place for a musical Shabbat service, relaxation and meditation.

The festival attracted around 200,000 people to Worthy Farm in Somerset. The tent, run by Daniel Silverstein, one of the co-founders of alternative Jewish collective Moishe House, has become a festival staple and an object of curiosity for passers-by.

The white, Bedouin style tent with a painted blue sign, close to the festival's Healing Fields, had a 900 watt sound-system for the party on Friday night.

Mr Silverstein, a trainee rabbi and performance poet said: "We've run arts and crafts, we've done music and poetry, origami and make-your-own-lovely Hebraica.

"On Friday night we had so many people join us for Kabbalat Shabbat, which we turned it into a cocktail party, there was lots of raucous singing and dancing. We also led a mini Friday night service. On Saturday people were just popping in to chill out, and eat kosher food, we've mainly giving out stuff to nosh on, like hummus and crisps. I led a kabbalistic meditation session."

Mr Silverstein said the tent attracted a diverse group of people. "We had people staying for five minutes and some for hours. We met Israelis who came from Israel specifically for Glastonbury and at least 200 Jews popped in, of varying different degrees of religiosity, and some who weren't connected or involved at all. We also had around 500 people who weren't Jewish at all and were just interested in seeing what was going on.

"We met at least 10 religious Jews who kept Shabbat and wanted to keep kosher and they were so pleased that there was something for them.

"I've been coming here for about 15 years and it's a kind of pilgrimage for me.

"It's one of the world's biggest and best festivals but has this genuinely alternative feel to it. It has such a special spirit and vibrancy."

The tent was run by Moishe House this year, and supported by the Pears Foundation, Jeneration and the Stanley Kalms Foundation.

Mr Silverstein said he hoped the tent would move to a bigger and more prominent position in 2013. "We've asked the organisers to move us to a new place next year, where it can hopefully get even bigger."

Last updated: 12:08pm, June 30 2011