I've been following the facebook postings of a colleague and old friend of mine from back in the UK these past couple of weeks as she shared her family's exploits. What's so interesting about that? Isn't that what Facebook is for? Well this particular family has been doing something a bit more remarkable than just reporting on their family vacations and what they made for dinner (not that I don't love when my friends share these things too; its just unlikely to make the grade as something I'm going to share on my blog!)
Bebe Jacobs and her family have been singing together for many years. Bebe, when I was in the UK, did some educational work and training for the Leo Baeck College (Rabbinical seminary for Progressive Rabbis) and the Center for Jewish Education. She now runs her own practice as a Parenting Coach. Like myself, she was both a member of our Jewish Renewal chavurah and a member of a Reform synagogue in North West London. Her husband, Lawrence, is a retired dentist and acts as part-time Cantor to a Masorti (Conservative) community in North London and in Glasgow, Scotland. They have three children aged 27, 24, and 21.
This past weekend they appeared as 'Jacobs St', in 'Don't Stop Believing' a 'Britian's Got Talent'-type show that has been inspired by the Glee craze, focused specifically on singing and dancing amateur groups. Jacobs St. beat out 8000 entries to make it to the live semi-finals.of this show hosted by one-time Spice Girl, Emma Bunton. First, a little preview to introduce the Jacobs Family:
Next, their live performance last weekend, where they gave it their all:
Ok, so they didn't make it to the finals. But it gives me a big smile to see how much fun they were having. There was also a wonderful buzz in the Jewish community and Jewish press about their achievement (see, for example, The Jewish Chronicle). And the comments of the judges were, I think, interesting in what they picked up on and emphasized. How wonderful to see a family doing this together - putting that togetherness and unity above the need to single out someone; where being part of something meant more than winning. And so great to see what, on the surface might look like 'a typical North-West London Jewish family' be part of a mainstream popular show like this.
I think Jacobs St. are a pretty inspirational family. They shared their passion, their love, and their values with us. In just a few minutes of TV exposure, they encapsulated so much Jewish wisdom about family, the power of singing together, and being part of something that is greater than anything we can possibly be as individuals, whether that be in the context of a family, a group of committed friends, or a community. And they also taught us that there is no such thing as 'typical'. We might not be part of a group of friends or a family with a talent like Bebe's family for singing together, but we each have gifts that we can share. Take a moment and think about what is most precious, joyful, and special that you share with your family, or your closest friends, or your community. Label it, feel it, share your appreciation for it, and enjoy it!