Jeremy Savitz in Israel in October 2000. During his illness, he traveled to Israel, where he visited the grave of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.
Photo by Nedara Carlebach
If you go
What: A Celebration of Jeremy Savitz and His Love of Jewish and Israeli Music, featuring Pey Dalid
Where: Congregation Agudath Israel of West Essex, Caldwell
When: Sunday, March 29, beginning with a family dinner catered by Jerusalem Restaurant at 5:30 p.m. and the concert at 6:15
Fee: $10 adults, $5 seniors, free for children 12 and under
Reservations: requested by March 20; contact Paula Basile, 973-226-3600 or firstname.lastname@example.org
March 19, 2009
Jeremy Savitz, who passed away in March 2001 at the age of 25 from a brain tumor, was an “extremely spiritual” young person with many loves — chief among them Judaism, Israel, and his congregation.
But perhaps most of all, the son of Rabbi Herman and Renee Savitz of West Caldwell “loved Jewish music,” his mother told NJ Jewish News. “That was his passion. He just was so passionate about his love of Judaism and music and children.” His particular fondness for youngsters — especially at Congregation Agudath Israel, the synagogue in Caldwell where he worshiped and the Savitzes continue as members — earned Jeremy the unofficial title of “Pied Piper” of the shul.
To celebrate his combined passions, the synagogue will hold a concert on Sunday, March 29, at 5:30 p.m., the weekend of his yahrtzeit, featuring the band Pey Dalid — whose founders, Shlomo, Mordechai, and Pesach Walker, are Jeremy’s first cousins. The Jeremy Savitz Music Education Fund at the synagogue sponsors events for families that are “joyous in his memory,” said Renee Savitz, calling the concert a “celebration of his life.”
“Agudath Israel was really a second home to him,” she said, noting that Rabbi Alan Silverstein, Cantor Joel Caplan, and educational director Susan Werk made him “feel special and whole” during his illness. She also said the community was very loving and supportive of the family, particularly during Jeremy’s illness and following his death.
“Jeremy was the ‘candy man’ to all the children in the shul,” said Werk, “handing out sweets and befriending all the youngsters.
“We all loved him and miss him.”
Pey Dalid (www.myspace.com/peydalid) plays a blend of musical styles in Hebrew and English, including rock and reggae, with traditional Jewish sound and content. The band has performed worldwide and appeared on MTV Europe and has shared the stage with such diverse musicians as Matisyahu, Reva L’sheva, Moshav Band, Soulfarm, Blue Fringe, Simply Tsfat, and Ruby Harris. Performing original songs at clubs, theaters, and outdoor shows and festivals for crowds ranging from 50 to 30,000, Pey Dalid’s influences include Safam and the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach — whose music was another of Jeremy’s loves — Bob Marley, and the Dave Matthews Band.
The concert is “a happy celebration of who Jeremy was, and it makes us happy to do it,” said Renee Savitz. The first Jeremy Savitz concert was held while he was alive, with singer Neshama Carlebach, daughter of the late rabbi, performing. Internationally acclaimed Israeli singer David Broza appeared at Agudath Israel in a memorial concert in 2004.