New Brunswick—Safam, the six-man band that has dominated the Jewish music scene in America since 1974, will perform in concert on Sunday, March 5, to benefit the soon-to-open Eva and Arie Halpern Hillel House on the Wilf Family Campus, 70 College Ave., at Rutgers University. Concert-goers will have an opportunity for a sneak preview of the magnificent new 40,000-square-foot building, which is scheduled to open April 2.
The March 5 concert marks the first return of Safam to Rutgers University since 2006. For 30 consecutive years, beginning in 1976, the group performed a concert to benefit Hillel. The first concert was performed in the Hillel building on Ryders Lane (now the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center). Other concerts were performed at the College Avenue Student Center, The Nicholas Music Center and eventually to sell-out audiences at The State Theater in New Brunswick.
Safam’s vocalist, Dan Funk, is a Rutgers alumnus. His father, Rabbi Julius Funk, was founding director of Rutgers Hillel, a position he held from 1943 to 1982. The history of Rabbi Funk’s meritorious tenure at Rutgers is the theme of the commemorative Funk Legacy Wall, a significant architectural feature in the lobby of the new building, containing artifacts, newspaper clippings, photographs and other memorabilia.
Known for their originality— in music, lyrics and arrangements—Safam’s songs have become an integral part of the fabric of American Jewish musicality. Several of their songs by the group’s composers, Joel Sussman and Robbie Solomon, have become classic. Their music covers the breadth of American musical styles weaving rock & roll, pop, folk, Latin, Chassidic and cantorial into an eclectic tapestry that is uniquely Safam. Joining Sussman, Solomon and Funk in the Boston-based group are Alan Nelson, Mark Snyder and Bob Weiner.
Long-time fans of Safam speak of their concerts as “emotional rollercoasters,” packaging laughter and tears, singing and dancing and nostalgia and hope.
Tickets for the Safam Concert on March 5 may be obtained by going to www.rutgershillel.org and following the links to the concert. General Admission tickets are $36 each. Student tickets are available at $18. Sponsorships of the event may be obtained at the following levels: Gold Boneh ($1000), including four preferred seats, a Safam CD and dinner; Silver Boneh ($500), two preferred seats, a Safam CD and dinner; Boneh ($250), two preferred seats and a Safam CD.
Guided tours for sponsors will begin at 4:30 p.m. followed by dinner with Safam. Tours of the building for all guests will begin at 6 p.m. General admission doors for the concert will open at 6:30 p.m. with the concert scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.