By Janis Fontaine
Boca Beach Chabad brings Alex Clare to Sanborn Square in downtown Boca Raton at 7 p.m. Dec. 13, the seventh night of Hanukkah.
To some, the sacrifices were astronomical: He said no to joining Adele on tour because too many dates fell on the sabbath or holy days. His record label dropped him because he wouldn’t work during holy weeks. But the singer/songwriter, who once dated Amy Winehouse, was stalwart and secure in his faith and trusted God to take care of him and his family.
Clare charted an unexpected hit record when his song “Too Close” was featured in some ads for Internet Explorer. Listeners sought out the song and it hit No. 7 on the
U.S. Billboard Hot 100. That success brought Clare back into the record business, and he made a second album, Three Hearts, in 2014, and a third album, Tail of Lions, in 2016.
But again, feeling too separated from his faith, he moved with his wife and child to Israel to reconnect.
Clare’s life may be full of prayer and religious study, but his music is solidly secular, of the “blue-eyed blues” genre with raspy vocals and a growly low range. Clare calls it music for the soul. His most recent release, 2021’s “Why Don’t Ya,” is a lamenting lost-love song, which is likeable enough with a catchy refrain, written for his wife.
At first listen, his music doesn’t seem to have anything to do with faith; it does simply because his life does.
Clare said “Why Don’t Ya” was his way of encouraging his wife to properly “acknowledge her feelings” following the death of her grandfather around the same time that one of their children was sick in the hospital. He said in an interview with BBC.com that “As a songwriter you’ve got to channel your emotion or your empathy or your pathos, whatever it’s going to be, without a filter. The song is the filter.”
He closed by saying, “Everyone really just wants to have their sense of oneness and sameness — that’s what people relate to and what people connect to. And the more that we can see our similarities with each other, as opposed to all the divisions and things that separate us, the better.”
Which is a perfect holiday message, no matter what holiday you celebrate.
If You Go
What: Alex Clare in concert
When: 7 p.m. Dec. 13
Where: Sanborn Square, Boca Raton
Cost: Free; reserved seating, $36; VIP, $180
Info: chabadbocabeaches.com, click on events
Seraphic Fire changes venues this year
The Seraphic Fire choir, which features professional singer-scholars from around the country, usually performs around the holidays at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Boca Raton, but church renovations have forced a change of venues.
You can see the choir perform at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Kravis Center. The concert, “A Seraphic Fire Christmas,” also serves to celebrate the release of the choir’s new album of Christmas music.
The Kravis Center is at 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Tickets start at $50 at kravis.org/events/seraphic-fire-presents-a-seraphic-fire-christmas/
Littering sentence can be hate conviction next time
Jon Minadeo II, the leader and founder of the antisemitic Goyim Defense League, was sentenced to 30 days in jail in November for littering.
Minadeo and his minions were arrested for tossing antisemitic literature into yards around West Palm Beach from the back of a pickup in March. Police arrested the men, and “we used this charge of littering because it was the only tool in our arsenal against these hate-mongers,” Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg said in a news conference.
Since then, the state has put a new law on the books. House Bill 269, sponsored by Rep. Mike Caruso, makes it a felony to distribute hate speech.
Under the new law, “If a person … intentionally dumping litter onto private property for the purpose of intimidating the owner, resident, or invitee of such property and such litter contains a credible threat, the person commits a felony of the third degree.”
The state doesn’t have to prove that the person making the threat had the intent to actually carry out the threat.
Minadeo, 40, is a longtime voice in the bastion of Neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers. Goyim Defense League’s flyers blame Jews for everything from 9/11 to COVID-19 to the immigration crisis. In May 2020, he co-launched GoyimTV, a video streaming platform focused on antisemitic content. In September 2022, he was arrested in Poland for hate speech after holding up derogatory posters at Auschwitz.
In May, RollingStone.com published a story about Minadeo that began, “When Neo-Nazi Jon Minadeo II encounters children on the video chat platform Omegle, one of two things typically goes down. Either: Minadeo subjects the kid to a torrent of abusive slurs. ... Or: He coaxes the child into making a heil Hitler salute, and attempts to groom them into adopting, and even promoting, his rancid ideology of racism and antisemitism.”
Other Hanukkah, Kwanzaa celebrations
Chabad South Palm Beach Hanukkah Celebration: 5 p.m. Dec. 10, Plaza Del Mar, 250 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan. Food, music, games and a menorah lighting. www.facebook.com/ChabadSouthPalmBeach
Grand Delray Beach Chanukah Festival and Menorah Lighting: 5-7 p.m. Dec. 7, Old School Square Pavilion, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach. Join Chabad of East Delray and the City of Delray in a celebration of the first day of Hanukkah with a DJ and music, pizza by the Gifted Crust, latkes and donuts, bounce houses, face painting, crafts and games, all capped by the grand menorah lighting. See delrayoldschoolsquare.com/events/menorah-lighting
Kwanzaa: 2:30 p.m. Dec. 26, Spady Museum, 170 NW Fifth Ave., Delray Beach. Kwanzaa is a pan-African holiday celebrating African culture and heritage. Families make their own gifts and enjoy art activities, storytelling for children, and food outside on the museum grounds. To demonstrate umoja (unity), seven local families, consisting of three generations, share their perspectives on the seven principles. To demonstrate nia (purpose), ’Ms. Tea’ Tammeric Itson-Scurry from the Delray Beach Public Library hosts story time for the children and will read Seven Spools of Thread by Angela S. Medearis. Demonstrating ujima (collective work and responsibility), youths will create an African-inspired dwelling and decorate the interior walls with their own artwork; and demonstrating kuumba (creativity), Spady Museum’s Kuumba Village will be ready to help guests create gifts to give or keep. Free, but RSVP at 561-279-8883 or spadymuseum.com.