Disco it up for Israeli kids

By Nathan Tafoya
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 29, 2004

Israeli disco! Hook. Gotcha.

Following a Holocaust memorial and the formation of a human Israeli flag, the Hillel Foundation will finish a week of program events tonight with an Israeli discotheque party, "Keep On Dancing," at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St.

The party, open to all, comes as a belated extension and celebration of this year's Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Israel's 56th Independence Day.

Visual communications junior Jason Leach said he is going to the disco to party with his friends for something he believes in. He said he'd do the same for the United States.

"If I were in Israel right now and it was the Fourth of July, I'd celebrate the United States' Independence Day," Leach said. "They're the countries I support. They're the countries closest to my heart."

Those who attend the disco in their polyester best may find the party a little too happenin', with its fly, club music and utter disregard for the Bee Gees.

"It's not a disco that maybe some people think of as a '70s kind of thing," said Heather Lobenstein, special projects coordinator for the Hillel Foundation on campus. "It's a discotheque, which is like, a club, essentially.

"But because in Israel they're called discos, we're calling it 'the Israeli disco.' ... Regular music.

"Nothing out-there. Maybe one or two of those songs just for fun, but it's regular music."

Proceeds from the disco's $3 donations will benefit underprivileged children in Kiryat Malachi, Israel, said Lobenstein, a journalism senior.

"It's a very, very poor city in Israel," Lobenstein said.

"A lot of children don't know what it's like to go to a museum, or go to the beach, or have a pool to use, or go to a summer program, or participate in any kind of social activity.

So what we're hoping is to provide enough money to the city to allow these children to go to a museum or go to a beach."

Other than the free food and giveaways, the disco will premiere a video of the UA's first human Israeli flag, created yesterday on the Mall.

Lobenstein said that while "Keep On Dancing" is for a cause, it is also a way for students to let loose before finals hit within the next few weeks.

"I'm hoping that students, Jewish or not, come to the program to support Israel, to raise money for Israel and just to have a good time," she said. "And it's not political. This is not a political event; we're encouraging a diverse community of supporters."

Students who plan on attending are going to the disco for diverse reasons, that's for sure.

"We want to support Israel and we want to have a good time," said Jeremy Slavin, a political science senior. "Who would pass up a party?"

"It's a good way to meet Jewish girls," said pre-business freshman Ben Bloch. "Do you like Jewish girls?"