Why the band haim means so much to young jewish women jewish telegraphic agency gas jeans usa

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NEW YORK ( JTA) — On Friday, Zoe Plotsky and 10 friends will come together for a casual Shabbat dinner at a Greek restaurant near Radio City Music Hall in Midtown Manhattan. They will make a toast, break pita bread (instead of challah), share something they were grateful for from the previous week, eat and probably have a few drinks.

Sold-out concerts aren’t that new for Haim. Since releasing their first singles in 2012, the band has sold hundreds of thousands of albums, floored critics, toured the world with good friend Taylor Swift and become fashion icons of sorts. Their sound, which blends confident ’70s and ’80s pop with funky guitar lines and sleek contemporary beats, is irresistible. One could argue that Danielle (lead vocals and guitar), Alana (backup vocals, guitar and keyboard) and Este (bass and backup vocals) are the coolest Jews on the planet right now, occupying a coveted space between the indie music world and the realm of international megastars (such as Drake, for example).

The music video for the lead single on Haim’s second album, “ Want You Back,” is basically an advertisement of the band’s coolness: The sisters are seen strutting down Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles in time to the song, occasionally breaking out into dance moves.

“I didn’t realize there was a void in Jewish representation in mainstream music today until I saw them live for the first time at Lollapalooza 2013,” she said. “My dad and I have always bonded over music — he taught me the power of Zeppelin, The Beatles, [Neil] Young and Clapton — and I remember feeling the need to call him at that very moment to say ‘Dad! There’s this sister trio who can shred — and they’re Jewish!’ I had never experienced this sort of representation in the music world as a Jewish woman — apart from Barbra Streisand and maybe Pink — and it was exhilarating. If my sisters and I were musically inclined (we’re not), it could have easily been us.”

Stephanie Berman, 31, who lives in Los Angeles and works for an event services company, thinks it’s important to have Jewish pop culture icons to look up to — even if she might feel even more love for Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, the Jewish women behind Comedy Central’s hit show “ Broad City.”

Plotsky and Berman belong to the demographic that Jewish organizations hanker to bring into the organized fold — especially since a Pew Research Center study set off alarms about the high Jewish intermarriage rate in 2013, the year Haim’s debut album happened to come out. (Bilski doesn’t identify with a specific denomination but attends a Modern Orthodox minyan.)

It only helps Haim’s popularity with this demographic that they have a solid (if not religious) Jewish backstory. Their father, Mordechai, or Moti, played soccer professionally in Israel before moving to Los Angeles. They have publicly stated their love for Israel, and how they grew up listening to Ofra Haza, the “Israeli Madonna.” They told one publication that their first concert was at Canter’s, a Jewish deli in L.A., and that they were paid in matzah ball soup. They’ve joked that their band name was almost “The Bagel Bitches.”

Plotsky works for OneTable, an organization that helps millennials throw and attend hip Shabbat dinners (she is throwing the “L’Haim” dinner on her own, not as a professional). She doesn’t keep kosher or call herself “observant,” but she has found a way to connect to Judaism through her own Friday night ritual.