Chasidic Folk Band Zusha Set to Play Baltimore

(Photo by Marko Dashev)

The trio of bearded hipsters may be part of the tribe, but the impact of their wordless melodies has stretched far beyond the Jewish community.

Three years after Zusha made a name in the music realm, with its debut EP ranking No. 9 on Billboard’s World Music Chart, the folk band is scheduled to bring its traditional niggunim with a twist to Baltimore on Tuesday, Oct. 17. Ner Tamid-Greenspring Valley Synagogue and Pikesville Jewish Congregation have partnered to host the 7:30 p.m. concert at 6214 Pimlico Road.

“These are people who are clearly Jewish — long beards, long sideburns, singing music that’s distinctly Jewish — and yet they’re able to connect well beyond the Jewish circle,” said Rabbi Yisrael “Sruli” Motzen of Ner Tamid. “There’s no better way for us to start connecting with our community than through Jewish music.”

And whether or not attendees recognize the soulful tunes played by Maryland-born singer Shlomo Gasin and his bandmates, guitarist Zachariah Goldschmiedt and drummer Elisha Mlotek, they are bound to feel the power of the music, said Ner Tamid congregant Aaron Polun, who is in the midst of organizing the concert.

“Music has an innate power of bringing people together,” Polun said. “And that’s what we’re trying to do.”

He added that despite the existing lines between members of varying Jewish communities — from the type of kippah they wear to the synagogue they attend — the Jewish people don’t let their differences permanently divide them, especially in times of hardship.

Bearing in mind the recent wave of hurricanes, the two synagogues decided that event proceeds will benefit the hurricane relief fund spearheaded by the Orthodox Union. Thus far, roughly 100 tickets have been sold.

Rabbi Yechiel Shaffer of Pikesville Jewish Congregation said in addition to helping a worthy cause, the concert gives Baltimoreans an opportunity to remain energized after the holidays.

“The band brings a meaningful and optimistic approach to Jewish life,” Shaffer said. “And since the chagim are very special and bring a lot of energy, they’ll help keep that energy alive in the community.”

To purchase tickets, visit


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