YEAH! A Night of Music

Image: Ellisa Sun and her band play in my living room. Photo by Jimbo Scott.

Last night after Shabbat we hosted a house concert to raise funds for YEAH! (Youth Engagement, Advocacy, and Housing) a shelter and resource center for homeless youth in Berkeley, CA.  Their mission statement:

Our mission is to support young adults (18-25) in Berkeley who are currently homeless. We provide basic necessities, offer case management and counseling, linkages to education, employment and housing, and opportunities for meaningful community involvement.

In other words, they provide much more than a clean bed for vulnerable young people. They assist them in setting goals, building their lives, and making meaningful contributions to their communities.

Jaclyn Grant, the Executive Director of YEAH! joined us for the evening. Her pitch was low-key but her passion for this work shone through. Her clients are what is known to professionals as “Transitional Age Youth”: they are youth for whom foster care is no longer an option but who are entering young adulthood without the resources or the safety net available to young people whose families can provide guidance and support.

The small events that are a bump in the road for most young adults (making a security deposit on an apartment, for example) are full-on crises that can put these youngsters out on the street. Moving back home isn’t an option for them; there is no home to move back to.

If you’d like to help, it’s easy to donate online. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, YEAH! is looking for volunteers for many different roles: fundraisers, food preparation, food service, managing supplies, and interacting with youth.

The music was great, too. Ellisa Sun and her band played a set of jazzy, soulful music that made me forget how long my day had been. Her voice has an unearthly quality that lends itself beautifully to her songs. I never could guess quite where the music was going, but when it got there, I knew it was the only possible destination. I particularly enjoyed Angel’s Town, which you can click to hear on

I’m not going to presume to review Jimbo Scott. I’m his mama, so of course I think his music is wonderful. If you’d like to draw your own conclusions, you can hear some of his music on his Soundcloud page.

The crowd was small but warm, the evening was cool and clear, and the music was beautiful. All in all, it was a nice night: YEAH!

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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi based in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, mom, poodle groomer, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at as the Coffee Shop Rabbi.

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