Folk Life Festival + ???
June 26, 2003 11:33 AM   Subscribe

The 2003 Folk Life Festival, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, is underway on the Mall. As in most recent years, The Commonwealth of Israel is there, too. Who are they? What do they want? And, most importantly, how do they get permission to set up their tents on the Mall?
posted by MrMoonPie (6 comments total)
I would have linked directly to the event site, but the SI site seems to be down.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:35 AM on June 26, 2003

Hmmmm. I just asked a coworker who has lived in DC and going to the Folk Life Festival for years (and who is Jewish, incidentally) if she knew anything about this, and she had never heard of them. However, we poked around a bit and found this: Twelve Tribes-Ex, a website for those "affected by the Twelve Tribe's Cult." Another "official" Twelve Tribes site is here. One of their frequently asked questions is "Can People Leave if They Want To?" which makes me think of the Movementarians.

This doesn't appear to be associated with the Folk Life Festival at all, other than in location and timing. I might walk down and take a look on my dinner break this afternoon...
posted by arco at 12:21 PM on June 26, 2003

I saw the Oseh Shalom bus and some of its occupants parked on the street in Georgetown one Friday night. (Talk about miracles). I wish I'd known. I limped around ALL NIGHT with a thorn in my paw.
posted by coelecanth at 12:28 PM on June 26, 2003

Just appears to be a "coincidence" that they set up their festival at the same time every year. The Mall is public space after all, I suppose any freak could sign up to use it given they get there on time. They are apparently associated with the "Jesus Movement" which as far as what I've heard was a mostly jewish, but not all, 1960's hippie commune type movement roughly ideologically based somewhere between "Jews for Jesus," a Israeli Kibbutz, a "charismatic" Church "Happening," an Amish community and Haight/Ashbury. I could be wrong, but the name does ring a bell. Very subversive of them to sneak into the Folk Life Festival, though I don't recall them ever being there before?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:30 PM on June 26, 2003

I guess any organisation that devotes chunks of its FAQ to reasons as to why they are not a cult is somewhat suspicious. I had friends in the U.K. who joined a cult there, started small, went to some meetings, progressed to $500 weekend 'seminars,' finally sold their house and donated the money. At one point (they were trying to gte me to join) they told me that they were attending workshops where they had lists of canned 'answers' to memorise to counter any "You're in cult aren't you?" type accusations.

Cool bus, though.
posted by carter at 12:42 PM on June 26, 2003

Perfect, arco--thanks! There was a definite cultish feel, though the females' distinct Semitic/hippy look has always been my weakness. Plus, the lemon maté was yummy.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:00 PM on June 26, 2003

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