On the Vine Festival at Martha’s Vineyard

Mega Martha’s Vineyard Festival To Benefit Kidney Disease Research in Israel

The inaugural “On the Vine” music and entertainment festival will be held in Martha’s Vineyard on Aug. 22-25, attracting celebrities and artists to raise awareness about kidney disease and support remarkable research at Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa.

On The Vine will be a four-day showcase of artistic, musical and theatrical talents united in reducing the prevalence of kidney disease among African Americans. Proceeds from the festival will go to benefit research by Professor Karl Skorecki, the director of medical and research development at Rambam, and colleagues who have identified the gene that marks the prevalence for kidney disease among people of African descent, thus paving the way for researchers to better prevent and treat conditions.

“As an observant Jew and a Jew living in Israel, I think that what I’m doing is a continuation of what millennia of others have done; the Jewish people have always tried to be at the forefront of tikun olam [repairing the world] and being a part of the universal message of trying your best. It’s a part of our heritage to reach to work with the Almighty to make the world a better place,” said Dr. Skorecki. “First and foremost, I am a physician and I am interested in discoveries that promote health and save lives, which is a Jewish and universal value.”

African Americans are 3.5 times more likely to suffer from kidney disease and some 12 million African Americans are diagnosed with the condition. About 30 percent of all patients treated for kidney failure are African American. Dr. Skorecki said that the public health and medical communities are noticing the research from Rambam “because of the vast potential to apply the discovery of the gene, the risk factor and its mechanism to help the African American community.”

Singer Natalie Cole, a kidney disease survivor, will headline the event with R&B musician Kenny “BabyFace” Edmonds. Also preforming will be comedian and actor Richard Lewis from the series Curb Your Enthusiasm. During the festival, there will be a silent auction of celebrity goods and appearances by an assortment of performers, including Grammy Award winning violinist Miri Ben-Ari, and jazz greats Kahil El Zabar, Roy Hargrove and James Carter.

American Friends of Rambam Executive Director Michele Segelnick said, “We are collaborating with ‘On The Vine’ to emphasize the importance of shedding light to the horrible impact kidney disease has had on the African American community and the potential of the research being conducted at Rambam. We are excited about all who have come together in support of this cause.”

Segelnick added, “We are proud to show how Israel, as the Jewish nation, is working to improve the health and the lives of other population groups. It is quintessential that Jews and non-Jews alike can benefit from Rambam’s research and innovation, because the hospital stands on offer fair and quality care to all individuals.”