Magazine Feature / People

Alumnus seeks success, peace in Middle East

It’s tough enough pursuing the rock and roll dream in the U.S. Jeremy Hulsh, BSBA’01, opted to do it in Tel Aviv. 

For the last three years, Hulsh and his four-man alternative rock band, Primo Levy, have been recording self-produced CDs, playing local clubs and landing Israeli radio airplay.

“My friends here think I’m crazy,” says Hulsh, the group’s guitarist, lead singer and sole American. “They say, ‘We’re trying to get out of here and get to the States!’ My goal is to play music and hopefully make a living at it. But there’s a backlash against Israeli bands performing in English and even the most successful artists here aren’t rich. I’m doing it the hardest way possible.”

What keeps him in Israel is its spirit. “There is a special quality of life here—you’re living with purpose and passion,” he says. “It’s made me appreciate things I would have taken for granted in the States—like interrupting my music to fight in a war.”

Hours after this interview, Hulsh shipped out for infantry duty near the front lines in Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah. 

Hulsh grew up in Chicago, but spent summers in Israel, where his mother was raised. He played in bands through college, learning the business side by working as a student rep for Sony Music and, after graduation, in the marketing department at Columbia Records. 

At 23, he moved to Israel to volunteer for the army, then spent a year getting his band together—naming it after his favorite writer, Primo Levi, but changing the spelling for legal reasons. Hulsh also is working on a master’s degree in national security from Tel Aviv University.

“When I get back from this mess, I intend to put together a new set of songs and focus on playing abroad,” Hulsh says. 

Later this year, the band hopes to land some gigs in Japan, where Hulsh’s brother, Daniel BA ’04, is teaching English. 

“I let go of everything and took a big leap of faith,” Hulsh says. “America may be my home, but Israel is my heart.”

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