No More Jangly Spanish Jesus Songs

Amid the American Apparel drama earlier this month, the demise of a true Valencia Street institution went somewhat unnoticed (by me anyway). Reader foon this week alerted us to the now old news that El Santo de Israel is no more.

It was a Spanish-language, pro-Jewish Pentecostal church in a little storefront on Valencia near 21st. On Friday nights the congregation gathered and worshiped by way of a gospel jam session courtesy of one downright badass church band.

Oftentimes the jangly tunes issuing from this place sounded a notch more soulful than the boring old indie rock on offer down the block. On my way to or from some show at Amnesia or the Make-Out Room, I’d pass by while this crew were in full swing and wish for a moment somebody’d be out front inviting me in.

El Santo de Israel, we hardly knew ye.

For more, Mission Loc@l runs us through the history of the place and its founders here.

P.S. Really the only problem — aside from the whole organized religion thing if that doesn’t really float your boat — was the harsh overhead lighting. Church people, take a cue from Mission Street Food and Lung Shan, dim those fluorescents, string up some mood lighting, strike up the band, and you could build yourself a young, hip congregation lickety split. The blogs’ll eat it up, people will be lined up around the block to come in and praise holy things!

Photo by judgmentalist.


11 thoughts on “No More Jangly Spanish Jesus Songs”

  1. Pro-Jewish? Mmmm… I’d bet more like pro-Jehovah’s Witness. They seem to also love the star of David.
    Too bad they moved, it was always fun to walk by and catch a snippet of their singing and other storefront church type antics.

  2. Yea… not so much with the Jewish. They were a Jews for Jesus church. As far as I’m concerned, that “for jesus” part pretty much knocks them out of the Jewish catagory. the Jews for Jesus often like to present themselves as a solution for interfaith couples… but I have a hard time undertstanding how combining two distinct traditions into one is good for the couple, much less thier parents! Religion isn’t like penut butter and chocolate (or pork belly and jicama!) where you smash them together, and it’s better for it.

    A few years ago, at a street festival, my student grpahics designer roommate and I were handed flyers from them. They were hand drawn and photocopied onto pastel paper. I pointed out I was offended as a Jew. He pointed out he was offended as a designer.

  3. You can’t dim florescent lights. If you put them on a dimmer circuit they either won’t turn on or they flicker like crazy.

  4. I was told the entire congregation was lifted up in the rapture and are now singing praises to the Lord at El Toro Taqueria.

  5. I don’t really think that the church was looking for hip, young congregation, but rather a place to practice their religion while those twenty-somethings and gentrifiers go to ritual to get clover coffee.

  6. It is super-depressing to walk by the empty storefront now, just some extra-crazy loud dude camped out in the doorway yelling gibberish at the passersby. I miss the electric Menorahs and the neon signage.

  7. Um, yeah, I read the article. “Jesus Christ Is Lord” = not “Pro-Jewish”, whatever the f- that means.

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