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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘dance’

Egypt’s Chief Cleric Scolds Israel Over Nude Dancers in Holy City of Jerusalem

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

Now there is no doubt at all that the Messiah is most certainly on the way.

The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam scolded the People of Israel Saturday over the humiliation to the sanctity of the holy city being perpetrated by allowing a nude performance to take place in Jerusalem.

Allam warned Israel on Saturday that “More Than Naked,” a performance Friday by 12 nude dancers at the Jerusalem Theater that was part of the 55th Israel Festival, “contributed to the spread of terror, extremism and instability” in the region.

Moreover, he called the performance a ‘humiliation to the sanctity of the holy city,’ according to a report broadcast by Galei Tzahal Army Radio.

The remarks came a day after the show, by Austrian choreographer Doris Uhlich, appeared on stage at the Jerusalem Theater.

The Islamic cleric pointed out that the performance constituted an arousing provocation, and as such, was an offense to the sensibilities of observant followers of all three monotheistic faiths.

It is beyond ironic that it required the Islamic chief cleric of our southern neighbor, Egypt, of all nations, to remind the Jewish Nation of where to draw the line in encouraging “artistic” or “cultural” expression.

Members of the Jerusalem City Council were also upset to learn that they were funding a nude dance performance as part of the Israel Festival. It was decided that next year the Jerusalem city council will have to approve all performances before funding them.

Hana Levi Julian

Irish Dance Festival Cancels Tel Aviv Event Due to BDS Threats

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

The first-ever Irish dance festival set to take place in Israel was terrorized away from Tel Aviv thanks to a campaign of threats to the performers, the school, and a “standard” BDS (boycott, divest and sanctions) petitions.

The Israeli Feis, scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv next month, was targeted by the Irish Palestinian Activists Collective who began the #DontDanceForIsrael campaign.

An online petition against organizers of the feis and supporting “the appeal of the Palestinian people to Boycott, Divest and Sanction, BDS, the Apartheid state of Israel” was also launched by Amanda Crawford in Dublin.

The Irish Friends of Palestine, whose Facebook page had garnered 12,575 “Likes” by Wednesday, posted a statement calling the cancellation of the event a #BDS Victory Ireland.

In a statement announcing its cancellation of the event, the Carey Academy explained, “Not long ago the feis [FaceBook] page started to be attacked by a radical political group called Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) led by Raymond Deane, Kevin Squires and Amanda Crawford. Threatening messages were sent not only to our teachers, but also parents and students.

“Age, nationality, or religious beliefs do not matter to us. Unfortunately, there was a protest outside of our dance studio. We do not want to risk safety of anyone connected to the Carey Academy. The feis was not meant to be anything more than what it really is – a celebration of dancing, friendship and joy.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience caused to people who may have already booked tickets, but I am sure you understand the safety of our dancers is our number one priority.”

The Academy had previously stated that “running a feis in Israel does not mean we support or are involved with the Israeli government or any extremist groups in any way shape or form.”

Hana Levi Julian

Chinese-Israeli Cultural Relations Blossoming

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

According to China’s Ambassador to Israel, Gao Yanping, “Culture goes beyond borders. Cultural exchanges constitute an important and dynamic part of China-Israel relations. Now the momentum is set. I am convinced that with our joint efforts the China-Israel cultural cooperation is bound to blossom.” To this end, the efforts of Israeli Barry Swersky are helping Chinese-Israeli cultural ties bud into fruition. In partnership with the Chinese Embassy and the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in China, Swersky is arranging an exhibition in Israel exploring the future of Chinese art through the eyes of young artists. Swersky is also fostering a collaborative relationship between CAFA and Israel’s Bezalel Academy of Art and Design.

Swersky explains, “I have felt that Israeli cultural organizations, whether artists or orchestras, are seeking more ways to go to China. They went to China and started to look for contacts. They have been successful.” He added, “As the cultural organizations become more interested in China, they have found their way into China. People are discovering each other, so there is a greater flow. There are museums in China presenting Israeli artists.”

Since 2008 Swersky has been promoting Chinese-Israeli cultural exchange. Among Swersky’s many projects is a TAO Beijing Dance Company performance with noted Israeli oud player Yair Dalal, joint master classes for gifted young Chinese and Israeli pianists, and construction of sculptures in Haifa and Haifa’s twin city, Shanghai, in a project proposed by Israeli artist Peter Jacob Maltz.

Swersky is not the only Israeli to be active in Israeli-Chinese cultural relations, as Israeli singer David D’Or has developed a solid audience in China and Israel Sinfonietta Be’ersheva has performed there twice. According to Swersky, “Already in May 1993, Israel and China signed a cultural agreement. In 2011, the governments agreed on a program for the years 2011 to 2015, a program which in general terms covers subjects such as culture and art, cultural events, museums and exhibitions, cinema and television, publication and literature.”

“Governments place great emphasis on ‘soft power,’” Swersky explained. “The identification with some elements of culture always helps Israel have a strong image in dance and music. It’s part of a country’s image.”

Eitan Press contributed to this report.

Visit United with Israel.

Rachel Avraham

A Torah

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

The Torah is the holiest of books in the Jewish religion. The Torah is the first 5 books of the Bible – in English – Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy…in Hebrew the names flow more easily, have more meaning. They are – Bereshit, Bamidbar, Shmot, Vayikra, Devarim.

The Jews and the Torah have a very unique and ancient history. The Torah is a gift that God gave to us thousands of years ago. It is something we as a people cherish. We stand when the Torah is taken from its resting place in the synagogue. We kiss it as it passes us. We stand as it is walked to a center table where it is read aloud, three times a a week and on holidays. We stand in respect, and in love – always in love.

On Simchat Torah – a holiday that translates as the “Happiness of the Torah” – we celebrate having successfully read the entire Torah over the space of a year. We dance with the Torah and sing. We gather our children and bless them before it – and then, having finally finished the very last word (which is the word “Israel”), we immediately start reading it again so that not a day goes by without there being more we have to read.

On this Simchat Torah, I sat with my mother and watched the men circling and dancing below. And I pointed to one Torah, smaller than the others and started to tell my mother its story. Unsure of some details, I turned to the women behind me and asked them to again tell me about it. These are the daughter-in-law and her sister of the man who owns the Torah, who saved it and brought it to my synagogue.

On November 9, 1933, the Nazis went on a rampage and burned synagogues, Torahs and holy books throughout Germany. They beat and murdered Jews – it was a national celebration of hatred that would herald more than a decade of agony and anti-semitism and culminate in the murders of more than 6 million Jews. It was called the Night of the Broken Glass – Kristallnacht – for all the broken windows and destruction. It should have been a signal to the world, had they only listened and in the deafening silence that resulted, it was a signal back to Hitler. Go ahead – murder your Jews, burn their holy Torah scrolls. Go ahead…and they did.

Yesterday, there were about 8 or 9 Torah scrolls around which the men in our synagogue were dancing. One was written a bit over a year ago in memory of a friend of mine and so I watched the men dance around Ziva’s Torah. Ziva was a beautiful and lively woman who died too young and as I watched her Torah circle below, I saw the beautiful woodwork on the edges of her Torah and smiled – she always had so much style.

But the one that caught my eye over and over again was the small Torah in the green velvet wrapping. The green material was a bit faded and looked very old. In 1933, that Torah had been in a synagogue in Germany when the Nazis came and set the building on fire. The roof collapsed the next day and it rained; the Torah scrolls in the synagogue were badly damaged. The elderly father who was in our synagogue for the holiday took the Torah scroll and tried to have it fixed but it was too badly damaged.

Most Torah scrolls are buried when they can no longer be used. This one could never be read again to a congregation to fulfill the commandment of reading the Torah out loud three times per week. It was taken to France and then, after the war, when the family came to Israel, the Torah came with them.

It is taken out each year, honored for its history – it survived the Nazis; today, they are long gone but the Torah remains. It is given a special honor – it leads the other Torah scrolls around as the men dance and circle and sing.

Seven hakafot – seven circles are made on the holiday – each circle taking long moments as everyone sings and dances. One of the circles was led by an elderly man who walks painfully slow. He is bent over and I cannot even begin to guess his age. He held his Torah, wrapped in the ancient green material and I watched as my mother’s eyes filled with tears.

Paula R. Stern

Everything You Wanted to Know about the Mitzvah Tantz

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Hundreds of Hasidic Jews on Thursday attended the wedding of the grandson of the Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok Rebbe in Bnei Brak, where this mitzvah dance was performed.

The mitzvah tantz (mitzvah-dance) is the Hasidic custom of the men dancing with the bride on her wedding night, after the wedding feast. The bride stands perfectly still, holding one end of a long sash while rabbis, the groom’s father, her own father or her grandfather holds the other end and dances with her.

The source of the custom is in the Gemorah Ketubot (16b-17a):

They said of R. Judah b. Ila’i that he used to take a myrtle twig and dance before the bride and say: “Beautiful and graceful bride.” R. Shmuel the son of R. Isaac danced with three twigs. R. Zera said: The old man is putting us to shame. When he died, a pillar of fire came between him (R. Judah b. Ila’i) and the rest of the world. And there is a tradition that a pillar of fire has made such a separation only for one in a generation or for two in a generation. R. Zera said: His twig benefited the old man, and other said: His habit benefited the old man, and some say: his folly benefited] the old man (the gemorah is playing on the words for twig, foolishness and method). R. Aha took her (the bride) on his shoulder and danced with her. The Rabbis said to him: May we also do it? He said to them: If she is on you like a beam (meaning you are not enticed by her), then it is all right, but if not, you shouldn’t.

During the mitzvah tantz, the bride and her relatives are brought into the men’s section without a mechitza separation. In fact, often the mechitza is removed altogether, and all the women present share the same space with the men on the other side.

Some Orthodox groups are uncomfortable with this custom.

That’s OK.

Yori Yanover

Jewish ‘Valentine’s Day’ Finds Ancient Roots in Biblical Shiloh

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Over 3,000 years ago, an ancient Jewish holiday was celebrated by the maidens of Israel. Dressed in white, the daughters of Israel would dance in the vineyards where men would choose them as their wives on the Fifteenth of Av, known as Tu B’Av.  Soon-to-be brides would dance in the community of Shiloh in Samaria, the temporary capital of Israel before the first Temple was built in Jerusalem.

The holiday celebrates many happy events that happened during this time in the course of Jewish history, some which were associated with the Temple in Jerusalem.

“Tu B’Av , however, has a much deeper significance than just an Israeli Valentine’s Day,”  according to Tamar Asraf, the spokeswoman of the Binyamin Council.

“In the very beginning, this ancient holiday was more of a local custom than a national one,” Asraf told Tazpit News Agency.  “The holiday gained national significance when members of the Benjamin tribe, who were forbidden to marry outside the tribe following the Pilegesh B’Givah incident and the Civil War that ensued, were once again allowed to marry into the the nation on the fifteenth of Av during the period of Judges.”

“This is a holiday that signifies not only love, but marriage and the continuation of the Jewish home during times of crisis and challenge in the history of our people,” said Asraf.

The Mishnah explains that “there were no holidays so joyous for the Jewish People as the Fifteenth of Av and Yom HaKippurim, for on those days, daughters of Jerusalem would go out dressed in borrowed white clothing…so as not to embarrass those who didn’t have.” Tu B’Av was instituted in the Second Temple period to mark the beginning of the grape harvest which ended on Yom Kippur.

Following the establishment of the modern state of Israel, Tu B’Av was revived as a national holiday celebrated across the country. In the modern day community of Shiloh, located in the Binyamin region, about 30 minutes north of Jerusalem, Tu B’Av’s historical and traditional elements play a central role in celebrations.

For the past four years, the Regional Council and Binyamin Tourism have hosted an annual Tu B’Av “Dancing in the Vineyards Festival” which features Jewish dance and music for women. Live concerts, dance workshops and of course the traditional dancing in the vineyards of Shiloh are some of the main features of the evening set near the remnants of the biblical Shiloh city.

Avital Horesh, the festival’s artistic director said that organizers, who spent months preparing for the event, expect over 1,000 women from all over Israel to attend. “Last year we had 1,000 religious women attend from all sectors in Israel, both religious, non-religious. This year we expect even more—close to 1,500.”

There will be a number of different dance workshops available including hip hop, Oriental dance, and African dance. A concert will be held after featuring well known Israeli singers from religious and non-religious backgrounds.

“The underlying idea of the festival is to bring women together from all parts of Israeli society to celebrate an ancient tradition that brought our nation closer together thousands of years ago. It’s sharing an age-old national message of reconnecting to our roots and traditions–accessible to anyone no matter their religious background,” concludes Asraf.

Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency

How Your Children Will Ruin You Financially

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

What are your biggest dreams for your child’s future? For most parents, it is to see him or her grow into a good person, get a top education, make a decent living, and settle down and get married to a wonderful spouse. All of these are worthwhile expectations, and many of us would say that this is why we work so hard.

Yet as a financial adviser, I have seen many families where, when it comes to marrying off their children, the dream turns into a nightmare. The wedding is a financial free-for-all, with the expensive flowers, a top band, luxury caterer, and the fanciest hall in the city. The young couple dance off into the sunset (possibly to the apartment that Mom and Dad are also paying for) while the parents are left with huge debts. Sometimes, desperate parents take on loans that they know they will never be able to pay off, and they end up borrowing from one loan fund to pay off another until they drown in their accumulated debts. Stories abound of the unfortunate father who dropped dead of a heart attack just after the wedding because he just couldn’t cope with the stress.

But let’s ask an honest question here: What is more important? The wedding itself or the years of marriage that follow? Even if you had the money to pay for a lavish wedding, wouldn’t you rather give it to your newlywed children so that they can start building their own home? Or put some of it aside for the next wedding or for your own retirement, as you don’t know how things will be in a few years’ time?

Part of the problem, of course, is what society expects. We wouldn’t feel any pressure to keep up with the Joneses if the Joneses weren’t so fussy about the name of the hall or the caterer, or whether the bride borrowed her dress or actually bought one.

It’s time to change our expectations when it comes to weddings. What’s more important? A happy bride and groom who had a simple wedding and whose parents are healthy (both physically and fiscally), or the young couple who had the “top” wedding, but whose families cracked under the strain? A marriage is supposed to last forever, not the expenses incurred from the wedding.

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/goldstein-on-gelt/how-your-children-will-ruin-you-financially/2012/06/21/

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