The Friday evening meal was over, but the candles were still burning in the silver candlesticks. A cricket chirped behind the stove, and the wick in the lamp made a slight sucking sound as it drew up the kerosene. On the covered table stood a crystal decanter with wine and a silver benediction cup, an engraving of the Wailing Wall upon it; near them lay a bread knife with a mother-of-pearl handle and a challah napkin, embroidered in golden thread.
With her ‘Shir Fun’ classes and albums, singer Dafna Israel-Kotok
is at the forefront of a new type of Jewish children’s edu-tainment.
On a Wednesday morning shortly before Passover, in a sunny room overlooking the Henry Hudson Parkway, Dafna Israel-Kotok is in her element.
Joyously shaking her long, straight black hair as she plays guitar and sings for about 10 small children and their moms, the 30-something Sabra musician freely alternates between English and her native Hebrew.
Elissa Sampson and her husband, Jonathan Boyarin, longtime members of the Stanton Street Shul, held a blue paper napkin between them as they twirled to the music of the four-piece klezmer band hired by the synagogue for the afternoon.
In the aftermath of last week’s deadly terror attack, all eyes focused on the fervent rescue effort in Lower Manhattan. With thousands of people buried under mountains of steel and concrete, cultural enterprise suddenly seemed frivolous and art openings, lectures, parties and awards ceremonies nationwide were canceled or postponed.
The models and movie stars filing past the phalanx of flashbulbs at the New Museum last week had not come to see the latest exhibition of contemporary art or next fall's fashions. They had been invited to the book launch party for "The 72 Names of God: Technology for the Soul," the latest publication from the Kabbalah Centre International.
Imagine yourself onstage with a hard-rocking, all-star klezmer ensemble. You’re singing Yiddish classics with great voices like Adrienne Cooper, Basya Schechter and Debbie Friedman, and 500 people are cheering.
Sounds exhilarating, nu? Or maybe a little scary?
Would it help if the 500 people were singing along with you?
“Well, a conservative estimate would say that between 60 and 70 percent of the people were singing,” says Zalmen Mlotek.
On the eve of Israel Independence Day in 1967, Dov Lichtenberg went with friends to the Israel Song Festival in Jerusalem. There, Naomi Shemer’s new song, "Jerusalem of Gold" was first performed by an unknown young singer named Shuli Natan. Later, after midnight, the 25-year-old student received word of his mobilization for army service from a colleague at the university. "It’s not a drill; it’s a real war," he said to the person who handed him the order.