Saturday, December 15, 2007

Shlomo Katz in concert at Aish Kodesh

That's the last time we worry about being late 2 a concert at Aish Kodesh [link]--we got there at just about 8, & here it is 8:25 & the concert shows no signs of beginning.
We're downstairs--not in the sanctuary in which ths video [link] was made. The [room] is divided by a series of long tables, wth th men in front but a perfectly clear view for th women in th back. Interestingly enuf, the w's section is much larger than th m's. Also interestingly, we're among th oldest people here, leading me 2 wonder whethr we've happnd on a majr shidduch scene. Thus far, I count exactly 2 covered heads among th w--& I'm 1 of 'em!

More later--gotta return th pen!

[See translations and explanations at end of post.]

Okay, that was before the concert. I've got a lot more to write--and time to write in full words :)--now that the concert is over and we're back home (via Long Island Railroad and subway) listening to the rain. (Wind gusts of 40 miles per hour are predicted for tomorrow). I also have a computer with which to insert the aforementioned links. More's the pity we were in such a rush to make our train that we forgot the camera. (We didn't think to take any cell-phone photos--I don't think either of us is sufficiently technology-adept to figure out how to upload them to our computer.)

The concert actually started at about 8:40, and the room filled up quite nicely by about 9. (Ah, "Jewish time"--don't ya love it? :) .) The men's section becoming standing-room-only very quickly.

I lasted in the front of the women's section for about two songs--the minute the livelier music started, I was in the back of the room dancing. That actually got a bit interesting. Having observed that my husband was one of the few guys in the room wearing a head covering that wasn't black (a blue and white kippah s'rugah/"knitted" [crocheted] yarmulkeh/skullcap), I was dancing in a manner that was quite constrained, not wishing to offend this crowd that was clearly more religiously-right-wing than we're accustomed to. (See here for my illustrated guide to "the Orthodox dress code.") I'd spotted a curtained area in the women's section, but there originally appeared to be men in there fiddling with wiring, and I thought it might be an improvised backstage or tech area. Fortunately, the next few gals up relieved me of my concerns by schlepping me into the curtained area--is "mechitzaed" a word?--and all of us cut loose. I ended up doing a lot of "free-styling"--in my case, mostly Israeli dance steps in improvised patterns--in the middle of the circle: As a veteran Israeli folk dancer, I can only do what (former?) blogger Dilbert/Noam (I'm still hope he'll revive the Bava Dilbert blog--see link in sidebar) once described as the "yeshiva shuffle" for just so long without getting bored. Nut job that I am, I'm pretty sure I was the oldest dancer in the circle by, for the most part, at least 30 years!

A few observations:
  • My husband told me that the men did very little dancing because there was very little room in the men's section. I was quite surprised to see that there was noticeably more room in the women's section than in the men's.
  • The music was wonderful, and Nochi Krohn showed up with guitar in hand to join the band about an hour into the set. Shlomo and the band played songs from U'Sh'muel B'korei Sh'mo and K'Shoshana, as well as plenty of well-known Carlebach tunes. But I can't name you many of the songs that they played. This is the first time I've ever been to a concert at which I spent most of the time behind a curtain, and I realize, in retrospect, that since I couldn't actually see the band much of the time, I wasn't paying as much attention to them as I normally would at a live performance. Under what to me are normal circumstances, I find watching the musicians play almost as much fun as dancing. Under the circumstances that I encountered at this concert, it was almost as if I were dancing to a recording (but a darned good one!). Black-hat affairs do have their drawbacks.
That said, I had a wonderful time, as did the Punster.

And no, it wasn't my imagination that the guy selling CDs at the door who lent me the pen looked familiar--he was, indeed, MOChassid/Azriel (Elliot) Ganz!

shidduch: marital match-making

"covered heads among th w": Many Orthodox Jews consider it obligatory for married women to cover at least part of their hair, so the dearth of head coverings (hats, tichlach/scarves, sheitlach/wigs, snoods) among the women indicated that most of the women were single. Apparently, I danced my head off as well as my feet--imagine my surprise when I discovered that I'd lost a decorative button from my hat despite the fact that the button had been attached with a rivet!


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