It is the greatest joy when we can blend together the personal, historical, theoretical, practical and political aspects of our lives; as our community’s traditions, histories, narratives, and aesthetics all come together in a grandsimkhe, a celebration of love. On Thursday night, the evening of our annual dance party, we celebrate the sacred and spectacular union of our friends and colleagues, Sarah Myerson and Ilya Shneyveys.
For Jews in Eastern Europe, the wedding was the social, cultural, and culinary highlight of their lives. It is said that every Yiddish theater show had to contain akhasene, a wedding. Klezmer, the instrumental musical tradition of Yiddish-speaking Jews in Eastern Europe, originally consisted largely of dance tunes, ceremonial music, and instrumental display pieces all for weddings. This Summer we bring it all together – music, dance, ritual, community, partying and love – as we celebrate an emese yidishe khasene, a real Yiddish wedding the likes of which one rarely encounters.
Over the course of the week we will learn nigunim for singing at the khusns (andkales) tish. There will be classes in playing for dancing as well as klezmer tunes for all aspects of the ceremony – firn di makhetunim, bazetsn and badekn di kale, fun der khupe, a khasene tants. Dance instructors Avia Moore and Steve Weintraub will teach and lead traditional Yiddish wedding dances popular and obscure, including the mezinke, broyges tants, and a full blown mitsve tants. The art department will make Yiddish banners to decorate the wedding. Everyone will be involved in celebrating the wedding of khazn (Cantor) Sarah Myerson, musician and singer, Yiddish dance leader, speaker and educator, recipient of the 2014 Arthur Einstein Memorial Prize in Composition; and Riga-born multi-instrumentalist, arranger, composer Ilya Shneyveys, artistic director of the Yiddish psychedelic rock band Forshpil, performer with Dobranotch, Opa!, The Klezmatics, Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird and others.