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Join the Rikkud: Dances of Comfort and Joy

02/02/2020 11:31:25 AM


Ilana Axel, Cantorial Leader

When I was 10 my daddy and I went to a Dad & Daughter Dance together. One memory I will always cherish is how I felt while dancing in my daddy’s arms. He probably had to stoop a bit. At one point the music grew old fashioned and quiet, and I felt warm and protected and supported. It gave me comfort.

             This sense of comfort might have been a model as I was growing up and developed a desire to help support others. For this reason I am enormously proud of the opportunities we provide at Beth Tikvah for those in need of comfort during times of loss and grieving, through meetings with our Comfort Circle. I am deeply grateful to our member, Dr. Stacey Siver, who co-founded this journey with me, providing spaces each year for others in need.

In today’s world the gender role assumptions behind an exclusively Dad & Daughter Dance event are problematic for me unless more openly themed – for example, a Child & Parent Dance. In this type of event, children and parents would all feel welcome to find comfort in each other’s arms as authentic members of their own unique families. This way of thinking forms the core of our unfolding LGBTQ Inclusion Process at Beth Tikvah, of which I am proud (no pun intended) to be a member of the Task Force. I am deeply grateful to our President, Deb Bakal, for getting the dance moving on this issue, and to all who participate in any way in the process.

Fox-trotting into March, PURIM! (March 8 & 9) makes me wonder about dancing in Jewish tradition. Earliest memories encoded in the Torah tell us how the Prophet Miriam led the people in song and dance after the miraculous crossing of the Reed Sea. (Exodus 15:20) “And the women dancing with their timbrels followed Miriam as she sang her song!” sang the miraculous Debbie Friedman of blessed memory, whose yahrtzeit is being observed at this season. A few hundred years later we recall that “David danced before the ETERNAL with all his might, wearing a priestly garment. So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Eternal with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns.” (2 Samuel 6:14-15) Dancing to express joy and wonder is certainly part of our Jewish DNA.

A few thousand years later our sacred texts hold that “the people of Beth Tikvah Congregation were DANCING WITH THE STARS all night long until the police were forced to ask them to let all the neighbors of Hoffman Estates into the party.” (Tikvahite 2020b) I am deeply grateful to all our Beth Tikvah musicians, script writers, players, and technicians who have been bringing great dance programs, non-stop, since Chanukah. Tzedek Shabbat followed in January. SHABBAT SHIRAH is Friday, February 7 at 6 pm led by Kolan and Kol Shirah with 6th-12th Grades. Kolan/Kol Shirah also perform at the JNF Tu Bish’vat Community Celebration, Sunday, February 9 at 1:15 pm at Rachelle Zell Chicagoland Jewish High School. Please come out to support them. “And they knew them by their dancing.” (Axel 1:9)


Tue, June 25 2024 19 Sivan 5784