Havdalah and Klezmer presentation

Sue, the newish violinist in the klezmer band, told everyone that there was going to be a presentation about current klezmer music at her synagogue this Saturday evening — that is, today. We didn’t go to Maine this weekend, and a quick trip to Brookline seemed in order.

The presentation was immediately following a havdalah service. That’s the ceremony at the end of the sabbath, marking the division between it and the normal work week. Traditionally, you can find out when it’s time to end the sabbath by looking at the sky. If you can see three stars, it’s time to make havdalah. We just went by the clock tonight.

There were about twenty or thirty people gathered around a big round table in the community hall of Temple Beth Zion in Brookline, including a young woman with a guitar who isTBZ’s intern rabbi and Dan, who used to play violin with the JCC klezmer band. They led us in singing, first, a relaxed chant of words from the coming week’s Torah reading and a psalm, “They shall build a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell in their midst / We will bless the name of the Lord, now and forever” (in Hebrew of course) and second, blessings over wine, the spicebox that gets passed around for everyone to smell, the light of the fire, and the division between the sabbath and the rest of the week. Arlene thought the tune for the blessings was familiar, but wasn’t sure until she listened to her Israeli dance CD later.

The klezmer presentation was by Ari Davidow of the KlezmerShack website. He had brought a laptop with lots of music on it, but no speakers. The music was good, and a good overview of new stuff and new bands in klezmer, but the volume was sorely lacking. Most of it was pretty hard to hear, and you couldn’t blame the size of the room or how far away you were sitting or the crowd noise, because we were pretty close and there wasn’t much of a crowd. Or maybe it was as big a crowd as Davidow expected; here’s a permalink to his post about the event. I probably should order a couple of the CDs he played selections from.

We walked a block down to Washington Square (Brookline, not NYC) and found a sushi place, Super Fusion or some such. The food was good, but it didn’t impress me as deserving of a Zagat rating that was proudly displayed. There are alternative places to eat in the immediate vicinity, so I doubt we’ll ever go back.
On the other hand! Across Washington Street was a patisserie/cafe, Athans Bakery. Arlene got a dish of gelato and I got a piece of lemon cake. The baked goods were elegant and beautiful, with a big selection, there were plenty of places to sit, and we decided that we had found the right place to have dessert. It would be worth the trip from Newton just for dessert some day.

Comments are closed.