Monday, June 20, 2011

Memories... Israeli Folk Dance

Last night was my last teaching session at the Mercaz Lemida, Study Center, in Rimonim, southeast of Shiloh.  The young man who drives me home* and I always have interesting conversations.  Last night he told me that his eldest goes to a school in which the children dance during the breaks/recess.  They don't run around wild like in most Israeli schools.

בית ספר רוקד  Beit Sefer Roked, The Dancing School ... wow!  That sure brought me back to another time...

Twenty-nine years ago a favor was asked of me by the people running our local elementary school, which was about to enter its second year in existence.  Would I be the Girls Gym Teacher, just a "temporary job" until we can find someone with actual qualifications and training?  Well, I held that "temporary job" for thirteen years, the longest I've ever held any other job.  It was a very part-time job considering the size of the school at that time, so during those thirteen years I simultaneously worked in other positions in Shiloh, like English Public Relations at the Yeshivat Hesder Shiloh and Cook at the Day Care Center.

After a few years, the authorities must have heard about me and invited me to the annual "gym teachers summer training sessions."  At my very first one, I sat down feeling terribly out of place among all the "jocks."  I was also about the only woman with her hair covered.  Men with kippot were also rare.  And I was also one of the oldest there.  Then the program began.  They introduced Shalom Hermon to talk about בית ספר רוקד  Beit Sefer Roked, The Dancing School. I almost fainted.  I hadn't heard his name for almost twenty years!

Shalom Hermon had been on Fred Berk's staff for the Israeli Folk Dance Festival when I led the NCSY Dance Group.  I hadn't worked directly with him, but I did remember his name, also because he was listed as choreographer of some favorite dances on Fred's albums.

No doubt that Shalom Hermon and Fred Berk, now both in Olam Haba (Next World) are dancing and leaping with joy to know that young Israeli children are still dancing their dances.

*When I was first called about teaching there, I told them that if they can't offer me transportation, there's no reason to continue the conversation.  Thank G-d my recommendations were sufficiently convincing.

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