at Sutton Shul
On Sunday 1st December, 145 people gathered at
Sutton & District Synagogue for a gig guaranteed to please.
This was the first in a new season of social events organised by Chaverim.
Rica Infante, Chair of Chaverim, welcomed Shir, a nationally acclaimed Klezmer quintet,
whose work can be heard at 'www.shirmusic.co.uk'.
Since they entertained us two Chanukahs ago, Shir have added drums to their quartet
of clarinet, violin, guitar and double bass.
Once again, Shir magic whisked us back to other times and lands,
with evocative Yiddish and Ladino songs and melodies that ranged
from exuberant shtetl simcha to tunes of haunting poignancy.
The plaintive violin, the soaring clarinet,
the pulsing beat soon had everyone tapping hands and feet,
clapping and even dancing!
Rabbi Meir Lev led us beautifully in the traditional blessings and songs for
lighting the Chanukah candles, sensitively accompanied by Shir.
Two Chanukiyot were lit, one for Sutton and one from Epsom and
Adrienne Fresko read a translation of Hanerot Hallalu
explaining why we light Chanukah candles.
After that, we were whisked back to the warmth of Turkey, Spain and Israel.
Having replenished our spirits, we enjoyed a break in the hall, where tables were
prepared with cake, doughnuts, cookies, sweets and hot and cold drinks.
Melanie Gold and her helpers had worked all Sunday morning to prepare the food
while the gentlemen had moved furniture to ensure that each and every seat
offered optimum viewing of the band.
We returned for the second half of the concert.
Shir virtuosity and an ability to keep the audience involved
created an evening of beautiful music and a fantastic
atmosphere. I particularly enjoyed watching people being visibly transported to
another place as they swayed to the music. My personal favourite is the Middle
Eastern love song “Shecharchoret,” translated from Ladino into Hebrew, which
features on Shir’s CD Ashk’farad, a fusion of Ashkenazi and Sephardi music.
The overwhelming ruach or atmosphere that is created
when an audience merges into a single powerful and melodic voice
was very prevalent when we sang Ma’oz Tzur.
After the concert Sutton & District Synagogue Chairman Paul Sarfaty
thanked the many people whose hard work had made the evening a success.
Jonathan Symons who donated three special Art books for the raffle
signed by the famous Jewish artist Naomi Alexander,
entitled “Once Upon a Time in Lithuania” spoke movingly about his family roots
in Lithuania and then the raffle was drawn with great prizes too by other donors.
Our thanks go to Rica Infante and Chaverim and all the many people who worked so hard.
Kol HaKavod and here’s looking forward to the next event!