Rowdy Shushan Purim Night (Brooklyn)


I was privileged to join up with the amazing musicians of the Neshomo Orchestra for their Shushan Purim gig at a very famous  Haredi high-school yeshiva in Brooklyn. The yeshiva builds a stadium pit with a long table along the entire floor of the library. The head or Rosh Yeshiva is brought in with great pomp. His talk is a combination of Yiddish and English interspersed between rowdy musical marches. What remains in my head from the night before are these very old and fun hasidic marches from a long time ago from eastern Europe. But what struck me the most was the event’s intimate and physical spatial construction. Usually when outsiders write about these kinds of events, the impression is of a large and anonymous black mass. What actually stands out is the smallness of the stadium space. The wood structure literally boxes in what turns out to be a rare and warm social form that has found its niche in the larger surrounding neighborhood space, moved by the talented players of a band belting out old tunes powered up by a modern sound system –horns, wind, and percussion.

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About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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