The Role of Song & Dance
Walking around Tzfat any given day it is easy to stumble upon a group of people singing and dancing. In fact, it’s almost impossible not to. One of the first things we did when I arrived in Tzfat with my Livnot group was learn a song in the incredible and echoing acoustics of the crusader cistern. It was about letting go, connecting with those around you, and lifting a voice up to express the gratitude and joy of life. The energy of Tzfat is so awesome, in the true overwhelming sense of the word, that song is often needed to give adequate expression to the feelings that constantly course through your body, spirit and soul. For this reason it is not uncommon to see a single person or a group of people singing in the streets, from their homes or even forming impromptu bands along the alleyways. On Shabbat, every synagogue fills to the brim with people wanting a piece of the joyful action, and joyful voices resound throughout the old city.
Where there is singing, dancing will follow. The people of Tzfat tend to be a lively bunch, eager to celebrate life whenever they can. What better way than to use your body, alongside your voice and other instruments. Just as often as you can hear people singing down the street, it is not uncommon to see people of all ages dancing their way around, especially on and surrounding Shabbat. Maybe even more than singing, using your body as self expression is an ultimate act of freedom. As our fearless group leader and true asset to Tzfat would urge, “lose the illusion of control” through song and dance.
By embracing the gift of song and dance we give freedom to our joyful expression of tradition and beliefs. There have been so many times in the past where the Jewish people had to conceal their joy and celebrate in silence and darkness. It is a gift no one should take for granted, and maybe even a duty, to give flight to your love and gratitude through the timelessness of song and dance, and no one seems to understand this better than the communities of Tzfat.
– Tess Rose, past chevre