Hora Hora HoraIf you believe that mixed dancing is the end of Jewish civilization as we know it, and yea, verily, even the demise of any remaining vestiges of morality and propriety in an increasingly corrupt society, you’d better sit this story out.

When you pass it on Lexington Avenue, Mos Eisley Spaceport the 92nd Street Y looks like just a building. You’d never know that evil lurks within. In fact, on Wednesday nights, you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Just listen to a few of these disembodied phrases, and you will understand the true danger that simmers just below the surface:
“a sense of comfortable chaos prevails”
“greeting each other with kisses on both cheeks”
“it can take over your life if you’re not careful”
“20- and 30-somethings looking for love, aging hippies reliving their kibbutz days, white-haired bubbes staying spry, and 40-something women showing a lot of skin”
“seemingly single women, their legs swinging from the stage”
“dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria!”

(OK, one of those quotes may be from Ghostbusters. But you get the picture.)

The Jewish Week reports bravely on the phenomenon of the Israeli dancing program at the 92nd Street Y, which draws hundreds each week to dance their days and political differences away. Apparently today’s dances are less folky and more pop-oriented. (This means a likely reduction in the only Israeli dance step I’ve really mastered other than the “mayim” and the “reverse mayim”: the “chirkeziah.”)

For those in or visiting New York, the folk dancing begins every Wednesday at the Y with an instructional session from 7-8; then an open dancing session until 12:45 am. (Yes, on a school night. No, I won’t write you a note.)

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.


  • Hey ya’ll,

    What footwear do I need for these classes? Teva Sandals are catching up in price to Frye Boots.

    At least the “Chirkeziah” does not involve yelling Sue-ee or Yee Haw.

    Can I get a hand clap for the way i work my back?

    Tick tock, all around the clock, drop it
    Push ya tush, like that!

  • Footwear? The only acceptable footwear for Israeli dancing is bare feet, reminiscent of the early kibbutz movement and how they were so poor they had only one communal pair of shoes.

  • I should have specified that no special footwear is required. But, the article notes, most people wear sneakers. Birkenstocks to Blahniks, I’m assuming they’re all welcome (if one is a little more practical than the other).

    If I were running things, I would throw out anyone who wore Uggs. In general, not just at Israeli dancing.

  • Israeli Dancing Kvetch:

    I used to go to scheduled Israeli dancing at
    the Community College I went to and at UCLA
    later when I transferred there; like more then
    20 years ago. It gave me practice for the
    Chotanas I went to later, because untill I was
    22 I never went to a wedding at all, jewish or
    not. No one I knew got married, so it seemed. It wasn’t the local sport to do so. So when it finnally came to actually being
    invited or going to one, I was prepared to

    They are cute and fun if you are into that.

    And No, civilization is still reeking along
    regardless…. 😛

  • That guys looks like hes in some sort of JEdi training in that garb

  • Martians smell better, are quieter and make better neighbors than Orthodox Jews. I live in a shtetl, I know.

  • Yikes, Chutzpah, give us some warm and fuzzy instead of ascerbic generalizations. Please.

  • The best ones is the aquatic Israeli they have at some of the JCC’s now. W/ the Kibbutz music and all…

  • I had a rabbi who said that “dancing is something that you do vertically that you would rather be doing horizontally”.

  • There is a joke whose punchline is “Could lead to dancing”.

    I’d appreciate it if someone could email me the joke.

    To all a Zisen Pesach


  • Mark, the beauty of this punchline is that it applies to all situations. Kind of like manna was supposed to taste like anything you wanted it to. Or maybe that was tofu.

    Still, the joke I heard was: “Why is premarital sex banned? Because it could lead to mixed dancing…”

  • To Mark who wants the full joke for which the punchline is “Could lead to dancing”. If you haven’t already gotten an answer to your request, email and I will happily provide it. But, oy vey! what a long intro it requires! Email directly to
    [email protected] — I don’t check this site regularly. (My loss.)

  • Okay, since no one responded, here is the joke:

    A young couple, of a conservative Jewish persuasion are anticiptaing getting married, so they go to their rabbi for instruction. After the instruction, the young man addresses the rabbi: ‘Well, Rabbi, I know that in our sect, after the ceremony when there is music and dancingy, it is customary for the men to dance with the men, and the women to dance with the women. But this, after all, the 21st century — a new, enlightened age — and I would like your permission to be able to dance with my wife.” The rabbi responds: “No, no, no! It is immodest for the man to dance with a woman.” Now the young man is concerned about what IS allowed after marriage. So he asks the rabbi, hesitantly, “Well, I suppose that after marriange is it okay have sex?” The rabbi quickly respondis: “Of course! It is a mitsvah (a blessing). To have children.” The young man asks “Any position?” The rabbi responds: “You’re inferring that there is more than one? But never mind, it is between you and your wife.” The young man asks: “Woman on top?” The rabbis, with eyes widened, says: “This is an education for me; but, yes, it is between you and your wife!” The young man asks: “And can we do it in an airplane, in flight, in the lavatory, in order to join the “MILE-HIGH-CLUB”?” The rabbi answers: “I am learning so much friom this, but, yes, it is between you and your wife. But make sure to close the door of the lavatory!” Then the young man asks: “And can we do it standing up?” “NO!” says the rabbi, “you may NOT doing it standing up!” “Why not?” says the young man. The rabbi says: “Beciause it could lead to dancing!”

  • Footwear for Israeli dance? Edpends on the floor.
    Smooth, slippery floors–barefoot
    Slightly tacky floors–half sole sandals a.k.a. lyrical sandals, sandasols,
    foot thongs, dance paws, etc.
    Bad floors / outdoors: Hermes sandals from Capezio, Leos, Danschuz, or
    Aruba’s Oasis Sandal company are the best. Jazz shoes or ballet slippers, or
    ballet teachers slippers (for ladies) O.K. Avoid: character shoes with hard
    soles, Russian or Hungarian boots (reminiscent of Nazis); opanke (ethnically
    incorrect and too slippery besides)

  • I totally agree, but the points could easily be stated in a clearer fashion, thats all I was saying. No prob here bro, Im not that uptight about it.

  • I am going to go ahead and bookmark this article for my brother for a research project for class. This is a beautiful blog by the way. Where do you get the theme for this website?