Israel Kumzitz at Times Square - United in Song and Dance
Everyone knows the constant start and stop the of the New York City subways. Everyone is familiar with the hustle, bustle, pomp and circumstance that mark Times Square. That is a typical night in the city that never sleeps.
Only this was not a typical night.
There was something unique about Sunday night, September 25. Walking the streets of Times Square, one encountered the usual tidal wave expected from the capital of the world. However, those that kept walking that night encountered something else. They witnessed something unusual emerge from the mainstream dynamic: a hum of tranquility and serenity. A hum characteristic of the Hatikvah.
Of course, that hum was only the very beginning of a two-hour Yeshiva University kumzitz in honor of the State of Israel. Attended by approximately 1,000 students, the event is likely to once again take the crown for the most attended student-run event of the year. For two continuous hours, students all of creeds and breeds danced to tunes ranging from the classics, such as Hatikvah, Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, and Acheinu, to the more contemporary: Mi’shema’amin, Hashem Melech, Yisrael Hi Habayit Sheli, and much more. The students never wanted to stop singing, even after the event was over, offering to sing their own songs with others following their lead. Tani Polansky, one of the entertainers for the event (along with well renowned Aryeh Tiefenbrunn), had what to say about playing for this event. “Playing at the kumzitz was incredible - watching hundreds of people dancing together - all different types of people, united in support of Israel - barriers fell away and it was beautiful to see such tremendous achdut and a kiddush Hashem. It was an extraordinarily exhilarating experience to say the least”.
The participates could not help but that express that exhilaration by smiling and dancing, whether it be in circles or in one giant pile of bodies jumping up and down. Undoubtedly, there were many Israeli flags to go around. The kumzitz helped Yehuda Greenfield, a student who had the privilege of waving one of those flags, reawaken his experiential love for the Jewish homeland. “It was inspiring to me to see students getting together of their own initiative and creating an event supporting Israel. Dancing with my fellow students and waving an Israeli flag, for no other reason than the fact that we love Israel is something I got a lot out of. I came with my sister and mother and there was nothing they enjoyed more than seeing me wave the Israeli flag. I miss Israel dearly every day and I hope to move there once I graduate, and this kumzitz gave me a respite and helped me remember and keep Israel in my heart.”
The YU community was not the only one that was affected by the festivities. A number of spectators not involved with YU or even with the Jewish community could not help but dance along. Anyone distracted from singing and dancing noticed people watching from atop of tour buses or from the surrounding businesses. The world stopped to notice the Land of Israel and Those who love it. Shlomo Anapolle, co-President of the YU Israel Club and co-organizer of the event could not have been more pleased with the power of the event.
“This year’s event was 100% a kiddush Hashem to the max. Over 1,000 people gathered in one of the busiest places in the world to show their support for Israel- connecting through song.” Anapolle reflected that “putting together such an event is a lot of work, but it is worth it for the smiles. Not only the hundreds of students' smiles, but also the many, many passersby who stop and see that this is Israel - the mutual love and appreciation for our fellow human beings – and not what the media portrays it. Standing at the event I was proud of our students who really showed the world that YU stands with Israel now and forever!"