Meet Me At The Fair (and craft show)

Sunday October 24th, 2010 promised to be a spectacular day in the Philadelphia area even if you weren't Israeli dancing. But, if you were, spectacular might not be an adjective enough to describe it. Three Israeli dance events were scheduled: The usual Sunday morning session at the Germantown Jewish Centre led by Grant, a Cherry Hill field trip to the Rieder House in the Greater Northeast of Philadelphia and Don's Sunday session at the Klein JCC. In addition, the Cherry Hill field trip was going to dinner after its demonstration and Germantown was holding its annnual Arts and Crafts Show (which we have corrupted to Art Fair for the pun on the Judy Garland movie we have used to name this script). This script handles the morning events at GJC and attempts to intermingle the usual morning session with the special craft show with emphasis on the intersection of those who participated in both.

It was pretty clear that something other than the normal activities was occurring at Germantown that morning given the parking situation. During these types of events the normal parallel parking rules are suspended and cars are lined up at 45% angles up and down the street. For most of the Israeli dancers, who usually park next to the facility, this meant a search for parking around the neighborhood and probably a walk to the center. Therefore, no one could claim they weren't warmed up as they started to dance.

Dancing was moved that morning to the Tenin canteen room in the basement, a room that dancing has been held in before especially during summer months. This room is named after Annette Tenin who had served on the first Board Of Directors in the 1930's. Given our attempt to document both the dancing and the craft show (not to mention the Cherry Hill field trip and the Klein JCC which you can find at other locations of this web site) below we show several pictures of the dancing in the basement while the craft show was being set up and held in the above floors.

In the first picture above we see a portion of the circle. In the blue shirt is John, whom we will see upstairs with his wife, Elaine, in the light blue top whose back is toward us in this picture. We do have a profile of Ellen R talking with Elaine. The second picture, quickly snapped after the first, shows the natural progression of this circle. Howard has come into view as has David whose back is to us. We pan around the room and snap a shot with Daniel to the left, Wendy, David's wife with her back to us, and Sharon Polsky and Ellen W. Sharon was at Germantown this morning to hand out flyers pertaining to her Nov 20th marathon, pictures of which you can see at another location on this web site. We will see Ellen W. again as this script continues. The fourth picture hones in on Sharon again and we might add that Sharon has been doing Israeli dance since it was at the International House at Penn, and that's a long time ago, and has her own session at Beth Sholom in Elkins Park on Tuesday nights. Locally, she probably knows the most about the full spectrum of Israeli dance and brings this knowledge to bear when teaching her sessions on Tuesday night. Although, to be fair, Ellen W pictured to Sharon's left in the previous picture has been Israeli dancing (and intermittenttly leading and teaching) longer than Sharon. Finally, you have another shot of Daniel.

The first shot on this second row is of John and Deborah Kaplan. Those familiar with this web site know of Deborah's work given that she has done a lot of the art work and logos featured. She is also a professional calligrapher and teaches at the MainLine school night events. John, who we indicated above, is a practicing psychiatrist and has become an avid Israeli dancer making it to many of the various local sessions during the week. We will see both Deborah and John in other locations of the building as we continue on. The second shot on this row shows Rachel moving to the music. The third shot shows a part of the circle. We can make out John and Ellen W. The woman to John's right is Eleanor who is pictured quite prominently at the bottom of the Roberto Haddon visits Philadelphia script. Our next shot is of one who's difficult to pin down. This dancer is either Marc or Mark depending on when he deigns to talk with us. He's always been cagey when dealing with this web site. We think that he is behind the yearly "homage to Scorpios" week that we have covered and will cover again for November 2010. As to this day, he did play a small part in The Cherry Hill field trip that would occur later that day and will shortly be a script on this web site. Finally, we see Grant in the foreground straddled by Rachel and Yaakov in the background. By Grant's motion, we think this dance is [C]halomot, one of Grant's favorites.

On this last row of pictures of the dancing, we see Grace with Elaine. Grace will also show up again as we explore the craft show. In our next picture a new face is Susan who has been a long time Israeli dancer. You've met the participants in our next picture and will see them again shortly and the fourth picture is quite interesting as it looks like Grace is leading the group out of the circle. This is just the optics and geometry of circle dancing as everyone is making a turn. Our last picture on this row juxtaposes Grant with Deborah and Sylvia, another long time dancer of Sunday mornings.

Now, before we show you pictures of the craft show, we need to indicate the topograghy of the Germantown building. It houses 3 separate congregations as we have been told and construction was started right after World War II although the building was dedicated in 1951. It consists in essence of two building which are connected. The northern building houses the Tenin canteen and it is on a slight hill which is important today as the Tenin canteen is within the hill and as the hill recedes provides a secondary entrance. Above this basement, in essence, this and the Southern building are very asymmetric which we think gives it its charm. The first floor is separated by several entrances. One one side of the middle entrance is the school wing - the facility supports a very vibrant Hebrew School and, we are told, a Early Childhood program. The school and childhood program extend up a floor so two floors, constituting this building (with the Tenin canteen), are the home of the Germantown Hebrew school. Education was deemed so important by the early leaders of the facility that this building was the first to be built. Now, on the other side of the middle entrance is the Charry Sanctuary and we photographed this (and it is a script that you can reference off the locations section of this web site) as the old chairs were being replaced and that room refurnished. This sanctuary is named for Rabbi Elias Charry who was the chief Rabbinate during the building of the Germantown Centre. From the Charry Sanctuary you can move to the other side of the building which is dominated by wide stairs leading to upstairs landings. The first landing is an area designated as the Silver Kiddish Lounge which is aptly designated as to its area and function. Move up another flight and a landing acts as an entrance to the Marcus auditorium where we normally dance most Sunday mornings and has been documented on this web site. The Marcus has also been refurbished within the last few years making it brighter and more user friendly than it was prior to the fire.

The rest of this script revolves around the activities of what one could call the Southern Wing consisting of the Charry Sanctuary, an anteroom to the Charry Sanctuary designated as the Charry lobby, the Silver Kiddish lounge and the Marcus Auditorium. This is the focus as far as we are concerned for it's here that the craft show is being held and has its exhibitors.

We are starting our tour of the craft show. We have two considerations in doing this:

  1. To show you, the viewer, the arts and craft of the Craft Show and talk with some of the vendors
  2. To show you the Israeli dancers' participation in all of this

We have moved up from the canteen room and we are in the process of working our way to the Marcus auditorium which is the center of the activities. To get there, per our discussion on the Centre's topography, we are moving through the Charry Sanctuary. We'll be back down here later but here's a few shots of the room and the vendors assigned to it. You can see that the chairs have been moved to make room for the 'kiosks' if you will. We apologize from a photographic standpoint as this should have been overexposed to compensate for the light meter being tricked. We have (and do now) warned you in the past about our limitations with cameras and photography. Connected to the Charry Sanctuary as we move toward the south stairway is an anteroom, designated as the Charry Lobby, that has an exit into the back of the building. This room is also being used for the craft show and we snap two pictures of vendor wares as you can see on the right.

We continue moving up through the building and next several shots occur in the Silver Kiddish Lounge and feature an Israeli dancer.

In the Silver Kiddush lounge there were two kiosks. The one closest to the steps was of the most interest as one of the Israeli dancers you have met above was in contemplation. This involved the kiosk which sold prepaid dinner coupons to various restaurants. The first picture focuses in on the two volunteers that acted as the merchants for this. You can see various restaurants and even this author recognizes eatery's that are not local to the Germantown/Chestnut Hill area that the centre services (although we should add that Chestnut Hill is no slouch in terms of fine dining). We pan the camera further down the table and you should recognize (although from the back) one of our dancers, Grace, to the left. Years of hiding in corners at family, social and official events has given the disk coordinator the magical ability of stealth and this is used as we come around and shoot from the other side without Grace being aware of our presence. We catch Grace about to make a purchase. With her 'Grace' at dancing, if you would excuse the pun, you would think that Grace was a professional dancer or in some way associated with this artistic profession but apparently Grace is gifted in other ways as her day job is teaching English at a local community college.

On the other side of this room is another table and the sign atop of this, White Elephant Sale, says all you need to know about what is being sold. For most charitable and non profit groups, the members will be polled before such a sale as we see today for items that they no longer are using or wish to donate. These items become the backbone of such a table. And, so, we would expect to see many different items up for sale. Here, there is some art in the far left at the back, You can see many religious oriented items for sale given that this is the primary function of the Centre although sometimes the Israeli dancers become somewhat oblivious to this.

There is a little nostalgia in taking this shot. This Kiosk is situated over the spot that Grant, the leader of the Sunday session pictured in the dance shots above, used to set up his equipment for dancing on most Sunday mornings several years ago. At that time perhaps 10 to 15 dancers would show up. But the Germantown Sunday morning Israeli dance session has grown and most Sundays the number of attendees is in the low 20's and as a result the session has been forced to move to larger quarters, generally the Marcus auditorium or the Tenin Canteen as was the case on this day.

This location also abuts the stairs leading to the Marcus auditorium. We are about to climb those stairs and enter that location which is the hub of the activities of the craft show. Being left handed, it was natural to turn left when we entered the Marcus auditorium. And, who should we run into. One of our favorite israeli dancers, always with a smile, acting as a vendor of her wares. Below, you will see pictures of Becky Peretz and the clothing and hats she creates for her company.

We met Becky several years ago at one of the Hora Avivs. At the time she led one of the Israeli dance sessions in Pittsburgh and was an active dancer in the other. That year, Pittsburgh was quite noticeable at the weekend camp as they had brought their own TShirts (with references to Pittsburgh on them) and prominently wore them the Sunday of that camp. Since that time, Becky has relocated to the Princeton area and frequents many of the Philadelphia area Israeli dance sessions always wearing her smile and good graces although she has never attended the Sunday morning Germantown session.

We were aware that she has an active business that many times of the year has her travelling but we didn't expect to see her so close to home in a business capacity. This is a non-commercial website so any plugs are voluntary and every kiosk at the show was put together in a professional way. But, you cannot be anything but impressed by Becky's hats which she designs herself and markets through her company, Shani. The fourth shot displays the hats she had on display that day and some of the pictures catch her demonstrating her wares to clients. The last picture is taken with one of the volunteers of the show. At that moment we were on the move but we will return to Becky's location shortly. But, in the meantime, we have made a 180 degree turn and we are about to run into another Israeli dancer.

Here is Ellen W at the concession stand where tickets could be bought for food and beverages. We saw Ellen above dancing away and, apparently, she entered the auditorium at about the same time that we did. Although she always looks beaming, we do find that a session of Israeli dance leaves most of the participants in a good frame of mind and that is reflected when they are photographed and this is no exception. Ellen has been dancing for many years, possibly as much if not more than Sharon Polsky mentioned above. In the '80's, early '90s, she was part of the committee that ran the Wesnesday Israeli dance session at the Gershman Y (now JCC) and members, including Ellen, took turns teaching new dances. But this is not the only reason we enjoy seeing here: she's brings back some fond and not so fond memories of our childhood since she now teaches at the elementary school that your author, could we say frequented, as attended may be too strong a term. We have alluded to our ability to hide in the shadows and it was this school, generally enforced by the teachers, that this ability to stand in the corner was perfected. But enough of these memories, we have other parts of the auditorium to explore. And explore we did. Our next set of pictures shows a personage that any viewer of this web site would be very familiar with. Much of the art work for this web site and the CDs associated with the Disk Coordinator is of her creation.

Above, do you see a pattern? There are two! Apparently the color of the day for many of the dancers was red and, truth be told, the disk coordinator was not in uniform. The other pattern is that the browser above, none other than Debotrah Kaplan, likes variations of purple especially in sweaters. Even for someone so oblivious to things like this as your author, this is well known and we see Deborah in the midst of looking at everything in the variance of that shade. Of course, if you are an artist, like Deborah, color is important and you've seen her work on this web site. In fact, below, we present the logos that Deborah has done for us.

And we should give another plug to her efforts at teaching her expertise to students at the Main Line school night. For those not familiar with this organization, this is a group of Main Line high schools in addition to a facility at Villanova which gets together to offer night time classes, and some day time classes, from Bala Cynwyd through Villanova on Philadelphia's Main Line. Most sessions Deborah teaches calligraphy on Tesday nights and Friday mornings. You can see the caligraphy work in the second of the above logos in terms of the strokes and how they blend into the patterns. On the internet, you can see this detail in her creation of Katubas, which are marriage contracts between couples and is part of a Jewish Wedding tradition. We will see Deborah again, but we are on the move looking for other Israeli dancers who are part of the craft show. Having tranversed the auditorium in one of the corridors, we came upon another vendor who Israeli dances at Germantown. This is Della as pictured below in light blue.

Someone, other than the principles, has told us what this table is about. Here you can buy raffle tickets and precedes help fund the show. One assumes that her duties manning this post kept Della from her normal Sunday rounds: Della did not make it downstairs to dance that morning. The woman to Della's left (your right) is Amy and she is an infrequent dancer at the Sunday morning sessions. The rest of the table is manned by Amy's daughter and her daughter's friend. This raffle had to be popular because within the short time of taking these pictures a woman arrived and as we were leaving, she was being served. We had moved to the extreme of the auditorium by way of one aisle and it was time to move back from whence we came by the other aisle.

At left is a shot taken down this aisle. The stage of the Marcus auditorium is to the left and you can see at this point that the auditorium is still crowded. You can also get an idea of the number and types of vendors that were at the show. In addition, we see something else. Directly in front with his back to us is a gentleman with a baseball hat whose his name we believe is Jeff and he is married to the woman directly in front of him (this is not easy to see) named Marilyn and she is also one of dancers who frequents the Sunday morning Israeli dance class. Marilyn is similar to many dancers who learn and enjoy dancing when younger, get out of it as they get older, marry, have families and then feel the need to return to the discipline of dance. And what more pleasant atmosphere to do this than the Germantown Sunday morning Israeli dance session.

Although they may have not been too pleased, we interrupted their shopping to snap their picture along with their daughter as you can see to the right. Marilyn has perfected a technique if confronted with a flash. Just close your eyes. No doubt a professional photographer would have caught this and redid the picture. We have indicated to you that the individual taking these pictures can't be considered a professional in anything especially photography so this picture will have to stand as it is. However, you should now have a feel for the frenzied activity that was taking place all around.

We are working our way back to the entrance we used to enter the Marcus. It's about 1:30 PM or so but plenty of activity remains. The pictures above show this. While we are looking at this activity, what makes a good location to hold a craft show such as this? It doesn't hurt to have a group of volunteers and the Germantown Jewish Centre is blessed with this as many of the members, including dancers such as Tamar, who runs the administrative part of the session and was out of town during this weekend, give a considerable amount of time to the centre in various activities. And when not volunteering, many members enjoy participating in Centre events such as this. It doesn't hurt to have a large amount of space. Again, in that, GJC has an advantage with a very large ballroom - The Marcus Auditorium - and various other locales including a flexible sanctuary room and side areas. And, it doesn't hurt to have a good location and the centre is on a corner accessible from Lincoln Drive. All of these factors help make something like this successful.

We were almost back to Becky Peretz's display when we ran into several other Israeli dancers who had also decided to explore the craft show after dancing that morning.

Pictured on the left is Elaine and John (we do not know the identity of the woman to the right of Elaine) who you have previously seen as part of the dancing that morning in the Tenin canteen. If you look closely, you will see that Elaine has also perfected the talent of closing her eyes. John has become a very avid Israeli dancer. Both had previously been involved in International folk dance. Elaine and John are personal friends of Deborah Kaplan and her husband and perhaps this is how they became aware of and interested in this style of dance. John, like several dancers mentioned in this web site, can be found at different sessions through the week and would be present that evening at the Klein JCC where Israeli dancing would continue. Elaine is somewhat less ubiquitous. But both are regulars at Germantown's Sunday morning session.

At this point Deborah Kaplan joined us and since we were near Becky's location, it was suggested that we all get together for a group shot which is the middle picture. As this was being done, Ellen was going by and another shot was required to include all you see in the picture to the right. It was at this point that we exited the Marcus auditorium and decided to stop and chat (and record this experience) with one of the vendors on our way out of the building. Below is a photographic record of this.

Brenda McBride is the owner of a company named Beadwear, etc and she was one of the vendors this day at the craft show. Her location was the Charry Sanctuary and we decided to talk with her as we departed the building due to her proximity to the exit were using but, even more importantly, due to her friendly countenance and willingness to converse. Needless to say, we know little about the beaded jewelry that she has on her table. We are more interested in her impressions of the show this year.

She had been a vendor of the show the previous year and seemed pleased with the draw and the demographics of the crowd. She did report a year to year price increase to exhibit at the show this year. This year was of greater importance to her as she had lost a location that sold much of her jewelry. No doubt this location that she talked about, which was a type of department store, succumbed to the economic problems of the last few years. That store's closing has affected Brenda and she needs to find another outlet for her products besides showing at exhibitions such as this.

She was very nice in chit chatting with us and allowing pictures of her to be put on this web site. We hope that she, and all the other vendors, had a successful day. After all, it is the enthusiasm of the vendors, exemplified by Branda, that makes the craft show a success and it seemed to one observer that there was enthusiasm galore thoughout the building and the show.

This concludes this script and only on this web site would there be an attempt to intermingle an Israeli dance session with a craft show. But we enjoyed covering it and we hope that you enjoyed our descriptions. If you did, perhaps you might want to attend the craft show in person next year. Perhaps you will be able to tell someone as we did this year, "Meet Me At the Fair" and craft show.