Monday, September 22, 2008

Is the Pendulum Swinging Back

Or are Sephardim just more relaxed about this stuff?

We went to a wedding last night, Ashkenazic groom, Sephardic bride. Beautiful place, good food, lebedik dancing...

Oh, the dancing. The first round lasted an hour, and was the usual Jewish circle dancing, although oddly, some people came over the mechitza (potted tall plants) and found themselves dancing mixed, mostly the chassan & kallah, and their siblings.

During the second round, after the main course, the potted plants were cleared away, and the band (good band BTW, somewhat jazzy - trombone as well as the usual sax & cornet) played some slow-dance music. Debbie & I looked at the dance floor, the chassan & kallah were dancing together, some of the parents and aunts & uncles also started, so hesitantly, we did too.

And it was nice. It was the first time we had done so since the somewhat abortive mixed dancing at our own wedding 17 years ago (most people didn't get into it, so after a short bit, it switched over to the regular Jewish stuff, separate circles). After that we got ready to leave, but as we were passing the band, they broke into Numa Numa, and then another funny song, so I did a bad imitation of internet sensation Gary Brolsma, and we danced together for a bit, on the edge of tears it was so nice.

Is the pendulum swinging back? Or is Chaya's family weird? Or are Sephardim just more relaxed about this? As far as we could tell, it was just married couples, and some siblings, doing the mixed dancing - circles, or dancing together. I suppose most of us younger (premenopausal) people wouldn't want to, because it says "Hey! I'm Tahor!" which most women don't really want to advertise.

I once heard a shiur from R' Willig at Lincoln Square on mixed dancing, and his main objection was to men watching women dance, but I've never been to a wedding where anybody treated this as a real problem, aside from chasidim - men are always going over to the mechitza to watch the women who do structured group dances, and to wave at their wives. Even here, where there was the mixed dancing, the frummiest (guys who never took off their hats, and a few chasidim) didn't avoid watching.

We went to a bat-mitzva recently, Sephardic-modern family, from my shul. Towards the end, the little girls were all doing sorta sexy line dances, led by a woman who was with the band. I thought it was weird (this is little-girl time, this is not for me), and left; I think the rabbi also thought it was weird, and went outside for a while.

So is the pendulum swinging back, or are Sephardim and some families just more relaxed?


1 comment:

saul said...

This is not a swing back. These families have a more "relaxed" attitude. It just depends on the circles that you travel in. My wife goes to many simchas per month. None have this type of situation.