For the 50 young girls who make up the first cohort of “Meorot” performers, the time has flown. From their auditions on October 7, 2018, their weekly rehearsals with the professional team that leads the program have been exhilarating. Not only are they able to hone their skills in dance and voice but they have expanded their friendship base through meeting and interacting with girls from throughout the tri-state area. The upcoming performance on Sunday, March 3, will mark the culmination of months of professional training within a warm and cohesive environment.
Sari Kahn, director and producer of “Meorot,” is excited about the first Bergen County performance. Kahn, who resides in West Hempstead, is the director of Camp Maor in Lakewood, Pennsylvania, which has been an NCSY summer program location for the past three years. During the month of July, girls ages 9-15 have the opportunity to incorporate their love of song and dance into a full camp experience. Through majors in the performing arts, in addition to a full offering of sports and visual arts, Camp Maor provides girls from across America with opportunities for growth in their artistic interests and talents.
Kahn brings to “Meorot” as well as to Camp Maor a passion for the performing arts, which she incorporates into her professional activities. Kahn’s mission is to provide venues for young girls whose talents in the arts need creative venues. Kahn has taught drama at Camp Moshava, worked as a division head at Camp Morasha and also served as the executive director of “One Voice: Jewish Women for Israel,” a coalition of 12 national Jewish women’s organizations. She has produced and directed performances at several yeshiva day schools while completing a master’s degree in camping administration and leadership.
Through Camp Maor’s affiliation with NCSY, Kahn began a collaboration with Teaneck resident Miriam Pfeiffer, NCSY’s summer program co-chair. Together they brought the “Meorot” model, popular in other parts of the U.S., as well as in Israel, to Bergen County. After personally addressing only six area schools, the applications came in from girls at 16 schools across the tri-state area, including Pfeiffer’s seventh grader, Tali. Local high school students were recruited to help out at the Sunday rehearsals to assist the musical director, Enny Wax, and dance instructor, Nadine Waintraub.
Wax has been performing from a tender age. She was a featured performer on the historic album “Voices for Israel: Keeping the Faith,” and has performed extensively in community and national events. She is the founder of “Sing It,” through which she designs custom vocal coaching and recording experiences for children and adults. Summers she serves as the musical director at Camp Maor.
Nadine Waintraub serves as the dance major instructor at Camp Maor and served as the head choreographer for the “Meorot” production. Her extensive resume spans many years and many countries including England, Canada and Italy in addition to programs across the U.S. She has performed with professional dance companies in key roles.
In anticipation of this inaugural Bergen County event, Pfeiffer is excited about the confluence of many organizations in the evening’s event. “The affiliation of ‘Meorot’ with NCSY has many positive ramifications,” shared Pfeiffer. “The proceeds of the evening will go to help provide resources and scholarships to the 21 outstanding NCSY summer programs that are geographically housed worldwide. In addition, a portion of the proceeds is being designated for the local Tomchei Shabbos organization, which provides fully stocked Shabbat meals to families throughout Bergen County. The ‘Meorot’ girls will be participating in a Tomchei Shabbos experience in the weeks before the performance.”
In addition to the organizations, Pfeiffer wished to thank the community rebbetzins as well as school administrators who provided valuable insights and suggestions to the directors of the “Meorot” production. She offered kudos as well to the many involved parents and community members who participated on both the Meorot production committee as well as the Meorot boutique and sponsorship committee, which has arranged for a pre- and post-performance boutique on the evening of the show. The proceeds of the boutique will again be designated for NCSY summer programs as well as Tomchei Shabbos.
In describing the production itself, Kahn and Pfeiffer shared that the theme of the presentation, which is called “Shabbos Through My Daughter’s Eyes,” is closely aligned with the manifold missions of the international NCSY organization. Part of NCSY’s mission is to bring to young people with limited Jewish backgrounds opportunities to immerse themselves in Jewish life experiences, paramount among which is the Shabbat cycle. “Through original songs and some re-written from popular culture, to original dance numbers, the audience will feel the awesome spiritual uplifting that a Shabbos can provide. The audience will be treated to a bonus vocal performance by talented sisters Naomi Schiff and Sorah Shaffren.”
David Cutler, director of NCSY summer programs, proudly shared, “We are so excited about the ‘Meorot’ production that these young ladies have worked so hard to put together. This unique program as well as Camp Maor provide an important outlet and opportunity for these very talented young ladies and we are happy that they are part of our NCSY summer menu of programs.”
The pre-production boutique will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the production, which will take place on Sunday, March 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the Dwight-Morrow High School in Englewood, located at 274 Knickerbocker Road.
By Pearl Markovitz