Sunday, March 12, 2006

NHC Chesapeake Recap!!!

Okay, okay, so I realize that I'm a week late with this, but it's just been a crazy week. Holy crap, it's really just been a week?

Thanks to some last minute scrambling, Knucklehead's patience in my decision making, and some very lovely friends, Knucklehead and I made the four hour trek down to the Pearlstone Retreat Center "outside Baltimore" to spend the weekend with a bunch of our NHC buddies and do some awesome Jewish tings. Of course it was a FABULOUS time.

We stopped on the way down in Philly ever so briefly to pick up SGG (who joined us on the retreat at the last moment. YAY!) and slogged our way through the Philly rush hour traffic, making it just in time to steal a piece of "Delicious Shabbos Chicken" (tm) off the plate of my Favorite Jewish Drummer, and see a bunch of our buddies for the tail end of Shabbas dinner. Next, off to the Months room for singin! Lemme tell ya something, if you're looking for some cool, off the beaten path, awesome new/old Jewish songs to sing, SB is the woman for you to see. Rumor has it she runs a mean literary festival, too. Be on the lookout for a DC Jewish music festival in May, as well. I got to learn from SB twice, as I hit up her general singing program and learned two new Purim songs, one in Italian (!) and one in Ladino (for all the judios out there).

We missed Kabalat Shabbat, but managed to get up nice and early for morning shabbas services, which were led by ER and then EM and it was awesome to be in the Havurah community for saturday morning services, as its a really wonderful space for prayer, it really feels like community, and it's something I miss on Saturdays. The wonderful folks from Zoo Minyan brought gender balanced Torah blessings (where G-d is both feminine and masculine), and they had never heard someone doing the balanced blessings in Ashkenaz hebrew (so I got some love for that) After lunch and Purim singing, moseyed around and then took a nap. Seudah Shlishit was awesome, much singing and pounding on the table ensued. And during bentching, we also did gender balanced prayer, and everyone got to shout out HAMASHICHA! which gave me some hope. :-)

After a great havdalah service, we proceeded downstairs for the Vulgar Bulgars and contra dancing. The Vulgar Bulgars are absolutely awesome. They started the dancing part of the show off with UNION MAID(!) which was an absolute gas. They were really versatile, mixing freilichs with irish folks tunes. Very impressive. After the called dancing subsided, they embarked on a great set of klezmer. They even let FJD use their kit as he, BZ and I jammed on some funky versions of some yidden tunes and a fun time with Dan Bern's Jerusalem. Hell, for some of the jamming, they even jumped in. And they ended up crashing with us and hanging out for the beer/cider infused after party. It was awesome. If you live anywhere near VA, keep an eye for them. Also during jamming, got reunited with my favorite fiddle player from the Institute. Can't wait to work out a klezmer jam for August!!!!

The best part of it all, of course, was the faces. Seeing FJD, Z, BEAN, LB, SB, S, EM, JN was awesome!!! And of course, with BZ, ER, Knucklehead and SGG there, it was a great combo of folks we get to see and people I usually have to wait a few months to see.

And props most of all go to JN, who put together and ran an amazing conference/retreat. So awesome! You done good. And while I'm not so hot on the bunkbeds, I did like the Pearlstone facilities (and liked the food so much better than at Franklin Pierce, I'm just saying).

And soon, very soon, I can register for the SUMMER INSTITUTE! WOO HOO! Actually, if I had the money, I could register now...


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