May 24, 2024
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NCSY’s Meorot Production Set for March 5 at Bergen PAC

NCSY’s annual Meorot production is set to light up the stage at Bergen Pac on Sunday, March 5. The all-girls song and dance performance, now in its fourth year, will feature close to 200 young women in grades 5-12 from various schools in Bergen County and beyond, including RYNJ, Yeshivat Noam, Yavneh Academy, Yeshivat He’Atid, BPY, Shefa, Maayanot, Sinai at Maayanot, Naaleh, Frisch, YBH, Breuers, JKHA, Florence M. Gaudineer Middle School and Bais Yaakov of Queens.

Miriam Pfeiffer, Meorot producer, and NCSY Summer co-chair, is elated with the increasing popularity of the program. What began as a grassroots initiative has blossomed into a professional production at a theatrical venue, she said. Pfeiffer herself enjoyed performing arts as a girl and recognized that there are few creative outlets for women within the Modern Orthodox community. With that in mind, she introduced Meorot as a vehicle for girls that want to express their creative skills and for girls who want to explore new talents.

Building on the core mission of NCSY summer programs, Meorot aims to create an exciting experience centered on Torah values. This year’s theme, ‘Storm the Heavens,’ will emphasize the power of tefillah and ways of expressing oneself to Hashem.

Pfeiffer is amazed at the transformation she sees in many of the girls who participate. During these critical years of development and self-awareness, this program offers a chance for young women to build their self -esteem and confidence. She added that Meorot means luminaries, which is befitting for the girls who each have an individual spark that shines from within.

The experience is one of personal growth, said Pfeiffer, yet at the same time, it’s also a reflection of the power of community. By joining together girls from different schools and communities, Meorot fosters an environment that is meaningful and empowering. Since its inception, the program has grown tremendously, with representation from practically every local school and nearby communities as well. And for the girls, it’s even more special to share the experience with both old friends and new friends.

“I’ve been doing Meorot for two years and each time it gets better and better! I love that I get to meet girls from different schools and the dances are amazing and so much fun,” said Esti Nat.

Pfeiffer added that the production wouldn’t be possible without a group of dedicated directors who are professional level singers, dancers and choreographers. Choir directors and sisters, Naomi Schiff and Sorah Shaffren hail from a family of performers, some of whom have participated in previous Meorot performances, including their mother, Roberta Shapiro, who is no stranger to the stage. Naomi and Sorah also collaborate with their brother, professional singer Mordechai Shapiro, on an original song which they perform at each show.

“This year the choir has over 50 girls,” said Sorah, who added that the sound they create as a group will surely wow the audience. “I find myself tearing up almost every week at rehearsal. This year’s theme, ‘Storm the Heavens,’ highlights the centrality of passionate prayer as an essential element of our Jewish experience. The performances and the music reflect this theme in many ways that will touch your heart.”

“Everywhere I go around town, I meet people who have been to Meorot, and I am still getting feedback about how much people loved the show and how moved they were by it,” said Naomi. “Each year we work to bring the show to the next level. We look forward to welcoming an even larger audience this year at this incredible event.”

Dance director Elie (Rubin) Zigelstein said, “Meorot 2023 will be our best performance yet! Our audience will be enamored by our talented girls, and we are thrilled to provide a high-level entertainment experience to an all women audience. It is such a privilege for me to teach these girls every week and to see their growth in skills, maturity and dedication to being a part of the Meorot family.”

“I’ve been doing Meorot for four years now and every year I feel that I am growing in dance and in my friendships with my teachers and my classmates. Meorot is a community where you feel loved and have the time of your life,” said Sophie Klapper.

Due to popular demand, Meorot will perform two shows this year on Sunday, March 5, one at 3 p.m. and one at 7 p.m.. Tickets will be sold through Ticketmaster starting the weekend of Shabbat Chanukah, with all proceeds going to NCSY Summer. Look out for additional details in next week’s edition of The Jewish Link.

By Andrea Nissel

 

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