Alexei Bychenko’s hobby is “partying,” and it shows.
Aly Raisman won the hearts of Jews and non-Jews around the world when she won a gold medal for the gymnastics floor exercise at the London Olympics last summer. But now the girl who did insane flips and twists to the tune of “Hava Nagila” might be trying to win another piece of hardware — the “Dancing With the Stars” mirrorball trophy.
Why was Hannah Rubin so entranced by Aly Raisman’s roller-coaster ride that she watched on any imaginable device? It’s Olympic gymnastics, man!
Aly Raisman burst out of nowhere to lead the U.S. women to team gymnastics gold. With her stirring ‘Hava Nagila’ floor routine, she will try to grab the individual gold medal.
One day, in the summer of 2008, the question “‘Hava Nagila’ — what is it?” popped into Roberta Grossman’s head. Although she was familiar with the ubiquitous song, she was clueless about its origins. Thus began the filmmaker’s four-year quest to investigate the Jewish standard’s century-and-a-half journey, from Ukraine to YouTube. The result is her new documentary film, [“Hava Nagila (The Movie),”] which premieres at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival on July 19.
Here’s a delightful little clip that examines the meaning and roots of Hava Nagila as mythic folk tune, originally a wordless nigun of the Sadagora Hasidim, and reality as an artful 20th century pop-composition by seminal musicologist Avraham Zvi Idelson that somehow crept under our skin and into our consciousness until hardly anybody remembers anymore that it really is a 20th century composition. Which, alert readers recall, is what we call the Folk Process.
I spent my New Years Eve at friends’ nuptials in Richmond, Va. After the glass was crushed, and guests were bussed from synagogue to reception hall, the band played the song that sets Jewish wedding receptions apart from others. My husband and I, and the two other Jewish couples at the table leapt up like they were offering free Flip cams at the front of the room. I love to hora because it brings wedding guest-factions together like nothing else. I’ve clutched plenty of strangers’ sweaty palms in the name of hava nagila, and have later found myself with new friends.