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Shaker Shalom Fuses Cultures at Hancock Shaker Village
Lisa Green reports from Pittsfield.
Two seemingly disparate cultures came together on Sunday, August 12 at Hancock Shaker Village in a gala that illuminated shared traditions in community, cuisine, and music. Shaker Soul and Jewish Neshama, an event to benefit both the Village and Congregation Knesset Israel, co-chaired by Mary Rentz, vice chair of Hancock Shaker Village’s board of trustees (left, in photo with Bobbi Cohn, of Knesset Israel), began with a silent auction of both Judaic and Shaker-inspired items and a Kosher Shaker picnic, catered by Chef Michael Roller. Rabbi David Weiner gave the traditional Jewish blessing for the meal, and Todd Burdick, the Village’s director of education, offered a Shaker hymn. After dinner, guests made their way to the Round Stone Barn for a Shaker-Jewish fusion concert presented by clarinetist Paul Green and his Neshoma Klezmer Ensemble. With Todd Burdick contributing Shaker songs and cantor Robert Scherr the Jewish tunes, the band musically explored the shared concepts of work, Zion, wordless melodies, and even dancing — the fireflies contributing their own performance as they soared and soulfully flickered above the band.
Rabbi David Weiner of Congregation Knesset Israel and Judith Weiner; Rebecca Nebesar and Todd Burdick of Hancock Shaker Village sing a Shaker blessing before the meal.
Waiting for the cows to come home: Monique Gershon and Linda Steigleder, who assumed the post of president and CEO at Hancock Shaker Village last month.
Antiques gallery owner Charlie Flint and Joy Flint; Artist Wendy Rabinowitz, whose weaving/mixed media show currently at the Village, SHALOM:Weaving the Threads of Peace, celebrates the syncronicity between strands of Judaism and Shakerism, with Bruce Evenchik.
Ed Udel, president of Knesset Israel, and Lisa Fletcher-Udel; photographer Susan Geller, who shot the photograph on the burlap picnic dinner bag, a gift for each guest.
The Village vanguard: Nicole Philip, e-commerce and social media manager; Elissa Haskins-Vaughan, manager of organizational management; and Lesley Herzberg, curator.
Board of trustees chair Ron Walter and law professor Marilyn Walter; Robert Scherr and Todd Burdick, who contributed the vocal selections of the concert, flank musical program director and clarinetist Paul Green.
Hancock Shaker Village’s financial staff: Suzanne Maslanka and Leslie Pizani; Alice Schiller and artist Susan Lipton.
The view from the tent created a serene atmosphere.