On Monday, April 19, 4- and 5-year-olds from the Westchester Jewish Center Nursery School in Mamaroneck joined other preschoolers from Beth El Synagogue Nursery School in New Rochelle and Congregation Kol Ami Early Childhood Program in White Plains for an Israel Independence Day Dance Festival.
The event took place at Kol Ami and was organized by Shmulik Gov-Ari, an Israeli choreographer and dance instructor who teaches a children’s class called “Dance, Drum, Sing and Play.” The energetic and fun-filled program — which Mr. Gov Ari has developed over 25 years — incorporates rhythm and movement to teach children everything from Hebrew letters to dance steps to a deeper connection to their Jewish heritage.
The Israel Independence Day Dance Festival incorporated the “Dance, Drum, Sing and Play” program on a grand scale. The children dressed in blue and white, watched a slide show about Israel, waved Israeli flags and enjoyed blue-and-white frosted cookies.
“The children felt the power of being connected to a larger Jewish community,” explained Mr. Gov-Ari. “And through dancing, drumming, singing, and playing they expressed a love for Israel together.”
Over 100 children came together at this first-of-its-kind dance festival.
“It was an exciting and energetic day,” said Westchester Jewish Center Nursery School teacher Rhona Harris, “with kids from three schools coming together to dance, sing, wave flags and perform as one.”