It’s a night of lively, festive music and applesauce.

Members of the Klezmer ensemble Tsibele and internationally acclaimed Yiddish vocalist Rachel Weston will offer a distinct Hanukkah Concert at the Rego Park Jewish Center on Sunday, Dec. 29, at 2:30 p.m.

Tsibele, which is actually the Hebrew word for “onion,” is unapologetically Jewish, LGBT proud and political. Their songs explore the limits of Klezmer music, incorporating Moldovan/Bessarabian music, revolutionary lyrics and a healthy dose of improvisation. Based in Brooklyn, the band explores themes such as capitalism, tyranny, heteropatriarchy, and of course, love. And when not on stage, members are involved in various social justice causes.

You know, onions make people cry, but they also enhance the taste of many dishes. They have so many levels.

On this night, two Tsibele members — violinist Zoë Aqua and accordion player Ira Temple – will play positive, traditional Klezmer as Weston sings. With a postgraduate degree in Performance and Ethnomusicology, the London-based Weston is a professional Yiddish singer and workshop leader who also does research on the genre.

Tickets cost $18.

After the show, the hosts will serve latkes with applesauce. As the Rego Park Jewish Center is a conservative synagogue, there will be a ceremonial lighting of the eighth Hanukkah candle as well.

Located at 97-30 Queens Blvd., the venue has a large performance space, where the concert will take place. There’s on-street parking, and the 63 Drive/Rego Park subway station for the R and M lines is a few blocks away.

Klezmer is a mix of the words “kli” or instrument and “zemer” or melody. Although around for centuries, it first came to prominence in Jewish communities in what is now Poland during the 18th century. Often played at celebrations such as weddings, it was part of a Yiddish-language culture that included theater, poetry and literature. Over time, the genre spread throughout Europe and the United States, often incorporating instruments and styles from other cultures.

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is an annual, eight-day remembrance of the rededication of the second Jewish temple in Jerusalem in the second century. On each night, a candle is lit in a special menorah. In 2019, Hanukkah is set for Dec. 22 until Dec. 30.

Images: Tsibele


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