Sunday evening, June 25 was a night of music and tribute, a night to support continuity of a sacred mission. The annual Keren Yad Zlata event which was promoted as Washington’s greatest Jewish concert certainly lived up to its billing.
The energy at the concert was almost tangible as the audience was uplifted by the incredible performances of both the Eighth Day Band and Boruch Sholom Blesofsky. Each of these performers is currently at the top of the global charts of Jewish music.
Both are acclaimed composers with the distinction of singing mostly their own compositions. I fully expected the audience to respond enthusiastically to a superstar show, but I did not realize just how popular their songs were in here in Washington suburbs… the audience participation was just remarkable, said Rabbi Bentzion Geisinsky of the Yad Zlata Fund.
This year marked seven years since the untimely passing of Mrs. Chaya Zlata Geisinsky ob”m. She was deeply admired throughout Greater Washington as a mentor and wise friend. Zlata wore many hats with amazing finesse.
As Shluchim, she and her husband led Chabad in Bethesda – Chevy Chase, Maryland, and she was the Preschool Director at the Berman Hebrew Academy, Washington’s largest traditional Jewish Day school. Under her direction, the preschool expanded four-fold because of how she was loved by the students, parents and staff and for being an exceptionally talented educator.
The first Yad Zlata concert was introduced on her first Yahrtzeit, paying tribute to her communal impact and to support the charity fund established to continue her noble chessed. It has since become an annual event with a significantly growing attendance each year. By last year the concert overfilled the capacity of the theatre at the Greater Washington J.C.C.
This year, the concert needed to be relocated to a much larger venue, the Sylvia S. Ely Auditorium at the Berman Hebrew Academy was thus booked. The attendance this year was over 500 guest. The concert took-off from the moment Boruch Sholom dashed onto the stage, the evening soared with widespread singing and clapping.
When Eighth Day emerged on the stage the entire audience was on their feet cheering and waving colored hand-held colored lights, every song had the audience calling for even more intense joy.
In addition to the performers, much credit goes to the Kol Chaim orchestra who played with a gusto that everyone is still talking about. And then there was Yossi Shtendig, one of the greatest keyboard players in the world, truly a legend and an artist in his own right. Watching him play is simply mesmerizing. In total, you just know that the evening was exceptional when the star performer pays the event its biggest compliment. Shmuli Marcus of the Eighth Day Band remarked ‘I tell you sincerely that this was one of the liveliest concerts we ever had.’
Rabbi Geisinsky briefly spoke at the opening of the evening followed by their son Rabbi Sender Geisinsky, Shliach in Bethesda. “That my heart is tenuous each year at this event can be expected. But to witness the greater community come together year after year with such glowing adoration for Zlata ob”m deserves a gratitude that I can’t find the words to express,” said Rabbi Bentzion Geisinsky.
This year the concert had a special significance in both, time and place.
In place, -the concert took place at the institution which shall always remain a major part of Mrs. Geisinsky’s life. Her presence was more significantly felt at this year’s concert, -how appropriate this was.
In time, -the calendar sequence this year is the same as the year she passed (2010 – 5770). Additionally, this is the Sabbatical year of her passing which is associated with additional blessing. The primary blessing of the Seventh year is that it usher in the 8th year, the Eighth Year is a metaphor for a much anticipated time which will transcend nature as we know it now, a time when Yerushalayim will wear its full crown of glory with the coming of Moshiach.