By a parent
My arm hooked through my sister’s, we walk into the Lubavitcher Yeshiva social hall which is transformed into an eclectic, vibrant, high-end fair.
The pleasant loudness of over 400 women and girls and of socializing voices, the smell of delicious pastries and scented candles welcome us as our eyes scan the imaginatively-designed ceilings, walls and booths.
Over 40 vendor stands form long pathways with displays of vibrant artwork and sharp photography; diagrams of the human spine are being explained by a masseuse, adorable little onesies elicit laughs with their fun-spirited phrases (“I’m feeling fuhklempt”), and a limber girl demonstrates yoga poses on a mat. Women group around the glass punch dispensers discussing which prize package best suits their friends; for you, #3 – the latest stroller is included, #4 for her – a year’s worth of manicures is the perfect gift! This is Lamplighters Yeshivah’s third annual “In the Glow,” an event celebrating Crown Heights talent, crafts and merchandise in a warm, hip and tastefully designed evening.
I spot my mother’s friend at the far end of the hall. She’s wearing a leather jacket and she has come to hear Bulletproof Stockings, a recent favorite. She’s on her way to the adjoining room to secure seats for the concert when I remind her that the entertainment only begins in twenty minutes and the band she has come to hear is going to be the last one to play. No matter, she is off, and I continue my stroll, my mind circling around the same themes struck it since I walked in: “This is where all the people are who didn’t stop at ‘there should be a place that sells…’ but actually made it happen!”, “She was in my class – and look what she’s doing now!”, and “Where has Crown Heights been hiding these people!?”
I’m intimidated, inspired, and proud of the achievements of these women and girls who possess such talent and passion, proud of Crown Heights that we feed this creativity, grateful to Lamplighters for existing, for ferretting out the beauty, brilliance, achievement we have in Crown Heights.
My friend was right: the entertainment room is filled to capacity and the show has not even begun. A cheerful girl offers us a seat (“I saved an extra – can you two share?”). The second part of In the Glow is a more personal glimpse into the souls of the talented artists here.
Beautiful, strong Riv sings Chassidus turned into poetic song. The M.C. has the audience roaring with laughter at her brilliantly ridiculous strung-together rap. Naomi Levin and the talented Jewish Drama Troupe, the dynamic and electrifying Esther Freeman accompanied by the Brooklyn Dance Assemble, new-comer Talia Lakritz, soulful and eclectic Bulletproof Stockings and popular singer-songwriter Shaindel Antelis were the incredible talent of the evening.
On my walk home I remember how reluctant I was to take time away from spending time with my husband to come tonight…and I am so, so glad that I went, eager and excited to tell him about the women of Crown Heights and our richly textured, ultimately interesting, beautifully diverse neighborhood.