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The Last Dance

An intervention by performance artist Kamila Czosnyk, The Last Dance is a response to the destruction of part of a Jewish prayer house in Kazimierz by the bar/club that now rents the building.

The track I composed for the performance is designed to be played back on a loop while Kamila, dressed in traditional Hasidic black and white attire, performs a dance of despair in the doorway where the Aron Ha-Kodesh once was. Atop the sounds of techno-inspired beats that are so prevalent in this historically Jewish but now gentrified area of Kraków, Cantor-in-Study Rachel Weston sings part of Psalm 74:

הָרִ֣ימָה פְ֭עָמֶיךָ לְמַשֻּׁא֣וֹת נֶ֑צַח כׇּל־הֵרַ֖ע אוֹיֵ֣ב בַּקֹּֽדֶשׁ׃
Bestir Yourself because of the perpetual tumult, all the outrages of the enemy in the sanctuary.

שָׁאֲג֣וּ צֹ֭רְרֶיךָ בְּקֶ֣רֶב מוֹעֲדֶ֑ךָ שָׂ֖מוּ אוֹתֹתָ֣ם אֹתֽוֹת׃
Your foes roar inside Your meeting-place; they take their signs for true signs.

יִ֭וָּדַע כְּמֵבִ֣יא לְמָ֑עְלָה בִּסְבׇךְ־עֵ֝֗ץ קַרְדֻּמּֽוֹת׃
It is like men wielding axes against a gnarled tree;

(ועת) [וְ֭עַתָּה] פִּתּוּחֶ֣יהָ יָּ֑חַד בְּכַשִּׁ֥יל וְ֝כֵילַפּ֗וֹת יַהֲלֹמֽוּן׃
with hatchet and pike they hacked away at its carved work.

שִׁלְח֣וּ בָ֭אֵשׁ מִקְדָּשֶׁ֑ךָ לָ֝אָ֗רֶץ חִלְּל֥וּ מִֽשְׁכַּן־שְׁמֶֽךָ׃
They made Your sanctuary go up in flames; they brought low in dishonor the dwelling-place of Your presence.

אָמְר֣וּ בְ֭לִבָּם נִינָ֣ם יָ֑חַד שָׂרְפ֖וּ כׇל־מוֹעֲדֵי־אֵ֣ל בָּאָֽרֶץ׃
They resolved, “Let us destroy them altogether!” They burned all God’s tabernacles in the land.


AlexRothMusic (private) · Tehillim 74

Photo by Stan Baranski