Cal State East Bay Hosts Shabbat Art-Ins

The free dance open houses create a space for rest, reflection and rejuvenation.


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Anyone can attend the Shabbat Art-Ins at CSU East Bay.

Photo by Hans Holtan

Sunday night dinner at Grandma’s house used to be an immovable obligation, not all that different from church on Sunday morning. Jewish families had their own family traditions during Friday evening’s Shabbat celebrations. But few of us have been willing or able to hold on to these preordained habits. Our lives are too stuffed with alternate ways to spend rare leisure time. Often it’s only in looking back that we realize that those hours actually gave us much as they took. (I personally hated those end-of-the-week must-do’s.)

CSU East Bay faculty member Eric Kupers, the director of Bandelion and the university’s Inclusive Interdisciplinary Ensemble, has come with an alternative without creating a straightjacket for enforced conviviality. Once a month his group takes over the campus dance studio (PE140) for a Shabbat Art-Ins open house.

“I wanted to create a space for rest, reflection and rejuvenation At these Shabbat Art-Ins events, people are invited to nap if they want to; to get up and dance or stretch; to share art they are working on; to invite others to participate in their art by adding music or dance; to participate in others’ performances; to be spontaneous.”

The evening is loosely structured with a Healing Music Session (6:30-7:15 p.m.), a short Shabbat ceremony (7:15-7:30 p.m.), which, Kupers notes, is “an inclusive interpretation of some Jewish rituals.” (He often is the only Jewish person present). Bandelion will then perform for 45 minutes, and the evening will close with performances and jam sessions with the DanceSing Drum Company and guest artists.

“These are Shabbat gatherings for anyone who needs one—without the baggage of orthodoxy and ‘shoulds,’ ” said Kupers, summarizing these embracing monthly gatherings.

Shabbat Art-Ins, Friday, April 20, 6-10 p.m., California State University East Bay, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward, Dance Studio (PE140), free, parking free after 5 p.m.

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