An artful afternoon at Agudas Achim

Members of Helping Hearts Through the Arts Perform at Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria. Photo by Samantha Cooper

Over a post-Chanukah lunch of latkes and applesauce, Mina Jo and Michael Linver waited for the show
to begin.

“We’ve been patrons of the arts for years,” Mina Jo said. “We love the arts, especially the performing arts.”

Inside the social hall at Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria, about 55 art-loving seniors gathered around tables on Dec. 20 to eat and chat.

But the highlight was a dance performance by Helping Hearts Through the Arts.

The two-hour program was a partnership between the Conservative
congregation and the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia’s Adult Outreach program

“I like to support the arts,” said congregant Sharon Saferstein, adding that she attends a lot of events at the Kennedy Center.

Neither Saferstein nor the Linvers were familiar with Helping Hearts Through the Arts, a group whose goal is to “spread good will through the arts,” and whose members range in age from the 40s to the 70s.

The audience was treated to dances performed to a range of music — contemporary, classical, jazz. Many of the songs were from the audience’s youth — the 1940s and 1950s.

“We have pieces that we think will be connect with our audience, especially seniors. We choose pieces that will be fun, and hopefully entertaining,” said Sue Skaddan, who founded the group in 2013 to connect people in artistic and others meaningful ways.

Songs in the line-up included “That’s Entertainment,” which appeared in the 1953 film “The Bandwagon”; “T’aint Watcha Do” from 1939 and “Harvey Girls,” from the 1946 movie of thesame name.

In between songs, the dancers encouraged the audience to take part in a movement exercise that involved a lot of stretching.
The audience sang along to a Chanukah song that was a parody of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” They also danced the Virginia reel, a partnered folk dance.

“The whole performance was fabulous, fabulous, fabulous,”Saferstein said.

[email protected]

Never miss a story.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Email Address


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here