Le Mood offers alternative perspectives on Jewish traditions
This Sunday, Montreal will join some 40 other cities worldwide that annually celebrate Jewish culture during an event called Limmud (Hebrew for "learning"). Renamed Le Mood, the local iteration received guidance from Clive Lawton, co-founder of the original London-based Limmud conference, who came to Montreal last January to visit the local organizing committee, which comprises about 30 people, most of them under the age of 35.
In January, Le Mood also had a test run in front of a packed house at Ghetto Schul which featured former Habs coach Jean Perron and DJ Killa Jewel, as well as comedians Robby Hoffman, Neev Bensimhon and Jessica Salomon. They’ll all be back this weekend to take part in a lineup of more than 50 lectures, debates, workshops, screenings, exhibits and performances, many with amusing titles such as Jews and Don’ts, Pork Memoirs: The Complicated Relationship Between Jews and Pigs, Loaded: Jews and Money, Oy! You Should Eat, and CSI: Cane and Abel (An Analysis of Murder Through Text). "We’re basically saying, ‘We are here and we want to explore what the identity means to us,’" says festival organizer Mike Savatovsky. "We’re not trying to be disrespectful, but we’re trying to say that maybe not everything is as the mainstream portrays it to be."
"Yeah, there are certain principles that we’re supposed to follow – there are 10 commandments and there are 613 good deeds that we’re supposed to do," Savatovsky continues, "but at the same time, everything is up for interpretation. Jewish tradition encourages people to ask questions, it’s not about following dogmatically what the religion says. It’s about interpreting and asking questions to make it relevant for you. So that’s what this festival is about, it’s about bringing in a whole bunch of different alternative perspectives, and for people who show up to be able to interact with the presenters and with each other, to engage in the conversation so that being Jewish becomes personally meaningful in their lives."
You’re bound to learn something at Le Mood, but also to have a lot of fun, especially considering that it will end with a song-and-dance party starring The Youjsh, Socalled and live band karaoke act Urockaoke. "They’re doing a special, one-time version called Jewrockaoke! So they’ll do a few well-known Jewish songs and songs written by Jewish artists like Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond and Madonna, if you want to call her Jewish."
"It’s going to be a great, high-energy day," concludes Mike Savatovsky.
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At Espace Reunion (6600a Hutchison Street)