The Betar dance group was a very special part of Betar. Everyone wanted to be in it -and everyone almost was. I was in the dance group from 1966- 1972. I have all the Dance Festival programs except 1966.
I don't remember who the leader was in '66 but we did Im Balim and Ad Or Haboker. I remember rehearsing in a dance studio in Manhattan that year since the Moadon was too small. In later years we rehearsed at Ramat Orah, Ohav Zedek, and Bnei Jeshurun (right before Young Judaea came in to rehearse) We were Fred Berk's "special project". I remember him coming to our rehersals and screaming at us - but always in a nice way.
Dance Festival Program themes: 1966- ??, 1967 - Yom Ha'Atzmaut, 1968 - The Hills, 1969 - And they Shall Beat their Swords into Plowshares, 1970 - Let us go and Build the Walls of Jerusalem, 1971- Work and Love.
Dance Group members over the years: Rena Epstein (L), Mella Pollacheck, Reuven Genn, Shoshana Fenig,, Chaim Frydman, Benny Rosen, Miriam Rosen, Elinoar Ariav, Leah Edelstein, Mottie Lederman, Chaim Hornstein Z"L, Elana Leventhal, Sara Rosenberg, Hank Shieber, Eli Solomon Z"L, Tova Twersky (L), Chava Weiss, George Feldman, Tom Kovary, Moshe Ast, Nancy Dallek, Michael Finck, Nava Freid, Fred Lisker, Seth Lubin, Lauren Lubin (L), Bella Potack, Eileen Shupack, Eileen Solomon Z"L (L), Deena Winkleman, Guita Epstein, Shira Nadich, Suzy Pollock, Motti Rosemarin, Josh Scharf, Maddy Schwartz, Yisrael Winkleman (who?), Debra Wohlgelertner, Lilly Zborowski, Sindy Bachner, Madeline Bernstein, Roxane Bernstein, Danny Epstein, Yeudit Frommer, Chaviva Gertner, Rona Gersten, Carol Greenspan, Ilana Lewin, Susie Reasenberg, Kenny Arfa, Mitch Chupak, Marty Erdfarb, Karen Herrera, Rachel Korman, Sherri Plotkin, Jay Rosenstein, David Sebag, Diane Wyshgorod (like I said - almost everybody - L is for Leader)
Program Highlights: Who can forget the undulating Hills we did in 1968. People thought we were on roller skate, but those capes sure were hot - must have lost a few pounds in there. We even made the paper that year - NY Times I think.
Yom Ha'Atzmaut - 1967: We had short sticks with Israeli flags on them; we were in two lines facing the audience; Motti Lederman was in front of Eli; Eli dropped his stick and it rolled toward Motti; Motti picked it up without skipping a beat, threw it backwards to Eli; Eli caught it (without his glasses); and of course the flag unfuirled as it was being tossed back - what an ovation.
Every year we would make Fred mad by starting an impromtu Hora on stage after the finale - with me screaming Abba - Ima at the top of my lungs. Then we would take the Hora out to the middle of 57th Steret and stop traffic in front of Carnegie Hall - the organizers finally decided to rent a place after the Festival for us to let our energy out.