Sounds Like Unity

When Nissim Black took the stage at LifeTown on May 9, the audience leaned forward just a little bit. “Let me see your wings!” he called as the crowd spread their arms and he launched into Fly Away. “I want to fly, fly away…”

A quartet of girls standing on their chairs sang every word of every song, arms waving in the air. Fathers danced with children on their shoulders. It wasn’t long before everyone was out of their chairs and dancing. “I don’t make sit-down music,” he called out.

The crowd of 500 people drawn from all over the area including groups from Lakewood, NJ and Monsey, NY had already been celebrating for hours when he took the stage. When Joey Newcomb took the stage an hour earlier, spontaneous expressions of joyful dancing erupted in circles at the stage.

It was an extraordinary Lag B’Omer concert organized by the Friendship Circle and Hatzalah of MetroWest.

Younger children played tag and other games at the edges of the crowd, girls with flower crowns on their heads wandered about holding hands or running together, and the scent of hot dogs and fries wafted on the spring breeze throughout the LifeTown parking lot, transformed into a concert venue.

Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, revelers also toured the brand new, state-of-the-art Hatzalah ambulances parked at the edge of the lot.

“Our volunteers were excited to meet everyone from across the MetroWest Jewish community in a happy setting,” said Joshua Commer, the coordinator of Hatzalah MetroWest who inspired the concert. “We hope they will be comfortable calling us should they need our services. We are based in Livingston and West Orange, but we’re here for everyone.”

Shmuly Lieberman, one of the organizers, took the stage first to warm the crowd up, and he and his band rocked Friendship Circle “Be Amazing” t-shirts.

As Newcomb sang “It’s Geshmach to be a Yid,” a Friendship Circle participant named Shmuley came to the edge of the stage and danced, pumping his arm in the air. His volunteer buddy, Daniel Kramer, brought him to Livingston from Monsey because, he said, “He’s a big Joey Newcomb guy. When I saw Joey was going to be playing, I said, ‘We’ve got to come!’” Shmuley stayed at the edge of the stage dancing with so much energy that it didn’t take long for plenty of audience members to join him.

Ava Minsky, another participant, sitting with her sister Ellie, was shimmying in her seat to the music before they too got up to dance.

The most poignant moment in all the merrymaking came as Ethan, a Friendship Circle participant from White Plains, NY, took the stage, violin in hand, joining Nissim Black for a duet. The smile on his face mixed with concentration said it all, as Nissim Black sang to his accompaniment.

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