Le Mood is a one day festival that aims to celebrate being Jewish as well as to educate both Jews and non-Jews about a miriad of topics related to Jewish life, arts, and culture. The Le Mood festival prides itself on being quirky, and an alternative to conventional models of Jewish learning. The Montreal festival is now in its second year and has so far been a rousing success; this year saw nearly 1000 attendees!
I think everyone who attended could find something to sink their teeth into. This year there were workshops about food and sustaining our planet; about human rights in Canada and elsewhere; about relationships – straight or gay; about being “religious or not”. There were workshops teaching people to break dance or perform comedy; there was traditional music as well as rapping; Jewish comics, live and several documentaries: Punk Jews and Shlemiel, performance art, as well as traditional Jewish learning! – an amazing outpouring of talent, drive, and creativity, most of it from the younger set although all age groups could be found.
Le Mood does a good job of offering workshops that focus not only on religion but also on cultural aspects of Jewish identity. One workshop was about traditional pickling by Jeffery Yaskowitz. He explained how to pickle… pickles and the traditions that accompanied the craft. Science and religion intertwined as the recipes and traditions unfolded. Le Mood had various food and beverage workshops throughout the day, and we were treated to many tastes and “how to’s”.
A workshop of particular interest to me was a roundtable discussion, titled: “Is Yiddish Dead?” It started and ended with communal singing and in between we heard the stories of several young people and how their lives intersected with Yiddish in Montreal as young parents, teachers or performers.
The night ended with a Rap performance by Shi 360 followed by a Comedy Roast of the Montreal Jewish Community featuring Joey Elias and some of Montreal’s funniest Jewish Comics. Jewish Guilt, Cote St. Luc, and bar-mitzvas were all on the table as the night ended in laughter.
If you missed it this year, definitely make a point of circling it on your calender next time!
And for all the photos from this year’s festival check out Le Mood 2012.