Bride drums up controversy at her wedding
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Bride drums up controversy at her wedding

Newlywed pounds out a beat to the delight of guests, but ultra-Orthodox supervisors rap hall owners over ‘modesty’ issues

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Screen capture from video of bride Shira Hirschkovitz drumming at her own wedding. (YouTube)
Screen capture from video of bride Shira Hirschkovitz drumming at her own wedding. (YouTube)

A young bride’s drumming skills landed a wedding hall and a band in trouble earlier this month, after ultra-Orthodox authorities complained that her performance didn’t jibe with “modesty” considerations.

The band whose drum kit the bride played later issued an apology over the incident and vowed that if it ever happened again, they would quit the music business, the B’Hadrei Haredim website reported Wednesday.

Toward the end of her wedding, bride Shira Hershkovitz, 19, went onstage where the Yoeli Dickman Orchestra was playing, and sat down at the drum kit. Then, to the surprise and delight of the guests and her groom, she began to pound out a beat while the band played on.

A video of Hershkovitz’s short performance was shared on social media and she quickly gained fame as “the drumming bride.”

A week after the wedding, and before the fuss over her performance had escalated, Hershkovitz spoke to the Ynet news site, explaining that she had always wanted to play the drums.

“When I was small, I learned to play the piano,” said Hershkovitz, who works as a photographer. “For many years I had a dream to drum, and a year and a half ago I started attending a drum school in Tel Aviv.”

Dickman told Ynet said that some time before the wedding, Hershkovitz had told him that she learned drums and was considering playing at the wedding, an idea he supported. They agreed to play it by ear on the day of the event, and it was Dickman who prompted her at the wedding to pick up the drumsticks.

“I told her to start drumming, and the band and I would adapt to her rhythm,” he said.

However, some took offense at Hershkovitz’s behavior and complained to Badatz, the kosher department of the ultra-Orthodox Eda Haredit organization. Badatz, which supervises the Bnei Brak venue where the wedding was held and provides its kosher certification, contacted the hall, demanding to know why managers had allowed the drumming to go on and why they didn’t shut off the electricity as soon as it started.

In the ultra-Orthodox community, women are prohibited from performing in front of men and public mixed musical acts are out of the question due to modesty concerns.

According to the report, Badatz also scolded the band. In a response letter to Badatz, published in the report, the band wrote it was sorry for the “terrible breach of the boundaries of modesty” and pledged that “from today, such a thing will not happen.”

It further said that “if God forbid it happens again, we accept that a prohibition on the band appearing at celebrations should be made known and publicized.”

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