Great Neck Synagogue Invites Men to Yiddish Opera Event

Great Neck Synagogue pic

Great Neck Synagogue

A graduate of the New York Law School, Bernie Mermelstein works as chief executive officer and owner of MZ Berger & Co. in Long Island City, New York. A supporter of the Jewish community, Bernie Mermelstein contributes to the Great Neck Synagogue (GNS).

The GNS is a modern Orthodox synagogue whose members believe that the Torah is the word of God. It began in April 1951 when a dozen young couples wanted to establish a center for Orthodox Judaism in the Great Neck area. The following month, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations granted a charter certificate to GNS.

The GNS sponsors a variety of men’s club events, with one scheduled for November 8, 2016. Men are invited to attend a Gilbert and Sullivan Yiddish Light Opera production of Der Yiddisher Mikado held at the Temple Beth-El in Great Neck. Members of GNS receive discounted pricing, and there’s an option to upgrade for preferred seating. Those who opt for preferred seating can attend a post-performance reception and partake in refreshments.


The Truth Behind Fiddler on the Roof’s “Bottle Dance” Scene


Bernie Mermelstein is the owner and chief executive officer of MZ Berger & Co., a leading accessory company based in Long Island, New York. An avid singer in his free time, Bernie Mermelstein particularly enjoys Jewish music and cites Fiddler in the Roof as his favorite Broadway show.

Fiddler in the Roof is a musical based on a series of Yiddish short stories, and it has become one of the most popular musicals of all time. Songs such as “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Sunrise, Sunset” have become a staple in Broadway collections, and some of its numbers have even become iconic, such as the famous “Bottle Dance” scene.

However, this bottle dance scene, inasmuch as it sounds and looks Jewish, is not a traditional Jewish folk dance. Rather, it is an original creation of the director-choreographer Jerome Robbins. Robbins, who had previously worked in other musicals such as West Side Story and Gypsy, drew choreography inspiration from a man he saw in an Orthodox Jewish wedding celebration. The man was pretending to be inebriated and was tottering a bottle on his head, to everyone’s entertainment. Robbins turned this inspiration into an elaborate number featuring four dancers performing precise movements.