Written by Menachem Posner, Editorial@antonnews.com Saturday, 28 September 2013 00:00
Ted Volynets grew up with two passions: dance and Judaism. As a child he danced competitively in the US and abroad. In 2011, during his last semester at New York University, Ted’s professional ballroom dancing career reached a new high when he was selected for the professional troupe on ABC’s Dancing with The Stars.
He also grew up part of the then-small Town of Oyster Bay Chabad in Woodbury.
“My father, Eugene Volynets, is the executive founder of the congregation,” he says. “It is basically where I grew up—whenever I was not at the dance studio.”
His says his two passions come together each year on Simchat Torah, the holiday when Jews gather in the synagogue to sing and dance with the Torah, the handwritten Hebrew scroll containing the 5 Books of Moses.
This year, Volynets will be on hand to lead the dancing at his childhood synagogue and “show everyone some moves.”
“The entire community is invited to join us for the dancing and the meal that follows,” says Rabbi Shmuel Lipszyc of Town of Oyster Bay Chabad. “It’s a time to let loose and let your Jewish joy flow. This is the culmination of the entire High Holiday season, and I am so happy that Ted is taking a leading role.”
While Lipszyc notes that it is not the first time celebrities have joined his congregation for services—Bob Dylan has been spotted attending High Holiday services—he is “really gratified to see a child of our community remain strongly rooted in Jewish tradition.”
The congregation will celebrate Simchat Torah on September 26 at 7:20 in the evening. Town of Oyster Bay Chabad is located at 678 Woodbury Road in Woodbury, NY. There will also be a special children’s program led by Volynets and volunteers at 6:55 p.m. Reservations are necessary for the holiday feast that will follow the dancing, but the dancing and kids’ program are open to walk-in traffic. The entire evening is free of charge.
Based on past experience, Volynets says he expects the crowd to vary from amateur dancers to people with little dance experience, “but if you can walk, you can dance too.”
“I do all kinds of dances, ranging from waltzes to salsa, but I will make sure to tone it down when I lead the dancing at the synagogue and keep things traditional,” says the 23-year-old Volynets, who now manages his family’s dance studio in Ridgefield, NJ. “You just can’t tango with the Torah.”
For information and reservations, contact Town of Oyster Bay Chabad at 516-682-0404 or www.jewishtob.org.