EDITORIAL COMMENT: For all you Brooklynites out there!The Wall Street JournalIn Brooklyn, Orthodox Jewish Women Lead Latest Dance Craze: Kosher Zumba
Participants Take Classes in All-Female Setting With Sanitized Song Lyrics; Some Rabbis Balk
By Lucette Lagnado
April 2, 2014 10:38 p.m. ET
BROOKLYN, N.Y.—On a crowded dance floor, a group of 50 women are swaying, stomping, lunging, and gyrating to singer Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty," Pitbull's "Don't Stop The Party," and other popular numbers blasting over loudspeakers.
It could be any trendy New York club, except here the dirty words and sexually explicit lyrics are missing from the raps, and no men are allowed.
The occasion is a weekly all-female Zumba class geared to a distinctive clientele: Orthodox Jewish women from nearby religious communities. With lives guided by Do's and Don'ts, few of these women are Livin' La Vida Loca—though in class they do at least get to dance to it.
Led by Shimrit Adar, a 31-year-old Israeli-born instructor, the Zumba class has become a popular venue for an especially insular group of women. "These women need an outlet and I have found them an outlet—dance," says Ms. Adar. "It is such a relief."
Her students, who call her "Shimi," couldn't agree more. Every Wednesday night, they make their way discreetly to class, situated in a synagogue basement. Stepping out of their traditional ankle-length skirts and long-sleeved blouses, they don typical exercise gear—stretch pants and tank-tops or T-shirts. Many let their hair down, literally, by removing hats or wigs.
"Zumba is my therapy," says Sara Ovitsh, a devotee of the class. "It is my one hour of running away from life, of escaping from my reality." Ms. Ovitsh, a mother of four who works as a lactation consultant, adds: "I either go to a psychiatrist or I go to Zumba."
It is also a lot cheaper than therapy at $12 a class.
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