Yarmulke on ice


It was probably the first time in Olympics history that a kippah was an integral part of an athlete’s uniform.

When the Israeli brother-sister ice dancing team Roman and Alexandra Zaretsky took to the ice in Vancouver on Sunday night, the pair chose a "traditional Israeli" folk dance (in the words of NBC’s announcers) to showcase their talents: "Hava Nagilla" (watch the video here). Wearing a kippah, Roman was dressed like a nice Orthodox boy — though the earring was a bit incongruous. His sister wore a head-covering — though her skirt length never would have passed muster in Jerusalem’s Orthodox Meah Shearim neighborhood.

The program itself wasn’t that impressive — a lot of poorly synchronized twirling — but the most disturing part about the whole thing was that whoever sang "Hava Nagilla" didn’t seem to get the words right. The duo scored a 55, placing them in 10th place approaching the finals.

I wasn’t sure if it was fair to groan when I saw their cliched choice of costume and song — after all, performers from other countries also chose traditional folk songs that may have been no less cliched than "Hava Nagilla" — but I felt vindicated when I learned of their song choice for their final performance Monday night: Theme music from Schindler’s List.


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