Jessie Shechter has been one of Tofaah's female percussionists for many years. A classically trained musician, Jesse studied drums and percussions. She moved to Israel in 1989 from Miami Beach, Florida, and when she's not drumming, Jesse is also a talented photographer and videographer.
I first saw Tofaah play a few weeks after I made aliyah. It was such an amazing joy to dance the night away on the roof of the Israel Center in Jerusalem!
Later, I filmed the band for promotional videos, so I got to know everyone as a videographer first, not as a musician. When the band's regular percussionists went on vacation, Yona needed a sub, so she asked me. I guess Yona saw that I fit in - that I had the right amount of "zany" - so the percussion section expanded. That was in 1993.
Why is the "female" part of "female percussionists" the most defining?
I remember when I was in junior high and high school - people would say to me, "You're the best girl drummer I know."
So, in my humility (oy!) I'd ask them, "Am I the best drummer you know?" and often the answer was yes, which then led to the question, "So, why do you call me a girl drummer - just call me a drummer!"
(It isn't just female percussionists or female drummers who get this. Same thing happens in photography - being called a "woman" photographer, instead of just a photographer.)
Praising Hashem through music, singing a prayer, connecting with the ultimate Jewish songwriter, King David, is so important.
I just love to bring simchah to Jewish women, and when I see all those happy faces, and women dancing and singing and enjoying and laughing - that's everything!
Return from Tofaah's Female Percussionists:
Meet Jessie to Tofaah's Jewish Band of Women: About Us
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