Music And Dance


How Don Byron Brought Klezmer Music And Mickey Katz Back To Life

By Jake Marmer

Don Byron’s tribute to Borscht Belt musician and comedian Mickey Katz brought him plenty of attention 20 years ago. Now, the clarinetist looks back on his role in the klezmer music revival.Read More


Adrienne Cooper Embodied Progressive Spirit

By Jeffrey Shandler

It is hard to imagine the world without Adrienne Cooper. She enriched life for decades with thrilling song, wise words, and trenchant humor.Read More


Chilik Frank Brings Soul of Hasidism to Klezmer

By Binyomin Ginzberg

Clarinetist Chilik Frank plays exquisite arrangements of Hasidic melodies and dance songs. Binyomin Ginzberg says it’s some of the most moving Jewish music he has ever heard.Read More


Conducting Crowds to the Beat of His Grandparents

By Howard Shapiro

Michael Tilson Thomas’s grandmom had trunks in her basement. A lot of our grandmothers had stuff stacked away. But our grandmoms were not Bessie Thomashefsky. “When I used to go visit my grandmother at her apartment in Hollywood, she had trunks in her basement and that was a special treat,” said Tilson Thomas, music director of the San Francisco Symphony and artistic director of Miami Beach’s New World Symphony, which he founded. In her basement, his grandmother “would open up these trunks, and inside them there were various costumes and scripts and photos and all these things that had been part of her life.”Read More


‘Help Us! Help Us! Help Us Now!’

By Joy Resmovits

Composer Elizabeth Swados has dramatized tragedy before, but never the fear that rises from the gut when flames are sweeping nearby and escape is far away. In creating the music for the most terrifying moments in an original oratorio for the centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, Swados turned to raw instinct.Read More


Great-Granddaughter of Triangle Factory Employee Acts in a Tribute to Her Relative Whose Colleagues Died in the Fire

By Joy Resmovits

Like all other mornings, on March 25, 1911, Rose Bernstein had planned to arrive at 245 Greene Street, in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, and begin working. Instead, a sibling fell ill, so she stayed home — thus avoiding the tragic fate of other colleagues who died or were injured in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire later that day.Read More


Songbook Recaptures Lost Melodies

By Alexander Gelfand

Heard any good Yiddish folksongs lately? Chances are good that the answer is “no.” Not because there aren’t any good Yiddish folksongs to be heard; for generations, the Yiddish-speaking Jews of Eastern Europe sang innumerable songs about love and loss, death and marriage. They sang to their children to soothe them to sleep, and they sang at work to relieve the drudgery of menial labor.Read More


Symposium Seeks To Save Yiddish Dance

By Alexander Gelfand

Most academic symposia don’t offer a steady supply of cold beer and hot pirogi. Fewer still offer the chance to see Michael Alpert, frontman for the progressive klezmer band Brave Old World, dancing on a chair. The first-ever Yiddish Dance Symposium had both.Read More


Krakow Jewish Fest Features Notable Absence: Jews

By Rukhl Schaechter

About 13,000 people crowded the main square in the cobblestone-paved former Jewish quarter of Krakow last week for the finale of this year’s Jewish Culture Festival. The event — which is funded by the Polish government, the city of Krakow, the Friends of the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival in New York and the San Francisco-based Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture — boasted a dizzying array of activities, including daily tours of seven synagogues and cemeteries; Yiddish- and Hebrew-language classes; films, lectures and exhibits; workshops in Jewish cooking, calligraphy and Hasidic dance; meetings with Jewish authors, and traditional Sabbath prayer services.Read More


Writing the Book on Klezmer

By Alexander Gelfand

In the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that I’m personally indebted to Yale Strom.Read More





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  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
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  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
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