It is hardly a secret that the Jewish world that we inhabit, particularly here in New York, is plagued by deep divisions. Interdenominational friction makes it at best extremely difficult for rabbis and laypeople to work together across those lines for the betterment of the Jewish community as a whole, and there is little reason to hope that the situation will be changing any time soon. There are pulls to the right and to the left. Unless Israel is threatened, we find it hard to talk to each other both literally and figuratively.
Hazamir, the International Jewish High School Choir, has figured out how to solve that problem: Transcend the spoken word and the ideologies behind it, and replace it with the harmony of beautifully sung music. That's exactly what happened this past Sunday at Carnegie Hall, when the choir performed.
An unlikely Jewish friendship brought the Beatles to America.
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When fate would bring him back to Liverpool, Sid Bernstein would go to the Kirkdale Jewish Cemetery, placing a pebble atop the black granite gravestone. Here lay Shmuel son of Tzvi, who died on 21 Menachem Av, 1967 — Shmuel, better known as Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles, though there is no mention of the Beatles on his stone. That the Beatles came to America 50 years ago, an anniversary celebrated this week across the land, is because of a phone call Bernstein made to Epstein 51 years ago, in 1963, to book the Beatles one year later, Feb. 12, in Carnegie Hall—their first booking in America. A show in Washington, D.C., and the Ed Sullivan shows, were booked later, sandwiched around Sid Bernstein’s shows in Carnegie.
If you haven't heard the pianist Mitsuko Uchida play, do. She's performing tonight at Carnegie Hall -- solo works by Schumann, Chopin and Beethoven -- but even if you miss it, check out some of her albums online.
Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs may not always get along, but two young pianists — one a Jew from Tel Aviv, the other an Arab from Nazareth — will be living in harmony next week at Carnegie Hall. Onstage, that is.