musician

Crushes Gone By

When I was in high school, I took a private course to prepare for the S.A.T.'s because that's what all my friends were doing. And, if you think about it, what does it say about university entrance exams if they require extra preparation that only some families can afford?

But lest you think this is a high and mighty commentary about class and education, don't you worry your pretty little head: It's all about my love life.

Jewish Music That Doesn’t Kid Around

With her ‘Shir Fun’ classes and albums, singer Dafna Israel-Kotok
is at the forefront of a new type of Jewish children’s edu-tainment.

04/13/2010
Associate Editor

On a Wednesday morning shortly before Passover, in a sunny room overlooking the Henry Hudson Parkway, Dafna Israel-Kotok is in her element.

Joyously shaking her long, straight black hair as she plays guitar and sings for about 10 small children and their moms, the 30-something Sabra musician freely alternates between English and her native Hebrew.

Dafna Israel-Kotok: Kids music “you can grow with.” Photo courtesy of Shir Fun

Stiller Waters Run Deep

In ‘Greenberg,’ Ben Stiller veers from the typical Jewish neurotic role.

03/23/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Roger Greenberg, the eponymous hero of Noah Baumbach’s new film, “Greenberg,” is a direct descendant of all those solipsistic, narcissistic, inconsiderate neurotics embodied by Woody Allen and, most recently, Larry David. At 40, he is a twitching bundle of nerves, barely suppressed anger and tightly held grudges going back to his college days. And he is unmistakably Jewish, although, as he dryly notes, “my mother is a Protestant, so I don’t even count.”

Character rather than caricature: Stiller as  Roger Goldberg.

Klezmer’s True North

Remembering the clarinetist who sparked the klez revival.

03/18/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Readers will no doubt recall a long-running advertising campaign for a fur company that posed famous women with the slogan, “What becomes a legend most?” Not, we grant, a campaign you’d be likely to see in these more animal-friendly days, but the question is a good one, “What becomes a legend most?”
 
If the legend is a musician, the answer is simple: play the music. Anything extra is nice, but nearly extraneous.    
 

Joel Rubin, right, pays tribute to Dave Tarras, left, in concert at Museum at Eldridge Street.

Sisters In Swing

12/21/1999
Special To The Jewish Week

There were a thousand women, and they were on their feet, swaying to a klezmer beat. The place was the Michigan Womyn’s Festival, the most successful of the many all-women’s music events that are held all summer across the United States. Isle of Klezbos was playing on the “night stage,” the primo venue at the festival, “the culmination of the whole event,” says Eve Sicular, the band’s leader and drummer. “ People told me later about how this was unlike any experience they had there.

Instrument Of Faith

09/27/2002
Special To The Jewish Week

When Margot Leverett began playing the clarinet as a child, she didn’t know where it would lead her.

She might not have guessed that it would become a career.

She couldn’t have guessed that it would bring her a new faith.

All she was looking for was an instrument she could carry.

Humongous, Hummable Jewish Humor

12/12/2007
Special To The Jewish Week

Just like it says on the cover of his new record, Sean Altman (aka Jewmongous) is “Taller than Jesus.” In fact, at 6-feet-3 he’s taller than two of the Nets and three of the Knicks.

Coming Home

10/30/1998
Jewish Week Book Critic

When Florence Greenglass and Sol Dubner converted from Judaism to Catholicism during World War II, it was as though a gate banged shut; neither looked back. Embracing Catholicism zealously, they broke with their families as well as their religion; Dubner’s father sat shiva. The pair met and married after each had converted independently; they became Veronica and Paul Dubner. Decades later, their son Stephen, the youngest of their eight children, unlocked the gate, opening to a renewed Jewish future.

36 Under 36 2009: Michelle Citrin, 28

Staff Writer
04/24/2009

After college she started touring as a musician, and she visited Israel on a Birthright trip, which she credits for the Jewish themes that began to seep into her folk music. Back in America and on the road, she visited places like Nebraska and South Dakota, where many people had never met Jews. "People gasped when I said I was Jewish; they were looking for the horns," she says. Ultimately, though, she was happy to be open about her Judaism: "I was a reference point for people, and I welcomed it."

Yiddish Theater’s Last Leading Lady

At 98, Mina Bern was one of the few remaining stars from Second Avenue’s heyday.

01/22/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

She was one of the last supports of a world that was crumbling to pieces.

When Mina Bern died of heart failure last week at the age of 98, the Yiddish theater world mourned one of its leading lights, an indefatigable performer and champion of the Yiddish language whose career spanned three continents and virtually the whole of the 20th century.

Mina Bern was remembered this week for her indomitable will and star power.
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