It’s unusual for a composer to debut his first opera at the age of 82.
Then again, Harry Bialor is an unusual composer. His opera, “Masada,” is having its world premiere March 23 at the JCC of Staten Island (1466 Manor Rd. 718 475-5200) as part of a UJA-Federation of New York-funded Jewish Music Month program. The piece will be performed by Voyces and Young Voyces, two S.I.-based ensembles, conducted by Michael Sirotta and accompanied by pianist Mimi Stern-Wolfe.
When I was younger, I strived to emulate my two older brothers. I did so in many ways, but I particularly wanted to mimic their passion for playing an instrument. Others told me that I was too young and should wait a year or two to begin. Then Rebecca Teplow took one look at my fingers, after her piano lesson with my eldest brother, and told me that now was a perfect time to begin. I was thrilled.
Rav Raz Hartman is usually found in a crowded shul in Jerusalem’s Nachlaot neighborhood, reached by a steep staircase. His shul fuses music and mysticism, attracting Jews across the denominational and sartorial spectrum. A Jerusalem hipster may be swaying next to someone dressed in a flowing white robe.
The opening showing of my pre-Oscar night nominated shorts marathon was 10:35 Sunday morning. I was one of half-a-dozen people nestled in IFC’s coziest screening room to view "The Lady in No.6," which enhanced my experience falling in love with the documentary’s then 109 year-old subject, Alice Herz-Sommer.
The name Zusha is most commonly associated with an 18th century chasidic rebbe from the town of Anipoli in southeast Poland. Reb Zusha was a student of the Maggid of Mezritch, a main disciple of the Ba’al Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism, and was known for his great piety, scholarship and penchant for bursting out in spontaneous joy.
“[What’s So Funny ‘Bout] Peace Love & Understanding” David Broza asks, in his recording of Nick Lowe’s song on his new CD, “East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem.” That song, with the accompaniment of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus of the Jerusalem International YMCA – a group of Jewish and Arab teens -- is now being played regularly on Galei Zahal, Israel Army Radio.
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.
This past Thursday night, in the basement of Mechon Hadar on the Upper West Side, nearly sixty people gathered to sit in the round and listen and participate with the music being performed by Joey Weisenberg and several other musicians. Weisenberg, a staff member at Hadar who leads regular music and singing workshops, also teaches at JTS, Hebrew Union College, and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. An accomplished singer, guitarist, percussionist, and mandolin player, Weisenberg played mandolin and guitar on Thursday night, and was joined by the Hadar Ensemble, which featured two vocalists, a violinist, a fiddler, a stand-up bass player and a hand drummer.