Articles

Yom Kippur 5779, la música y el recuerdo

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En apenas un rato comenzarán a sonar las notas del Kol Nidre, esa melodía que conmueve al que conoce su significado tanto como al que no sabe nada de ello. Cuenta Theodor Reik que, al escucharla en casa de amigos, experimenta una profunda tristeza pero ignora de qué pieza se trata hasta que, informado por su anfitriona, recupera un viejo recuerdo: “Recordé -dice- mi infancia y las vacaciones en las que solía ir a la casa de mi abuelo, en un pequeño pueblo de Hungría, con mi madre y mi hermana…Durante mis visitas a ese pueblo, oí con frecuencia la antigua melodía del Kol Nidre y recordé la primitiva sinagoga, los hombres de túnicas blancas y barbas largas que se mecían al ritmo de las oraciones, mi abuelo junto a mí. Recordé la emoción de los feligreses al escuchar al cantante del Kol Nidre. Recordé los signos claros de contrición profunda de todos esos hombres con expresión solemne, y su conmovedora participación en la ceremonia…”

Una vieja melodía, cuyo origen se pierde en la noche de la historia, estremece hasta los huesos a quienes la escuchan. Es inevitable preguntarse cómo, por qué algo que parece tan lejano en tiempo y espacio, algo surgido de vivencias aparentemente tan extrañas a nuestra contemporaneidad tiene sin embargo una fuerza tal que atraviesa todas las defensas yoicas, todos los argumentos “laicos”, todas las invocaciones posmodernas. Es como si su cadencia tocara un núcleo íntimo e inerradicable, el corazón mismo de lo humano, más allá de creencias, ideologías o discursos conscientes.

Kol Nidre marca el comienzo de Iom Kipur, el Día del Perdón, la fecha más solemne del calendario hebreo. Sí, ya sé que hay explicaciones históricas -la oración se refería a los conversos a la fuerza en la Inquisición, que pedían el perdón divino por su aparente apostasía, y otras versiones igual de “lógicas”- pero los historiadores dudan de todas ellas. Lo que subsiste, de todos modos, es la potencia evocadora de su música y su letra, esa suerte de madalena proustiana no de un individuo, sino de un pueblo a lo largo de los milenios.

En mi caso, se me presenta de forma indudable. Cuando llegué a la adolescencia comencé -como corresponde- a cuestionar a mi padre y, con él, a la tradición que intentaba transmitir. Me distancié de ambos, me puse la camiseta de rebelde y atea, de militante de izquierda y de “la religión es el opio…”. En fin, ya sabemos el libreto de esa edad. Mi padre no era exactamente religioso, pero respetaba las fechas y los rituales. Ayunaba en Kipur, iba a la sinagoga a decir Izcor (oración de recordación de los muertos) por sus padres, armaba maravillosas cenas de Pesaj con las lecturas correspondientes… Dejé de apreciar todo eso, deseché durante años esas marcas, me creí una “mujer nueva” (siempre se habla del hombre nuevo, pero ahora podemos darle ese giro…). Hasta que, ya crecidita, madre de dos hijos y estrenando pareja, supe que mi papá estaba muy enfermo. Volví a verlo. Mi modo de recuperar algo del vínculo fue llevarlo a la sinagoga -él estaba muy débil- a escuchar Kol Nidre, que sabía muy importante para él. Después de veinte años de cruzar de vereda cada vez que pasaba frente a un shil, fue para mí una experiencia conmovedora. Nos quedamos de pie, juntos, sin hablar, temblando al son de las notas. Los dos llorábamos en silencio.

Al año siguiente mi papá murió. Sucesos fundamentales en mi vida me llevaron a recuperar mi judaísmo tanto como a rescatar a mi padre. Han pasado treinta años desde ese momento de retorno (teshuvá, en hebreo: lo que se hace precisamente en estas fechas).

Cada año, cuando estoy parada en la sinagoga y comienza a sonar Kol Nidre, me estremezco de tristeza, emoción, gratitud y dicha, todo junto. “Mi” Kol Nidre es la imagen de mi padre y yo juntos, él alto y apuesto aún, y algo que emana de él hacia mí como una vasija elevada que, por la fuerza de gravedad, traspasa su contenido hacia la más pequeña.

  • Visite la sección de Kol Nidre en SaveTheMusic, oprima aquí.

¿Era eso la transmisión?

Ahora que soy grande -en la tercera edad, digamos-, entiendo algo. Kol Nidre es una de esas joyas que reúnen lo más arcaico con lo nuevo, o lo que se renueva vez a vez. Lo de todos con lo único y propio. La forma en que cada uno recibe y vivencia esa melodía que viene de tan lejos y la “mastica” según sus propias imágenes, sus sensaciones, sus memorias, es lo que mantiene la vitalidad de su fuerza. Lo universal vive de lo singular, y no al revés.

Entendí que el perdón, fuera de todo tufillo de moralina barata, se declina en tres dimensiones: perdonar, ser perdonado y perdonarse. Recobrar los dones que nos han sido deparados, liberarlos de amargura y crítica y poder traspasarlos a los otros.

De alguna manera -que no supe ver ni comprender en ese momento- mi padre me dejó ese legado. El reencuentro final marcó mi vida, me liberó de resentimientos y me ayudó a construir mi futuro.

Cada año revivo ese instante, me ligo nuevamente a la cadena de generaciones y deseo para mis hijos y mis nietos que puedan sostener el frágil, acogedor y potente hilo de la tradición.

¡Que seamos bien firmados en el Libro de la Vida!

  • Visite la sección de Kol Nidre en SaveTheMusic, oprima aquí.

 

Tapping into the ‘Golden Age’ of cantorial music for the 21st century

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Ordained Chabad rabbi and cantor Aryeh Leib Hurwitz has traveled the world honing his voice and performing skills, and is now part of an effort to revive the classic tradition of “chazzonus,” the quasi-operatic Jewish music of more than a century ago. Photo: With jazz backup, Cantor Aryeh Leib Hurwitz sings “Sheyibone,” a fundamental Jewish prayer beseeching G-d to rebuild the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple), ushering in a period of global unity and harmony. Credit: Courtesy.

BY  Carin M. Smilk

Aryeh Leib Hurwitz is attuned to all things musical. A chazzan (“cantor”) and ordained Chabad rabbi born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., he studied at yeshivahs around the world while honing his voice and performing skills. The 29-year-old father of nearly 3-year-old twins has been on stage in Berlin and Johannesburg. He has sung before NBA crowds. He can belt out familiar pieces from “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Les Misérables,” croon at weddings and headline a jazz band. And, of course, he sings in synagogue during the High Holidays in the classic tradition of chazzonus, the quasi-operatic Jewish music of more than a century ago—music that transports listeners back to a time before great human sound wasn’t accessible by the click of a button.

Here, he shares a bit about himself and the Eastern European musical tradition that is his hallmark.

Q: Is cantorial music entertainment, spiritual nourishment or both, and how so?

A: In the 19th century, cantorial music was the only form of Jewish entertainment. You looked forward to going to the synagogue to hear your favorite cantor perform, and with that, receive spiritual nourishment. Of course, that changed significantly over the decades, in time and place. Today, cantorial music is an art performed globally on the High Holidays. However, its art is beautiful year-round, and still plays the role of both entertainment and spiritual nourishment in various communities around the globe.

Q:  How has cantorial music changed in the past two decades since the turn of the 21st century?

A: The golden age of chazzonus was in the early 1900s. There’s been a major decline since the likes of Josef “Yossele” Rosenblatt, Moishe Oysher, Moshe Koussevitzky and so on. Having said that, since the turn of the century there has been a nice comeback unfolding. With cantorial music now available with the click of a button (YouTube) and people appropriating culture, there are many different occasions where cantorial music is on display.

Q: What is its role in Jewish life?

A: The cantor is the shliach tzibbur, the “representative of the community.” Their job is to pray to the Almighty on their behalf. Cantorial music is the tool that the chazzan uses to spiritually connect the congregant with the God. That’s why it’s largely associated with the High Holidays and life-cycle milestones.

Q: Does cantorial music have a special role during the High Holidays?

A: Yes. It’s the highest of holidays. The time to connect to God makes it all the more essential. On a technical level, the prayers are less known. So it’s important that the quarterback—aka, the cantor—knows the rules, the prayers and the songs.

Cantor Aryeh Leib Hurwitz (left) at the Berliner Philharmonie in Germany, home of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, with a 70-piece orchestra. To his right is Michael Zukernik, conductor of the Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra in Berlin.

Q: Is cantorial music meant to affect the worshipper? Does it complement prayer, or is it singular in nature?

A: Cantorial music is based in the essence of nusach ha’tefillah, the “modes of the prayers,” which were passed down generations since the time of the Temple in Jerusalem. There is holiness in the music. When used in its true form, it absolutely affects the worshipper, as it also compliments the prayer.

Q: What is the voice range of a cantor? Are they mostly tenors?

A: Most have been tenors, historically, like the “Cantors of the Golden Age.” I am a tenor. But today, it’s more common to be a baritone … I would say maybe 25 percent of cantors today are baritones. And, of course, within those general definitions are different types and ranges.

Q: What is the difference between the concert chazzan and the synagogue chazzan?

A: Let’s start with the important job of the synagogue chazzan. The chazzan is sincere, humble and with a sweet voice pours his heart out to the Almighty. The concert chazzan can be a true entertainer, or he can be a synagogue cantor giving a concert. Does the music fit with nusach ha’tefillah? Is it a piece that connects one spiritually? Or is it a piece that is a joy to listen to?
The greats did both at a high level.

Q: Do niggunim and cantorial music serve different purposes?

A: Completely. Niggunim is Jewish music meant for everyone to join in and be inspired together. Cantorial niggunim is an art that is best done with the participants silent.

Q: What does music mean to you and your religious life?

A: Music is a tool to connect. Unlike many career musicians, for a religious Jew, music is another form of serving God, whether dance music, classical music or cantorial music.

Q: What are your most memorable moments on stage?

A: My most memorable moments were certainly singing as the very first cantor ever to perform a Jewish song in the main hall of one of the most prestigious halls in the world—the Berliner Philharmonie in Germany, home of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra—with a 70-piece orchestra. I was also fortunate enough to perform in three cantorial concerts in Johannesburg, South Africa. And to perform the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” before two different NBA games for “Jewish Heritage Night” events: for the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City and the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center in New York City.

Q: Who is your musical role model?

A: So many … if I had to choose one: Moshe Koussevitzky. He served as a cantor in Vilna and Warsaw, escaping the Nazis with his family during the Holocaust by fleeing to the Soviet Union. They came to the United States in 1947; five years later, he became cantor of Temple Beth-El in Borough Park (Brooklyn). He was one of four brothers, all cantors. In December 1947, they sang together in a concert at Carnegie Hall.

Q: Do strong voices run in families?

A: They certainly can, yes. Parents, siblings, children can all have beautiful voices. I have a brother who’s a wedding singer. I come from a family with musical lines. But it is an art to be studied. The cantorial greats, they worked to refine their voices.

Q: Do you have a favorite music city?

A: Nashville, Tennessee. I have performed a few times there and will be going again. It’s an entire city that has an appreciation of and love for music—all music. I find that fascinating.

 

This Is Your Brain On Music

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USC’s Dr. Assal Habibi has been studying the brains of 80 kids for five years in the hopes of answering the question: does studying music enhance brain function? We’ll soon find out.

Einstein is famous for his theory of relativity. But, as we saw in the recent series Genius, he was also a gifted violinist. Did that make him a better mathematician and scientist? Specifically, did studying music enhance and change his brain?

That’s what Dr. Assal Habibi, a research scientist at USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute wants to find out; she’s using electrophysiologic and neuroimaging methods to investigate human brain function. She’s not using Einstein’s brain (although pieces of it are still in existence), but the brains of 80 children, who have been with the Brain and Music study since 2012, when they were 6 and 7 years old.

One-third of the young subjects, who were told the MRI machine is a spaceship of sorts, are studying music with the Los Angeles Philharmonic youth orchestra (YOLA) at the Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA). The study wraps up this summer, so PCMag went to USC to speak with Dr. Habibi and find out how, in the light of the quantified-self movement, music is crucial for brain development.

Los Angeles Philharmonic youth orchestra (YOLA)

Firstly, tell us the original hypothesis of this study.
The idea behind the study was to see whether systematic music training has a measurable impact on the brains of children and the subsequent development of their cognitive skills and social skills.

Who funded this study? Was it the National Institutes of Health?
No, it was funded privately. Some of it from internal sources here at the Brain and Creativity Institute, and some from generous and anonymous donors.

Before we get on to the practicalities of the scientific method, talk about the music part.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic youth orchestra (YOLA) was established in 2007 by the LA Phil’s Music and Artistic Director, Gustavo Dudamel. It serves hundreds of students age 6 to 18, who attend four days each week. Students also perform annually at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, have appeared several times at the iconic Hollywood Bowl and, memorably, accompanied Coldplay at the Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show [in 2016].

But this isn’t a conservatory program to find mini Mozarts?
No, the program is not about producing musical prodigies or stars. The children are told the goal is to build a cohesive group that produces beautiful sounds; that when they play, they also help each other, so the orchestra can exist as a singular unit.

Which builds their socio-emotive skillset anyway.
Exactly. Gustavo Dudamel brought the program to LA because he was trained with and inspired by a similar one in his native Venezuela called “El Sistema,” started by Maestro José Antonio Abreu, who recently passed away. This was a social and economic program, not to build great musicians, but to build good citizens.

Great. Let’s go through the practical, scientific aspects of your methods now.
The design of the study includes three groups: one group is systematically studying music with YOLA/HOLA, the other group is doing something equally engaging on a regular basis, but it’s not music-based, it is athletic-based such a soccer or swimming, while the third is a control group.

To clarify, the control group are not studying music or doing anything on a regular basis which might improve their brain?
The participants from the control group, when we started the study, were not about to begin a systematic music or sports training program. We, of course, did not tell them that they can’t but instead every year we interview them and their parents, and if they have been engaged in either of the two activities with the frequency that is comparable to the other two groups, we did not include them in our analysis.

Kid on Guitar, Music

With the three groups allotted, you then established a baseline?
Yes. We did a series of tests, including MRI and an electroencephalography (EEG) to detect electrical activity in the brain, while recording a range of cognitive, social, and behavioral indicators. We found, at age 6 to 7, when we started the study, there were no statistically different results between the three groups of 80 children in total.

How often, during the course of the research study, did you re-test everyone?
We do the MRI scan every other year, on every child, and the other tests, including the EEG every year.

Music BrainAs an aside, how did you get 6-year-olds into a scary MRI machine?
We make it very child-friendly, aesthetically, and we sometimes had to tell them that the scanner is like a supersonic space shuttle. We also do a lot of training and practice sessions with them in a mock scanner to get them comfortable with the space.

So ‘You’re not going into outer space, this is an internal journey to the center of your head?’
Something like that. They also all get a brain scan, framed, to take home.

What are the tests they do inside the MRI?
There are several but a key one identifies decision-making brain region changes. Here’s how it works: they see the word “red” and it’s colored red. But then, when they see it again, the word red is colored green, but we still want them to say the color of the word, in this case “red.” It’s hard because one has to inhibit the original impulse of reading the word and think through the test. Activity related to this inhibition shows up in the frontal regions of the brain responsible for decision-making, and attention circuits in the medial area.

And you saw clear differences between the children studying music and the others? 
We saw stronger brain activation in these frontal regions when comparing the incongruent conditions (word red in color green) to the congruent conditions (red in color red).

What else are you looking for each time?
With the MRI, in addition to functional imaging, we are looking at the structural changes in the brain: growth in the cortical thickness, or the volume of the area, and how the areas are connected to each other through white matter.

Music Brain

You can’t spot a new neural network being formed, though?
No, you cannot actually see a neural network because it’s too small, but you can see the white matter connectivity; for example in the corpus callosum which connects the two hemispheres of the brain. We can see how that changes over time; whether the connectivity is more robust or not, which indicated integration and communication between the two sides of the brain.

As your study is coming to the end of its five-year span, can you give us a sneak peek of your results? Did you prove your hypothesis?
Yes. We’ve just finished testing the last participant and now we are going to release the final year of results for this study. With five years of data, we are now looking for differences between the groups of children in executive function measures such as impulse control, working memory, task switching ability and more.

What’s next for this research study?
We’re also interested in using these results as an indicator of future development. Especially in the brain changes which will act as a preventative mechanism, looking forward to the pressures they’ll have at middle school, and into high school. Then it becomes, not “Do I eat this candy now, or wait?” but “Do I show up to class today?” or “Do I join this peer group which is experimenting with drugs?” i.e. decision making that has an enormous effect on their future.

https://www.pcmag.com/news/361744/this-is-your-brain-on-music

 

Singer, composer and music producer Shim Craimer tunes in to ‘aliyah’

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His newest song, “Tziyon,” originally produced as a closing-credits song for an Israeli movie yet to be released, will be set to a music video of his family’s aliyah, produced in partnership with Nefesh B’Nefesh. Photo: Shim Craimer performing. Credit: Courtesy.

Shim Craimer, whose dulcet tones and high energy have secured him a place as a sought-after Jewish musical performer, has sung at hundreds of weddings in the New York area and in his native London over the past two decades. But that’s just one of his jobs.

The 40-year-old has utilized his trained tenor voice to work with many fellow Jewish performers; and composed and produced multiple studio recordings, including an “Israel at 60” collaboration with his close friend Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks that garnered 3 million hits on YouTube. He’s also featured in several music videos.

He has also worked as music director at SAR Academy, and a music and media instructor at Torah Academy of Bergen County in New Jersey.

In fact, he’s all these things and more. And soon, he is moving to Israel.

His newest song, “Tziyon,” which was originally produced as a closing credits’ song for an Israeli movie that has yet to be released, will be set to a music video of his family’s aliyah, produced in partnership with Nefesh B’Nefesh. His family’s move to Israel this summer will be on a charter flight with 232 other North American new immigrants. (The flight is organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Keyemeth Le’Israel and JNF-USA.)

Shim Craimer’s newest song, “Tziyon,” originally produced as a closing credits’ song for an Israeli movie that has yet to be released, will be set to a music video of his family’s aliyah. Credit: Courtesy.

Family and career grows

The Craimer family moved to Riverdale, in the Bronx borough of New York City, in 2003. Trained at a music school in London and a member of the Ner Yisroel Community synagogue in Hendon, he served as chazzanat the Edgware United Synagogue—one of the biggest congregations in the United Kingdom—before relocating to the Riverdale Jewish Center after one of its members heard him sing at a friend’s wedding in the United States, and brought him to Riverdale for a Shabbat where he was offered the job that night. He and his wife, Ruthie, had just one child, Uri, at the time. After 15 years, their family now includes twins Ben and Eli, and daughter Mia.

Being part of a community that welcomed the young British couple who were “coming for a year, maximum,” while they waited to see if Craimer’s musical career would take off, he says the years were good to them. The synagogue relationship, in particular, has been amazing, he adds.

“It never felt like a job to work at the Riverdale Jewish Center. Fifteen years later, we are still here,” he says.

Ruthie became a beloved early-childhood teacher at SAR Academy, and her husband’s career as a musician employed day and night reached heights they never imagined, resulting in Craimer’s freelance collaboration with many of New York’s busiest Jewish bands, including Neshoma Orchestra, Kol Play, the Ike Walkover band and Aaron Teitelbaum Orchestra, as well as many fellow cantors and commercially successful Jewish singers. In the past few years, he saw success in his own compositions and musical productions, even incorporating his twin sons to sing on his albums.

This twins sang on his just-released video, “Tzaddik Katamar,” from his latest album “Forever More/Me’atah V’ad Olam.” He released a video to the title track “Forever More” last year. Every song on the album is his own composition.

In fact, the opportunities in New York were so varied and so good, he notes, that it became increasingly difficult to consider going home to London, even as virtually all of Ruthie’s family has made aliyah in the years since. “In the time that we’ve been in Riverdale, we have always had in the back of our minds … Israel. If we had gone in 2003 to Israel, the kesher [community] that I have with the Jewish world would have been very different.”

Shim Craimer with his family at the Western Wall. His family’s aliyah this summer will be on a charter flight with 232 other North American olim. Credit: Courtesy.

Planning for the move to Israel

The Craimers decided to make aliyah when they were visiting Israel last year, deciding they had many family members and friends in Israel that they didn’t want to have anywhere else as a base. Their wish to be closer to family was a key factor in their decision. Craimer’s song “Tziyon” was composed on that trip, and he remembered the moments he wrote it and the thoughts it crystallized. “It’s about how amazing Israel is in my eyes. Nefesh B’Nefesh is sharing it as a video diary of our aliyah,” he says.

They plan to move to Modi’in, in central Israel, where Ruthie aims to open an early-childhood center, or gan. But Craimer’s roots have grown so strong in New York that they’re not pulling up entirely. “I’ve worked out with the Riverdale Jewish Center to come back once a month to daven for Shabbat, and for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and for one Yom Tov a year,” with the flexibility to schedule his smachot and musical gigs in the United States around the weekend he comes to New York. He also plans to stay for an extra Shabbat a few times a year to allow for guest chazzan appearances in other synagogues around the country.

Another benefit of living in Israel is that Craimer will have access to other types of opportunities, in terms of vocal performance and teaching. He is already booked at cantorial concerts, which is a market he didn’t delve into much in the States, and at weddings he is already sought after for what he calls the “chutznik” market. (Chutzniks are English-speaking Israelis or those visiting Israel to make a wedding or bar mitzvah who seek an American-style event.) A band he has worked with often, Kol Play, is now setting up an Israeli office, and will be booking gigs for him in the United States, London and Israel.

Conducting a new children’s chorus

Perhaps the most exciting new aspect of Craimer’s developing career is in conducting and mentoring. He is involved in the early stages of the creation of a new vocal-based program called Shir Ha’Am, a nonprofit chorus following the idea of the Young People’s Chorus, based near Lincoln Center, which was established by Conductor Francisco Núñez for disadvantaged children. Craimer said he was approached by a Chicago-based philanthropist who wants to set up a similar program in Israel.

Craimer was taken with the idea, and is impressed by how well the Young People’s Chorus has done. “It started with seven at-risk kids in the basement of a church. Now it has 450 kids who come there two to three times a week,” he says. “It’s now the hardest choir to be a part of in the United States.”

The concept of the Israeli chorus will be to welcome children ages 10 to 19 who are into music, and who can potentially benefit from instruction, companionship or mentorship opportunities. The plan, he says, is to create three different performance groups: “one for boys, one for girls, and one mixed boys and girls, so we are open to everyone. They will perform at hospitals and rehab centers, and hopefully become self-sustaining and [get] some government funding.”

Is this Craimer’s biggest aspiration, to create such a choir to improve the lives of at-risk youth in Israel? “I am at a different stage now, developing goals. I am still very busy with davening, performing and smachot, but you have to keep evolving. There is a lot more competition in terms of being able to put out as much as you can in terms of your compositions; you need to be more versatile.”

“When I reach my 70s, I want to, of course, have had a successful musical career, but also I want to have this opportunity to start something, to begin something like this,” says the musical multi-tasker. “The idea has been born, so it would be amazing to see it happen.”

BY ELIZABETH KRATZ

https://www.jns.org/multi-talented-singer-composer-and-producer-shim-craimer-prepares-for-aliyah/

Simone Veil’s Jewish Music farewell

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Los judíos de Francia, parte intrínseca de la nación y centro vital de sus fibras más liberales y su resistencia al fascismo acudieron en masa, junto con las autoridades y el pueblo de Francia en general al homenaje, y traslado de sus restos mortales, de Simone y Antoine Veil al panteón de Los Héroes de Francia donde, como judía, como mujer, como sobreviviente de Auschwitz y Bergen-Belsen, como Jurista y Primera Presidenta de la Comunidad Europea, descansará como símbolo a las futuras generaciones de lo mejor que Francia y que el judaísmo han producido.

En contra del fascismo, del populismo, del imperialismo, del sectarismo y el extremismo, la fortaleza de Simone Veil se levanta para defender el humanismo, el Tikun Olam entre todos los pueblos, las lenguas, las culturas en un abrazo de hermandad que demuestra que, en la unión está la fuerza de lo más positivo de la humanidad.

Hoy, cuando las fuerzas del populismo amenazan la resurrección de un fascismo activo, donde la confrontación entre grupos es usada para promover puestos políticos, las ideas, la dedicación, la fortaleza y el ejemplo de Simone brillan más que nunca.

A 75 años de las primeras deportaciones, cuando los gritos del salvajismo regresan a las calles y recrean las mismas condiciones para nuevos deportados; a 75 años del pacto de los fascismos y el cierre de fronteras que ‘garantizaron’ el asesinato de seis millones de judíos -si vemos los logros de los sobrevivientes habría que pensar cuanto perdimos todos con los que murieron- a 75 años de la creación de las brigadas internacionales todo parece repetirse casi al día.

Ojalá este reconocimiento de su vida en el aniversario de su cumpleaños sirva para recordarnos a todos que la lucha de hace 8 décadas no solo continua sino necesita ser reafirmada para evitar su repetición.

VEA LA CEREMONIA DE DEDICACIÓN de sus restos en el Panteón de los Héroes Franceses

Y escuche gracias a SaveThemusic.com la música, y los silencios que la acompañaron en el traslado a su morada final, música de la resistencia, de la sobrevivencia, música en francés, en yiddish, música para siempre judeo-francesa.

La marcha de los deportados (en francés Chant des Marais)

La marcha de los deportados fue escrita en 1933 por los primeros prisioneros de los campos de concentración nazis entre los que predominaban los socialistas judíos y no judíos, música judía de la resistencia.
Esta es la versión original de 1933 traída a Usted cortesía de savethemusic.com

Esta es una versión en inglés:

Bilingüe en la voz de Theodore Bikel

En alemán

Interpretada en Mauthausen por el Coro Internazionale el 10 de Mayo de 2015 en alemán, español, italiano, inglés, francés, Yiddish.

Eli, Eli – versión instrumental de canto religioso 

Kol-Nidrei – versión instrumental (a nuestros muertos)

Escuche nuestra colección de Kol Nidrei en SaveTheMusic.com

Pavane op. 50 de Gabriel Fauré 

L’Ode de la Joie de Beethoven (se convirtió en el himno de la Unión Europea)

Nuit et Brouillard (Noche y Niebla) de Jean Ferrat (compositor y cantante – Judío de Francia) 

Vocalise de Rachminoff 

Comme toi (elle s’appelait Sarah) de Jean-Jacques Goldman (compositor y cantante – Judío de Francia en memoria de su hermana asesinada por los nazis por ser lo que era : Judía 

El Cancionero Tradicional Judeo-Español – Eleonora Noga Alberti

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Estimados colegas y lectores:

Comparto con alegría un trabajo que ocupó más de la mitad de mi vida y que concluí hace algo más de veinte años, mi Tesis Doctoral.

Acabada, el 31 de marzo de 1997, defendida y aprobada el 16 de abril de 1998 ante el jurado formado por el Dr. Rodolfo Buzón, la Lic. Clara Cortazar y el Prof. Aquilino Suárez Pallasá. Me acompañaron en ese acto, mi familia, antiguos compañeros universitarios, colegas, amigos y profesores. El veredicto incluyó la recomendación de su publicación. Difícil de imprimir un escrito tan extenso.

La lectura de un artículo de la Dra. Silvina Luz Mansillam llevó a reflexionar sobre la necesidad de hacerla pública.

Al volver a hojearla noté las dificultades que entonces, también ahora, representa para un musicólogo -sin formación en filología o lingüística- la transcripción del judeoespañol. Lo mismo ocurre con la transliteración de las palabras del hebreo al alfabeto latino. He decidido mostrarla tal como ha sido aprobada. Una de las características que le dieron significado mayor a este estudio fue la de haber investigado el fenómeno de la tradición oral judeoespañola en el ámbito de la así llamada
diáspora secundaria sefardí.

La obra ha sido inscripta en la DNDA (Dirección Nacional de Derechos de Autor) de la República Argentina con el nº RE-2018-05959639-APN-DNDA#MJ del 6 de febrero de 2018. Toda mención, cita y/o texto o transcripción musical tomados de la misma deberán hacer figurar esta fuente y el nombre de la autora. Ojalá que el facilitar el acceso a estos materiales sirva de base y despierte nuevas inquietudes y búsquedas.

 

Gale Kissin sings “Mame Loshn”

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Few recordings so well selected, so clearly interpreted, and so significative as this one:

Gale Kissin sings Mama Loshn

15 songs that illustrate Jewish life and struggles through the last 300 years!

I was afraid that America would not be able to rescue the real soul of Yiddish Music both because of self-imposed censorship, simple ignorance, poor pronunciation and bad memory but Gale came as a breath of fresh air to prove me wrong, and just in time when others seem so apathetic to our culture and national memory she comes out of the blue with this selection

From popular songs such as Chanuke’s “Kleine Lichtalach” to “Venga Jaleo” straight out of the Spanish Civil war collection of Jewish fighters’ music this CD brings home the best in Jewish music for those who appreciate our history.

Songs of tradition, songs of children, mothers, women rights, love, history, a collage of everything you need to listen to travel through history.

We seldom mix books with records but this week we have two books and this CD to mix because together they will bring self-pride, culture and history right into your living room.

If possible you should read “Who will write our History” by Samuel Kassow, but above all you should read Twenty Years with the Jewish Labor Bund: A Memoir of Interwar Poland, By Bernard Goldstein, where so many of these songs come alive in their pages ranging from Yiddishe Mame to Venga Jaleo each song, each word in the CD links perfectly to the stories of self-defense, tikun olam and hope that encompassed Jews in the XX century.

Click here to Listen!

Gale Kissin sings Mama Loshn can be purchased in CD by sending an email to [email protected] or visiting the website mamaloshnmusic.org.
The cost is $15.00 with $5.00 being donated to the Jewish Community Free Clinic serving the uninsured and under insured folks in Sonoma County, CA. Payments by check and credit card are accepted.

The Bund Celebrates Its Past and Future in Melbourne

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װי אָפֿט װינטשט מען אַ קרובֿ אָדער אַ פֿרײַנד „ביז 120!”, און מע טראַכט נישט קײן סך דערפֿון? דער בונד-קאָמיטעט אין דער װײַטער מעלבורן, אױסטראַליע, האָט לאַנג געטראַכט װעגן דעם װי אַזױ צו פֿײַערן 120 יאָר זינט דרײַצן ייִדישע אַרבעטער און אינטעלעקטן האָבן אין 1897 זיך פֿאַרזאַמלט אינעם בױדעם פֿון אַ װילנער אײַנפֿאָר־הױז צו גרינדן דעם ייִדישן אַרבעטער־בונד פֿון רוסלאַנד, ליטע און פּױלן.

די בונדישע אָרגאָניזאַציע אין מעלבורן איז געגרינדעט געװאָרן אין 1928 פֿון חבֿר סענדער בורשטין. נאָך דער צװײטער װעלט־מלחמה איז זי אָפֿיציעל אַנערקענט געװאָרן פֿונעם אַלװעלטלעכן קאָאָרדיניר־קאָמיטעט פֿון בונד. לאָקאַלע בונדיסטן האָבן געשפּילט אַ װיכטיקע ראָלע בײַם גרינדן די אָרטיקע „פּרץ שול״ און דעם „שלום עליכם קאָלעדזש״, דעם ייִדישן הילפֿס־פֿאָנד און דעם קולטור־צענטער „קדימה”.

עליסאַ גריי זינגט דוד איידלשטאַדטס „אַרבעטער פֿרויען‟

DANIEL GOLDBERG
עליסאַ גריי זינגט דוד איידלשטאַדטס „אַרבעטער פֿרויען‟

די פֿײַערונג דאַרף, פֿאַרשטײט זיך, אָפּגעבן כּבֿוד די אויסערגעװײנטלעכע פֿאַרגאַנגענהײט פֿון דער אָרגאָניזאַציע — סײַ אין אײראָפּע סײַ אין אױסטראַליע. און די 120 יאָר נעמען אַרום אַ סך געשיכטע װאָס איז װערט מע זאָל זי דערמאָנען.

מיר האָבן אָבער אויך פֿאַרשטאַנען אַז די פֿײַערונג דאַרף װײַזן ווי די אָרגאָניזאַציע שפּילט הײַנט אַ ראָלע אינעם קאַמף פֿאַר גלײַך־באַרעכטיקונג פֿאַר מיטגלידער פֿון דער טראַנז־באַפֿעלקערונג, דעם קאַמף לטובֿת די פּליטים, פֿאַר פֿרױען־רעכט, פֿאַר פֿרײַהײט, גלײַכהײט און גערעכטיקײט, װי אױך פֿאַרן חשיבֿות פֿון דער ייִדישער שפּראַך און די רעכט פֿון װעלטלעכע ייִדן און װעלטלעכער ייִדישער דערציִונג אין דער ייִדישער קהילה.

און מען טאָר נישט פֿאַרגעסן די צוקונפֿט פֿון דער אָרגאָניזאַציע — די סקיפֿיסטן און זײערע העלפֿער (יוגנט־פֿירער)!

די העלפֿער (יוגנט־פֿירער) פֿון „סקיף‟

DANIEL GOLDBERG
די העלפֿער (יוגנט־פֿירער) פֿון „סקיף‟

האָט דער קאָמיטעט באַשלאָסן אַז די פֿײַערונג זאָל נישט נאָר באַשײַנען אײן נאָכמיטאָג, נאָר אַ גאַנץ יאָר. דער מעלבורנער בונד הײבט געװײנטלעך אָן זײַן קולטור־טעטיקײט אין מאַרץ, אַרום פּורים, װען דער מעלבורנער װעטער איז אַ גוטער און דער עולם איז נײַגעריק צו הערן װעלכע אַקטיװיטעטן װערן פּלאַנירט אױפֿן קומענדיקן יאָר.

פּונקט אין דער צײַט אָרדנט די בונדישע יוגנט־גרופּע סקיף געװײנטלעך אײַן אַן אײן־טאָגיקן פֿעסטיװאַל פֿאַר מעלבורנער ייִדן װאָס הײסט „אין אײן קול”, צוזאַמען מיטן ייִדישן קולטור־צענטער און ביבליאָטעק „קדימה”. שבת־צו־נאַכט קומט פֿאָר אַ קאָנצערט פֿון לאָקאַלע מוזיקער פֿאַר יוגנטלעכע, און זונטיק בײַ טאָג קומט פֿאָר אַ קאָנצערט און גאַסן־יריד פֿון ייִדישע אָרגאָניזאַציעס, קינסטלער און עסנװאַרג װאָס צילט צו פֿאַרװײַלן די גאַנצע משפּחה.

הײַ־יאָר האָט מען פֿאַרבעטן אױפֿן פֿעסטיװאַל די חבֿרים מוזיקער דניאל קאַהן און פּסאָי קאָראָלענקאָ. זײ האָבן אױפֿגעטראָטן און דערבײַ אָנגעהױבן די מעלבורנער פֿײַערונגען פֿון 120 יאָר בונד. אין איין לאָקאַל האָבן זיי פֿאָרגעשטעלט ייִדישע אַרבעטערלידער און אין אַ צווייטן — מערסטע אָריגינעלע לידער.

דודי רינגעלבלום און זײַן זון, הילל, רעציטירן חוה ראָזענפֿאַרבס ליד, „דער בונד און מײַן טאַטע‟

DANIEL GOLDBERG
דודי רינגעלבלום און זײַן זון, הילל, רעציטירן חוה ראָזענפֿאַרבס ליד, „דער בונד און מײַן טאַטע‟

דערצו האָבן זײ אָנגעפֿירט מיט אַ װאַרשטאַט ווי איבערצוזעצן אױף און פֿון ייִדיש פֿאַר די װעלכע אינטערעסירן זיך אין שרײַבן לידער. זײ האָבן באַזוכט די שלום עליכם פֿאָלקשול, האָבן מיטגעאַרבעט מיטן בונדס ייִדישן כאָר פֿאַר דערװאַקסענע אױפֿן נאָמען „מיר קומען אָן”. צו גיך זענען זיי אָבער אַװעק פֿון אױסטראַליע!

מעלבורן איז אױך דער יערלעכער גאַסטגעבער פֿון אַ פֿעסטיװאַל פֿון כּלהמינים ייִדישער מוזיק. אײנער פֿון די הײַיאָריקע געסט איז געװען די באַרימטע ניו־יאָרקער קאַפּעליע „קלעזמאַטיקס”. איר הױפּט־זינגער, לאָרען סקלאַמבערג, איז אױך דער דירעקטאָר פֿונעם קלאַנג־אַרכיװ בײַם ניו־יאָרקער ייִװאָ. אין מעלבורן האָט ער אָנגעפֿירט מיט אַ װאַרשטאַט װעגן ייִדישע אַרבעטער־לידער פֿאַרן בונד, װאָס ער האָט באַצירט מיט דוגמאות פֿונעם אַרכיװ און פֿון זײַן אײגענעם ברײטן רעפּערטואַר.

סוכּות — אַרום דער צײַט װען דער בונד איז געגרינדעט געװאָרן — איז פֿאָרגעקומען אַ יוביליי־אונטערנעמונג. עס זײַנען בײַגעװען פֿיר דורות מעלבורנער בונדיסטן אין עלטער פֿון 3 יאָר ביז 95 יאָר. די ייִנגסטע איז געבױרן געװאָרן אין מעלבורן און דער עלטסטער — אין לאָדזש. דער עולם איז געזעסן בײַ רױט־געדעקטע טישן און גלײַך בײַם אָנהײב האָט דער פֿאָרזיצער באַגריסט צװײ װעטעראַנען פֿונעם בונד אין מעלבורן, די חבֿרים יאָסל װינקלער און משה אײַזענבוד, װעלכע האָבן נישט געקענט בײַזײַן צוליב זײער טיפֿן עלטער און געזונט־צושטאַנד.

עס האָבן אױפֿגעטראָטן צװײ כאָרן — דער סקיף־כאָר און דער „מיר קומען אָן” כאָר — מיט ייִדישע אַרבעטער־לידער װי אױך לידער געשריבענע פֿון מעלבורנער בונדיסטן. די אײניקלעך פֿון די צװײ ערשטע סקיף־העלפֿער אין מעלבורן, די געװעזענע װאַרשעװער סקיפֿיסטן שׂמחה בורשטין און פּיניע רינגעלבלום, האָבן אָנטײלגענומען אינעם סקיף־כאָר.

לאָקאַלע ייִדישע אַקטיאָרן אין עלטער פֿון 10 יאָר ביז … [מע זאָגט נישט אױס װי אַלט] האָבן אויפֿגעטראָטן, סאָליסטן האָבן געזונגען און דניאל קאַהאַן און פּסאָי קאָראָלענקאָ האָבן צוגעשיקט אַ פֿילמירטע באַגריסונג אין װעלכן זײ האָבן געזונגען אַ דרײַ־שפּראַכיקע װערסיע פֿון ש. אַנסקיס „אין זאַלציקן ים”.

פֿריידי מראָצקי זינגט אַ ליד געשריבן פֿונעם מעלבורנער בונדיסט מאיר זייבל, „אַ פֿרײַנדלעכע האַנט‟

DANIEL GOLDBERG
פֿריידי מראָצקי זינגט אַ ליד געשריבן פֿונעם מעלבורנער בונדיסט מאיר זייבל, „אַ פֿרײַנדלעכע האַנט‟

מע האָט אויך געװיזן אַ טײל פֿון אַ פֿילמירטן אינטערװיו מיטן צו פֿרי געשטאָרבענעם חבֿר שמואליק „סלאָגאָ” סלוצקי, װאָס איז געװען אַ לאַנג־יאָריקער מיטגליד פֿונעם מעלבורנער בונד־קאָמיטעט. מע האָט אױסגעשפּילט חוה ראָזענפֿאַרבס פּאָעמע „דער בונד און מײַן טאַטע” און די טאָכטער און אײניקלעך פֿון חבֿרטע חיהטשע לערמאַן האָבן גערעדט, פֿילמירטערהײט, װעגן דער השפּעה אױף זײערע משפּחות פֿונעם װיגליד װאָס חיהטשע האָט געזונגען אינעם פֿילם „מיר קומען אָן” און װאָס דער ייִנגסטער דור, װאָס שטעלט פֿאָר אױף ייִדיש אונטערן נאָמען „די באַשעװיס־זינגערס”, האָט אַרײַנגענומען אין זײַן ערשטן קאָמפּאַקטל.

דאָס מעלבורנער קולטור־יאָר האָט זיך נאָך נישט געענדיקט און די פֿײַערונגען לכּבֿוד 120 יאָר ייִדישער אַרבעטער בונד גייען ווײַטער. אין חודש נאָװעמבער װעט פֿאָרקומען דער יערלעכער „באָנאָ װינער אָנדענק־רעפֿעראַט”. דער רעפֿערענט װעט זײַן דער באַקאַנטער אױסטראַלישער זשוריסט דזשוליען בערנסײַד, װאָס װעט רעדן װעגן דער לאַגע פֿון געפֿאַנגענע פּליטים װעמען די אױסטראַלישע רעגירונג לאָזט נישט אַרײַן אין לאַנד. דער פֿאָרזיצער פֿונעם אָװנט װעט זײַן דער אױסטראַלישער ראָמאַניסט און פּאָליטישער אַקטיװיסט אַרנאָלד זײבל, װאָס איז אױך אַ לאַנג־יאָריקער מיטגליד פֿונעם מעלבורנער בונד קאָמיטעט.

דערווײַל — זאָל לעבן דער בונד ביז 240!

http://yiddish.forward.com/articles/206670/the-bund-celebrates-its-past-and-future-in-melbour/

In myne shtetl de Moishe Oysher

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די וואָך ברענגען מיר אײַך דאָס ליד „אין מײַן שטעטל‟, אויך באַקאַנט ווי „בײַ דעם שטעטל‟, געזונגען פֿון לאָרין סקלאַמבערג אויפֿן קינדער־קאָמפּאַקטל „די גרינע קאַטשקע‟, אַרויסגעגעבן אין 1997 פֿון דער אָרגאַניזאַציע Living Traditions. דאָס ליד האָט אָנגעשריבן דער בעסאַראַבער שרײַבער זלמן ראָזענטאַל (1892 — 1959), וועלכער האָט אָפֿט צוגעגעבן פֿאָלקס־מעלאָדיעס צו זײַנע קינדער־לידער.

צווישן אַנדערע זינגערס האָט משה אוישער דאָס ליד רעקאָררירט אין די 1950ער יאָרן אין זײַן רומעניש־ייִדישן סטיל, וואַס האָט געפּאַסט פֿאַר דער מעלאָדיע. אוישער האָט אין דעם ליד צוגעגעבן דעם נאָמען פֿון זײַן אייגענער טאָכטער, פֿריידעלע, וועלכע איז אויך געוואָרן אַ באַקאַנטע זינגערין.

אין מײַן שטעטל

אין מײַן שטעטל שטייט אַ שטיבל
מיט אַ גרינעם דאַך,
און אַרום דעם שטיבל וואַקסן
ביימעלעך אַ סך.
און מײַן טאַטע מיט מײַן מאַמע,
פֿריידעלע מיט מיר,
שוין אַ לאַנגע צײַט מיר וווינען
דאָרטן אַלע פֿיר.

פֿאָרט מײַן טאַטע אויף ירידן
אַלע יאָרן זײַנע,
ברענגט דער טאַטע אונדז מתּנות,
שיינע זאַכן פֿײַנע.
ברענגט אַ לאָשיקל וואָס הירזשעט,
מיטן נאָמען מוציק,
און אַ הינטעלע וואָס האַווקעט,
מיטן נאָמען צוציק.

ברענגט אַ קאַטשקעלע וואָס געגעט,
קלאָר און ווײַס ווי שניי.
און אַ הון וואָס קוואָקעט, קוואָקעט,
ביז זי לייגט אַן איי.
און מײַן מאַמע נעמט די אייער,
אוי איז דאָס אַ מופֿת!
זעצט אַרויף די הון אויף זיי,
האָט זי קליינע עופֿות.

ברענגט אַ צאַפּ אַ שוואַרץ און חושך,
שאָקלט מיטן בערדל.
שפּאַנט מען אײַן דעם צאַפּ אין וועגל,
ווערט פֿון אים אַ פֿערדל.
און מײַן טאַטע מיט מײַן מאַמע,
פֿריידעלע מיט מיר,
שוין אַ לאַנגע צײַט מיר לעבן
גליקלעך, אַלע פֿיר!

Read more: http://blogs.yiddish.forward.com/oyneg-shabes/205525?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Campaign&utm_term=Oyneg%20Shabes#ixzz4pNCBuBZR

Concentration Camp: The Eichmann Trial and the Origins of Punk Rock

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Donald Trump might Make Punk Great Again, but in America, it was traumatized, and defiant, Jews who made it
By Steven Lee Beeber

It’s 3 a.m. in The Blue Room and the audience is sweaty with joy.

The Modern Lovers’ high-strung leader, Jonathan Richman, has just left the stage, his Nice-Jewish-Boy songs about being “in love with the Old World” having been delivered in the manner of his musical hero, the Not-So-Nice Jewish founder of the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed. In his place now are two ethnic-looking guys, one short, staring at the crowd, the other tall, carrying the kind of cheap organ that comes with preset Salsa and Cha Cha beats. The audience stares back, expecting the usual rock foreplay, the twang-twang of tune-up, the “sibilance” of sound check.

Suddenly the short guy leaps offstage and approaches the audience. In one hand he holds a microphone. In the other a knife. The crowd pulls back, realizing that he also has a chain looped around his neck. There’s the sound of some menacing alarm going off, a two-note organ pattern, insistent.

“Argggh,” a woman cries, rushing for the exit.

But the knife-wielding maniac is blocking her way, threatening anyone who tries to leave. And he’s whispering into the mic, yelping, whispering again, desperate, as if he’s being tortured, some sick story-song, Frankie picked up a gun, pointed it at the six-month-old in the crib…”

It goes on for five, 10, 20 minutes, the boos starting to rise. Then another song, and another, the boos increasing. When it’s over, nobody applauds.

That was Suicide’s debut at New York’s Mercer Arts Center, 1973. Or as the singer with the knife, Alan Vega, described it nearly 40 years later, the aural equivalent of Treblinka.

***

When Vega died this past July, he finally got his applause. There was a eulogy from the Boss and an obit in the Times, the usual lines being trotted out—he was more influential than commercial, ahead of his peers, an uncompromising artist, a forebear of punk rock. An even greater outpouring of words had appeared just weeks earlier to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Ramones’ first album. If Vega was a forebear, the Ramones were the true article, a kind of Ur Punk band. The excitement around the revolution they kicked off reached a fever pitch in England, where the capital—officially declaring itself Punk London—hosted a series of museum exhibits, roundtables, and lectures, in the process igniting a debate over the appropriateness of institutionalizing a movement seemingly dedicated to anarchy. One punk heir even burned a $1 million worth of artifacts in protest, simultaneously giving the finger to both the city and the burgeoning punk-archive industry at Yale, NYU, the New York Public Library, and the British Library.

What is it about punk that continues to generate such interest? Decades on, where are the anniversaries for bubble gum, glam, or psychedelia? No, only punk stands out as truly worthy of our attention. Punk speaks to our times. But why?

Perhaps it has something to do with what’s been left out of the story. When those obits for Vega appeared, almost none mentioned that bit about Treblinka. Or the fact that Vega—born Boruch Alan Bermowitz—was raised in an Orthodox Jewish home, that his father was a refugee of Hitler’s Europe, that he married a Holocaust survivor, considered fighting for Israel in the Yom Kippur War, name-checked Dachau in song, and mocked neo-Nazi skinheads, having his nose broken repeatedly for his efforts.

The same was true of those articles about the Ramones. Almost none noted that half the band’s members (Joey and Tommy) were Jewish, or that Tommy was a son of Holocaust survivors, or that the group came from the same Jewish middle-class neighborhood, Forest Hills, that gave us Simon and Garfunkel.

As with Vega, the articles about the Ramones emphasized the state of New York in the early ’70s, focusing on economic devastation and lack of hope. In doing so, they failed to see the city in its totality. For as no less an authority than Lenny Bruce—the punks’ favorite comic—put it, “It doesn’t matter if you’re Catholic—if you’re living in New York, you’re Jewish.” This was especially true in the period during which the punks were coming of age, the 1950s and ’60s, when NYC was the most Jewish city in the world. With a population of Jews larger even than Tel Aviv, it’s not surprising that a Jewish attitude should have prevailed there. It was in the shrugs of the neighborhood deli, the one-liners of the street-corner smartass, the red-diaper-baby politics of cranky uncles.

In 1961, a shadow was cast over the city that touched everyone, but Jews especially, which explains not just why punk is still relevant but why it appeared in the first place. It was that year that ABC first aired a criminal trial in its entirety. The defendant was Adolf Eichmann, one of the chief engineers of Hitler’s so-called Final Solution. Every day throughout that spring, the grisly details of the Nazi genocide were broadcast into New Yorkers’ homes. Questioned by Israeli prosecutors, witnesses described the selections for the gas chambers, the experiments on twins, the starvations and beatings and plans to work inmates to death.

Up until that point, the horror that we now call the Holocaust had been little known. There’d been a seeming collusion of silence immediately following the war, a numbed inability to speak. Now, 16 years later, the gag was ripped off. Day after day, television viewers were subjected to a kind of nightmare soap opera, one in which people were turned into soap. If they were appalled, they were also riveted—especially those most loyal TV viewers, children. Among those children were future Jewish punk legends such as Jeffrey Hyman (Joey Ramone), Tamas Erdelyi (Tommy Ramone), Lenny Kaye (the Patti Smith Group), the Dictators (all Jewish), Chris Stein (Blondie), Lou Reed (Velvet Underground), and Martin “Reverby” Rev (Vega’s partner in Suicide). Along with them were their slightly older “siblings,” future proto-punk performers such as Vega, Genyusha Zelkowitz (Genya Ravan), and Tuli “Naphtali” Kupferberg (the Fugs). They in turn were joined by pivotal behind-the-scenes players such as Danny “Feinberg” Fields (manager of the Ramones, Iggy Pop, Jonathan Richman, etc.), Seymour Stein (founder of the record company that broke many of the bands), Hillel “Hilly” Kristal (owner of CBGB’s, the club where punk was born), Bob Gruen (one of the many Jewish photographers who chronicled the scene), and Sandy Pearlman (mastermind behind the Dictators, producer of the Clash, and one of the main architects of the new, mostly-Jewish-penned, rock writing that championed the music).

If the youngest viewers were raised in the cathode shadow of the Holocaust, the oldest came of age in it. Some like Genya were themselves Holocaust survivors, while others like Tommy and Vega were the children of survivors. Then there was Richard (Meyers) Hell, often credited with creating the punk look, who with his punk anthem “Blank Generation,” band The Voidoids, and “Please Kill Me” T-shirt, exhibited a nihilism and self-destruction more often associated with guilt-ridden survivors.

In a kind of parody of a then-popular bread commercial (“You don’t have to be Jewish to like Levy’s Rye”), there were also non-Jewish punk rockers who seemed to identify with the trauma. Iggy “Osterberg” Pop (then known as Iggy Stooge) had a father who’d been adopted by two Jewish sisters, and himself dated Jewish women almost exclusively. When one of these came to see an early show, he surprised her with what he thought would be a welcome addition to his performance, a piece he dubbed “The Murder of the Virgin,” in which his bassist, dressed in a Nazi uniform, whipped and stomped on his bloodied chest. Patti Smith, who co-founded her group with the Jewish music critic Lenny Kaye, opened both her early shows and her debut record intoning, “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.” And John Holmstrom, co-founder of PUNK magazine, drew a comic in which the nihilistic Richard Hell did battle with “Nazi dykes.”

Still, in general, it was the Jews who were most affected by the Holocaust and who reacted by acting out. Lou Reed crooned of “dead bodies piled up in mounds” and the “ghost bloodied country … in the east.” Jonathan Richman wrote though never released a song comparing the trains from the Jewish suburb of Scarsdale to those heading for the death camps, and in concert introduced “Hospital”—about a girl suffering a nervous breakdown—as really being about the “Jewish American Princess concept.” Sandy Pearlman, who died less than a week after Vega, created both Blue Oyster Cult and the Dictators, in the former giving the albums names like Secret Treaties (a reference to an alleged conspiracy between American and German Jewish armament dealers to profit from WWII), and in the latter, despite the band’s protests, including the Henny Youngman-style studio chatter of lead singer Handsome Dick Manitoba (“With my vast financial holdings I could have been basking in the sun in Florida. This is just a hobby for me … ya hear?!”).

The post-Holocaust Jewish influence on punk could be felt too as it broke in England. Malcolm McLaren, who briefly managed the New York Dolls, took what he saw as the Jewish energy of New York and translated it into the Sex Pistols, particularly the Irish outsider Johnny Rotten (McLaren had wanted the Jews Richard Hell and Sylvain (Mizrachi) Sylvain instead). The Sex Pistols’ song “Belsen Was a Gas,” while in poor taste, could be read as an ironic send-up of the Nazis’ deadly seriousness, just as their bassist’s predilection for wearing swastika T-shirts could be viewed as the same, especially when one sees him doing so next to his Jewish-American girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. McLaren’s protégé, Bernie Rhodes, meanwhile, took his intense interest in leftist politics and used it to encourage Joe Strummer to stop writing pub rock and start creating “political songs” for the Clash—a band that initially not only sounded like the Ramones (see “White Riot”), but, like them, was half-Jewish (founding members Mick Jones and Keith Levene).

Is it any surprise that the kids who’d viewed the Eichmann trial created bands like the Dictators and Shrapnel, songs like “Master Race Rock” and “Blitzkrieg Bop,” and lyrics such as: “First rule is, the laws of Germany; second rule is, be nice to mommy; third rule is, don’t talk to Commies; fourth rule is, eat kosher salamis.” In her essay “Notes on Camp,” Susan Sontag proposes that Jews and gays react in unique ways to oppression: Jews with the weapon of “moral seriousness,” gays with the irony of “camp.” The Jews who made up the world of punk created a new sensibility—a kind of concentration camp. When Joey Ramone, in “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg,” attacked President Ronald Reagan for visiting a cemetery full of SS dead, he wasn’t just making a political statement; he was undercutting the deadly seriousness of the fascist enterprise. No wonder one of the biggest songs by the Dictators was “The Next Big Thing”—and not just because of the much-quoted brag “We knocked ’em dead in Dallas, they didn’t know we were Jews,” but even more so for the sentiments expressed in its opening lines: “I used to shiver in the wings, but then I was young. I used to shiver in the wings, then I found my own tongue.” Like Chris Stein of Blondie, who, according to lead singer Debbie Harry, collected Nazi memorabilia to show “the Jews had won,” the five Jews in the Dictators were taking back their lives from the silence. They were saying that they’d won, that they laughed in the face of their one-time oppressors.

Punk is a galvanizing force that rises in opposition to oppression and injustice. If it’s taken Trump and his administration’s accompanying anti-Semitism to remind us of punk’s importance, so be it. As The New York Times noted in a recent article about political resistance among poets, “The singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer roused the audience when she said President Trump might make punk rock great again.” After all, Palmer should know. Though the Times didn’t mention it, she’s most celebrated as the founder of an influential punk-cabaret duo from the early 2000s. Its name? The Dresden Dolls.

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