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Roy Nathanson and Radical Jewish Culture

by Marty Roth   There is a life of tradition that is not just about conservative preservation, about the constant continuation of the spiritual and cultural goods of a community. There is also something like a treasure hunt in the tradition that establishes a living relationship with tradition and that is committed to much of […]

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Singing Songs of Resistance

AN INTERVIEW WITH DAN KAUFMAN ON THE NEW ALBUM, FOR THOSE WHO CAME AFTER: SONGS OF RESISTANCE FROM THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR by Jacob L. Perl   JUST BEFORE ROSH HASHANAH in Madison, Wisconsin, someone spray-painted swastikas on a monument to the Wisconsin volunteers of of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion. The battalion was one of the international […]

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Bagels and Bongos

Irving Fields (Schwartz), who infused beloved Jewish songs (such as “Raisins and Almonds”) with the Cuban rhythms that he learned as a Caribbean cruise ship pianist, then sold two million copies of his 1959 album, “Bagels and Bongos,” was born in New York on this date in 1915. He began playing piano as a child and quickly […]

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Unpacking a New Trunk of Soviet Yiddish Songs

by Eric A. Gordon Two hear two tracks from the album, City of the Future, click here: “Girls at the Sewing Machine;” “Red Army“ ONE OF MY TASKS when I was director of the Southern California District of the Arbeter Ring (Workmen’s Circle) was to gather, sort, and ship out thousands of books donated by […]

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Carnival in Brazil: Jews Are Finding Their Way In

by Alex Minkin “YIDELE IS A SMART KID, he tells everyone that Carnival is not Jewish.” The author of the 1930s Yiddish textbook from São Paulo, shown at left (from the YIVO collection), wasn’t joking. In the early 20th century, Carnival, seen as a wild pagan street party, appalled the ancestors of the majority of […]

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Blue Thread Music: Our New Record Label

JEWISH CURRENTS has had a book publishing imprint for the past three years, Blue Thread. Now we’ve expanded into music publishing. Four titles are now available at our Pushcart at Blue Thread Music. Two are avant-garde interpretations of classic cantorial music: Yoshie Fruchter’s rock-oriented “Schizophonia” —

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Max Raabe Revives Weimar-Era “Schlager”

Holocaust Memory in Germany Politics and Culture by Leo Treitler From the Winter 2013-2014 issue of Jewish Currents   TWO RHYMES BROUGHT AS BAGGAGE FROM GERMANY at the time of my emigration in 1938, at age 7: Jude Itzik  Nase spitzig  Arschloch dreckig  Kopf viereckig Jew Izzy pointy nose, dirty asshole, square head Hundert nackte […]

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Barbez’ “Bella Ciao” — and a Few Words about Lou Reed

by Jacob L. Perl “Bella Ciao,” Barbez’s second release on the radical Jewish Culture Series of John Zorn’s Tzadik label, draws from Roman Jewish religious melodies and centers around the Italian partisan resistance to the fascists. The album features readings in English translation of poems by Pier Paolo Pasolini and Alfonso Gatto, poets who spoke […]

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