Featured Site for December, 2009

All Things Shofar
This site is a comprehensive look at the shofar as a Jewish instrument. It examines the history, making, blowing, and reasons for including a shofar. There are two online books on this site as well as general information The first book, Hearing Shofar: The Still Small Voice of the Ram's Horn is by Michael Chusid, a master shofar blaster. The second is by Arthur Finkle, The Shofar Sounder's Reference Manual. Both are available full text online. The authors very modestly ask that anyone downloading the complete book donate to the cause. These are well worth the time and effort for anyone interested in becoming adept at shofar blowing.

Featured Site for February, 2009

Music of the Holocaust
This site is an online exhibit of the US Holocaust Museum from Washington, D.C. In it you can see and hear music, view photos, and learn the stories of the songs from the war years. The songs include examples from the ghettos, concentration camps, and World War II partisan outposts as well as Theresienstadt.

Featured Site for December, 2008

Sephardic Music
Joel Bresler's Sephardic Music website is a result of years of collecting every known album, and even track, of Sephardic music. Bresler was a collector with an all inclusive mission-- to find every shred of recorded evidence of this Jewish repertoire of music. Now he has released his website which includes data from the earliest 100 years of recordings of Sephardic music. These are mostly the older recordings of 78s. Bresler is working on a database of all the recordings in his collection, which will take years to complete, but in the meantime, much of this labor of love is available for the public to benefit. He includes a valuable history of the recording companies and information on the artists. The database can be accessed by label, song or artist. By clicking on an artist name, for example, the viewer would be taken to a list of all the recordings with that artist in this group. There is also some useful biographical information about the artists. One of the extremely valuable services this site renders is the song title name variants. Some songs are known by slightly different names, and this database will help anyone who is looking for a song to know all the different spellings and complete titles. Bresler is also collaborating with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. An extremely worthy effort, and due a lot of recognition in the Jewish music world.

Featured Site for December, 2007

John Zorn's Tzadik label website has a listin of his "radical Jewish culture" featured albums. This is all about content. The content is all. The new music energized by the availability of having a recording label willing to experiment and to put out new Jewish music is what this is all about. Many people are not "into" contemporary music of this vein.... Many find the mixtures and morphing of sounds of the radical cultural movement disturbing. But for those folks that "get it", this is where the action is at, where new sounds and new ideas are being forged and great music is heard. Tzadik is to Jewish music a kind of laboratory that lets everyone in on the experiment early, or as Zorn sees it, something like an expo. We don't know what the total outcomes will be. We just hope they keep doing it, so we will find out. Zorn states on his page: "The Great Jewish Music series is as much about jewish contribution to world culture Serge Gainsbourg in France, Jacob do Bandolim in Brasil, Sasha Argov in Israel as about any exposition of jewish culture. If I had titled the series accordingly perhaps we all would have been spared much of the polemical discussions and arguments and I might have been spared a few vituperative attacks. But as several good friends have said "if people are still arguing over these issues after 15 years, you must be doing something right" and I am content with that."

Featured Site for July, 2007

Judaica Sound Archives
The Judaica Sound Archives continues to plug away at providing the world with some of the best online audio of Jewish music. Their strategy has been to obtain copyright permissions to put materials online, and this has paid off wonderfully for them, and for all of us, the users of the website. They now have more than a dozen collections of recording artists online. These include a biography of the artist, and links to the listening area where often several albums have been digitized to listen online, including some famous cantors and children's artists.

Featured Site for February, 2006

An online journal that has a "Music scene" column with articles by young Jews on the music they are doing. They keep abreast of the new 'hip' happenings. Very interesting format (blog)plus a online journal mixed together.

Featured Sites for September, 2003

Virtual Cantor
The complete cycle of nusach for worship are here, online, and for free. Broken down into individual pieces, there are 725 different tracks to cover not only Shabbat, but the entire weekday, festival and high holiday services. If you are a person who needs to learn the nusach to lead a service, this is THE place. It's a completely easy way to find the exact passage in the siddur and follow along. Highly Recommended.

Navigating the Bible II
Thanks to ORT, there is the Online Bar/Bat Mitzvah Tutor. The entire Torah, and Haftorah sections, verse by verse, are available online with sound files, Hebrew with trop, and Hebrew text as it appears in a tikkun to practice. The English translation and transliteration appear next to each text. The site is also divided by traditional reading sections of the Jewish Torah service and cycle. A section on "singing" allows the reader to learn the trop with sound files, Western notation and highlighted Hebrew text. This is a complete site for learning to chant Torah portions.

Featured Site for March, 2003

Folk Literature of the Sephardic Jews
Many of you will be thrilled to learn that UC Davis, as part of the Digital Libraries Initiative, has mounted much of the archive online from the collections of Samuel Armistead, Joseph Silverman and Israel Katz. Armistead, of course, did one of the largest bibliographies and collection of Sephardic materials, starting nearly 50 years ago. This is an online bibliography, but also a searchable database of recorded music, field recordings, oral history and oral literature. It is truly remarkable. There are transcripts to follow while you listen to the field recording excerpts! It's keyword searchable in Spanish. There are also extensive histories online and other explanatory notes and articles full text. Try it, it's incredible. This is for everyone interested in the Sephardic heritage.

Music of Modzitz
An excellent website devoted to the music and lives of the Modzitzer Chassidim. The website features histories of the leaders of the group, as well as an online archive of musical compositions that is remarkably generous, with good sound quality and deliverability. The historic musical pieces are well worth listening to by anyone. They include instrumental as well vocal renditions of Modzitz favorites. There are also excellent pictures of the group's founding area in Poland before the Khorban, (the Holocaust), and stories and all sorts of information about this Jewish group. One of the best Chassidic music sites on the web, especially in terms of music.

Featured Site for February, 2003

Chazzanut Online Biographies
Irwin Oppenheim, a computer scientist in the Netherlands, has compiled an important website devoted to Chazzanut, (cantorial music). Featured this month, this is a new segment of this site that has biographical articles on famous cantors. These articles are reprinted online with permission of the author and journal. Oppenheim's website also includes important online manuscript archival materials online.

Featured Site for January, 2003

Bronislaw Huberman
A very thorough and complete site about the great Polish-Jewish violinist and musician, this site includes biographical materials that include scans of primary documents, letters and articles. Some amazing photos, stories and anecdotes. It includes many articles and texts about Huberman as well as excerpts from interviews. Materials about his work in Israel in the 1930's. There's a discography and a bibliography. Part of the biographical materials come from Huberman's secretary. There is also an amazing section that includes excerpts of live radio broadcasts of Huberman! Wow. All Thanks to Patrick Harris.

Featured Site for November, 2002

Geneva (Switzerland) Klezmer Music Pages
Michel Borzykowski's webpages about Yiddish and klezmer music. Includes a very thorough bibliography. Bibliography on Klezmer music. The website includes discographies of Yiddish music, news and features.

Featured Site for October, 2002

Max Synagogue
A teaching tool using a synthsizer to teach Torah cantillation. The items must be purchased, but the website gives a good idea to the reader how the system works.

Featured Site for June, 2002

Yiddish-American Digital Archive
An online sound archive project has been recently started. The aim is to put Yiddish archival recordings on the Internet. In a section called "Opening the Vault", sound selections are available in Real Audio, along with the recording label and number, the name of the key artist and the name of the collection where the recording was gathered. The recordings date back as early as 1915, and include such media as an Edison cylinder and early Columbia recordings. The project features recordings of Henry Berman (1892-1952),an entertainer in Yiddish clubs, and grandfather of the founder of the online sound archive.

Featured Site for January, 2002

Rahel Jaskow
Rahel Jaskow produced a CD of Jewish Sabbath songs in Hebrew and English. Day of Rest was released in November 2000 and subsequently won the 2001 Just Plain Folks music award for best CD in the ethnic music category. Her bio states that after majoring in English at the University of Rochester, Jaskow moved to Jerusalem, Israel. "She serves as a prayer leader for the women's prayer groups Shirat Sara and Women of the Wall, and also participates regularly in the Leader Minyan as a Torah reader." Ms. Jaskow's voice quality is rich, enchanting and extremely appealing as an Israeli-style "traditional folk" artist. She performs a cappella using recorded versions of herself to create a small group effect.

Featured Site for October, 2001

Oyfn Pripetchok
Part of the Shteltl Yiddish Culture website, this provides a host of information of this particular song, along with Yiddish text, information about different dialects of the text, and scores of the music. A brief biography of Mark Warshavsky also appears on this site.

Featured Site for September, 2001

Jewish National and University Library, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
As part of the The National Sound Archives Digitization Project, The Jewish National and University Library has mounted a wonderful online sound exhibit featuring: "A selection of High Holy Days liturgical music and sounds: Selichot, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Piyyutim from a variety of Jewish communities and languages." A choice of streaming audio or MP3 is given to hear some selections.

Featured Site for April, 2001

Helen's Yiddish Dance Page
Helen Winkler has provided a great resource to learn Yiddish dancing with information about the various types of dances, and instructions on how to do the dance steps. The site includes stories about dances and a huge bibliography of sources for further reading and study.

Featured Site for December, 2000

Jewish Music or Music of the Jewish People
An online article by Bob Gluck, Rabbi of Congregation Ahavath Sholom in Great Barrington, MA, and a composer and music teacher. This article appears in the online journal, The Reconstructionist: A Journal of Contemporary Thought and Practice.


Featured Site for November, 2000

Second Avenue Online
The Spielberg-funded digital archive website set up by New York University's Center for Advanced Technology on Yiddish Theatre. The website includes a history and chronology of Yiddish Theater in America, with links to brief biographies of key figures and some photos. There are listings of archival institutions that hold materials on Yiddish theatre. Many of those libraries, museums and archives include sheet music or sound recordings. Most of the histories online are written by a one or two individuals and there are few footnotes link to names of resources from the archive. However this is a fun resource for students. Eventually the site will include oral histories, manuscripts and scores, letters, photos, and will feature an interactive 3-D "walk through" of a theater. The project originated with Ann Ronnell, (one of Hollywood's first successful female lyricist and composer) who wanted to create a project on Jewish composers and lyricists of theater and film, (according to the September 17, 1999 Jewish Week). New York University also houses the Sholom Secunda Archives.


Featured Site for October, 2000

The "history" of Klezmer is part of this website --about The Klezmorim -- "the Berkeley, California band that jump-started the worldwide klezmer revival in 1975." The website provides an easy-to-peruse chronology of the band's history, biographies, discography, and lots of "inside stories." With several books published recently on the history of klezmer, it will be interesting to readers to gain access to this perspective from someone who was there "in the beginning"-- of the American klezmer revival, that is!


Featured Site for June, 2000

Los Angeles Jewish Symphony
The Los Angeles Jewish Symphony is a professional organization that performs serious works by Jewish composers or music based on Jewish themes. Under the direction of Noreen Green, the group scheduled four major performances in the 1999-2000 season. The website offers concert schdules and ticket information, contact information and a list of officers.

London International Jewish Music Festival
The largest Jewish music festival ever held in Britain will take place this summer June 11-July 13, 2000. For details visit the website.


Featured Site for May, 2000

Halevi Choral Society of Chicago
The Halevi Choral Society is a professional Jewish choir located in Chicago, IL under the direcction of Judith Karzen. Founded as a community chorus in 1926 by Harry Coopersmith and Hyman Reznick, the choral group, devotes its entire repertoire to Jewish music. Styles include liturgical, Israeli, Yiddish, Ladino and secular Jewish music. The Choral group presents many new works and commissions compositions. The website includes contact information, a history, a mission statement and a concert schedule.


Featured Site for August, 1999

Jewish Culture Festival in Poland
Click on "Zdjecia '99" for pictures of the recently held Jewish Culture Festival in Cracow, Poland. It is truly amazing to see pictures of crowds of people listening to Jewish music! The program shows the depth of the festival in all sorts of areas, not only music, but film and the arts.


Featured Site for July, 1999

Budowitz Sacred and Secular
Budowitz is an ensemble that plays nineteenth century klezmer music on original instruments. The musicians in this group provide a sound steeped both in musicological and historical knowledge as well as the subtlety and coloration described by the reviewers as "pure emotion." Budowitz is staffed by leading lights in the klezmer world including Joshua Horowitz and Merlin Shepherd. Of special note is an interview with Budowitz as well as A Short History of Klezmer Music.


Featured Site for June, 1999

Israel Music Institute
Among its many other fine qualities, the Israel Music Institute offers online ordering of its scores from the web. This is really a fantastic feature for those seeking music for performing groups of Jewish interest. The biographical information found in the "composer's gallery" provides an excellent source of quick information. There is also a listing of composers whose works are represented in the catalogues.


Featured Site for May, 1999

Arnold Schoenberg
The grandson of Arnold Schoenberg has mounted a website with extensive materials about the composer. This is an excellent source of academic materials.


Featured Sites for March, 1999

Ellie's Torah Trope Tutor
Ellie Wackerman of Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria, Virginia, has taken the time to mount a Torah Trope tutor on the web. She provides standard Torah trope for Shabbat and holidays, including High Holy Days, the three pilgrimage Festivals (Shalosh Regalim) of Passover, Sukkot and Shavuot, and the trope for Purim. Ellie has a provided simple clear notation along with the trope.

Tzadik: Radical Jewish Music
John Zorn is leading the way for many in building a new Jewish culture. Taking a look at the Tzadik label reveals an amazing amount of new and creative output using blends of traditional and new instruments and styles by a myriad of artists. There is so much going on that only the most hardy might make it all the way through a listen to all this new music. But try. Everything from Pesamim's Abi Gezint!, a new release in February, 1999 which uses traditional string instruments, to Mystic Fugu Orchestra's Zohar which uses noise making integration with music. New releases also include The Alte Rebbe's Nigun by Australian's Ambarchi and Avenaim and Blues for Falashes by Glenn Spearman to last Fall's David Krakauer's Klezmer Madness: Klezmer, NY. It's interesting to note the use today of so much picture painting in the music and the use of evocative Jewish titling.


Featured Sites for February, 1999

Jewish World Music on Jewish Web Week
Jewish Web Week, February 21-26, 1999, featured a live Webcast for Peace in Israel organized by the director of the Jerusalem Center for Contemporary Music, several online streaming virtual radio programs, live chat, and an online midi studio. Musicians and participants were recruited. Other cultural events were also being held in conjunction with JWW. This JMWC featured a link providing information on Jewish Music around the globe.

Jewish Cello Music
Jewish Cello Music gives exposure to the names of new and exciting American and Canadian composers who use Jewish themes in their compositions.

An informative site about selections of serious music for cello which have Jewish themes. Included is information about each composer and some suggested selections. The author, a cellist, provides "quotes on Jewish music" which is a brief but interesting section.