New Inspirations for Jewish Music: A Review of the Concert Inaugurating this Year's POLIN Music Festival

Magdalena Kozłowska and Maria Sławek

The POLIN Music Festival is an event dedicated to the broad spectrum of Jewish music. This year, the concert inaugurating the 6th edition of the festival took place on February 23rd at the POLIN Auditorium.


“Do What You Can to Survive”: Women’s Holocaust Memories in Silent Tears: The Last Yiddish Tango

Jules Riegel

The creators of the 2023 album Silent Tears: The Last Yiddish Tango grapple with complex questions about long-term trauma and the burdens of memory for women who survived the Holocaust.


Review: Once Upon a Time the Fire Burned Brighter: Ballads From the Yiddish Gothic

Zeke Levine

On their album Once Upon a Time the Fire Burned Brighter: Ballads From the Yiddish Gothic, Jeremiah Lockwood and Ricky Gordon, performing as the duo Gordon Lockwood, conjure a bygone world.


Layering Text and Perspective: An Interview with Singer Songwriter Katherine Bulthuis

Grace Rosenberg

"Di Froyen," the debut EP by Katherine Bulthius, performing under the moniker Olke, sets to music the first three poems in Kadya Molodowsky’s cycle of the same name.


A Night at the (Yiddish) Opera: Bas Sheve’s North American Premiere

Julie Sharff

As the biannual Ashkenaz festival kicked off, so did the North American Premiere of Bas Sheve, a Yiddish opera, on August 31, 2022.


An Interview with Simon Starr of YID! on their new album, ZETS!

Rebecca Margolis

ZETS! is the second album of the Melbourne-based band, YID!


Kosmopolitn: a Time Capsule to a World that Maybe Was

Zeke Levine

Kosmopolitn, the latest Tsvey Brider release from Borscht Beat Records, is a tribute to the social and cultural dynamism of turn-of-the-twentieth century Yiddish poetic life.


Final Projects

The Editors

These projects demonstrate not only how clever and creative students can be, but also the variety of ways that students can express and display their thought and learning.


Prayer and Crime: Cantor Elias Zaludkovsky’s Concert Performance Season in 1924 Poland

Jeremiah Lockwood

In his concert career Zaludkovsky walked a fine line between performing the sacred identity of cantor and falling into the forms of cultural crime that he himself had identified as corrupting tradition through excessive commercialization and mediatization of sacred music.

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Beyond the Theater of Memory: Reflections on Yiddish Singing in the German-Speaking World

Isabel Frey

Isabel Frey reflects on the challenges and possibilities of performing Yiddish music as a Jewish performer in Germany and Austria beyond the insulated Berlin klezmer scene.


“Oy, Mamelige!”: Mamaliga’s Dos Gildn Bletl

Max Friedman

Mamaliga's debut album is an exciting, subtle, and intricate addition to Boston's klezmer offerings.


Review of New York Klezmer in the Early Twentieth Century by Joel E. Rubin

Phil Alexander

Despite the shifting status and popularity of this Ashkenazi instrumental music and its musicians, Joel Rubin is, surprisingly, the first researcher to devote serious and sustained attention to one of its most important and productive periods: New York in the 1920s, and in particular the remarkable—and nowadays canonical—recordings of its two best-known and most influential figures, Dave Tarras (1895/7-1989) and Naftule Brandwein (1884-1963).


forshpil:tsvey: forshpil's Alternate Universe of Yiddish Rock

Sarah Larsson

With an electric guitar, distortion, and hundred-year-old Yiddish lyrics, forshpil's new album feeds the imagination with liberatory world-building.


On Yiddish Nuances: Yiddishkayt as Listening Key in the Music of Osvaldo Golijov

Lila Fabro

This paper approaches Osvaldo Golijov’s music from the intersection of musicology and Yiddish studies.


Hasidic Songs about Coronavirus: A Wonderful Voice of Renewal / חסידישע קאראנע-לידער א וואונדערליכע שטימע פון חידוש

Eli Benedict

The phenomenon of Corona songs in the frum world shows us that something quite new is happening with regard to Hasidic music.


Songs to Make It Better: A Review of the Third and Fourth Unternationals by Daniel Kahn and Psoy Korolenko

Uri Schreter

Uri Schreter reviews two new albums from Daniel Kahn and Psoy Korolenko.


Shtetl Berlin: Online Edition

Ekaterina Kuznetsova

What happens when you move a klezmer festival online? Ekaterina Kuznetsova reviews Yiddish culture in the era of COVID-19 at Shtetl Berlin 2020.

Texts & Translation

בעטהאָװענס לבֿנה־סאָנאַטע

Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata

Sh. Bastomski

Translation by Alex Weiser

A children’s tale, written by Shloyme Bastomski and telling the fictionalized origin story of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata


Millennial Bundism: An Interview with Isabel Frey

Faith Hillis

Faith Hillis interviews Vienna-based musician and activist Isabel Frey about her latest album, Millennial Bundist; the place of Yiddish music in contemporary left-wing politics; and Frey’s creative rewritings of revolutionary anthems.


Inside the Yiddish Folk Song: An Interview with Mark Slobin

Ari Kelman

Ari Kelman talks with Mark Slobin about Inside the Yiddish Folk Song, a new website project currently under construction, which aims to be an accessible, comprehensive online introduction to the full complexity of the Yiddish folk song tradition.


On Not Understanding: Performing Yiddish Song Today

Benjy Fox-Rosen

As a composer and performer of Yiddish music, Rosen confronts the fact that most members of my audience do not understand the language of the texts he performs. Yet, while music does not communicate information in the same way as language, it can lead listeners towards specific associations and meanings. There are multiple instances in which translation, imagined or guided, takes place during a musical performance and the composer and performer mediates these processes.


Between Translation and Tradaptation: An Interview with Daniel Kahn, Berlin, January 2017

Marianne Windsperger

Maranne Windsperger interviews punkfolk artist Daniel Kahn about his approaches to transadaptation and translation.


Labor, Love, and Life in Immigrant London

David Slucki

In this groundbreaking study, Lachs draws upon often ignored documents of popular culture (conventionally written off as shund by her predecessors) in order to paint a vivid picture of working class immigrant London at the turn of the 20th century.


Memorializing the Holocaust in Electronic Music: An Interview with Francisco Dean

Jo Sabath

Jo Sabath talks with Francisco Dean about Dean's Frilingdik Umbazigt: As the Spring Unconquered, an electronic music piece memorializing the Holocaust that he composed and directed with high school student musicians at the Chicago Laboratory School.


Northern Voices: New Yiddish Song in Sweden

Jewlia Eisenberg

Eisenberg reviews Shtoltse Lider, a multimedia stage show, with songs in Yiddish and English, and explanations and evocations in Swedish, from Swedish duo Ida and Louise. 


Charlie, [gesturing to Fascist General Franco on screen] fucking swine isn’t he?

William Pimlott

William Pimlott reviews Gill Tofell's Jews, Cinema and Public Life in Interwar Britain and Alan Dein's Music is the most beautiful language in the World: Yiddisher Jazz in London’s East End 1920s-1950s.


Review of Convergence, an Album of Multi-Diasporic Musical Longing by Anthony Russell and Veretski Pass

Leah Reis-Dennis

Anthony Russell, in collaboration with Veretski Pass (Joshua Horowitz on piano, Cookie Segelstein on fiddle, and Stuart Brotman on cello), intertwines Jewish Eastern Europe folk music and African American spiritual traditions.